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Raynisha Johnson, a junior at Winters Mill High School, was selected as a finalist in the 27th Annual Champions of Courage Black History Month Essay Competition. More than 3,000 entries were received from middle and high schoolers throughout the Baltimore metro area. The competition challenged students in grades six through 12 to write a brief essay saluting their personal "Champion of Courage" - a positive role model who has touched their lives by sharing the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. Each finalist was honored and presented with a $100 prize at an awards breakfast. Her reading of the essay also aired on Fox 45.

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Cellphone users should be wary of a new "one ring" scam that can result in unauthorized charges appearing on their monthly wireless bills. Perpetrators program computers to send thousands of calls to random cellphone numbers, ring once and then disconnect. The scammers hope people are curious enough about the call that they dial back. If and when the cellphone owner returns the call, they are charged premium and international call fees. Some consumers across the U.S. report finding an international fee of $19.95, along with a $9 per minute premium call charge on their monthly invoice, according to the Greater Maryland Better Business Bureau.

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Liberty High School took first place in the main stage competition for its performance of "The Trench" at the Maryland State Thespian Festival, earning the opportunity to go to the National Festival this summer. On the main stage, Century High School took third place for "It's a Wonderful Life," a live radio play. Drama students from Century, Liberty, Manchester Valley, North Carroll and South Carroll high schools participated in the festival.

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Carroll Community College, Human Services Programs of Carroll County and McDaniel College are all home to the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program this year. The sites, which are sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service, provide free tax help to low-to-moderate income taxpayers. The Carroll County Senior and Community centers also provide free income tax assistance for adults age 60 or older with no income limit and for others younger than 60 with an income less than $60,000. In recent years, the organizations have helped hundreds of residents with their tax returns.

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