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Our View: Thumbs up for Carroll funds in state budget, Hampstead position idea, healing lavender sachets

THUMBS UP: Carroll countians have supported Gov. Larry Hogan well, giving him more than 80 percent of their votes in both 2014 and 2018 and his latest proposed budget shows the kind of attention to this county voters hoped for. In the proposed budget submitted Jan. 15, Hogan designated $7.6 million for projects in Carroll County for fiscal year 2021. Those projects are: $5.1 million for the Carroll County Career and Technology Center, $1 million for a grant to the Carroll County Public Safety Training Center, $500,000 for a grant for Carroll Community College, $500,000 for a new sewer pump station maintenance center in Westminster, $250,000 for the Charles Carroll Community Center project and $250,000 for facility upgrades at the Carroll County Agriculture Center. Now, will all that money be included in what the General Assembly passes? “The task that we’ll have is to try to keep that money in the budget,” Del. Haven Shoemaker, R-District 5 told us. “I’m guardedly optimistic.”

THUMBS UP: There was discussion at the Jan. 14 Hampstead Mayor and Town Council meeting about adding a Main Street manager. The position would manage the Hampstead Farmers’ Market — the largest in Carroll County — work with local businesses, and bolster events like Hampstead Day. While nothing was decided and the new hire likely couldn’t start until after the new financial year begins July 1, it sounds like a good idea. Similar positions seem to have helped in other Carroll municipalities such as Taneytown and Sykesville. Besides, just running the farmers market has been a two-person job aslongtime managers Marlene Duff and Sharon Callahan started the market in 2010 and built it up to include 30 vendors and more than 2,000 customers per day in 2019. They have retired from their post and finding a successor has been a challenge. “Nobody wants to do something for nothing,” Duff, a council member, said at the meeting. True. But it seems like the council and Town Manager Tammi Ledley have some good ideas about what a paid person could do for Hampstead in this possible new role.

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THUMBS UP: It’s not unusual to have relatives, especially older ones, who are forced to soldier through pain on a daily basis. What’s a bit more unusual is how Kevin Dakin of Taneytown responded to exactly that situation. His grandmother, a cancer survivor, was suffering from neuropathy, or nerve damage, in her hands and feet as a result of the chemotherapy treatments she underwent for her cancer. She was in constant pain, so he took the initiative to go on a search for something more in hopes of easing her discomfort. That led him to lavender. The fragrance from the oils of the lavender plant is believed to help promote calmness and wellness, so it can be helpful to those dealing with anxiety, depression, sleeplessness and even with chronic pain. “I felt it was a worth a try,” Dakin told us. He did his research and liked what he learned. So he made another big step, launching a new business that provides lavender sachets from his home at Someday Came Farm. He makes the sachets himself and sells them, though he also provides them for free to some clients. His first clinic sponsorship is with Carroll Therapy Associates in Eldersburg, where a basket of the sachets sits at the ready for those who want to help themselves. They seem to be most appreciative. “I can’t believe that he is doing this. It is so meaningful to my clients and to me,” Melissa Ruff, owner of Carroll Therapy Associates, told us. If the lavender is having a positive affect, and it seems to be doing just that, then we’re absolutely behind Dakin’s operation.

THUMBS UP: While some might not worry much about what their children are going to have for lunch at school every day, for some that’s a real question. Paying for school meals is not an easy expense for all. But a recent act of philanthropy ought to have made a real impact on students who have racked up debts in Carroll County Public Schools cafeterias. A group of Carroll County business owners teamed up to clear students’ school lunch debt with a surprise donation of $6,000. Another $1,200 they donated will be used to make a “safety net account” for students who hit the maximum charge limit in the future. We’re told the $6,000 donation will benefit about 1,000 students. It’s a lovely gesture. If you’d like to contribute funds to reduce unpaid meal debt, send a check made out to Carroll County Public Schools with School Meal Debt Donation written on the memo line and mail it to: Karen Sarno, Food Services Carroll County Public Schools, 125 North Court Street, Westminster, MD 21157.

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