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Group urges people to choose civility

December 14, 2010|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Megan Duckworth reads a book Tuesday for those gathered at a reception at Washington County Arts Council to kick off "Choose Civility."
By Ric Dugan/Staff Phographer

HAGERSTOWN — Need a little help on spreading some civility? Want to show your civil spirit?

The  Choose Civility Washington County Advisory Board Tuesday unveiled some help in the form of a “tool kit.”

The board was formed to promote consideration, empathy and tolerance in the face of growing incivility nationwide. The effort, which grew out of discussions for an anti-bullying effort in public schools, strives to enhance the quality of life locally through polite behavior.

Organizers and supporters of the group gathered Tuesday afternoon at the  Washington County Arts Council on West Washington Street in Hagerstown to hear about several initiatives.

One included the unveiling of a tool box, which were distributed free at the event and will be available to residents.

Each tool box includes about 10 decals which read “Choose Civility. Washington County, Md.”

The green decals, which were modeled after a Choose Civility initiative in Howard County, Md., can be placed in car windows, group organizers said.

The tool kit also contains a brochure about the Choose Civility group, a list of books on civility and a flash drive for a power point presentation on the campaign that was shown at Tuesday’s meeting.

Shaped like a small bucket, the tool kit can also be used to spark conversations about civility, said Angie Doll, who is on the group’s advisory board.

Sixty tool kits have been assembled, and about 40 were given out Tuesday, she said.

The event was also designed to encourage community businesses and organizations to become “alliance partners” in the Choose Civility campaign, said Dale Bannon, a spokesman for the effort.

The group has 22 alliance partners, and Bannon hopes some of the 40 tool kits that were distributed will represent new members. Bannon estimates about 100 people attended Tuesday.

Members of the Washington County Board of Education and the Washington County Commissioners were among the guests.

School board President Wayne Ridenour said he was glad to see that there is “buy in” from people about Choose Civility.

“It has to start with each individual,” Ridenour said.
When asked if he has endured incivility on the school board, Ridenour said “any public official is going to get that.”

The event was also designed to showcase a collection of artwork created around the theme of civility.

The Washington County Arts Council has selected Choose Civility as the theme for this year’s December Community Show, and local artists were invited to participate.

Among the works hung on the walls of the arts building was an image of a handgun with a yellow flower extending from the barrel. The piece, created by Todd Groesbeck, was titled “Planter.”

Doll said anyone interested in a Choose Civility tool kit can inquire through the website choosecivilitywashingtoncounty.org.

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