Thumbs down: Comcast announced it plans to close its Westminster service center, unsettling local customers. We’re not pleased either. The Carroll Cable Regulatory Commission and local citizens voiced their concerns about Comcast’s intention to close the service center, at 265 Clifton Blvd., on Oct. 19 at the commission’s Thursday night meeting. Comcast might not hold a complete monopoly in Carroll, but residents are certainly limited in their options. The corporation is the default provider for cable in Carroll but not internet, according to the commission. If customers could easily dump Comcast in favor of, say, Verizon, based on this decision, we might feel differently. But the fact of the matter is that this inconveniences a meaningful portion of our local population. It’s true that Comcast offers other ways to manage their accounts — through an app and web portal, by paying bills at Western Union locations, and by returning equipment via UPS Store locations, according to a Comcast representative — so at least Carroll isn’t being left high and dry. For some, paying your bill through a smartphone app or internet browser is, indeed, more convenient than visiting a physical store anyway. However, that is simply not the case for all Carroll countians, and it’s disappointing that these customers, some of whom might be older and less digitally savvy, appear to not be a priority for Comcast. That said, assuming that Comcast does go through with its plan to permanently close the Westminster store, we encourage those who have been using its services to try and make the most of the situation, and seriously consider some of the alternative options the company offers — rather than making a habit of traveling to Owings Mills or Frederick. But there’s no question that this decision does not serve Carroll residents well. We urge Comcast to reconsider.

Thumbs up: Taneytown now has a haven for equine retirees. Five retired Thoroughbred racehorses will live out the rest of their retirement grazing in the green pastures of Taneytown at a farm named Renaissance. The farm owners want to use the space as an opportunity to teach the public about horses and how to care for them. We’re told the farm is Maryland’s first Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation sanctuary farm, a distinction to be proud of. Geldings Son of a General, Sonny’s the One, Mighty Tuff, Green Shoots, and Zyxt are now locals in Taneytown. All of these horses, who have varied records on the racetrack, are guaranteed sanctuary through donations made to TRF. These older horses might not appear to be worth much to some, but their vivid personalities certainly were of value, according to our reporter who got to spend some time getting to know them. The five retired racehorses will never be ridden again, as they are retired due to injuries, but that doesn’t make them dead weight. Renaissance Farm owner Stacie Nichols plans to bring in horse care professionals such as veterinarians, farriers, nutritionists, dentists, and more to teach people how to care for Thoroughbreds. “Outreach, education is the reason why we have them," she told us. And on Sunday, at an open barn event from 1 to 5 p.m., you’ll be able to meet them yourself. The event is free to attend, billed as family-friendly, and aims to educate people on thoroughbred aftercare. You might even be able to give the horses treats. We hope the community sends these five new residents a warm welcome.

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Thumbs up: McDaniel College picked up some notable honors in the latest rankings from U.S. News & World Report. The Westminster college was named No. 1 in Best Value and No. 1 for Best Undergraduate Teaching of Regional Universities in the North in the 2020 rankings released Monday. And McDaniel again was named among “A+ Schools for B Students” for the north region, in reference to highly ranked schools that accept significant numbers of good students “with less-than-stellar test scores or a so-so GPA.” The college was even ranked in a new category, “Top Performers on Social Mobility,” which highlights schools that are successful “graduating large proportions of disadvantaged students awarded Pell Grants” from the federal government. Overall, McDaniel ranked No. 22 in Regional Universities North. U.S. News considers a range of factors, including ratio of quality to price, need-based aid and average discount, when calculating the value of an institution. So the endorsement, both overall and through the specific categories, is meaningful. As U.S. News sees it, McDaniel succeeds in multiple areas — and yet the designation of “Best Value” might be even most important. Outstanding value for a strong education is one of the best selling points we can think, especially in this era of high costs for higher learning. To all those involved with McDaniel College, you have our congratulations.

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