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Our View: Thumbs up for sports streaming, recycling data, honored counselors, ‘super plunger’

Super Plunger, Michael Thomas, of Hampstead, takes part in the The Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge Super Plunge to benefit Special Olympics Maryland, at Sandy Point State Park.
Super Plunger, Michael Thomas, of Hampstead, takes part in the The Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge Super Plunge to benefit Special Olympics Maryland, at Sandy Point State Park. (Paul W. Gillespie)

Thumbs up: As fans of Facebook Live, Twitch and other live streaming platforms might already know, television isn’t the only way to enjoy filmed entertainment in real time anymore. And Carroll County could be getting on board with the technology. Or at least fans of our local high school sports teams could soon be able to watch their favorite team or student-athlete playing live via smartphone or other electronic device — even if they’re unable to make it to the local stadium or gym for a game. The company PlayOn! Sports, partnering with the National Federation of State High School Associations, recently pitched the Carroll County Board of Education on a system that would let community members stream sporting events remotely for a monthly fee. PlayOn wants to provide automated camera equipment to the school system at no cost and would eventually begin to split subscription fees for the service with the school system. The cost for viewers would be $10.99 for a month-long pass or $69.95 per year (including all content on the NFHS Network, not just local events). This appears to be a worthwhile opportunity to raise Carroll’s high school sports programs to the same level, offering a new and convenient way to engage — and maybe expand — their fanbases. The camera equipment wouldn’t create any burden for schools staff; the cameras, encased in protective shells, would uses motion tracking to follow the action on the court or field. Really, it sounds pretty cool. We’re glad that officials are open to giving this program a serious look.

Thumbs up: You know the three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle. We can’t speak for how the county’s doing with the first two, but we were heartened to learn recently that county staff have made significant progress in improving Carroll’s efforts on the third. Carroll County staff reduced recycling contamination by 11% in a matter of months, the county says, and — even better news — will save the government an estimated $100,000, if not more. Recycling contamination refers to waste put into recycling that is not recyclable, such as plastic bags, Styrofoam and garden hoses. So we all have a role to play in helping to make sure our recycling is actually recyclable. (Make sure to check the county website, at www.carrollcountymd.gov/government/directory/public-works/office-of-recycling, for a list of acceptable items for recycling.) Maria Myers, recycling manager, and Dwight Amoss, landfill manager, are deserving of credit for they work to tackle what was a 21% contamination rate. Anything that gets recycled should stay out of a landfill, so this is good news for stewards of our local environment. Even if you’re not excited by this news from an environmental perspective — and we’re not sure why you wouldn’t be — you’ve got to at least be a fan of saving money. It’s no small chunk of change that the county saved, either. Plus, Carroll can really act as a leader on this; the national-average contamination rate 25%, now more than double Carroll’s rate. All in all, this is certainly a job well done for the county.

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Thumbs up: The hard-working employees of Carroll County Public Schools continue to impress. The latest honor we’re pleased to write about is Cathlin McCormick, of East Middle School, who was named Maryland Middle School Counselor of the Year, and Kristin Cavey, of Winters Mill High School, who was named Maryland High School Counselor of the Year. The Maryland School Counselor Association selected the winners based on criteria including leadership and advocacy initiatives and contributions to student outcomes by a panel of parents, teachers, administrators and fellow counselors. In particular, we want to salute them both for their involvement in the Sources of Strength (SOS) program at their schools. The program is designed to build a network of students helping their peers and, ultimately, prevent youth suicide. The school system recognized McCormick for going “above and beyond by helping students ... allowing them to know their self-worth and their ability and to become self-confident young adults.” And school officials said “Cavey promotes equity and access to opportunities for all students in the school. She is vital to the Winters Mill community on a variety of levels.” The two counselors will be honored at a gala in Annapolis on Feb. 7. Hats off to you both in advance.

Thumbs up: It’s about time for a dip in the bay. Sure, the waters of the Chesapeake might be just above freezing this time of year, but that doesn’t stop thousands from dashing right in as part of the annual Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge, which raises funds for Maryland Special Olympics. Carroll County is always well represented in the event by people like Hampstead’s Michael Thomas. A volunteer with Carroll County Special Olympics since 2002, Thomas has been taking the plunge since 2003, but this year he decided to become a “super plunger” for the first time. That means his goal is to raise $10,000. As of Friday evening, he had raised just under $8,000. If you want to donate, go to https://support.somd.org/fundraiser/2223852. Best of luck, Michael!

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