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THUMBS UP: More than 100 people celebrated the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Carroll County chapter of the NAACP's annual MLK breakfast. The four winners of the Carroll County Youth Living the Dream Awards, were also announced. The new award is given to youths who represent four major tenets of King's life: dedication to service, academic excellence, passion for equality and faith-based actions. The award-winning students — Kayla Sembly of Winters Mill High School; and Sierra Sommerville, Kedric Hart and Christopher Parker of Westminster High School — were each individually honored for their service.

THUMBS UP: Some areas of Westminster could see high-speed Internet by the spring if the pilot phase of the city's fiber network stays on schedule. Toronto-based Ting, a subsidiary of Tucows Inc., was selected earlier this week a the city's Internet network operator. The firm will devise a fee structure and manage a fiber optics network being built by the city, which will retain ownership of the network. Though the fee structure has not been set, Ting officials hope to keep the price under $90 a month. City officials said they hopes the network will bring economic development to Westminster by showing high-tech companies the city is thinking ahead.

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THUMBS UP: Hampstead has been recognized as one of the most affordable places in Maryland to own a home by the website smartasset.com. The rankings, which placed Hampstead seventh, were based on the average closing costs, mortgage payments, homeowner's insurance rates and property taxes for a home in each location over a five-year period. The rankings were then made by taking those calculated costs as a proportion of the median income in each town or city. Hampstead's average closing costs were $6,500; property tax was $2,367; the average homeowner's insurance $1,073 and average annual mortgage payment was $11,854. The median household income in Hampstead is $75,135.

THUMBS UP: Eldersburg Commons, the long-awaited shopping center being built on the former site of the Carrolltown Mall is slated to open this fall, with a grand opening celebration scheduled for Oct. 15. The property, situated near the intersection of Liberty and Ridge roads, will be home to a Wal-Mart Supercenter, T.J. Maxx and Petco, along with an AT&T store and quick-service eateries Chipotle and Noodles & Co. Development company Black Oak Associates has another 10 open leases it is still trying to fill.

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