Carroll Digest

CARROLL DIGEST

December 18, 2005

County announces holiday closings

Carroll County government offices will be closed Dec. 26 for Christmas and Jan. 2 for New Year's.

Carroll County public library branches will be closed Saturday and Dec. 26 for Christmas and Dec. 31 for New Year's.

Senior centers will be closed Dec. 26 and Jan. 2.

Public schools will close two hours early Friday (closed for half-day kindergarten), and remain closed through Jan. 2, reopening Jan. 3.

Tourism council to hold church tour

The Tourism Council of Carroll County is sponsoring its first House of Worship Tour from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Dec. 30, co-sponsored by The Shepherd's Staff and Community Foundation of Carroll County.

Participating churches include St. John's Lutheran, Salem United Methodist, St. Mary's Evangelical Lutheran, St. John Roman Catholic, St. Matthew's United Church of Christ, Pipe Creek Friends Meeting, Shiloh United Methodist, St. Paul's United Methodist, Union Bridge Church of the Brethren, Union Bridge United Methodist, Pipe Creek Brick United Methodist, Uniontown United Methodist, Middleburg United Methodist and the Strawbridge Shrine.

After the tour, St. John Catholic Church will present a holiday concert at 7:30 p.m. Concert-only tickets are $5.

Churches will be decorated for Christmas and will offer family activities, including choir music, a puppet show, organ recitals, a live Nativity, children's crafts, storytelling and refreshments.

Tickets are $5, $10 per family, and $3 for children age 16 and younger, including the concert. Tour tickets include a copy of County Commissioner Dean L. Minnich's book Towns & Villages of Carroll County.

Information: 410-857-5944.

Journalist studies transit readiness

Journalist Jim Chesnutt, best known for his documentation work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency after the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, recently filmed Carroll Area Transit System and other county sites to document best practices in transit emergency preparedness.

The national Rural Transit Assistance Program is leading the project as part of a new interactive DVD on threat and vulnerability analysis designed to give transit systems guidance on emergency preparedness in smaller U.S. communities.

The DVD, RTAP Threat, Vulnerability and Emergency Preparedness Toolbox, will provide rural, urban and resort community transit operators the tools to identify threats and develop risk-reduction strategies in six categories: accidents and incidents, acts of nature, organizational infrastructure, hazardous-materials spills, criminal activity and terrorist threat.

Chesnutt interviewed Neal Roop and Cecil Gates of CATS; Larry Leitch, Carroll County Health Department officer; and Bill Martin and Bill Hall of the Carroll County Office of Public Safety.

CATS drivers and staff were filmed in mock emergency bus evacuations.

Congregation wins `welcoming' status

Cedarhurst Unitarian Universalist Church has been recognized as an openly accepting congregation for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons in Carroll County.

The church received confirmation from the Unitarian Universalist Association that it is an official "Welcoming Congregation."

The Welcoming Congregation program is the denomination's nationwide program for acceptance of affectional and marital diversity. The church's First Principle asserts the "inherent worth and dignity" of all persons.

Members of the congregation attended a series of four workshops last spring to raise awareness and increase understanding of gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual issues.

At its annual meeting in June, members voted to apply for Welcoming Congregation status after completing all required objectives.

Information: 410-861-8820.

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