A common perception is that Gov. William Donald Schaefer doesn't particularly care for Carroll County.
But during a visit here Monday,the governor had many positive things to say to residents about their county.
"Carroll County's just great," said Schaefer, who did not carry Carroll in the past election and recently found himself in bickering matches with residents.
"I saw good things today -- many of the real, wonderful things that make Carroll County a wonderful place to live."
Schaefer came to the county Monday to see how budget cuts wereaffecting local needs and interests.
The trip was part of the governor's annual summer visits to various counties.
While here, he complimented Carroll's programs for youth and the disabled, agricultural programs and stressed the need to control growth in the county.
"I saw Carroll County as the leading county in the preservation of farmland," Schaefer said. "But, I could see the problems that would befaced not only in Carroll County but possibly all over the state in the future unless something is done on growth."
Finishing up his tour of Carroll, Schaefer met with county residents during a receptionin Gamber, fielding questions about his proposed ban on assault weapons, highway construction and the savings and loan crisis.
"My customers are doctors, lawyers and about 50 percent law enforcement, andI don't understand (the proposed ban)," said James Baker, a Gamber gun shop owner who said his customers are solely collectors. "It's something that's helping put my daughter through college."
Another resident agreed with Baker, commenting that the problems in Baltimore don't exist here and that the law would make "thousands of criminals by the stroke of a pen in Carroll," because many countians own guns onthe proposed banned list.
The governor disagreed.
"When you say 'in Baltimore City,' if you think you're going to stay (rural), you've got another think coming," Schaefer said. "What I hope to do is not bring the problems of Baltimore out here."
In response to concerns about money for road construction and other county programs, Schaefer stressed that priorities must be set since the budget is tight and residents and legislators don't want to raise taxes.
"These areall great projects, but they don't want to spend any more money," hesaid. "If the money's there, we can do it."
On another stop in the tour, Schaefer met Randy Benzil and Linda Harris, residents of a group home for mentally disabled people in Pleasant Valley.
The home-- a cooperative program between Target Inc. and Western Maryland College -- helps bring the residents into society and provides educational opportunities for the master's degree students that live with them.
"Well, I'll have to call you for a spaghetti dinner sometime," Schaefer said, after complimenting the women on their home and housekeeping.
"Just call us up and make a date, governor," replied Benzil.
The governor's tour also included:
* Breakfast with Jason and Donna Myers at their dairy farm in New Windsor.
* A tour of Uniontown's historic district.
* Lunch at the Winchester Inn -- run byTARGET Inc. -- and a tour of the Carroll Haven building under construction on Bishop Street in Westminster.
* Visiting at the Carroll County Youth Services Bureau in Westminster.
Schaefer also spoke to public school representatives.