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Thumbs up: The "Saluting Our Heroes" tribute at the Carroll County Agriculture Center began Friday night and continues today and Sunday. Desiring to do something in Westminster that honored veterans, military personnel and first responders, Ag Center Facilities Marketing Manager Tom Becker decided to organize a three-day event to memorialize the Sept. 11 attacks. It's been 15 years since we watched the Twin Towers fall, the attack on the Pentagon and the subsequent bravery of those responding. An anniversary is a good time to commemorate those who served and we're glad this event exists, although nothing says we can't honor them any time. "It's time for smaller cities to recognize [veterans, military personnel and first responders] and thank them for their service," Becker told us. "Not enough people walk up and shake their hands. Here's our chance." Here's our chance indeed.

The event, which will benefit Special Olympics and Carroll Cancer Center, will be held Friday, Sept. 9 to Sunday, Sept. 11. It will include several bands, a Special Olympics inspiration walk, a Battlefield Harley Davidson sponsored motorcycle rally and a variety of games.

Thumbs up: We began the week by profiling some workers who toil behind the scenes, unsung heroes representing all those in the workplace who do their job — and do it well — without receiving too much in the way of recognition. We met a farrier named Howard Burnham, who has plenty of patience and a magic touch with horses. We met a stage technician named Molly Prunty, who has gone from intern to a critical component of the various productions at Carroll Arts Center. We met a pair of State's Attorney's Office victim advocates, Katie Ritter and Gabby Butler, an empathetic pair who try to help those who've allegedly been harmed. And we met a do-it-all service specialist named Crystal Hutchins, who keeps the Carroll County Health Department running smoothly. Here's to them, and to all those who simply do their job — day in and down out, week in and week out — without fanfare or the need for acknowledgment.

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While the prosecutors begin to build their cases against the defendants, Katie Ritter and Gabby Butler, the two victim's advocates at the State's Attorney's Office, pick up their phones and call the victims.

Thumbs up: Miss Maryland Hannah Brewer, of Manchester, won the swimsuit competition during the preliminary competitions of the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey, earlier in the week, so it's fair to assume that news means she will be a legitimate contender for the big prize when the competition moves to prime time on Sunday night. (It is being broadcast live on ABC at 9 p.m.) Of course, the odds are against her as no Miss Maryland has ever been crowned Miss America. She knows how difficult the competition is. "Every girl here is so talented," she told reporters. "And fit and beautiful." Pageants bring out strong opinions these days. But regardless of anyone's stance about pageants, it should be a no-brainer for the Carroll County community to rally behind a local woman trying to win a national competition.

The third and final night of preliminary competition in the Miss America pageant is set for Thursday in Atlantic City.

The competition includes contesta

Thumbs up: The Downtown Westminster Farmers Market will host its inaugural Farm to Table Brunch today from 10 a.m. to noon on the grounds of the Farmers Market at the Conaway Lot in Westminster. The event's proceeds will benefit Carroll County Food Sunday. Chef Melissa Fordham, who is Blue Bistro's executive chef, said she collaborated with the producers to create the menu. While Fordham said it's not always practical and easy for chefs to use local ingredients, she said it's more fun and exciting to purchase locally. We can't see a downside to doing so.

The buffet brunch, which will meet capacity at 150 patrons, will feature dishes created by Blue Bistro Restaurant, crafted from ingredients grown or baked by more than ten of the Farmers' Market producers. Menu items include Evermore Farm sausage and gravy over JeannieBird Baking Company biscuits as well as French toast made from Old Valley Farm artisan bread and topped with fruit from Orchard Company. The coffee will be freshly brewed by Furnace Hills Coffee Company. Even the centerpieces will

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