THUMBS UP: A pair of young men who appeared in our pages over the past week should make our readers just a little bit more hopeful for the future, as 2017 Westminster High School graduate Joey Conklin and 2016 Century High School graduate Jarrett Justice both seem to have set out on important paths. As one of three Dorsey Scholars at McDaniel College this year, Conklin earns a full scholarship to McDaniel. It's the highest academic honor at the college. "I prided myself on my academic performance and sought to challenge myself as much as possible through the courses I took," he told us, after finishing high school with a 4.513 weighted grade-point average and having taken 11 AP classes while also playing varsity soccer, basketball and lacrosse. Conklin said he plans to obtain a degree in either a scientific field or an aspect of business. Justice, who spent the past year at Marion Military Institute, is scheduled to arrive at West Point — the United States Military Academy — on Monday, July 3. He has always wanted to be in the armed forces and he longs to serve, he told us. "I have a good life ... [and] a big part of that has to do with our country. If I was living somewhere else in the world I might not have had the same treatment. I have my country to thank for it."
THUMBS UP: Patronizing Hoffman's Home Made Ice Cream in Westminster has become a tradition over the past seven decades. The shop, which employs six full-time and 40 part-time workers, spent last month celebrating its 70th anniversary, having opened in June 1947. Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot and county commissioners Stephen Wantz and Richard Weaver stopped by to honor the shop. Four generations of Hoffmans have worked there, with the fifth currently being groomed. Bob Hoffman, who was there at age 14 the day Hoffman's opened, ran the shop until 1998 when he passed it down to his children, Linda Crabbs and Lori Shamer, who own the store today. Hoffman's produces 38,000 gallons of ice cream a year, with two machines working full-time in the back room to create 40 flavors. It's hard to find anyone in or around Westminster who hasn't come in on a hot day to enjoy an ice cream cone or a milkshake. A customer told us when she attended nearby Carroll Community College, she would go to Hoffman's four times a week. While it was founded long before businesses knew how critical branding would be to success, Hoffman's is truly an iconic brand. As Crabbs told us: "The real secret is just in the name."
THUMBS UP: Michelle Rivers said she felt humbled when she was named Carroll Hospital's Nurse of the Year, guessing that perhaps she now can relate to how Miss America must feel upon being crowned and told us that the thought of her honor "brings tears to my eyes even now." Rivers came to Carroll Hospital 17 years ago because she was already living in Carroll, and she "wanted to be able to live in a community and serve in that community." Today, she is a nursing education specialist, helping orient new nursing staff and train them on new software. Stephanie Reid, chief nursing officer at the hospital, called Rivers "instrumental" in getting the hospital a special certification for dealing with geriatric patients. One of the things about Rivers that has so impressed her colleagues, Reid said, is how she can dip in and out of any unit, any situation, offering a helping hand, always going "the extra mile." Rivers told us she does things "from the heart" and that she didn't need a reward. She got one anyway and deservedly so.
THUMBS UP: Speaking of Miss America, for the second year in a row, a Carroll County woman will have the opportunity to compete for that crown after Westminster's Kathleen Masek won the 2017 Miss Maryland title last weekend. Masek, 22, follows in the footsteps of 2016 Miss Maryland Hannah Brewer, of Manchester, who is one of her closest friends. Another Carroll woman, Emma Lutton, of New Windsor, finished as a finalist in the 82nd Miss Maryland pageant. Masek will receive a $10,000 scholarship for winning the competition June 24. She will compete in the Miss America pageant in September in Atlantic City, New Jersey.