Capital Gazette wins special Pulitzer Prize citation for coverage of newsroom shooting that killed five

Car and driver enter hardware store, the hard way


"I thought the roof might be coming down," said Porcher Palmer, recalling the storefront crash that sent more than 1,000 pounds of nails hurling through Reindollar Hardware Monday.

At about 9:30 a.m., Irene E. Clingan, 79, of Taneytown lost control of her 1984 Buick Regal in the lot of Taneytown Bank and Trust Co., 500 E. Baltimore St. Wheels squealing, the car sped across East Baltimore Street and through the front window of the hardware store.

The car came to rest about three-quarters of the way into the store, according to Mr. Palmer, but not before it demolished two front panes of windows with a brick foundation, the nail bin, the front counter area and various display stands.

Mr. Palmer, the store manager, said Ms. Clingan then tried to back up her car, but it was caught on debris. He said an unidentified man who came on the scene "had his wits about him" and suggested that the car be shut off.

Since the driver's door was jammed, Ms. Clingan unlocked the passenger door. Mr. Palmer turned off the engine and put the keys on the --board.

No customers were inside the store at the time, and no serious injuries were reported among the employees.

Mr. Palmer said the store remained open for business throughout Monday.

"We were waiting on customers as we were cleaning up," he said. "Some people asked if we were remodeling."

He said the store will remain open for business throughout the cleanup and repairs.

"We were trying to start a drive-through service," Mr. Palmer laughed.

Ms. Clingan was taken to Carroll County General Hospital and was later released after treatment for minor injuries.


Their love of God and their love of singing his praises have called the Master's Four to carry out a mission.

The Master's Four are a male quartet who worship God through song -- Southern Gospel music to be exact.

Jim Vance, manager of the ensemble, said Southern Gospel acquires its sound from traditional Bible hymns combined with the uplifting effects of a Baptist style of worship.

"We do sing some of the old-time songs, but then we also have some real good upbeat songs," he said.

Mr. Vance said the integration of music styles does not classify their sound as contemporary music.

"It's a mild form of gospel music with an upbeat sound," he said.

The Master's Four have been sharing their love of God for the past 20 years. The group originally consisted of seven members. Four would sing as three provided a live band accompaniment.

The most memorable concert for the Master's Four occurred last July when they performed in Staunton, Va. As if being invited to share the stage where the Statler Brothers sang during the "Happy Birthday USA" celebration weren't exciting enough, the Master's Four were allowed to use the Statler Brothers' musical instruments as well.

The Master's Four still have the hand-signed letter the Statler Brothers sent to thank them for their participation in the July 4 event.

After this concert, outside obligations for some members arose, and the group down-sized to become a quartet.

They now use professionally prerecorded music to back up their singing.

As a quartet, the men have shared their worship in Baltimore, Virginia, Ohio, West Virginia and all over Pennsylvania, the group's home state. They regularly sing at church services, picnics and benefits.

This Sunday, the Master's Four will perform at the entrance to Taneytown Memorial Park beginning at 6 p.m. The show is part of the Concerts in the Park series sponsored by area businesses.

Jake Ramer, the bass vocal originator of the group, is still active. Bill Straley, lead vocal, has been with the group for about nine years. And Charles Keefer, baritone, has been with the Southern Gospel quartet about a year. Mr. Vance, who sings tenor, said his 2 1/2 -year stint with the ensemble has been an enjoyable one.

"One of the main reasons I went with the Master's Four," said Mr. Vance, "was because of their dedication to God and their real dedication to their ministry and music.

"We are dedicated to our music, and we don't just go out there to entertain people. When we sing, we actually can feel it [the spirituality of the music] and mean what we are saying to people. Through the song and through our actions during the songs we sing, we share how God is touching our hearts."

"We like the meaning of the songs. The words are easy to understand and sing," he said.

The Master's Four alternate songs with testimonies of how God has helped each member of the group.

They are serious about their love mission, but do not try to force their beliefs on others.

"We won't worry you to death with religion," said Mr. Vance. He said each member just shares his own experiences and hopes he can touch someone else's life. The audience is invited to share spiritual experiences.

Mr. Vance said an offering is accepted to cover expenses, which include maintenance of a motor coach the group drives to transport equipment to each show.

The Master's Four have released four professionally produced tapes. They will be for sale Sunday at the Taneytown Memorial Park concert for $8 apiece.

For questions about the music, tour dates and locations, or booking the group, contact Mr. Vance at (717) 359-9697.

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