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Tim Rowland's Year in review

December 30, 2002|by TIM ROWLAND

Jan. 1 - On being named The Herald-Mail's 2001 Washington County Man of the Year, a horrified Hagerstown Community College President Norman P. Shea promptly resigns office and moves to Florida.

In thanks to the re-enactors who worked for free in the movie production of "Gods and Generals," filmmaker Robert Maxwell promises "to buy a Civil War battlefield and protect it from development."

Jan. 2 - Due to the region's prolonged drought, the City of Hagerstown requires members of the Washington County Polar Bears Club to modify their New Year's ritual by stripping down to their swimming trunks and jumping into a sink full of used dishwater.

Jan 4 - U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett calls for heightened security at the Hagerstown Regional Airport because a chain link fence around the property "couldn't stop a dump truck full of explosives." Meanwhile, fears are raised at the Martinsburg Regional Airport as well, prompting officials to "prohibit vendors on the property when making a delivery."

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Jan. 6 - Washington County Emergency Services Director Joe Kroboth recommends the salting of winter fire scenes to protect firefighters from injury.

Keenly disappointed al Qaida operatives cancel plans to blow up the Hagerstown airport, and instead hatch a plot to ram the Martinsburg terminal with a dump truck full of Snickers.

Jan. 8 - The Sharpsburg Town Council wraps up a two-month investigation to determine whether the lights on a local tavern are too bright, but decides to keep its findings secret.

Seeking out a battlefield to buy and protect from development, Ron Maxwell purchases the Hagerstown and Martinsburg airports.

Jan. 10 - Developer Manny Shaool shocks residents of Mount Aetna Road when he announces plans to build 990 homes in the rural, close-knit Black Rock community on land which is immediately purchased by Ron Maxwell.

Due to a misunderstanding, seven Washington County firefighters are treated for sneezing fits after the state roads department mistakenly sprinkles a winter fire scene with pepper.

Trying to determine whether the refrigerator light really goes out when you shut the door, the Sharpsburg Town Council hires Clinton White House investigator Ken Starr.

Jan. 12 - The Washington County School Board names Elizabeth Morgan its new superintendent, citing the local community's affection for Baltimore bureaucrats with New York accents.

Jan. 13 - The 2002 Maryland General Assembly opens with a healing prayer offered by Mohammed Bashar Arafat, who chants the opening passage of the Koran in Arabic and then translates it into English.

Funkstown Mayor Robert Kline says one of his priorities in 2002 will be to fix the town's "aging lagoons," a policy statement that is widely praised by the Professor and Mary Ann.

Jan. 15 - The Town of Sharpsburg considers changing its charter to prevent felons from running for council. In other town news, a homeowner's request for "an easement to the cellar door" is greeted by silence from the council, which Councilman Ralph Hammond said "speaks for itself."

Jan 17 - The lead item in the Washington County Commissioners' legislative agenda - which is a $10,000 pay raise for Washington County Commissioners - is unanimously passed by local lawmakers.

Washington County hires Mohammad Bashar Arafat in an attempt to translate anything the Sharpsburg Town Council does into English.

Feb. 2 - City of Hagerstown officials blame "coincidence," not poor economic conditions downtown, for the recent closure of several businesses.

Sen. Alex Mooney sponsors a bill that would require the State of Maryland to impose quotas on businesses that would force them to hire more Hispanics. The City of Hagerstown, meanwhile, says the fact that Mooney himself is of Hispanic decent is merely "coincidence."

Feb. 12 - Schools Superintendent Betty Morgan announces plans for a new magnet school in Hagerstown.

Due to a severe, impending shortage, local officials ask 1,400 residents to voluntarily conserve water.

Feb.15 - After agreeing to raise the County Commissioners' salaries to $30,000, Washington County lawmakers refuse to raise the School Board's $4,800 salaries. In other legislative news, lawmakers - who routinely say they do not like to interfere in local affairs - try to get a Washington County resident's parking ticket overturned.

Hagerstown residents protest a proposed magnet school because the city doesn't have a refrigerator big enough for it.

Due to a severe, impending shortage, local officials ask local lawmakers to voluntarily conserve intelligence.

March 2 - President Bush creates a 75-member Shadow Government, which will operate in part out of the Site R bunker near Waynesboro, Pa.

March 6 - While denying that the MSPAP public school aptitude tests have been an abject failure, state school board members nevertheless say the tests will be highly depended on in the future for boiler fuel.

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