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Gaming funds distributed

February 13, 2001|By JULIE E. GREENE

Gaming funds distributed



The Community Free Clinic and Girls Inc. were big winners Tuesday when the Washington County Gaming Commission announced the distribution of $1.1 million to nonprofits.

The clinic will get $65,000 for operating expenses and a prescription program, while the girls organization will get $48,000 toward a new gym, a summer camp and computers.

Twice a year, the seven-member commission doles out tip jar gambling profits to nonprofits with half of the money - $545,259 this time - going to the Washington County Fire and Rescue Association.

The total tip jar proceeds for the last six months of 2000 were $1.1 million, a 21 percent drop from the record $1.5 million from the first half of 2000.

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The $1.1 million includes a $50,000 contribution that was not counted in determining the fire and rescue association's amount.

United Way of Washington County gets 3 percent of the remaining amount, or $17,858.

The remaining $577,401 will be disbursed among 63 groups with a $50,000 cap on individual applications, Commission Chairman Curt Dudda said.

The free clinic was able to exceed the cap because it, as well as Girls Inc., made two legitimate separate requests for funding, Dudda said.

Dudda said $15,000 of the clinic's $65,000 will go toward the prescription program.

It provides prescription benefits to qualified Medicare patients for two to three months while they apply for prescription assistance from another program, said Jeffrey Downin, the clinic's executive director.

The clinic also got $50,000 for operating expenses.

"We are absolutely very grateful for this funding. It would be extremely difficult for the clinic to go forward and survive without the help the Gaming Commission has provided," Downin said.

Girls Inc. was awarded $25,000 toward its planned $1 million gymnasium in the West End. The gym would allow the group to offer its athletic programs at one location so officials could expand athletic programs and encourage more parent involvement, said Executive Director Maureen Grove.

Girls Inc. also will get $23,000 for computers, Internet service, program costs and to help fund a summer camp to give 100 girls swimming lessons, Grove said.

Grove said she knew the commission had fewer funds this time and was grateful for any assistance.

"There's so many worthwhile causes and we know they have a difficult job to do," Grove said.

The commission received 88 applications and granted 65.

Other grants toward building projects include $25,000 for the new Hagerstown YMCA on Eastern Boulevard, $27,000 for the W House to renovate the former Ted's Rent-A-Center building in the North End, and $20,000 for Food Resources' new addition to handle fresh produce, Dudda said.

Three of the 12 new requests will receive grants.

Deafnet will get $10,000 to renovate the former 7-Eleven on Jefferson Boulevard for its office and training center, Dudda said.

The Hagerstown Model Railroad Museum Inc. will get $6,000 to plan renovation of the old Antietam Station outside Sharpsburg and the American Lung Association of Maryland will get $3,774 for a smoking cessation program.

The Lung Association will buy two carbon monoxide meters to take to schools, shopping centers and businesses so people can test the carbon monoxide level in their bodies, said Regional Director Lynn Whitall.

The hope is that once smokers see how much carbon monoxide is in their bodies they will want to sign up for a smoking cessation class, Whitall said.

Commission members were confused about how much of the 50 percent distribution to the fire and rescue association goes to the association and how much to the 27 fire and rescue companies.

State law does not dictate how the 50 percent is split up, said Del. Christopher Shank, R-Washington, in a telephone interview after the commission's announcement. That is up to the association, which distributes 80 percent of its share to the local companies.

The association uses the other 20 percent for salaries, office expenses and for countywide training and welfare programs for fire and rescue personnel, said Treasurer Charles Shindle.

See Related Story: County Gaming Commission grant recipients listed

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