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Lack of money fires up anti-tobacco activist

Washington Co. accused of not properly funding Native American concert

Washington Co. accused of not properly funding Native American concert

January 02, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN ? A member of a local nonprofit group on Wednesday accused the Washington County Health Department of failing to commit enough money to help local Native Americans promote anti-tobacco education.

Andy Smith of Brothers United Who Dare To Care said during a meeting of the Tobacco Free Washington County Coalition that the health department needed to distribute the money more equally among all minority groups ? not just African-Americans and Hispanics.

"Native Americans were refused funding in Washington County without an explanation," he said, referring to a $9,100 grant that Cornelius Red Deer, a commissioner of Indian Affairs for the state of Maryland, recently applied for to fund a Native American concert in Washington County that would have discouraged tobacco use.

Washington County Health Officer Earl Stoner said the health department is committed to helping every resident of Washington County.

Because the health department has a tight budget, officials have to distribute the money for anti-tobacco programs in a way that will benefit the most people, Stoner said.

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According to health department records, a combination of 40 organizations and individuals from Washington County applied for $309,164.20 to fund anti-tobacco programs, but only $138,000 was available.

Red Deer said after the meeting that the proposed Native American concert would have benefited children of all ages across the county.

"It would have been a nice thing for Washington County as a whole," he said. "We need to do things here to raise awareness."

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