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Hancock Briefs

July 14, 1999

Council votes to lease new car

At Hancock Police Chief Donald Gossage's request, the Hancock Town Council Wednesday voted to lease a new car, increasing the department's fleet to three cars.

Gossage suggested paying about $25,000 to lease a properly equipped 1999 Crown Victoria for two years. After those two years the town can buy the car for $1, he said.

The department has two cars but one of them is in a shop being repaired, he said.

On two occasions he has needed to get a ride from Maryland State Police to get to crime scenes, he said.

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The department recently added a fourth officer, increasing the need for a third cruiser, he said.

The council discussed the issue for more than 15 minutes as members debated whether to lease two cars instead of one. They decided to learn more about the condition of the two existing cars before deciding if they want to lease another car.

Town holds second hearing on park

A few weeks after dedicating a $230,000 Hancock park the Hancock Town Council held a second public hearing on the project.

The Town Council is legally required to hold two public hearings on the downtown revitalization project but it erred and only held one, Town Manager Louis O. Close said.

The 100-foot-by-140-foot Western Maryland Rail Trail Park was dedicated June 24. It includes a garden, park benches and ramps, offering an easy way to get from Main Street to the Western Maryland Rail Trail.

Nobody spoke at Wednesday's public hearing.

The park is being paid for with $160,000 in state Community Development Block Grant funds and $70,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission, Close said.

"It is 99.99 percent complete," he said.

The town has received an additional $9,000 state grant, which it will use to help pay for the gazebo and fountain, Hancock Mayor Daniel Murphy said. The town hopes to get about $3,000 more in contributions from residents and corporations, he said.

Police chief wants ride-along policy

Hancock Police Chief Donald Gossage Wednesday suggested the Hancock Town Council pass a police ride-along policy.

The policy would require council members to get his permission before riding in the car of an officer, he said.

While there have been no adverse effects of unapproved ride-alongs, Gossage said he thinks a policy should be drafted and approved to spell out the process for the future.

He has received complaints from residents about ride-alongs, he said.

He noted that Councilman David D. Smith has ridden with two of the officers.

"It's no secret that you are talking about me," Smith said.

Councilman Darwin Mills said he has no problem with Smith riding in a car but suggested that time be limited.

The police are scrutinized in the town and council members should try to avoid contributing to that, Mayor Daniel Murphy said.

The council decided that rather than formalizing a policy they will follow Gossage's recommendations regarding ride-alongs.

Ministries won't be able to use Community Center

The Hancock Town Council Wednesday rejected a request by Thou Saith the Lord.... Ministries to use the town Community Center.

The group, based near Carlisle, Pa., wanted to hold events on Friday, Saturday and Tuesday nights from Sept. 17 to Nov. 12.

"I'm not comfortable tying up the facility this much," said Councilman David D. Smith.

The council will suggest the ministries find another location in the region.

Town to host Cycle Across Maryland

The town of Hancock will host Cycle Across Maryland on July 27.

Bicycle riders will begin arriving at Hancock Middle-High School around 9 a.m., Town Manager Louis O. Close said.

At 11 a.m., shuttle buses will begin taking participants and observers around the town, he said.

The town is selling T-shirts bearing a cyclist and the American Flag to meet the theme of this year's ride, "Small Town USA." Shirts are on sale at the town office.

In a separate event called Bike Aid, about 50 cyclists will ride through Hancock on July 18

"We are becoming the bicycle capital of Western Maryland," Close said.

- Scott Butki

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