THUMBS UP: Jena Ehmann, a reading specialist at Winfield Elementary School, was named Teacher of the Year in an annual contest through Carroll County Public Schools and the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce. The 12-year veteran of CCPS was selected from among eight finalists culled from more than 500 nominees. Ordinarily, her award would’ve been announced at a well-attended dinner, but as a concession to the coronavirus that has kept Ehmann and her colleagues out of the classroom since mid-March, her award was announced at the Board of Education meeting on May 13. Ehmann is the latest in a long of educators. Her grandmother, grandfather, aunts, uncles, and both sisters are teachers. Her mother taught for more than 30 years in Carroll County. She clearly enjoys her job, which includes working with students through interventions, supporting teachers as a resource and collaborator, and working with professional development and writing curriculum for the whole county. “I don’t think there is a better job, or a better fit for me in education than where I am right now," she told us. “I love the idea that elementary school, especially — being the first time you go to school — the whole world is open to you. You can be anything you want to be by learning all of these things that we teach as early as elementary school."
THUMBS UP: A Westminster native got his five minutes of fame Monday when he appeared on an episode of the NBC series “Songland," and while he didn’t win, Lukr (born Luke R. Foley) acquitted himself quite well and took a lot of good memories and advice out of it. The premise of the show is for four contestants to perform original songs for three producers and a famous musical act, with three contestants advancing and receiving help from the producers on their song before another performance. After that, one song is chosen as the winner and is recorded by the musical act, which was the country duo Florida Georgia Line for Lukr’s episode. He won high praise for his initial performance and advanced to the final round. He re-worked his song with producer Ryan Tedder, lead singer of the band OneRepublic, and the vastly different version, too, was praised, though another contestant ultimately won. Lukr had nothing but positive things to say about the experience. “You win just by being on the show,” he told us. “It’s such an amazing exposure and I feel like I was portrayed so flatteringly. ... It’s exposed me to a new audience and it gives me an opportunity to have a moment to introduce the music that I make to people.”
THUMBS UP: Let’s face it, we can all use a chuckle right now. Who among us hasn’t glanced at the sign in front of the Carroll County Veterinary Clinic while driving along Md. 140 — whether at its old location or its new one, about a mile east down the highway, at 723 Baltimore Blvd. — to see what pun or joke or funny saying they’ve come up with this week that might put a smile on our face? Lynn Wimmer, who purchased the clinic in 2005, was the one who decided to post something humorous one day. She received positive feedback and the weekly jokes were born. “I just figured in today’s day and age, you know, it’s better to laugh about things,” Wimmer told us. “So now we just kind of look for the fun.” So motorists heading east on 140 got to see “I used to spin toilet paper like I was on Wheel of Fortune; Now I turn it like I am cracking a safe” this past week. Vet technician Beki Carlyle has taken over the role of sign updater, and she tries to do so every Sunday with help from daughter Reilley. Some of the gems have included “If one door closes and another opens, your house may be haunted,” and “Dogs can’t operate MRI scanners but catscan." Carlyle said they try not to offend anybody. “It shows that we have a personality," she told us, "and it shows that we’re not wrapped real tight.”