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Our View: Thumbs up to Carroll County’s top teacher, McDaniel College’s top ranking, Flood Zone’s fire company fundraiser | COMMENTARY

THUMBS UP: Jena Ehmann, reading specialist at Winfield Elementary School, began her 13th year as a Carroll County Public Schools teacher with some good news: She is one of seven finalists for Maryland Teacher of the Year. Ehmann, who was named Carroll County Teacher of the Year last spring, called the news wonderful and said she feels lucky. “I won the minute somebody nominated me. This is all just wonderful, extra experiences that I get to kind of continue to speak to everything we do here in Carroll County. It’s been a privilege.” Ehmann is a Carroll County Public Schools product who earned undergraduate and master’s degrees at McDaniel College. She organizes “Winfield Reads,” an annual initiative supported by community members and attended by hundreds of students and staff. Her professional contributions include work as a county curriculum writer, and she’s vice president of the Carroll County Literacy Chapter. Winfield Principal Katie Purper nominated Ehmann. Steve Lockard, superintendent of schools, recognized Ehmann at the most recent Board of Education meeting, noting that Ehmann is the fourth county teacher in as many years to be up for the state’s top honor. “We’re very proud of all of your accomplishments,” Lockard said. The winner, set to be unveiled Oct. 8 during a special program on Maryland Public Television, will receive cash awards, technology equipment, national travel opportunities, and a new car valued at more than $25,000. “I’m excited about it," Ehmann told us. "I think it will be very memorable. I’m just so honored to be a part of it.”

THUMBS UP: Getting a good ranking in U.S. News & World Report is a big deal as the industry and, more important, potential future students pay a lot of attention. McDaniel College in Westminster recently received a most coveted spot. Again. McDaniel topped the U.S. News & World Report’s list of “Best Value Schools” in the North region for a second consecutive year. McDaniel also ranks among the best regional universities in the North in the “2021 Best Colleges” rankings, which was released Sept. 14. The college was also again recognized on the “Top Performers on Social Mobility” list. “We are particularly proud that we continue to be nationally recognized for our commitment to access and affordability,” McDaniel College President Roger N. Casey said. To determine which colleges and universities offer students the best value, U.S. News & World Report takes into account a school’s academic quality, as indicated by its 2021 U.S. News Best Colleges ranking, and the 2019-2020 net cost of attendance for a student who received the average level of need-based financial aid, according to the U.S. News website. Cheryl Knauer, McDaniel’s public relations director, said McDaniel has seen an increase in its total undergraduate enrollment for this fall with approximately 1,818 undergraduate students. The 2019 fall brought in 1,680. “Our U.S. News ranking, in particular, helps to show McDaniel as the private college of choice for students throughout Maryland and the region," Knauer told us.

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THUMBS UP: Flood Zone Marketplace & Brewery recently played host to an Anchored Boat Parade to raise money for the Union Bridge and New Windsor fire companies. "We’ve got the creek and we wanted to do some type of fundraiser,” Flood Zone co-owner Beth Stambaugh told us. "Everybody put their heads together and came up with good ideas.” She is from New Windsor and husband/co-owner Jerry Stambaugh is from Union Bridge. In addition to temporarily closing down Flood Zone less than two week after it opened, the coronavirus pandemic resulted in the cancellation of carnivals and other events fire companies count on to raise money. A variety of small handcrafted boats were set afloat in Little Pipe Creek in Union Bridge. The “captains” of each boat were encouraged to get at least one sponsor and have the sponsor’s name displayed on their boat. Stambaugh said this was where much of the donations came from and every sponsor could contribute whichever amount they chose. “When our customers would come, we had a box where they could look at each boat and correlate boat to box number and put in the monetary donations,” Stambaugh said. Between the sponsors and the cash donations, the fundraiser brought in over $14,000 that will be split between the two fire companies. Union Bridge resident Lucy Staley took first place with “Lucy’s Little Red Wagon,” a farmer’s market-themed boat. Stambaugh told us they hope to hold the fundraiser again next summer.

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