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Martin's Food's deli manager passes test for on-the-job know-how


THERE IS MORE than meets the eye to many jobs. Often, what the public sees is very different from what the job actually requires. Just ask Phyllis Coffman, deli manager at Martin's Food Store in Eldersburg.

Late last spring, Ms. Coffman participated in a nationwide testing program for deli managers. The test is in booklet form and covers all aspects of a deli manager's job, from sanitation regulations and employee management to questions about the products sold in the deli.

The results of the test were published in the September issue of Progressive Grocer magazine. Ms. Coffman scored in the top 1 percent of those tested. This means that she is one of the top 20 deli managers in the country.

"We are very proud of Phyllis. This is really quite an accomplishment," said Bill Markel, general manager at Martin's in Eldersburg.

Ms. Coffman has been working in the Martin's deli for more than six years and has been the manager there for the past four.

"I really learned a lot from taking the test," she said. "Some of the questions took a lot of research."

Last year, Ms. Coffman scored in the top 10 percent and received a bronze plaque for her efforts. Because of her outstanding score this year, she will be presented with a silver plaque that will be hung behind the deli counter in the store.

Phyllis plans to participate in the testing again next year. A third -- outstanding score would bring her a gold plaque and retirement from the testing program.

Riders learn, compete, win

What began as a Christmas gift has turned into a passion for Sykesville resident Kristina Letmate. When Kristina's parents, Bob and Jennifer Letmate, gave her horseback riding lessons, they had no idea that riding would become so important to them.

"Kristina tried a variety of activities -- ballet, soccer and baton twirling," said Mrs. Letmate. "While she liked them OK, they just weren't Kristina. But from the first time she got on a horse, you could just tell that she was a natural born rider."

Kristina takes weekly riding lessons at Meadowood Farm in Woodbine, a place Mrs. Letmate discovered through the Yellow Pages.

This past spring and summer, Kristina participated in many riding shows through the Howard County Horse Show Association (HCHSA). She was a huge success even as a novice rider.

Kristina was the grand champion in the mini-stirrup division, having accumulated the highest number of points in that division throughout the entire riding season. She was also named champion at the Howard County Fair in August.

Meadowood Farm has a reputation for producing several champions over the past five years. Short-stirrup champion Jennifer Mehalko and long-stirrup champ Rebecca Dickson are also Meadowood riders.

All winners who competed in the HCHSA riding season will be awarded their trophies at an annual awards banquet to be held at nearby Turf Valley Country Club Dec. 2.

Kristina and other riders from Meadowood are competing in the National Capitol Equitation League.

Sherry Graham's Southeast Carroll neighborhood column appears each Tuesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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