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Nigh says she, Bruchey were ticketed while on city business

March 15, 2006

Getting a ticket in the City of Hagerstown, and paying it, has become a point of pride for at least one city councilwoman.

"The mayor and I each received a ticket and we were doing city business," Councilwoman Penny Nigh proclaimed during closing comments at council's work session Tuesday.

Nigh said she and Mayor Bob Bruchey went to a city board of public safety meeting recently, and both were given tickets for parking at expired meters at the Market House. She noted she and Bruchey both paid their $10 tickets. Bruchey provided The Herald-Mail with a copy of his receipt, dated Tuesday.

Receiving and paying parking tickets became an issue earlier this year, when Councilwoman Alesia Parson-McBean was not given a $60 ticket after being pulled over Jan. 20 for driving a vehicle with expired registration. At her request, police Lt. William C. Wright drove Parson-McBean to the state Motor Vehicle Administration office off Sharpsburg Pike. She said she was on city business at the time.

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A Hagerstown resident filed a complaint with the Washington County Ethics Commission last week alleging Parson-McBean violated the city's ethics code by allowing the police department not to give her a ticket and by asking Wright to drive her to the MVA. The commission is expected to issue an opinion in the matter this week. Parson-McBean was attending a National League of Cities event and did not attend Tuesday's council meeting, Bruchey said.

City Council supports submissions for state grants



Hagerstown City Council gave the city its support to make a series of requests for state funding, projects city Planning Director Kathleen Maher said would bolster the city's downtown Arts and Entertainment District and attract more tourists and pedestrian traffic.

The city is included as part of The Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, which includes Washington, Frederick and Carroll counties. Officials with the group have said they expect the Maryland Heritage Area Authority to certify the area in May, making municipalities and organizations within it eligible for state grants.

The city is seeking funding for five projects:

· $3,000 for 15 plaques highlighting historical events and places in the downtown area, added to by $3,000 in city Downtown Beautification funds;

· $5,000 toward the $10,000 cost for 10 directional signs pointing toward restaurants, shops and other sites in the city, added to $5,000 the city would contribute;

· $4,500 for 50 banners to replace faded banners on the city's light poles, added to $4,500 in Downtown Beautification funds;

· $100,000 toward a $200,000 sidewalk widening effort along South Potomac Street from 28 S. Potomac St., to Antietam Street, added to matching funds from a city bond and private money;

· $41,000 toward the $82,000 cost of installing a lighted archway along the pedestrian alley from South Potomac Street to the Arts and Entertainment Parking Deck, added to a mix of private and city funds.

Of the last item, Maher noted: "We don't want to spend all this money for a parking deck that nobody can figure out where it is."

City to put an end to Friday night trash



Beginning in late April, the streets of Hagerstown might look and smell cleaner heading into the weekend.

"I like the idea very much of not having trash sitting out in the downtown on a Friday night," Mayor Bob Bruchey said during the City Council's work session Tuesday.

City Engineer Rodney Tissue asked the City Council on Tuesday for permission to tweak the city's trash and recycling schedule starting the week of April 23 so that there are no longer any trash pickups scheduled for Saturday.

Tissue said the city is expanding its recycling program and has broken down that recycling program into a zone system. Allied Waste Services collects the city's trash and recycling. Depending on where people live in the city, their trash is picked up on different days of the week. Recycling materials are collected on Thursdays for all residents, regardless of where they live in the city.

Tissue said starting in April, Allied Waste will pick up recycling materials on the same day it collects residents' trash. Because of the change, he recommended the city move Saturday trash collections to Thursdays, leaving the weekend free from residential trash collection and eliminating the need for residents to leave their trash on the curb on Friday evenings.

"We would no longer have trash sitting out on a Friday night in the downtown," Tissue said.

Councilwoman Penny Nigh said when the city makes the change, it needs to make sure landlords, notably absentee landlords, are aware of it and alert their tenants to it. Otherwise, she said, residents are likely to continue putting their trash out on Friday nights. Tissue said the city is planning a publicity campaign leading up to April 23 to create awareness.

Police seeking wider awareness of gang activity



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