Former superintendent devoted to new job

Antietam Fire Co.'s moving

rescued horses recover

December 30, 2011
  • Former Washington County Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan is shown in this file photo talking about her departure as chief administrator of the county school system. "It's very diverse, and it's a really great mission. I'm very devoted to it," Morgan said of her job as executive director of the America's Promise Alliance's Grad Nation initiative.
Herald-Mail file photo

With 2011 drawing to a close, The Herald-Mail this week took a look back at some of the stories the newspaper published during the year and followed up on some of those stories to provide a glimpse of what happened next.

Ex-supe 'devoted' to new job

The story: Elizabeth Morgan retired as superintendent of Washington County Public Schools in February and took a job as head of a national dropout prevention initiative.

The update: Morgan does a lot of traveling and gives speeches as executive director of the America's Promise Alliance's Grad Nation initiative.

Since retiring as Washington County Public Schools superintendent on Feb. 28, Elizabeth Morgan has traveled to more than 20 states for her new job as head of a national dropout prevention initiative.

"It's very diverse, and it's a really great mission. I'm very devoted to it," Morgan said of her job as executive director of the America's Promise Alliance's Grad Nation initiative.

She spends much of her time giving speeches.

"I speak a lot for the organization. I also do a lot of speaking on school improvement," Morgan said.

One of Grad Nation's goals is to have a 90 percent graduation rate across the country by 2020, with no high school having a graduation rate of less than 80 percent, Morgan said. Now the graduation rate is around 75 percent, she said.

"So we've got some heavy lifting to do to get to 90 percent," Morgan said.

The American Association of School Administrators named Morgan the 2010 National Superintendent of the Year.

Since retiring from the local school system, Morgan has received more laurels.

Last spring she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents.

In September, the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and ExxonMobil honored Morgan as the 2011 Hispanic Heritage Awards honoree for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, Education.

"It was a really great event," said Morgan, who got to meet fellow honoree Juanes, a Colombian musician.

Morgan still makes her home in the Beaver Creek area.

With her heavy travel schedule, which often involves Fridays and Saturdays, Morgan said she hasn't been able to go to many local community events.

She did get to see the "Phantom of the Opera" production that the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts put on at The Maryland Theatre last April.

"It was wonderful," Morgan said.

— Julie E. Greene

Antietam Fire Co. is moving

The story: Antietam Fire Co. tried and failed to get funds for a new fire station through the state budget process, so the city of Hagerstown stepped up.

The update:  Demolition work has begun on the building where the fire company will move.

Antietam Fire Co.'s plan to move from Summit Avenue to a new station on Potomac Ave. in Hagerstown's North End is progressing.

On June 29, the city of Hagerstown paid $600,000 for the former Four Seasons RV building at 790-800 Potomac Ave., which Antietam Fire Co. is renovating, said Erin Wolfe, a spokeswoman for the city.

Antietam Fire Co. will repay the loan over 30 years at 3 percent interest, fire company Treasurer Robert Daveler said.

The fire company will take the title to the building at the end of the lease.

The city also is giving the fire company $200,000 to help with renovation, using bond proceeds.

Wolfe said in mid-December that the fire company had begun demolition work on the former RV building, particularly on an interior wall. Daveler said volunteers with the fire company are doing much of the work.

The rest of the project probably will go out to bid in January, Daveler said.

Antietam Fire Co. will leave the Summit Avenue station it has used for more than a century.

Before the city promised the $200,000 for renovations, Antietam Fire Co. tried and failed to get it through the state budgetary process.

Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, attempted to get a $200,000 bond bill.

But two Republican delegates who represent Washington County — Andrew A. Serafini and LeRoy E. Myers Jr. — lobbied the House's capital budget subcommittee to deny the request. They said Republicans in the delegation were opposed to bond-bill-funded projects because of the state's financial problems.

In the end, the intra-delegation debate was moot; the House Appropriations Committee didn't give money this year to any firehouse projects, directing applicants to a separate revolving loan fund that can help fire companies.

After the fire company gets bids for the project, it might try again for funding from the Maryland State Firemen's Association.

Daveler said the fire company considered that idea before, but the process would have taken too long, and a contract to buy the former RV building would have expired.

— Andew Schotz

13 rescued horses recovering

The story: Last spring, 13 emaciated horses were taken from a Queen Anne's County farm to a site near Rohrersville.

The update: The horses remain at the farm and have had a smooth rehabilitation.

Seven months ago, the animals being kept at a farm near Rohrersville were so emaciated that normal fat deposits around their eyes were gone.

Today, they are pictures of health, literally.

Horse rescue experts involved in caring for the 13 horses that were taken from a Queen Anne's County farm showed pictures of three of the horses to document their success.

The before pictures showed the horses with rib cages showing and sunken hind quarters.

The after photographs show the horses with obvious weight gain and shiny coats.

The 13 horses were among about 146 horses that were taken from the Queen Anne's County farm, according to officials at Days End Farm Horse Rescue. The owner of the horses had been a successful breeder, but something happened that led to the neglect of the animals, horse rescue group officials said previously.

The 13 horses will be kept at the Park Hall Road farm until a case involving the owner of the horses is resolved, said Caroline R. Robertson, development director for Days End Farm Horse Rescue.

The farm where the 13 horses were taken along Park Hall Road near Rohrersville is a satellite location for Days End Farm Horse Rescue.

About 60 other animals were taken to a farm in New Market, Md.; about 25 were taken to a farm in Ijamsville, Md.; and the rest were taken to other farms scattered across the state, rescue officials said.

All of the horses are doing well, Robertson said.

 Many of the 13 horses taken to the Park Hall Road farm were suffering from heavy infestations of parasites such as lice and worms, rescue officials said. The animals probably would have survived only another month had they not been rescued, officials said previously.

The horses at the local farm had a "smooth" rehabilitation, and their conditions came down to a "simple lack of groceries," Robertson said.

She said it took about five months to lead the horses through rehabilitation, and their treatment was a slow process.

Rescue officials said previously that because the bodies of the horses had been compromised, workers had to be careful about the amount of medicine administered to them because too much medication could cause serious complications.

They likened their treatment to "feeding babies."

Robertson said it is a remarkable experience to bring such majestic animals back to good health.

"It's just incredibly rewarding because they didn't ask to be put in this situation," Robertson said.

— Dave McMillion

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