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Our View: Thumbs up to restaurant owners, Mayor on the Square, winning welders, a full semester | COMMENTARY

THUMBS UP: Brandy Scott and her husband DeShawn wanted to show people just how much they love to cook, which is why they decided to go all-in with a new restaurant in TownMall of Westminster despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The business idea brought with it a host of challenges, but we’re quite pleased that Fat Enids Barbecue looks to be a hit since the Scotts opened their southern style eatery last month. Scott told us recently that she and her husband forked over most of their family’s savings, about $15,000, to get Fat Enids up and running. Her worries about how a new to-go food joint would be received were eased in a hurry — Scott told us she runs out of food on almost a daily basis, and Fat Enids sees long lines of customers waiting for as many as 45 minutes for their tasty orders. We’re happy to see a new restaurant making it in Carroll County during trying times. “I can’t believe just my passion got me out of the most toughest times that I experienced,” Scott told us.

THUMBS UP: It’s a week of giving thanks, pandemic be damned, and we were glad to see the communities of New Windsor and Union Bridge coming together to give thanks over last weekend for a worthy cause. So after this year’s Mayor on the Square fundraiser event wrapped up Nov. 21, at the corner of Main and High streets in New Windsor, Mayor Neal Roop told us he knew what he had collected to benefit St. Paul United Methodist Church and the New Windsor Food Bank. The annul drive for food and household items finished with more than 2 tons of food, Roop told us, along with more than $2,000 for the food bank to use. The event, now in its fifth year, also collected between 50 and 75 coats for The Shepherd’s Staff’s Call for Coats drive. “It was just a great feeling,” Roop told us while praising his volunteers and thanking everyone who donated. “The weather couldn’t have been any better.”

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THUMBS UP: Carroll County Public Schools students have been through a lot in the last few months, but many of them aren’t letting the effects of pandemic keep them from achieving success. Take Dylan Bussard of Westminster High School and Dakota Van Cleve of Manchester Valley, a pair of seniors who take classes at Carroll County Career and Technology Center and who recently earned recognition at a national level. Bussard won first place in the Secondary category for the I BUILT THIS contest, sponsored by the National Center for Construction Education and Research. His welding classmate Van Cleve took second place. Bussard built an entryway bench and storage for the school resource officer at his school. Van Cleve, meanwhile, decided to create a tailgate for a Historic Ford F350 Pick-Up Truck. Michael Schweinsberg, their welding instructor, told us his students have been competing in the contest since 2017 and produced winners every year. He’s surprised his students won this year because of limited time with hybrid learning allowing only two days for in-person instruction.

THUMBS UP: When McDaniel College began its fall semester in August, there was no guarantee students and staff would make it through given the coronavirus pandemic. While some colleges or universities were forced to cease hybrid learning, close campuses and have a virtual fall semester, McDaniel completed the semester last week with fewer than 30 COVID-19 cases and zero in-classroom transmissions. Students finished their finals and headed home this week. Wearing masks, restricting dorm guests and offering frequent COVID-19 tests became the new norm at the college, after a task force was implemented in the spring to create a game plan for the fall semester. “One of the things that we decided to do early on … was err on the side of being overly cautious,” McDaniel Provost Julia Jasken told us.

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