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Editorial: Thumbs up, thumbs down

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Richard Ivan Zepp, an 87-year-old World War II veteran, received his high school diploma with his family by his side at Wednesday's Carroll County Board of Education meeting. Zepp, who now lives in Glen Rock, Pa., went to Hampstead High School but withdrew following the death of his father to tend to the family's farm. Then he later enlisted in the U.S. Navy in order to help provide financial support to his mother. He served in the Navy from 1944 to 1946. His son, Richard Franklin Zepp, is on the school board for the Eastern York School District in Wrightsville, Pa., which also awards diplomas to veterans. He contacted Carroll County Public Schools about holding the ceremony for his father, and the system agreed.

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A 440,000-pound electrical transformer that appeared in Westminster about three weeks ago to the surprise of city officials will be headed for its final destination in Pennsylvania soon, but organizers of the transport say they likely won't be able to give business owners more than a week's notice before the move that will shut down Md. 97 most of the day. The move originally was scheduled for Aug. 11, but a 70,000-pound weight discrepancy was discovered. Business owners such as Ken Lurie, the owner of Bud's at Silver Run along Md. 97, were frustrated by the short notice they received initially and had to cancel reservations last weekend before the move was postponed. Unfortunately, the project manager said one week's notice is probably the best that can be done.

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Backstage Bistro, a catering company in Hampstead, is becoming the go-to caterer to the stars who perform in the region. Recently, the company has catered sold-out shows for artists such as Beyonce, Justin Bieber and the last U.S. concert of The Rolling Stones. In order to keep high-level gigs, owner Mary Marchetti said the key is making sure there are no glitches, since her business is based on word-of-mouth and success from previous shows. Marchetti started her business in Hampstead in 2008, and credits being in a small town to surviving her start-up years, rather than trying to operate in a big city such as Washington, D.C. It's also allowed her to use local businesses such as Snickerdoodles Bakery when catering shows.

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The Shepherd's Staff is about halfway through distributing back-to-school essentials to local families in need. The Shepherd's Staff, a Christian outreach and support center, helps more than 1,000 children each year by providing back-to-school items to Carroll's students in need. The program serves pre-kindergarten children as young as 3 years old up to students in high school. There is no specific income requirement to qualify for services, but income information will be collected. Even though donations keep rolling in, the program still needs certain school supplies. The major items they are starting to run out of are index cards, yellow highlighters and folders with brads and pockets.

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