Thumbs up: We were proud to continue our annual tradition this past week of releasing a special Cancer Awareness section. We spoke to medical experts about best practices for prevention and treatment, and we also told personal stories about the impacts cancer has had on just some Carroll countians. There are countless warriors in the fight against cancer worthy of praise. We’re giving a special salute to one in particular, though. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, when the American Cancer Society holds Making Strides Against Breast Cancer fundraising walk events, including one that will be held at Watkins Park in Mount Airy, on Sunday. Last year the walk raised $107,671, we’re told, so this event is no small thing. Mike Dietz of Mount Airy, along with his company and family, has gotten involved in the walk. In 1981, Dietz’s wife Anne went to the doctor for what was just a regular checkup. Except the doctor found a lump in her breast. She died a year and a half later. Dietz wanted a way to fight back against cancer, and he soon found out about radon, the radioactive gas that can accumulate in basements and homes and increase a person’s risk of developing cancer. Dietz created the business G.M.D. Construction and has seen it grow tremendously over the years. He’s also a firm advocate of the Making Strides walk, and he spreads a frightening but important message. “What are the odds you could turn up with one of those cancers, especially with the fact that we’re living longer? Help support this cancer research stuff," he told us. "Because your turn might be coming.”
Thumbs up: A pair of Century High School juniors will be representing all of Maryland at the annual Global Youth Institute, hosted by the World Food Prize Foundation. Bri Muchella-Prata and Marie Walters were selected as two of 200 students from around the world to attend the three-day conference in Iowa that will bring students and teachers together with experts in national and global hunger and food security. They’re in a small club; they should be proud. The conference truly sounds impressive: According to Carroll County Public Schools, attendees will “interact with Nobel and World Food Prize Laureates, heads of state, ministers of agriculture, researchers, business executives, and humanitarian leaders from more than 65 countries and discuss pressing food security and agricultural issues with international experts." To apply, Muchella-Prata researched poverty, food insecurity and education in Argentina (she’s half-Argentinian). And Walters researched Kenya’s agricultural production in the face of deforestation, soil degradation and climate change. This ain’t your ordinary book report. We wish these bright young women the very best in this conference and in their future studies.
Thumbs up: Lesa Ramsburg is the latest Carroll countian to be recognized for outstanding agricultural work. The recent Westminster High School graduate was recognized as Maryland FFA Star in Agricultural Placement and a runner-up in the Northeast Region of the United States at a ceremony in September. The American Star is the highest award in FFA. For her SAE project, she collected data multiple times per week when she went to the barn to work with horses named Ford and Jack (she had to present about her project and experiences to judges afterward, too). She bought Ford, a retired racehorse, after working to train him, help him gain weight and develop his “manners” for about a year. "[He] came to the farm very malnourished, you know, he couldn’t really do much” when she first met him, she told us. But the first horse she worked with closely was Jack, who lives at High Ridge Farm in Manchester. She leased him through 4-H and has shown him at state and county fairs. With Ford and Jack, they prepared for shows and riding competitions. Ramsburg’s focus was “learning how to ride, learning how to teach them,” she told us. And she’s not done with animals, not by a long shot. She says she’s using the prize money she earned for her study of animal sciences at Ohio State, and she hopes to become a veterinarian. She’s well on her way.
Thumbs up: American Legion Carroll Post 31 commemorated the 100th anniversary of its founding on Sunday. Not only is the Westminster post celebrating a century in operation, but it also recently surpassed 1,000 members. In an era of declining membership nationwide for the nonprofit, veterans services organization, that’s impressive. To put it in perspective, Carroll Post 31 is one of just four posts in the state with more than 1,000 members. And they’re actively reaching out in efforts to draw in more vets. It’s clear the post is a resource to the community and veterans alike — think the Halloween and Memorial Day parades in Westminster, plus the Boys State program, to name a few sponsorships — so it’s encouraging that the post is healthy as ever.