In other gatherings, the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission holds a grand banquet celebrating its multiple successes over the past year, after which EDC Executive Director Tim Troxell is fired and replaced with a Post-It note that asks prospective businesses to be patient for the next five or six years while the county gets its act together.
But at least there’s progress on the stadium, after Gov. Martin O’Malley and Comptroller Peter Franchot, in separate visits to Washington County, say that a stadium deal will succeed as long as it is supported by local government and business leaders. Hope is boosted in the community, as this is the first thing that O’Malley and Franchot have agreed upon in 3 1/2 years.
In other political news, in what might later be deemed as just a teensy bit premature, the Maryland GOP names petition guru Neil Parrott as its Man of the Year.
Order is finally restored to the Washington County business scene when the Economic Development Commission announces that it has replaced Troxell with a consultant study. Progress is made on plans for a baseball stadium as well, despite a growing realization that it is not popular among city voters. To restore public confidence, the Hagerstown City Council votes to call it a “multiuse” stadium instead of a “baseball” stadium. In subsequent work sessions, the council also decides to start referring to it as the ewnay adiumstay.
County Commissioners lend their assistance to the ewnay adiumstay as well, voting to contribute an annual $400,000, not to the stadium, but to the county’s consolidated 911 emergency communications center, which will send the money in small unmarked bills to an unnumbered bank account in the Cayman Islands, which will wire it to a witch’s market in La Paz, Bolivia, at which point any and all curses will be removed from the sum before it, after being laundered through a North Korean cabbage processor, will be sent back to the city of Hagerstown’s ewnay adiumstay fund.
Upon hearing of this arrangement, the newly appointed EDC Consultant Study demands a raise.
Having solved the stadium issue, elected leaders turn their attention to a troubled senior-center project. After bids come in too high, the County Commissioners rein in the project by eliminating the second floor. For purposes of clarity, it should be noted that this is not a joke.
Things aren’t working out as well in the county’s recycling efforts, however, as residents who have been targeted for Washington County’s new recycling program are informed they will no longer be permitted to recycle. For some reason, County Administrator Greg Murray hails this as good news.
Not as promising were the announcements that a 400-employee ice cream plant in Hagerstown will close over the summer, and that a coveted financial services firm has backed out of a potential deal to build in Washington County. Washington County’s EDC Consultant Study begins drinking heavily.
In a related matter, storm clouds begin to form over Fort Ritchie after Corporate Offices Property Trust, the owners of the former U.S. Army base, complain that Washington County keeps leaving the toilet seat up. However, another troubled asset — Washington County’s embattled regional airport — gets a boost when it’s announced that yet another airline will attempt to provide commuter flights out of Hagerstown and, even better, the airport might be eligible for a federally funded consultant study.
But who can focus on local government, when the mighty G-8 nations are holding an economic summit right up the road at Camp David? The area bristles with excitement and importance as the world’s great powerhouses announce a financial breakthrough in Europe after Greece agrees not to build a second floor.
Elsewhere on the mountain, COPT and Washington County enter counseling. In airport news, the Regional Airport Consultant Study calls a temp agency to try to line up air service for the coming two weeks.
Meanwhile, faced with a glut of unsold homes in the area’s sluggish real estate market, the Washington County Board of Commissioners extends a stimulus plan designed to spur the construction of new homes. At the same time, the commissioners say they are still thinking over a revolving loan plan to assist small businesses, even though they have been thinking it over for nearly a year.
On the education front, the county spends $1.5 million on land for a new elementary school, but winds up taking heat when it’s revealed a local developer flipped the property for nearly four times what he paid for it less than a year before. After careful consideration, the developer is elected president of the G-8 economic summit.
COPT and Washington County agree to start seeing other people.
Looking to mend the black eye that came about from an unpopular recycling program, Washington County seeks to win back the admiration of the public by stripping funding from the school nurse program. After a hastily called public hearing, the commissioners, while dangling from their thumbs, say it was never their intention that school nurses be fired and blame the whole misunderstanding on the EDC Consultant Study.
Obviously shaken by this development, the commissioners hold a public hearing in which plenty of people testify in favor of the South County Rail Trail — and then dutifully vote to kill the project. Meanwhile, airport officials turn commuter air service over to a crop duster named Earl, who brags that his airline “can’t afford to crash.”
In politics, the Maryland GOP’s Man of the Year Neil Parrott announces he has enough petition signatures to send the state’s newly drawn 6th Congressional District to referendum. There, it will join referendums to overturn laws legalizing gay marriage, granting in-state tuition rates to undocumented immigrants and allowing state residents to vote Democrat.
The county commissioners, meanwhile, announce that the Mecaer Aviation Group will bring about 20 good-paying aircraft maintenance jobs to the regional airport, a sign that a recently opened aviation school there is already paying dividends. What should have been good news for everyone is marred when the EDC Consultant Study and the Regional Airport Consultant Study get into a shouting match over who deserves the credit.
More excitement builds in the community when The Herald-Mail Co. changes its name to Herald-Mail Media and announces the formation of a new cable channel, which will broadcast news, weather and the new reality show “Editors Gone Wild.” In other fantasies, Washington County initiates a PR campaign to tell people who aren’t recycling that they are.