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Tim's 2008 year in review

January 03, 2009|By TIM ROWLAND
(Page 5 of 5)

But things are bound to look up in the holiday month of December, which the county proudly celebrates by announcing its highest unemployment rate since 2002. Citing a commitment to cooperation, Citi's credit card operation in Hagerstown announces the layoffs of 121 employees. Volvo joins in the fun by laying off 90. The crisis leads to a severe yam crunch as Hagerstown residents make a run on local food banks. The County Commissioners, meanwhile, worry whether this might be a bad time to ask for a pay raise.

They may in fact have earned it, when the Funkstown bridge reopens a full month ahead of schedule. A furious Washington County delegation demands a study to find out why this was allowed to occur. But a round of hearings is cut short when the committee room is inundated by peanut butter lobbyists asking the state for permission to sell jelly.

And what would a new month be without yet another change to the Washington County School Board's transportation policy? Saying, "No, no, this time we really got it," the board agrees to buy every county student a taxi.

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But change is good, change is in the air and any change, be it transportation policy change or spare change, is, in these troubled days, something to celebrate. And on the eve of a new year, Hagerstown residents rejoice the arrival a new year, with the optimistic motto: "2009 -- How Could It Be Worse?" With that, the Washington County Liquor Board approves a stiff drink for everyone.

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