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Casino Night helps Chamber, NIE program

May 21, 2001

Casino Night helps Chamber, NIE program



By DAN KULIN

dank@herald-mail.com

Hawaiian shirts and leis were the attire of choice in a wing of the Four Points Sheraton Hotel on Saturday night as about 120 people enjoyed the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce's Margaritaville-themed casino night.

The event, which featured live and silent auctions and casino games, was a fund-raiser for the chamber and The Herald-Mail Co.'s Newspaper In Education program.

The event drew praise from attendees and organizers.

"I think it's great. It's a good start to hopefully an annual event," said Hagerstown accountant Jeff Yingling, wearing a straw hat with three small parrots on top. "I like the theme events. They're a lot more fun. You're not tied to a table and chair."

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"It's different and it's for a good cause. ... The chamber and Newspaper In Education, everyone should read a newspaper every day," said Harry Reynolds, president of Callas Contractors.

"Anything that supports literacy is very important to us and our members," said Chamber Chair Suzanne Hayes, who greeted many guests with a lei and a "Welcome to Margaritaville."

The Newspaper In Education program provides more than 220,000 free newspapers a year to students in 42 Washington County schools and six schools in Franklin County, Pa., said Michele Wills, who oversees the program for The Herald-Mail.

Hayes said the goal was to raise about $10,000 from the auctions, and split the money between the chamber and the NIE program.

The 93 auctioned items were all donated and included gift certificates, art work, porcelain jars and official Super Bowl XXXV footballs. The items were worth about $20,000 altogether, Wills said.

The Hagerstown and Antietam Exchange Clubs provided the gaming portion of the evening, running blackjack tables and trivia and dice games.

Each attendee was given $75 in fake money to gamble with. The fake money could also be used to pay for up to half of an item purchased at auction.

"It's a real nice opportunity for people in the community to get out and celebrate," said Jamie Shyda, a student activities coordinator at Hagerstown Community College.

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