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Assistant mayor honored for service

July 07, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - Howard W. Long was born in Boonsboro, but lived elsewhere until moving back in 1965.

He's back to stay.

"I love Boonsboro," Long said. "I wouldn't want to live anywhere else."

In late June, Long got a little of that love back by way of his induction into the Maryland Municipal League Hall of Fame for his 20 years of service on the Boonsboro Town Council.

Long shared that honor with Boonsboro Mayor Charles "Skip" Kauffman, both of whom journeyed to Ocean City with their wives for the annual convention of the state organization.

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Former Mayor John Herr was the first Boonsboro official to receive the state honor and last year, Richard "Dick" Gross' name was added to the Hall of Fame.

"We sat at a table with Maryland Comptroller William Donald Schaefer," Long said. "It was just a great experience to be honored like that."

He stressed that seeing to the town's needs day to day is the reason he got into it and why he stays.

Long, 55, is in his second four-year term as assistant mayor. Before that, Long was on the council beginning in 1984 when he finished the term of the late Councilman Gary Snook.

"I have run ever since because I feel that I am contributing," Long said.

The mantle of assistant mayor came when Robert Shifler passed away. The job of assistant mayor is just like that of council member except that the assistant mayor fills in when the mayor is away.

Long got his first taste of that recently when he chaired a meeting that centered around a Habitat for Humanity issue raised in town. "Skip had to be out of town on business so I stood in for him," Long said.

Under the heading of rewarding moments, Long said seeing the completion of the State Highway Administration streetscape project ranked high. Also on that list is the town's now annual Independence Day observance, which came to be after Kauffman mentioned four years ago that there should be such an event.

"Each year the event has grown and the crowd has grown," Long said. "I like seeing the smiles on the kids' faces and hearing the compliments."

The next big project involves the town's purchase of the King farm, which will allow for the expansion of the town park and construction of a long-awaited library building. "There will be sports fields, ponds for fishing and a swimming pool for kids and families," Long said.

Describing the project as ambitious, Long said it probably will take five years to complete.

Another challenge on the horizon will be water and sewer updates. "A sewer plant is imminent for Boonsboro," Long said, alluding to the town's current dependence on lagoons. A water line extension to Millpoint Road is also in the offing.

"We're certainly growing, but it's a good growth because we have been doing a good job of controlling it," Long said.

A 1967 graduate of Boonsboro High School, Long and his wife, Carol, have been married since 1971. Their son, Michael, 31, recently earned a doctorate in mathematics from West Virginia University and is now an associate professor at Shippensburg (Pa.) University.

Long has been working as a salesman for the past four years with Central Coca-Cola Bottling in Hagerstown, a job he says suits him and that he loves.

"It certainly has been a learning process for me," Long said of his 20 years in town politics. "No matter how hard you attempt to cover all the bases, you can't please everyone. But you try to do the best you can."

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