The year in review

December 26, 2004|by TIM ROWLAND

Jan. 1 - As the world's greatest democracy celebrates the dawn of another presidential election year and 10 months of campaigning and political babble, social workers spend the first day of 2004 talking the American public down off a ledge.

· In the spirit of the new year, members of the Washington County Hospital board and Hagerstown City Council resolve to set aside their differences and cooperate to bring the residents of Washington County the finest health-care facility imaginable.

Jan. 7 - Saying "I never touched her, not once," Washington County Commissioner John Munson is found innocent of assaulting a clerk at a cell phone store, although he acknowledges throwing the phone across the showroom.

Jan. 15 - Before being recognized as a prank and pulled from its Web site, an eBay auction attracts 56 bidders and a $100 million high offer for the "entire state of West Virginia."


· In the spirit of cooperation, an attorney for the county hospital board accuses the city council of "distorting and ignoring information" about the design of a new hospital at Robinwood.

Jan. 20 - Trying to stem the tide of disorderly conduct, four local municipalities enforce an 11 p.m. curfew that applies to teenagers and Washington County Commissioner John Munson.

· In keeping with the national sentiment against higher taxes, the Charles Town (W.Va.) City Council proposes a $13,430 fee on new homes.

Jan. 21 - A Maryland Division of Corrections study finds the Hagerstown prison complex needs fewer correctional officers and more counselors and social workers.

· In keeping with the national sentiment against higher taxes, the Washington (Pa.) Township Supervisors propose a $300-per-home fee for recreation.

· After voicing concerns that a new hospital will make health care unaffordable for the elderly, the City of Hagerstown charges an 86-year-old woman a $233 fee for shoveling snow off her sidewalk.

Feb. 2 - After having his car stolen, Sen. Alex Mooney introduces legislation that would cost $500,000 for a statewide stolen car database.

· In keeping with the national sentiment against higher taxes, the State of Maryland proposes tolls on Interstate 81, and the Washington (Pa.) Township supervisors consider a $1,000 to $5,000 impact fee on new homes.

· Pandemonium breaks out at a group counseling session at the Hagerstown prison complex after the inmates' "inner child" tells them to riot.

Feb. 4 - Complaining of wheel-spinning and inaction, the Washington County legislative delegation calls for the breakup of the PenMar Development Corp.

· Gambling proponents in Annapolis argue that revenue generated by slot machines could help the government offset money it spends on food-stamp programs for people who have lost their grocery money gambling.

Feb. 15 - Frederick County Prosecutor Scott Rolle enters the 6th District congressional race, charging that incumbent Roscoe Bartlett is "too liberal."

· A Hagerstown couple takes in a deer it found injured near the highway and names him "Bucky."

Feb. 17 - The restaurant chain Ground Round abruptly closes the doors of its East Coast franchises, laying off 50 people in Hagerstown and forcing diners in Frederick to leave in the middle of their dinners. The move is immediately criticized by Frederick County Prosecutor Scott Rolle, who calls Ground Round officials "too hospitable."

· Complaining of wheel-spinning and inaction, the PenMar Development Corp. calls for the breakup of the Washington County Delegation.

Feb. 19 - After receiving a traffic ticket when his car is photographed running a red light, Sen. Alex Mooney introduces legislation banning intersection surveillance cameras.

· The Maryland Department of Natural Resources threatens to kill Bucky the Deer to test him for disease, a move that is immediately criticized as "too sensitive" by Frederick County Prosecutor Scott Rolle.

· In ominous news for the supermarket industry, Alex Mooney's car is hit by a shopping cart.

Feb. 25 - After calling the Venice Inn on Dual Highway "a piece of Americana," an auctioneer accepts the lone bid for its 99-year lease in the amount of $100. Scott Rolle starts to call the bid "too generous," but is interrupted by the Department of Natural Resources, which takes him away for disease testing.

· With little fanfare, Williamsport High School students build a radio-controlled robot they name "Kitty."

Feb. 28 - Vice President Dick Cheney visits Hagerstown, where he is assured there are no weapons of mass destruction, with the possible exception of John Munson's cell phone.

· Auctioneers trace the winning bid for the Venice Inn to a middle-school student who goes by the name of "Little Butch." In anti-tax news, the Washington County School Board charges fees for youth groups to use school gymnasiums.

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