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Editorial: Thumbs up for another state champion team, Good Scout Award winner, comfort found in pottery

Thumbs up: Century volleyball, we didn’t forget about you. After we saluted the collection of Carroll County high school sports teams who won state titles this season, the Knights captured the Class 2A state championship in a four-set victory (25-19, 25-19, 20-25, 25-16) over Oakdale last Saturday. The Knights swept each of their previous playoff opponents to advance to the state title game against Oakdale, though the Bears battled back in the third set to avoid another sweep. Also on Saturday, Carroll County placed nine athletes in the top 25 at the 2A state cross country meet. Hayden Hebert of Century led the way for Carroll with a sixth-place finish in 16:17.82. Liberty, in search of its fifth state title in a row, finished second to champion Oakdale. And two local football teams were hoping to continue their own playoff runs. Liberty and Westminster both were re-seeded for the state quarterfinals to set up a pair of fresh matchups in their classifications on Friday. (For results of those games, turn to Page B1.) We knew that more football squads would make the playoffs after a rule change went into effect this season, but it’s telling that Carroll still has representation this deep into the postseason. Regardless of the result of the Owls’ and Lions’ games, Carroll teams have been had a strong showing on the state level this fall.

Thumbs up: The Boy Scouts of America Carroll County Good Scout Award recognizes individuals for their contributions to the community and improving the quality of life in Carroll County while embodying the principles of scouting. This year’s recipient — Terry Smack, owner of Terry’s Tag and Title — is a woman who takes the success of her business and uses it to give back to the community. She’s made financial donations to organizations such as The Arc of Carroll County, the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster, and Carroll Hospital. For every tag return done at the Westminster or Eldersburg locations, one dollar is donated to Carroll Hospital. She estimated that the tag and title business has given between $30,000 and $36,000 to the hospital for tag returns over about seven years. Why do all this? She told us, “If it wasn’t for the community, I wouldn’t be in business." Hear, hear. It appears to us that the Boy Scouts made an excellent selection for their award recipient. We thank Smack for all she does for our community.

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Thumbs up: Since Chloe Fetzer, a 24-year-old Hampstead woman who is on the autism spectrum, started pottery classes at Shiloh Pottery this past summer, her family has seen occupational therapeutic benefits for her. “She’s really blossomed. She’s more verbal. She walks in and talks right to Mr. Ken and anybody else in the studio and knows exactly what to do,” her mother, Laura Fetzer, told us. “She feels very self-confident. She’s not looking to myself for reassurance or anything. She knows exactly what to do.” Some might see autism as something to prevent and avoid at all costs. But that isn’t an option for those who live with it. And the operative word there is “live.” An autism-spectrum diagnosis should absolutely not interfere with an individual’s ability to lead a meaningful, happy life. Sure, that can’t always be the case, but it’s the ideal to strive for. Chloe Fetzer exemplifies the achievement of that ideal. Her mother describes the difference that the pottery studio makes — her daughter becomes willing to tolerate getting her hands dirty, her sensitivity to sound diminishes and she makes better eye contact. This can all be distilled to one thing: comfort. We’re thrilled for Chloe that she found comfort in her art. We hope her story can help inspire others to find their comfort, whether it’s art or something else entirely.

Thumbs up: November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in the United States in honor of the millions of people who have the neurological disease and the millions who care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. Brightview Senior Living Westminster Ridge has been doing its part to fight the disease. It participated this year in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s alongside Brightview locations in eight states, raising more than $180,000 for research. This year was also the first year of the Brightview Bright Minds initiative, “a road map highlighting proven elements of maintaining and improving cognitive health." It focuses on five “pillars” — exercise, healthy diet, social and mental engagement and proper medical care — to best serve patients. And at Copper Ridge in Sykesville, staff support residents with memory care, in the form of engaging activities like singing. The disease is a complex one, and treatment ought to be complex too. There’s no one solution. But we’re grateful for these local facilities for the work they do.

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