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Our View: Thumbs up to more youth sports facilities, a career of public service, a scholarship winner | COMMENTARY

THUMBS UP: With Carroll County lagging far behind neighboring counties in terms of athletic facilities, and county and municipal governments unwilling or unable to do much about that even before the coronavirus pandemic further fiscally burdened them, we’re glad to see a business stepping up to fill the void. Coppermine announced last week that it is buying Sportsman’s Hall Roller Skating Center, just over the county line in Upperco. “We have been looking at this location for years” Coppermine owner Alex Jacobs told us. “We are interested in any facilities that has activities for kids or adults.” Coppermine plans to continue to have roller skating at the facility while also adding three basketball and volleyball courts and bringing in sports camps during times when school is out. Coppermine Four Seasons in Hampstead last year and is adding outdoor turf fields. Jacobs also expressed interest in the company purchasing the old North Carroll High School facility last month. We can only imagine the events that could be put on in the future, potentially utilizing Coppermine Four Seasons, Sportsman’s Hall and, maybe, the old North Carroll High, bringing in young athletes from the Westminster area and southern Carroll, so starved for facilities, as well as those from other Maryland counties and Pennsylvania. We wish Coppermine success not just because of the company’s willingness to take a chance on these locations, but also in hopes that others will see opportunities and provide budding athletes from Carroll resources their counterparts in Howard, Frederick and Baltimore counties have had for years.

THUMBS UP: While we certainly miss many, we do try to recognize long-tenured public servants at the end of successful careers. The latest to retire after a long career with Carroll County Government is Clay Black, who served in various positions for 37 years. He retired last week as bureau chief of development review. “It’s safe to say that just about every development project in the county and the municipalities Clay has either reviewed or supervised over the past 30-plus years,” Tom Devilbiss, director of land and resource management, said in a farewell to Black at the Sept. 24 Board of Commissioners meeting. Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, called Black “the heart and soul of Carroll County.” Black worked his way up from the permits office in 1983 to construction agreements coordinator to subdivision review assistant to development systems supervisor before becoming bureau chief in 2005. Black said he enjoyed serving the county commissioners, citizens and businesses in Carroll County. “My position has given me opportunities to help others with their projects. ... allowed me to meet a vast amount of individuals and to work with amazing colleagues,” he told us. “Being able to work with citizens, developers, government officials, outside agencies, colleagues and others has been rewarding.” Black said he plans to spend more time with his wife and dogs and that after a scheduled surgery and physically therapy, he will be spending his days, among other things, golfing, traveling, camping, and volunteering. We wish him well in retirement.

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THUMBS UP: Taneytown native Marissa Roberts chose to attend and be part of the virtual livestock auction at the Maryland State Fair, where Roberts got a chance to show some of her Guernsey dairy cattle. The coronavrius pandemic meant the state fair was closed to the public, but Roberts wasn’t about to miss out on her last chance to be part of the event as she is aging out of the 4-H world. And Roberts was rewarded once again for her well-rounded agricultural resume. The Francis Scott Key High School graduate is one of this year’s four winners of the F. Grove Miller Maryland State Fair Scholarship, after receiving the same honor in 2019. Roberts, a sophomore at Mount St. Mary’s University, received $2,000 toward her college tuition. The scholarship goes to Maryland youth who have participated as exhibitors at the Maryland State Fair and are enrolled in a post-secondary college or trade school. Roberts has been a 4-H exhibitor at the state fair for more than 10 years, showing foods, plants, flowers, crafts, canning, vegetables, photography, and floral arrangements, as well as market goats and her dairy cattle. Roberts has also helped educate children at the state fair’s U-Learn Farm. She showed fairgoers how to hand-milk a cow with the Guernsey breeders. “I’ve always wanted to be that kind of person that I looked up to when I was younger,” Roberts said, adding, “I can’t imagine my life without some kind of 4-H in it." We offer congratulations and best of luck.

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