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Thumbs up to repurposing skills, a winning teacher, return of hair care, nurses

THUMBS UP: We continue to be awed by the people and businesses in our community who, during the coronavirus crisis, have used their talents in different ways to produce goods or services needed by fellow members of the community. We have featured many of them over the past eight weeks. Last week, we brought you the story of a Mount Airy plastic surgeon whose practice, which largely focuses on cosmetic surgery, was basically shut down with its procedures deemed nonessential. Dr. Guy Cappuccino said he “felt pretty useless” and wanted to be able to use his skills to help. So he started offering his services to prevent people from going to the emergency room for things such as cuts, bruises, lacerations or broken bones as a way of preventing exposure to COVID-19. We also brought you the story of a company that helped the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office in making preliminary preparations for getting back to a normal workload next month. Like many who need to be at work during the pandemic, they needed facial coverings. A donation of 100 masks from English American Tailoring in Westminster will help. Mark Falcone, CEO of English American Tailoring, said the skeleton crew staffing the Westminster office has been sewing 7,000 masks a day out of shirt material and donating them to customers, employees, and those in public service as part of a company-wide initiative.

THUMBS UP: When the Baltimore Ravens and M&T Bank set about recognizing and honoring local teachers for their leadership, dedication and commitment to education, and for outstanding service to their school, students and community with their Touchdown for Teachers program, one stood out above the rest. Katie McDonald, an LFI (Learning for Independence) teacher at Westminster High School, won the grand prize. She will receive $4,000 in grant funds as well as a classroom visit by a Ravens’ player, accompanied by Ravens mascot Poe and cheerleaders during the 2020-21 school year, as well as a personalized Ravens jersey and an award plaque. McDonald has served as a special education teacher for the past six years. She is also a coach in the corollary sports program, which introduces special needs students to sports such as bocce ball, bowling and corn toss, and played an integral role in created an annual Special Needs Prom at Westminster as well as serving as co-coordinator of Westminster High School’s food pantry. Sound like the Ravens scored with this choice.

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THUMBS UP: Most people like to have their picture taken to appear in the newspaper. But, lately, we’ve been getting some pushback and some people have declined, citing a bad hair day, er, month. To many, barbers and hair stylists are absolutely essential workers and so we’re glad many have returned to work, albeit adhering to state-mandated restrictions to keep everyone as safe as possible during the pandemic. Barbers and hair stylists generally want to be open to help make their customers look good and everyone wants to resume getting paid, where possible. “We have [about 10] barbers and stylists that depend on us. They’re just sitting there. They have rent, they have mortgages coming in," Jordan Parry, who has run Tu Style in Westminster since 2014, told us. Indeed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 75% of barbers and 44% of hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists are self-employed. If they aren’t working, they aren’t making money. And based on the Zoom calls we see, there’s plenty of folks in need of a trim who are more than happy to pay for a visit.

THUMBS UP: With National Nurses Week taking place May 6-12, we have run a few stories in appreciation of the profession and we wanted to once again recognize nurses during this coronavirus pandemic, when they are taking a risk every day they go to work and adapting to deal with the most dangerous health crisis of their lifetime. “I’ve been a nurse over 40 years and never in my wildest dreams thought we would work through something like this,” Carroll Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Stephanie Reid told us. “I have seen and been so impressed and proud with nursing peers I work with every day. They never cease to amaze me.” Reid said there are some 450 nurses working with or in Carroll Hospital. It’s not an easy time for any of them. “It’s draining, it’s hard, it really is a rough time,” Reid told us. “It’s easy to be a nurse when things are routine, but when it’s difficult, that’s where the rubber meets the road. It’s what you were always trained for.”

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