Access Disputes Settled

Carroll capsule

December 09, 1990

The citizen commission designed to mediate discrimination issues found itself guilty of meeting in a building not thoroughly accessible to handicapped people.

Richard Bucher of Mount Airy, chairman of the Carroll County Community Relations Commissions, said a Carroll resident recently pointed out to him that the County Office Building was not up to the latest codes governing access to handicapped people.

Bucher said a check with county staff showed that even though the building has ramps, elevators and parking for handicapped people, some things such as bathrooms are not thoroughly accessible.

The commission will now meet at the county's Court Street Professional Building, across the parking lot from the County Office Building. The next meeting is 7 to 9 p.m. Jan. 15.

Bucher said the commission will discuss whether it should ask the county to bring the office building up to code, since many public meetings are conducted there.

In other business, the commission has resolved two complaints of discrimination against handicapped people, said member Shelly Sarsfield.

One complaint was from parents who felt a public facility was was discriminating against their son. Another was over the accessibility of a building. All complaints to the commission are confidential, Bucher said.

The commission is made up of volunteers and was created a year ago by the Community Services Council, previously called the Human Services Council. It mediates claims of discrimination such as over race, gender, handicap and religion.

The commission has no enforcement power, so any disputes not solved in mediation can progress to the state Human Relations Commission or to court.

The newest member is Virginia Harrison, 34, of Eldersburg, owner of Dressing by Virginia. Harrison previously has volunteered with a retirement home in Eldersburg and with the University of Maryland Extension Office.


A businessman who died last year has left Carroll County General Hospital with the second-largest bequest of its 29-year history, said Charles O. Fisher Sr., the hospital's lawyer and a member of the board.

J. Thomas Sinnott, retired president of Thomas, Bennett & Hunter Inc. construction firm, died in Florida Feb. 25, 1989, leaving the hospital $600,000.

Fisher announced the gift to the hospital's board at its quarterly meeting Tuesday. He said another several hundred thousand Sinnott left to his sister will go to the hospital upon her death.

The money will go toward the hospital's capital campaign, to raise money for expansion and new services in psychiatry, emergency medicine, surgery, cardiology and women's health.

The gift brings the capital campaign to a total of $3.6 million so far, with a goal of $5 million. Construction already has started on two new floors to hold a psychiatric wing and another medical floor, and on renovating the nuclear medicine area, which houses ultra-sound equipment.

Hospital volunteers also have been conducting a telephone campaign calling Carroll residents for contributions for the expansion.

Sinnott was one of the people who raised the money to start the hospital, Fisher said. He led the fund-raising effort in 1958 and 1959, before CCGH opened in 1961, Fisher said.

Fisher said that the bequest was a surprise to the hospital and that he had not spoken with Sinnott about the donation.

The Sinnott bequest is the second largest ever left to the hospital, Fisher said. In 1964, Wilella Kriel died, leaving the hospital with more than $1 million from her estate, including more than 500 acres of land in Hampstead.

Her bequest was used to to build the hospital's west wing, Fisher said.

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