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Our View: Thumbs up to honored McDaniel alums, a successful census, a home for CCVIP | COMMENTARY

THUMBS UP: A pair of McDaniel College alums — one a Carroll County native and the other close enough considering he’s been here for some six decades now — were honored this week by the school, and deservedly so. Alex Ober, a one-time Green Terror athlete, a 1963 graduate, a longtime coach and professor, was named McDaniel’s Alumnus of the Year. The Wheaton native arrived on campus in 1959 and essentially never left. He played football for the school, chaired the exercise science department and served as faculty committee chair, faculty ombudsman, and college marshal. He also coached several sports, including a 16-year tenure as men’s basketball head coach that produced a program-best 184 wins. Ober, 78, is a professor emeritus of exercise science and physical education (now kinesiology). He was inducted into the college’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. He was joined in the Hall recently by Tom Lapato, who graduated from South Carroll High School in 1995 and then helped the Green Terror football team to Centennial Conference championships and berths in the NCAA playoffs in 1997 and 1998. Lapato still ranks second in program history in fumbles recovered, eighth in fumble return yards, 10th in interception return yards, 11th in pass breakups, and 20th in interceptions and fumbles forced. The awards and ceremony took place virtually this year during Homecoming, amid the coronavirus pandemic. Congratulations to both.

THUMBS UP: Here’s a rare thumbs up to not tens or dozens or even hundreds of people, but to the tens of thousands of Carroll countians who completed the census this year as well as to the committee that helped persuade such a high percentage to do so. Carroll County led the state with a self-response rate of 81.5%, according to a news release from Gov. Larry Hogan’s office. That percentage ranked 24th in the United States out of more than 3,200 counties. It is estimated that for every person counted in the census, some $18,500 will flow into Carroll County over the next decade. Approximately 2.2 million Maryland households participated, ranking ninth in the nation with a 71.9 self-reporting rate. “Our administration is proud that even amid all of this year’s challenges, Marylanders stepped up,” Hogan was quoted as saying in the release. “I want to sincerely thank all of the community leaders and volunteers who helped make this a successful Census for the State of Maryland.” Among them are Don Rowe, who chaired the county’s Complete County Committee, county census coordinator Laura Russell and the numerous volunteers who participated in the Carroll County efforts to count everyone. They all deserve our thanks as do, of course, all the citizens who went online and completed the form. Kudos to all. Let’s do it again in another 10 years.

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THUMBS UP: We’re heartened that, after more than three years of searching, the Carroll County Veterans Independence Project found an office in Westminster that will become the one-stop shop for veterans services. The Veterans Services Center at 95 Carroll Street, Suite 104, will help veterans and their families by providing case management services, mentors, volunteer opportunities, education, career preparation and more for the approximately 11,000 veterans who live in Carroll, based on the most recent U.S. Census Bureau estimate. “It’s a holistic approach, bringing all those resources together with the knowledge of the board and the knowledge of the people we hire,” Frank Valenti, the organization’s president, told us, noting that CCVIP became a nonprofit in 2017. It had been a lengthy an difficult search for a spot, at one point seemingly settled on the former U.S. Army Reserve building in Westminster, but now CCVIP has a home. The lease begins Nov. 1 and Valenti hopes the Veterans Services Center can open in early 2021. Prior to that, however, they are looking to hire an executive director, seeking public face to help raise funds, offer creative ideas and manage the organization, Valenti said. We wish CCVIP good luck in the new digs and with the search.

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