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Editorial: Thumbs up for Pride, equipment to prevent a 'fatberg,' farmers being spared damage from trade war

Thumbs up: It’s definitely a little strange to give a thumbs-up to something — anything — relating to sewage. But it’s always a good thing to not have a sewage-related problem arise. That’s why we’re relieved to learn that Carroll County officials have added a grinder pump to plans for the new Schoolhouse Road pumping station. The grinder, officials say, is expected to extend the pump’s life by pulverizing flushed baby wipes and preventing clogs — and, most importantly, a fatberg. What in the wide world of sports is that, you ask? Well, don’t think too much about it, but a fatberg is a mass of waste that can form when flushed wipes cling together with hardened fat and oil, clogging systems and grossing out everyone. This has happened in recent years in the United Kingdom and in Baltimore — thankfully, it was far worse on the other side of the pond. But this is not a problem any Carroll countians should want to risk facing. The cost to install the grinder pump and a manhole is not to exceed $200,000, which is no minor cost. But we argue it’s worthwhile, in part because of what it would cost to remove a fatberg and in part because, as county officials told us, it would be far more expensive to install later. Of course, we can all help prevent the problem by not flushing wipes, even ones marked “flushable” on their packaging — they don’t biodegrade. But we take some relief in knowing that this grinder can make sure Carroll County doesn’t get in the news for such a stinky reason.

Thumbs up: Say what you will about the merits of the Trump administration’s ongoing trade war with China, but it’s an unfortunate reality that many farmers across the country have been hurt as a result of it. With that said, it feels like a blessing that Carroll County farmers have not been meaningfully damaged by the economic conflict. After the U.S. raised tariffs on imported Chinese goods — taxes paid by the U.S. companies that import them — China raised tariffs on imported U.S. goods in retaliation. American-grown crops account for a significant portion of the products affected by those tariffs. And yet local farmers are just not that dependent on exports, according to Harry Sellers, president of the Carroll County Farm Bureau. “A lot of the corn and beans and stuff grown here stay on this side of the mountains, it’s not like we are exporting a lot. … In this part of the world, most of it is used right here. You have a lot of our poultry people go down in Virginia, Perdue is out on the Eastern Shore. The corn goes to Lancaster [Pennsylvania] and West Virginia,” Sellers told us. We feared the story could be far worse; we’re glad it isn’t.

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Thumbs up: June is usually recognized as Pride Month for the LGBTQ+ community, but Westminster is showing its “Pride” in July instead. Westminster Pride, the first Pride festival in Carroll County, makes a return for the second year on July 13 from 12-5 p.m. on East Main Street in Westminster. Also for the second year, PFLAG will sponsor “Shantay You Stay” later today. The drag performance sold out in about 24 hours last year, so that might not have any space left. And that’s an encouraging sign. At its core, Pride is an expression of resistance to oppression, as during the Stonewall Inn police riot 50 years ago. But it’s also an expression of inclusiveness, and of accepting people for expressing themselves however makes them feel most safe and comfortable. These events are sure to be nothing but fun, positive outings — as Judy Gaver, a member of the PFLAG Steering Committee, told us, “There is lively banter, good music and in general a good time.” We hope these events are as successful this year as they were in their debuts last year.

Thumbs up: Another event we’re rooting for is today’s Addiction and Recovery Awareness MusicFest. The concert, now in its third year, will run from noon to 10 p.m., and tickets are $20, with all proceeds going to Rising Above Addiction and its mission of helping people with substance use disorders get treatment. “We like to promote this as a safe event, not only for the recovery community but for families. It’s a great way to come out and enjoy the day, enjoy the music without having to worry about anybody getting out of control,” Tammy Lofink, founder of the nonprofit Rising Above Addiction, told us. It’s clear that Rising Above Addiction makes a huge difference in the lives of many, from helping to fund in-patient treatment, to providing shoes and food for those who are in need while trying to get sober. Another reason we like this event is, as event co-founder Brian McCall told us, “Music has a special healing power.”

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