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Around Hancock

February 28, 2008|By ANNE WEATHERHOLT / 301-678-6888

Spring is near

After these late-winter storms, there are signatures in the snow.

The delicate paw prints of a wandering cat, the four-foot smudge of a rabbit, the various treads of mail carriers and neighbors, plus my own prints dot my side yard with their stories.

And - strangely predictive - up through the white snow are the exclamation points of rising daffodils, pronouncing that spring is near.

The clocks will leap forward in about 10 days, dimming the morning light for us, but the citizens of nature won't notice as they keep on writing in the snow.

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Their signatures are only visible on the white paper surface, then disappear like invisible ink, unseen, unmarked, unnoticed by our eyes. Their paths still wander around my side yard, but imprints will soon be eclipsed by the rise of green grass and their signatures will vanish.

Town has new police officer

Hancock has a new town police officer. Officer Shawn Weddle comes to us from the Frederick Police Department after service as a correctional officer.

Weddle lives in Smithsburg with his wife, Renee, and children.

He chose Hancock after meeting and speaking with Chief T.J. Buskirk and hearing about how he supports his officers. Weddle likes the idea of getting to know the citizens in town and helping them to stay safe. Like our other officers, Weddle brings a list of impressive training skills and says he enjoys city policing rather than county police work. He hopes to train as a K-9 officer in the future as well as expand his skills. He wants to work to take narcotics off the street and arrest drunken drivers. Weddle was sworn in at the Hancock Town Council meeting Feb. 13.

Bank asks to check on historical items

Last week I noted the demise of Old Mr. White's Variety Store. I'm delighted to find out that, before the building bit the dust, First National Bank of Greencastle (the new property owner) asked Don Corbett, president of the Hancock Historical Society, to go into the building to remove anything of historical significance.

While I don't know for certain what he was able to save, I am delighted that the local business realized the significance of the building that was taken down.

Polar Bear Plunge Saturday

The sixth annual Polar Bear Plunge is on for Saturday at noon. Come on out to Lake Tonoloway on Woodmont Road with your swimming trunks and tennis shoes.

Your icy plunge will warm the home of someone in need locally. All proceeds go to support the Winter Fuel Assistance Fund of the Interfaith Service Coalition - a great cause! You may sign up for sponsors through the ISC at their office, 116 W. High St., or at the Triangle Restaurant on East Main Street. The plunge is cosponsored by Pinnacle D J, Tonoloway Rod and Gun Club and the Triangle Restaurant.

Preschool receives grant

Congratulations to Good Shepherd Pre-School which received a $5,130 grant to be used to purchase books, text books and printed information.

They plan to use the money to renew their children's library, purchasing all new books and replacing those most loved by the children.

According to January Souders, director, the grant is from the Maryland Nonpublic Student Textbook program, and the preschool has received grants from them twice before. The preschool, housed at Hancock United Methodist Church, serves students in the Tri-State area. For more information, call 301-678-5100.

In remembrance

Two "pillars" of the Hancock community and St. Thomas' Episcopal Church were laid to rest this past week.

Jim Mortzfeldt was buried last Saturday in a service that featured Hancock's Boy Scout Troop 15 offering "A Scoutmaster's Prayer."

For decades, Jim was extremely active with the Boy Scouts at all levels, acting as a mentor for many local boys. He was also a volunteer with the fire company and cofounder of the Hancock Rescue Squad, serving as chief for eight years. Underneath a sometimes gruff exterior, Jim was all heart and could often bring out the best in a boy, even when parents could not. His service to this community has left a lasting heritage.

The second "pillar" was perhaps more of a garden. Mary Stoner, who with her husband, Homer, founded Stoners' Flower Shop, was laid to rest this past Monday.

Homer died nearly five years ago, and Mary, though ailing, continued to work with daughter, Dianne, in their shop as much as possible. For many years, Mary always sent an arrangement to our home for the various holidays and never forgot special occasions.

Her family is carrying on the service of flowers to the local churches, clubs, schools and citizens of Hancock. Mary was as sweet as the beautiful roses she sold, as wholesome as the seedlings she often gave me for my flower boxes, as cheerful as the daisies in her bouquets and as steadfast as the evergreen in the Christmas arrangements on the church altar.

Coach Sterner gains recognition

Congratulations to Coach Bill Sterner for being named District 1 Athletic Director of the Year!

As Athletic Director for Hancock Middle-Senior High School, "Coach" serves the smallest public school in the district and won this award in 2004-05 as well. He will be honored at the annual convention in Ocean City, Md., in April.

Sterner's modesty is as large as he is, and he gives great credit to his fellow teachers, to the staff and administration of the school, parents, fans and to the students.

In addition to his school activities, coach is active in the community, serving on the board of directors of the Interfaith Service Coalition, as a lector, choirmember and Vestrymember at St. Thomas' Episcopal Church and teaching an evening class locally for Hagerstown Community College.

I can't think of a nicer award for a greater guy in our community!

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