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Year in review

2010: A

A brief look at some major news events during the first half of the year

December 30, 2010
  • Frank Woodruff Buckles
File photo

Editor's note: The following is a look at some of the major local news of 2010, from January through June. The listing does not include all events of significance, but tries to focus on some of the highlights of the year. Events for July through December will be published in Saturday’s Herald-Mail.
 
Jan. 1 — Dr. Dan McDougal is named The Herald-Mail's 2009 Person of the Year. The medical director for Antietam Health Services and a volunteer physician and former director of the Community Free Clinic of Washington County, McDougal was chosen for the annual award for his dedication to improving access to medical care in his community and for his leadership and kind, generous spirit.

Feb. 1 — Frank Woodruff Buckles, the last known American-born veteran of World War I, celebrated his 109th birthday Monday at his Jefferson County, W.Va., home.

Feb. 2 — The Washington County Board of Education voted 4-2 to reassign about 28 Boonsboro Elementary School students to Pleasant Valley Elementary School.
The decision was the last of 23 proposals voted on since January to alleviate overcrowding in the county's public elementary schools. Each of the proposals represented a different neighborhood and number of students to be reassigned.
The outcome of the board's vote — 21 of the 23 proposals passed — reassigned about 1,350 of the system's 10,000 elementary students.  

Feb. 5-6 — One of the biggest snowstorms on record paralyzed the Tri-State area, beginning Friday night and continuing Saturday. The storm dropped 21 inches of snow in Hagerstown and more than 30 inches on other parts of the region.

Feb. 10 — More than 17 inches of snow fell on Hagerstown by evening, making February the city’s snowiest month since records have been kept. By the end of the month, Mother Nature had dropped a record 44.1 inches of snow on the city.

Feb. 11 — Washington County Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan received the American Association of School Administrators’ 2010 National Superintendent of the Year award during a ceremony at the National Conference on Education in Phoenix, Ariz.  Morgan was named Maryland Superintendent of the Year in October.

March 25
— A Hancock woman indicted in an alleged murder-for-hire plot to kill her son's ex-girlfriend left Washington County Circuit Court a free woman after pleading guilty to a lesser charge of misdemeanor attempted obstruction of justice.
 Marie Fink, 67, was sentenced by Circuit Judge Daniel P. Dwyer to five years in prison, but he suspended all but the 105 days she served in the Washington County Detention Center since being indicted by a grand jury in December 2009, according to court records.
 Fink’s son, Clarence Franklin Meyers, pleaded guilty in 2009 to two counts of felony murder by arson in the deaths of the young daughters of his girlfriend. Meyers was serving two life sentences in the North Branch Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Md., when he was found strangled in his cell on Dec. 30, 2009.

April 6  — The body of Kristy Dawn Hoke, 29, of Hagerstown, was found in a wooded area off East Ninth Street in Waynesboro, Pa. Pennsylvania State Police charged Jeffrey Eldon Miles Sr., 46, of State Line, Pa., in her death.
Hours after Hoke’s body was discovered, police found skeletal remains in a remote wooded area in western Washington Township, Pa. The remains later were identified as those of Angie Lynn Daley, who disappeared in August 1995. Nobody has been charged in her death.

May 3 — Jeff Ringer, chief of The Volunteer Fire Co. of Halfway, Md. Inc., was placed on paid administrative leave for 30 days, effective May 3, said Deputy Chief Ed Ernst, who acted as chief during Ringer's suspension.
Hiss attorney later said Ringer was placed on administrative leave after speaking to Maryland State Police and Internal Revenue Service investigators who were looking into bingo and tip jar operations at the fire company. Attorney John R. Salvatore said Ringer was not a suspect in that probe.

May 10 — Dr. Dan McDougal, former medical director at Antietam Health Services and the Community Free Clinic of Washington County, died Monday of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was 64.
He was the Herald-Mail's 2009 Person of the Year and the 2009 People’s Choice Award recipient from the Community Foundation of Washington County.

June 4 — With a shovelful of dirt, educators and community leaders marked the beginning of construction on a multimillion-dollar, five-story Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, center on the west side of the Hagerstown Community College campus. The 63,000-square-foot STEM building will have 11 classrooms, 10 science labs, five computer labs and faculty offices.

June 8
— It was confirmed that a group of investors had made an offer to buy the Hagerstown Suns.
Bruce Quinn, the chief operating officer and general manager of a Florida golf club, confirmed that he is heading a group that is in the confirmation process for purchasing the 30-year-old minor league baseball franchise.
Quinn said the local group included Tony Dahbura, executive vice president of Hub Labels, and Dr. Mitesh Kothari, a Hagerstown physician.

June 28
— U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, a son of West Virginia coal country who was a passionate advocate for the state and the Senate, died at age 92. Byrd, a Democrat, spent 51 years in the Senate, making him the longest-serving senator in history.
 
June 29 — James Hamill, president and Chief Executive Officer  of Washington County Health System, announced his retirement in March 2011, just three months after the new hospital was to open, the health system announced.
Hamill, who became president in September 2000, shepherded the health system through its struggle for the new hospital, which included a court challenge by a citizens group that was concerned about the location of the new hospital in the Robinwood area outside the eastern fringe of Hagerstown. The proposal for the new hospital was announced in 2003. Ground was broken in 2008, and the hospital opened in December, 2010.

June 30 — Washington County’s jobless rate remained at 9.6 percent in May, the same as it was in April, according to figures  released by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

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