Gift is a block long

January 05, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - Hagerstown resident Lieba Cohen said she knew something out of the ordinary was about to happen when a cousin from Toronto unexpectedly came to town during her 60th birthday last month.

But she never dreamed the event would be more than just a surprise party.

Shortly after everyone gathered, they escorted Lieba to a nearby alley and presented her with possibly the most unusual gift she has ever received.

"I can't believe they named the alley after me," she said. "I had no idea. I have the best friends in the whole world ... It was one of those angel stories."

Lieba Alley runs parallel to and between Mulberry Avenue and View Street. It intersects with East Hillcrest Road and Pangborn Boulevard.


Lieba's neighbor, Howard Mendelsohn, said he and his wife, Carol, came up with the idea to name the alley in Lieba's honor after she got stuck there a few years ago driving in a snow storm. When Mother Nature kept a tow truck from reaching Lieba's car, several neighbors grabbed shovels and came to her rescue, he said.

"She always referred to it as Lieba's Alley," Mendelsohn said. "I thought (naming it after her) would be a neat thing to do for her birthday."

To set their plan in motion, the Mendelsohns gathered about 80 signatures on a petition and took it to City Hall. On Dec. 18, the Hagerstown City Council voted 5-0 to ensure Alley No. 5-67 would forever be associated with the well-loved woman so many people helped on that snowy day.

Mendelsohn said he was afraid the surprise would be ruined because city work crews posted signs on each end of the alley a few days before Lieba's birthday.

"I thought she might see it," he said. "They were very efficient."

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