THUMBS DOWN: Resident Bob Betz contacted Sykesville police after his signs supporting President Donald Trump’s reelection went missing. He wasn’t surprised. “We sort of expected it,” Betz told us. “Politics right now is not tolerant.” Not at all. Of course, stealing political yard signs is a bit of a tradition in Carroll. An unfortunate, illegal and ultimately stupid and futile tradition. Law enforcement concedes that the practice is not uncommon during an election season despite the possibility of charges such as trespassing, theft of property, vandalism or destruction of property. Chief Doug Reitz of Mount Airy said a conviction for unlawful removal of signs carries up to a $500 fine and 90 days of incarceration. The Carroll County Sheriff’s office recorded nine instances of political sign theft between Aug. 1 and Oct. 5, according to Cpl. Jonathan Light. In Westminster, police Chief Thomas Ledwell estimates there have been about four reports of political yard signs or flags being taken. Four minors were recently charged in Sykesville. Westminster resident Wendy Perzynski told us their “Veterans for Biden” signs went missing and called it “pretty low” for someone to steal from a veteran like her husband. Indeed. And the ironic part? Most people who have signs stolen simply replace them with more and bigger signs. So while risking criminal prosecution, sign-stealers actually accomplish nothing.
THUMBS UP: This week we met one tough 4-year-old and learned about a local nonprofit organization that’s doing its part to try to help her. It’s been about a year since Abby Renehan began experiencing bad headaches and a tumor was discovered. It was an atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (ATRT), a rare, aggressive tumor that generally strikes very young children. It’s been a medical odyssey since that has included surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, having her own stem cells harvested and then returned to her and too many hospital visits. Her mother, Katie Renehan, said she has had 14 admissions and 91 overnight stays. It hasn’t gotten Abby down. “If you saw her, you wouldn’t even know Abby is sick,” her mother told us. "She is the happiest little girl.” The South Carroll Lioness Lions Club is sponsoring a “GotSneakers?” drive to help Abby. New athletic sneakers and sports cleats will earn $3 per pair. GotSneakers? will pay $1 per pair for used but still wearable athletic sneakers and sports cleats and 25 cents per pair for used non-wearable, recyclable, athletic sneakers and sports cleats. Funds earned by the sneaker drive will help with doctor and medication co-payments, and travel costs. Contact South Carroll Lioness Lions Club members: Kay Field at 410-795-2674, Sue Mykulyn at 570-617-6367, or Susan Bonura at 443-745-1281.
THUMBS UP: It’s a confusing time for many parents as they try to explain the COVID-19 pandemic to children. For mice, too. In an effort to help alleviate some of the fear and anxiety for kids, Westminster author Jennifer Woolford has written a children’s book, “No COVID Please!” It follows Nick the Mouse’s journey as he learns how to navigate life during a pandemic. Nick notices as adults around him hoard items such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and food. He watches the news surrounding the pandemic and gets nervous because he doesn’t understand. His mother explains to him that schools have to close, businesses might look different, and he will have to stay away from people for a while. “It addresses the things that are true, but in a way that lets children know that how they’re feeling isn’t abnormal,” Woolford told us. “Things are always going to get better and we’re going to get through this. ... We can get through hard things.” We love the sentiment and hope it can help. Those who would like to purchase a copy can email DarnWritePublications@gmail.com to order the book at a $10 presale price before it is released on Amazon and in bookstores, where the cost will be $15.
THUMBS UP: Habitat for Humanity of Carroll County recently announced plans to open the county’s first Habitat ReStore at the former Westminster Antique Mall location at 433 Hahn Road. ReStore manager Scott Swartz said he expects this ReStore, at about 25,000 square feet, to be one of the larger locations on the East Coast. Habitat ReStores are independently owned reuse stores operated by local Habitat for Humanity affiliates that accept donations and sell home improvement items to the public at a fraction of the retail price, according to the Habitat for Humanity website. “When contractors build houses and they have too many windows left or too much hardwood flooring, rather than taking it back, they’ll donate it to us,” Swartz said. “We can sell it, turn it around, and put it back into the houses that we built.” Swartz said the Carroll County location will include a community space that can be used for meetings, classes, and networking, and he anticipates it being a state-of-the-art location with an interactive video board equipped with audio. Additionally, he said there are also plans for workshops. Swartz expects the ReStore location to open as early as January 2021.