The year in review 2003

December 28, 2003|by TIM ROWLAND


Jan. 4 - The Washington County Commissioners sue the Hagerstown City Council, in an effort to keep the city from getting any bigger.

* In related legal news, County Commissioner Bill Wivell sues himself to find out what he knows about deposed Economic Development Chief John Howard, but the case is dismissed by Judge Donald Beachley, who cites Wivell's Fifth Amendment right to refuse to testify against Wivell.

Jan. 5 - Following Del. Cas Taylor's November defeat at the polls, Maryland House of Delegates maintenance workers begin the arduous task of removing Taylor from the House Speaker's office with a water cannon.

* Incoming Gov. Robert Ehrlich says that without slots, the State of Maryland will be unable to balance its budget.

Jan. 10 - After proposing a $60 million runway extension, planning $15 million for a new communications system, throwing thousands of dollars into lawsuits and planning new land taxes to pay for all their spending, the Washington County Commissioners decide the School Board's finances need to be audited.


* Striking surgeons in West Virginia agree to go back to work, provided the state Legislature passes a law limiting their liability in the event they are sued by the Washington County Commissioners.

Jan. 12 - Proud highway officials in Franklin County, Pa., announce a plan to widen U.S. 30, which will allow the road to "support a full 38 percent more potholes than it has now."

* Gov. Robert Ehrlich says that without slots, the State of Maryland will be eligible for food stamps.

Jan. 16 - To increase voter turnout, Hagerstown City Councilman Linn Hendershot proposes holding municipal elections on Saturdays.

* Washington County Commissioner John Munson reluctantly accepts a $10,000 pay raise, saying there "are more pressing things" for the commissioners to attend to, apart from keeping their campaign promises.

Jan. 22 - Plans for a runway extension at the Washington County airport take on new urgency when state funding for the Baltimore commuter airline is eliminated.

* Without slots, Gov. Robert Ehrlich warns that the State of Maryland will be forced to play the part of Tiny Tim in a production of Charles Dickens' classic "A Christmas Carol."

* To increase voter turnout, Linn Hendershot proposes moving polling venues from local schools to local yard sales.

Jan. 23 - Patrons of the Washington County Free Library complain that the building is being overrun with Hagerstown's homeless.


Feb. 1 - Washington County Hospital President James Hamill says he sees "sinister intent" in a request by the City of Hagerstown to have a seat on the hospital's board of directors.

* Washington County schools' annual "Battle of the Books" reading competition is won by the Hagerstown homeless.

Feb. 8 - Washington County Commissioner John Munson calls for the abolition of public schools.

* Pandemonium breaks out at a private screening of the movie "Gods and Generals" after a re-enactor points out that Dennis Frye's cummerbund is not period-authentic.

* The Washington County Board of Education demands more frequent meetings with the County Commissioners, after several members express hurt feelings over not being sued.

* Washington County Hospital President James Hamill refers to the Hagerstown City Council as the "Evil Empire."

Feb. 15 - Washington County school officials say it will cost $7.9 million to replace textbooks which are "old-fashioned" and "hopelessly out-of-date."

* John Munson calls for the abolition of public highways.


March 5 - Hagerstown developer Vincent Groh donates a downtown building to the city for use as a magnet school for the arts.

March 6 - The county airport receives a rash of calls concerning airborne swine.

March 8 - Computer industry officials say a proposed law introduced by Del. Chris Shank to block pornography Web sites could "crash the entire Internet."

* CEO Al Noia retires from Allegheny Energy Corp.

March 10 - The Waynesboro, Pa., Council, in order to "send a message to other companies out there that Waynesboro is open for business," signs an exclusive sales contract with the Coca-Cola Bottling Co.

* The John Howard affair is finally put to rest when a judge rules that everyone involved just has way too much time on their hands.

* A student studying Washington County Public Schools history textbooks writes his congressman to find out who won World War II.

March 12 - A Maryland Senate committee approves a bill that would allow police to send speeders tickets through the mail.

* Confusion breaks out at a Waynesboro Council meeting when a citizens group lobbying for a new sidewalk discovers the borough members expressing their "openness for business" by dressing in Charlie the Tuna costumes.

* To bolster his flagging slots campaign in the General Assembly, Gov. Robert Ehrlich names Al Noia as his new chief lobbyist.

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