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Ben Hart

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NEWS
March 5, 1998
Clear Spring home page proposed CLEAR SPRING - The possibility of a Clear Spring home page on the Internet was introduced at Tuesday night's town meeting. Other opportunities to promote the sights and attractions of Clear Spring were touted by Ben Hart, executive director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau. "You'll benefit most from our publicity," Hart said, describing some of the sights he was familiar with in the Clear Spring area.
NEWS
December 12, 2004
Slot machines are dangerous for gambling addicts, but they belong in Maryland, Ben Hart said. "Because that happened to me doesn't necessarily mean it's going to happen to a vast majority of the people," said Hart, whose addiction to gambling at Charles Town Races & Slots led him to steal, over time, more than $15,000 from his employer, the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau. He thinks his addictive behavior is hereditary. Maryland is "making a huge mistake" by not competing with nearby states with legalized slots, mainly West Virginia, Hart said.
NEWS
by TARA REILLY | April 11, 2003
tarar@herald-mail.com A Hagerstown tourism group has awarded a $66,000 contract to a Chicago firm to study whether a convention and events center is a good idea for Washington County. The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors gave the contract to HVS International of Chicago on March 27. Ben Hart, executive director of the Visitors Bureau, said Thursday the group will get started on the feasibility study April 16. HVS International will talk to people who plan events, look at possible locations for a center and make recommendations on a size and ways to pay for a center, among other factors in determining whether a facility will make a nice fit in the area, Hart said.
NEWS
July 1, 1998
The Washington County tourism bureau's $75,000 line of credit from the City of Hagerstown expired Tuesday with no outstanding debt, officials said. The most the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau used was $20,000 that was outstanding in August 1997, said City Finance Director Al Martin. That money was paid off at 5.75 percent interest by the end of 1997 and no further money was withdrawn, Martin said. The funds were used for payroll and operating costs during the first few months after the bureau was restructured and given a fresh start on July 1, 1997, said Ben Hart, the bureau's executive director.
NEWS
by TARA REILLY | January 30, 2004
tarar@herald-mail.com A "local" man will take charge of tourism in Washington County on March 8, pending criminal, financial and driving record background checks, Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau Chairman Ron Vitkun said Thursday. The Convention and Visitors Bureau board of directors approved the new president Thursday on the condition that the background checks be done, Vitkun said. He said the bureau wanted to make sure it had done its homework in selecting a president.
NEWS
by TARA REILLY | February 2, 2003
tarar@herald-mail.com A local tourism agency plans to conduct a study of whether a 3,000- to 6,000-seat multipurpose event and convention center would be a good fit in Washington County. "All it is is an idea," Ben Hart, executive director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Friday. The convention center would be a single facility where events such as concerts and athletic activities would take place, Hart said. Hart said the visitors bureau will apply for a grant from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development that would pay for up to 70 percent of the cost of the feasibility study.
NEWS
by LAURA ERNDE | July 11, 2002
laurae@herald-mail.com Antietam National Battlefield pumped at least $4.9 million into the economies of Washington and Frederick counties last year, Superintendent John Howard said. According to a November economic impact study, the battlefield's 300,000 visitors spent that much money the previous year on motels, restaurants and shopping, Howard said. The National Park Service contracted with the University of Michigan to develop a model for evaluating all of its parks.
NEWS
by TARA REILLY | May 17, 2003
tarar@herald-mail.com The executive director of a local tourism group has asked the Washington County Commissioners to levy a 6 percent tax on the cost of staying at campgrounds, cabins and recreational vehicle sites. Ben Hart, of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said this week the lodging tax would generate additional money for the county and the Visitors Bureau. Hart said as much at $80,000 to $90,000 would be generated from the tax. The county would receive 55 percent of the tax revenues, while the Visitors Bureau would receive 45 percent, Hart said.
NEWS
by SCOTT BUTKI | October 30, 2003
scottb@herald-mail.com shappell@herald-mail.com Ben Hart has resigned his position as executive director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau at the request of Ron Vitkun, the chairman of the bureau's board of directors, Vitkun said Wednesday. Hart's last day was Monday, Vitkun said. Vitkun said Hart, of Hagerstown, was placed on temporary leave during an "investigation," and later was asked to resign. He would not say what the investigation entailed or who conducted it. The Convention and Visitors Bureau has "systems in place, the system worked," Vitkun said.
NEWS
September 15, 1997
By JULIE E. GREENE Staff Writer The 135th Commemoration of the Battle of Antietam was so successful organizers already are talking about holding the event every five years. Event co-chairwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein said Monday she and co-chairman Dennis Frye talked casually this past weekend about making the commemoration a regular event. Saum-Wicklein said she thought Frye's estimate of 100,000 spectators was a little high, although official counts were not yet available.
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NEWS
December 12, 2004
Slot machines are dangerous for gambling addicts, but they belong in Maryland, Ben Hart said. "Because that happened to me doesn't necessarily mean it's going to happen to a vast majority of the people," said Hart, whose addiction to gambling at Charles Town Races & Slots led him to steal, over time, more than $15,000 from his employer, the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau. He thinks his addictive behavior is hereditary. Maryland is "making a huge mistake" by not competing with nearby states with legalized slots, mainly West Virginia, Hart said.
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NEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | December 12, 2004
andrews@herald-mail.com WASHINGTON COUNTY - Vice squeezed Ben Hart like a vise. He got hooked on "reel" slot machines - he didn't like video screen slots - at Charles Town Races & Slots in early 2000. Winning thousands of dollars of real money catapulted him into addiction, he said. For Hart - who was the executive director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau for six years - misery followed: He stole more than $15,000 from the bureau in 2003, a few hundred dollars at a time; he was forced to resign; he went to jail.
NEWS
by TARA REILLY | January 30, 2004
tarar@herald-mail.com A "local" man will take charge of tourism in Washington County on March 8, pending criminal, financial and driving record background checks, Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau Chairman Ron Vitkun said Thursday. The Convention and Visitors Bureau board of directors approved the new president Thursday on the condition that the background checks be done, Vitkun said. He said the bureau wanted to make sure it had done its homework in selecting a president.
NEWS
by SCOTT BUTKI | December 9, 2003
scottb@herald-mail.com Ben Hart, who was forced to resign as executive director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau on Oct. 27, was served Monday with a criminal summons charging him with theft. Hagerstown police said Hart allegedly stole $15,526.49 from his former employer. The felony charge of theft scheme over $500 was filed Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court. If convicted on the charge, Hart could face a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, a fine of $25,000 or both, said M. Kenneth Long, state's attorney for Washington County.
NEWS
by SCOTT BUTKI | October 30, 2003
scottb@herald-mail.com shappell@herald-mail.com Ben Hart has resigned his position as executive director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau at the request of Ron Vitkun, the chairman of the bureau's board of directors, Vitkun said Wednesday. Hart's last day was Monday, Vitkun said. Vitkun said Hart, of Hagerstown, was placed on temporary leave during an "investigation," and later was asked to resign. He would not say what the investigation entailed or who conducted it. The Convention and Visitors Bureau has "systems in place, the system worked," Vitkun said.
NEWS
by TARA REILLY | May 17, 2003
tarar@herald-mail.com The executive director of a local tourism group has asked the Washington County Commissioners to levy a 6 percent tax on the cost of staying at campgrounds, cabins and recreational vehicle sites. Ben Hart, of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said this week the lodging tax would generate additional money for the county and the Visitors Bureau. Hart said as much at $80,000 to $90,000 would be generated from the tax. The county would receive 55 percent of the tax revenues, while the Visitors Bureau would receive 45 percent, Hart said.
NEWS
by TARA REILLY | April 11, 2003
tarar@herald-mail.com A Hagerstown tourism group has awarded a $66,000 contract to a Chicago firm to study whether a convention and events center is a good idea for Washington County. The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors gave the contract to HVS International of Chicago on March 27. Ben Hart, executive director of the Visitors Bureau, said Thursday the group will get started on the feasibility study April 16. HVS International will talk to people who plan events, look at possible locations for a center and make recommendations on a size and ways to pay for a center, among other factors in determining whether a facility will make a nice fit in the area, Hart said.
NEWS
by TARA REILLY | February 2, 2003
tarar@herald-mail.com A local tourism agency plans to conduct a study of whether a 3,000- to 6,000-seat multipurpose event and convention center would be a good fit in Washington County. "All it is is an idea," Ben Hart, executive director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Friday. The convention center would be a single facility where events such as concerts and athletic activities would take place, Hart said. Hart said the visitors bureau will apply for a grant from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development that would pay for up to 70 percent of the cost of the feasibility study.
NEWS
by LAURA ERNDE | July 11, 2002
laurae@herald-mail.com Antietam National Battlefield pumped at least $4.9 million into the economies of Washington and Frederick counties last year, Superintendent John Howard said. According to a November economic impact study, the battlefield's 300,000 visitors spent that much money the previous year on motels, restaurants and shopping, Howard said. The National Park Service contracted with the University of Michigan to develop a model for evaluating all of its parks.
NEWS
July 1, 1998
The Washington County tourism bureau's $75,000 line of credit from the City of Hagerstown expired Tuesday with no outstanding debt, officials said. The most the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau used was $20,000 that was outstanding in August 1997, said City Finance Director Al Martin. That money was paid off at 5.75 percent interest by the end of 1997 and no further money was withdrawn, Martin said. The funds were used for payroll and operating costs during the first few months after the bureau was restructured and given a fresh start on July 1, 1997, said Ben Hart, the bureau's executive director.
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