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Editorial: Thumbs up for Finksburg man’s comeback story, zebra mussel eradication, philanthropic efforts

Michael and Ashley Griesser enjoy a day at home in Finksburg with their daughter Parker.
Michael and Ashley Griesser enjoy a day at home in Finksburg with their daughter Parker. (Phil Grout/ / Carroll County Times)

Thumbs up: It’s good practice to try and remember things to be grateful for any time of the year, though sometimes that can be a tad unrealistic. But this is one time of the year when the topic of gratitude can hardly be avoided. With that in mind, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to share with our readers the story of Finksburg resident Michael Griesser. Everyone likes a good comeback, and he certainly has pulled one off. In seven years, he went from running a theft ring and having a full-blown heroin addiction to starting a family, landing a job selling real estate, and opening a sober home. In 2012 he was arrested on charges of theft and burglary. For years, he stole grounding plates and wires from cellphone towers and sold the copper to pay for his drug habit, he said. Police suspected he’d been involved in as many as 100 thefts, based on the number of times he pawned copper and bronze, according to past news accounts. Now, he looks back to the date of his arrest, March 10, 2012, as the day he went sober. He told us, “So at some point, I just said to myself, or to God, I guess, ‘OK, if you stop this, if you get me out of this, if I can escape this feeling, I will not do any drug.’ ” He eventually got clean, spending four months at a treatment center, married his girlfriend in 2014 and found work as an electrician. He more recently bought a rancher in Westminster, invested about $40,000, and helped turn it into a men’s halfway house. This is part of why his story took out to us — not only did he find a way to turn his life around, but he found a way to help others do the same. We know he has much to be grateful for. We’d bet others are thankful for him, too.

Thumbs up: It’s not that we have anything against mussels. But after an invasive species of the mollusks somehow found a home in Westminster, we now have to say we’re glad that they’re gone. After zebra mussels in Hyde’s Quarry were discovered, Carroll County sought out about eight months ago to stop their spread. In March, the Board of County Commissioners approved nearly $350,000 to eradicate them, and last week bags containing about 4,500 zebra mussels were pulled from the quarry to see whether the potassium chloride pumped into the water had the desired effect. Turns out they did. The mussels had to be killed because they reproduce quickly and clog pipes, we’ve been told. The quarry represents a potential drinking water source; although it’s no sure thing whether or when it will be used to that end, we’re glad that the mussels’ presence should no longer factor into the future of the quarry.

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Thumbs up: As much as this season is a time for shopping, it’s just as much a time for sharing. For the fourth consecutive year, New Windsor’s mayor did his part to help facilitate local philanthropic efforts. New Windsor Mayor Neal Roop stood his ground outside against the pouring rain on a chilly, windy Friday alongside a few volunteers to collect food and coats as part of the Mayor on the Square Food Drive. All the food collected from the drive was to go to the New Windsor Food Bank at St. Paul United Methodist Church. This year featured an eye-popping goal — three tons, or 6,000 pounds, of food — as well as a challenge to another West Carroll community. Roop challenged Taneytown Mayor Bradley Wantz to see who could raise more for their communities. We don’t yet know who won that challenge, but we already know there won’t be any losers.

Thumbs up: At the close of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, we’re giving a shoutout to a local facility that works to improve quality of life for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Every resident of Copper Ridge in Sykesville, one of 26 campuses of Acts Retirement-Life Communities along the East Coast, has at least one thing in common — memory impairment. More than 16 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, so we know that this kind of focused treatment is of high importance and value. Carroll countians are lucky to have such a facility within our county borders. Copper Ridge provides assisted living options as well as skilled nursing services, and it aims to offer a home-like environment with engaging activities. A spokesperson described it to us as “more than just the cookie-cutter memory care." The staff at Copper Ridge are certainly not the only people in Carroll County working to support those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, but their work is deserving of recognition all the same.

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