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Thumbs up: Carroll County’s fall high school sports season saw its share of success, with three state championships won Nov. 9 alone and more teams striving to equal that accomplishment. Liberty’s girls cross country team won the 2A state meet crown at Hereford High School when the Lions placed five runners in the top 20. Liberty, led by freshman Izzy Lucas’ fifth-place finish, totaled 44 points. A few hours after the Lions earned their second girls cross country title in six seasons, Liberty’s field hockey team capped an unbeaten season by claiming the 1A crown. The Lions edged Washington 2-1 at Washington College for the program’s third state championship in four seasons. Westminster won its first field hockey state title in five years, and 10th overall, when the Owls clipped Urbana 2-1 in overtime in the 3A final. Century’s boys soccer team beat La Plata 1-0 to claim the Class 2A crown Thursday night. Meanwhile, Century’s volleyball team advanced to the 2A state final Saturday.

Thumbs down: New Windsor residents facing recurring power issues have just about had it. That was clear from the Town Council meeting Nov. 6, when several residents voiced their concerns and frustrations about power outages they say they’ve been experiencing regularly. To its credit, Potomac Edison First Energy Company had a representative present, and he did acknowledge the problem. He said the utility is “trying to work on it. The problem with the problem is there’s not just one thing that’s wrong and we’re not sure of everything.” That’s always nice, but it’s just the first step toward addressing said problem. Multiple locals spoke of their issues with power outages on a daily basis. The representative, David Kline, listed four possible causes for the outages: faulty equipment, weather, animals and accidents. Regardless of what might be causing the problem, there’s no way they can be allowed to continue like this. Kline said he’s "trying to isolate where the problem is,” so he invited residents to email him at dkline@firstenergycorp.com with the date, time, address and weather conditions when an outage occurs. At the moment, based on what we heard from Kline in that meeting, we’re willing to trust that Potomac Edison is engaged in good-faith efforts to find a solution. We hope that continues to be the case and a positive outcome is reached soon.

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Thumbs up: As they often do, Carroll County students gave us all reason to be proud this week. Four Carroll County Public Schools students — Laniya Davidson and Hannah Nguyen of Westminster High School, Alexander Schmitt of Manchester Valley High School and Anjan Singh of Liberty High School — were named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program. That academic competition recognizes those who show “exceptional academic ability and potential,” and it comes with scholarship awards. These four Carroll students placed in the top 50,000 out of 1.6 million test-takers. Not bad at all. Also this week, we reported that 18-year-old Charleez Simcik of Taneytown won the Maryland Horse Shows Association Gittings Horsemanship Finals at the Washington International Horse Show regional horse show in October. It was her last opportunity to compete in the junior class, and she made it count, beating out 27 competitors from various states. She’s been working with horses since she was 2 or 3 years old, and it shows. And although no Carroll-based team won, we were nonetheless pleased to learn that the Capture the Flag competition run by Westminster-based Mid-Atlantic Gigabit Innovation Collaboratory (MAGIC) saw its best turnout, by far, this year. The competition tasks students with searching for a virtual “flag” in a cybersecurity exercise described as “ethical hacking.” It’s open to students around the world, and this year participants hailed from places like Tennessee, New Hampshire, Northern Ireland and Estonia. Graham Dodge of MAGIC told us, “This competition really presents them with challenges and puzzles that help them understand some of the techniques that cybersecurity companies would use what they call penetration testing." Cybersecurity is an increasingly essential field the world over, and it’s only going to get more important for bright young students to be at the leading edge of it.

Thumbs up: Sykesville has turned forgotten items from a long-gone figure into a meaningful tribute to a longtime fixture of the town. The Sykesville Town Council meeting Tuesday night began with a dedication for Millard Cooper, the former police chief who died in 1980. Police Chief Michael Spaulding found some old items of Cooper’s in a police station closet and thought there would be a better place for them to honor Cooper’s memory. Now, Cooper’s old patch, name plate, whistle and badge are encased in a shadow box that will ensure Cooper’s legacy is on display at the police station. We’re glad Spaulding noticed those old items and even more glad they’ve been now been preserved so thoughtfully.

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