Nigh would focus on central booking facility

February 18, 2005|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

HAGERSTOWN - Penny May Nigh said she has spent much of her life caring for friends and family and she wants to continue watching over city government.

Nigh, a Democrat, is a candidate running for her second term on the Hagerstown City Council.

Nigh, 57, of 634 N. Mulberry St., is married to Bob. They have two children, Danielle and Lance.

Nigh said her primary occupation is as a councilwoman, but a close second is being day-care provider for her son's two children.

Nigh was born in Hagerstown and grew up in the West End. She graduated from North Hagerstown High School in 1965, married and had children.


As her children grew up, the Nighs helped support family members and neighbors. In the late-1970s, Penny began watching friends' children, and later began baby-sitting at neighborhood homes and taking care of aging relatives.

In 1998, Nigh said, she began to notice drug problems in her neighborhood. After her husband became the chairman of a local crime watch group, Nigh began attending City Council meetings as a member of the downtown Neighborhoods First group.

She ran for council in 2001 and won.

"It was a fluke," Nigh said.

Nevertheless, she said she wants to continue city programs started over the past four years, as well as push for new ones.

She said one achievement over the past four years was her push for the city's rental licensing program. The program requires landlords to register their rental properties with the city and have them inspected regularly.

Nigh credited former council candidate Vicki Bodnar for first bringing the idea to the forefront, but said, "I fought for it."

Nigh said her biggest failure over the past four years was not being able to convince other council members of her priorities, pointing to her most recent defeat over the use of Fairgrounds Park.

Nigh was the only voice in support of Hagerstown PONY League Inc.'s plan to take over use of the park from the Hagerstown Fairgrounds Softball Association. PONY caters to youth whereas the softball group has largely adult participation.

Nigh said her top priority over the next four years is to make sure the proposed central booking facility is completed. While it would be a county project at the Washington County Sheriff's Office, it likely would need city money and would improve city police services by speeding the criminal booking process, she said.

The other official council candidates are: Kristin B. Aleshire, Ruth Anne Callaham, the Rev. Haru Carter Jr., Walter E. "Nick" Carter, Kelly S. Cromer, N. Linn Hendershot, Scott D. Hesse, Ira P. Kauffman Jr., Dan G. Kennedy, Lewis C. Metzner, Alesia D. Parson, Henry R. Renner Jr., Donald L. Souders Jr. and Torrence "Tory" M. VanReenen.

The primary election is March 8. The general election is May 17.

Council members are paid $8,000 a year and are eligible for city health benefits.

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