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July 08, 1997

To Don M. Ringer of Waynesboro, Pa., soon to retire after 49 years' service to the town's fire department, the last four as part-time fire chief. Thanks for a lifetime of service.

To Lodge No. 378 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, for 100 years of service to the Hagerstown community through its donations to charity and sponsorship of youth sports.

To Jefferson County, W.Va. historian Jim Surkamp, for the research he did on the late Charles Town native Martin R. Delany, the first black field officer in the U.S. Army.

To the State of Maryland, for its $180,000-plus "Hot Spots" grant to fight crime in Hagerstown's Jonathan Street area, a neighborhood plagued by out-of-town drug dealers.

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To CSX Corp. for allowing Hagerstown rail crossing to deteriorate to the point that the city has had to post "rough crossing" signs. Is the raiload too impoverished to fix them?

To Mitzi Chapman, whose Fuzzy Buddies program brings pets to Washington County nursing homes to comfort the patients there. Studies show humans get real medical benefits from visits with gentle animals.

To the U.S. Supreme Court, for overturning the Brady gun bill's requirement that local police do background checks, on the grounds that the feds can't tell local jurisdictions what to do. When haven't the feds told locals what to do?

To the Baltimore conference of the United Methodist Chruch, for trying to wrest control of Eyler's valley Chapel from a group that's been holding services there since 1969. Why? They won't say.

To the members of the Martinsburg Council who met privately last year to discuss council business. Let it be a lesson to all elected officials: In these situations, sooner or later, somebody aways spills the beans.

To everyone involved in the project to redesign Wahsington County's new Lund Landfill, which will add space and cut costs at the same time. Can we get the same team to look at the county's water and sewer situation?

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