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Franchot talks savings at school, spending downtown

December 10, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com
  • Maryland Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot presents the Silver Hammer Award to Potomac Heights Elementary custodians Bobby Foltz, Pat Moats and Jack Blair at the school on Friday.
Ric Dugan | Staff Photographer

Saving money and spending it were the themes Maryland Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot brought with him Friday in a visit to Hagerstown.

First, at Potomac Heights Elementary School, he honored the school for its maintenance and upkeep. He said state officials appreciate when a school is kept in excellent condition, putting off the need for repairs or new construction.

Later, Franchot and local officials stopped in downtown shops as part of his campaign to encourage people to spend money locally.

Franchot has promoted both initiatives on the road in recent days.

Hagerstown is one of eight places he’s visiting for the local-spending promotion, said Christine Feldmann, a spokeswoman for Franchot.

Potomac Heights is one of 15 schools in the state receiving the Silver Hammer Award for superior school maintenance, she said.

At the school, Franchot congratulated custodians Bobby Foltz, Pat Moats and Jack Blair for keeping the school in tip-top shape.

Feldmann said the comptroller’s Silver Hammer Award is new this year.

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The state’s 23 counties and Baltimore City were invited to nominate one school each. Some school systems didn’t apply and some, not following directions, nominated more than one school.

The list was narrowed to 15 recipients.

Franchot also toured the 40-year-old school with a group that included Principal Carl Stark and Foltz, who students know as “Mr. Bobby.”

Young students in one class said Foltz helps if there’s a spill or a burned-out light bulb.

Responding to questions from a fifth-grade class, Franchot revealed that he had a crush on his fifth-grade teacher, is partial to the Washington Redskins and doesn’t have a limousine but rides around in a state car.

At each stop, Franchot had students applaud for Foltz.

In downtown Hagerstown, Franchot met with a group that included Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II; Councilman Lewis C. Metzner; Brien J. Poffenberger, the chamber of commerce president; and Thomas B. Riford, the president and CEO of the convention and visitors bureau.

Franchot emphasized the importance of keeping shopping money in the state and community, helping small businesses and downtown areas.

Bruchey said later that the city lost 18 small businesses in 2009 and 2010, but issued 57 zoning certificates for new shops or for existing shops to expand.

The group stopped first at Ben’s Flower Shop, where owner Pat O’Brien sold Franchot a poinsettia. Franchot paid $26.50 for it, including tax, on his personal American Express card.

They also went to R. Bruce Carson Jewelers and Bikles Ski Shop, then Skyline Coffee Co., where Franchot paid $9.32 for two hot ciders and a chai.

At the coffee shop, Ruth Hyatt of Hagerstown stopped playing solitaire and literally greeted the group with open arms, hugging Franchot four separate times.

“I was a crossing guard for 43 years, directing traffic,” Hyatt said with a grin, “and I was so busy stopping the buses and crossing the kids that I couldn’t hug the men.”

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