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Cecil Whig - - OPINION -

To the progress be­ing made in the fu­ture of the Fam­ily Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­ter in Elk­ton. This week, the Mary­land Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion agreed to lease the cen­ter from the town start­ing in Oc­to­ber as it looks to find its foot­ing fol­low­ing Ce­cil Col­lege’s de­ci­sion to end its in­volve­ment with the cen­ter at the end of the year. Ce­cil Col­lege has op­er­ated the cen­ter in part­ner­ship with the Mary­land Fam­ily Net­work for more than 25 years. But the col­lege an­nounced in April that it planned to end this ar­range­ment due to the loss of a grant as well the con­tin­ued fi­nan­cial un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing the cen­ter’s pri­mar­ily grant-funded ser­vices. The cen­ter cur­rently serves more than 70 chil­dren from ages 6 weeks to 5 years old and their fam­i­lies through preschool and preK classes as well as par­ent­ing and GED classes. MRDC al­ready rents space in the cen­ter for one of its Head Start pro­grams, which pro­motes school readi­ness for chil­dren from birth to age 5. While the MRDC will main­tain the build­ing, all par­ties are still search­ing for an­other group to fund and op­er­ate the Early Head Start classes. Hope­fully that step will come soon.

To the county coun­cil’s de­ci­sion to re­ject rec­om­mended salary in­creases for coun­cil mem­bers and the county ex­ec­u­tive. We ad­vo­cated against the mea­sure ear­lier this year, even though it was a rel­a­tively small amount of $2,000 each an­nu­ally, be­cause the sum failed to achieve the goals it set out to achieve: at­tract qual­i­fied can­di­dates and re­main com­pet­i­tive with sim­i­lar ju­ris­dic­tions. An ad­di­tional $2,000 a year — be­fore taxes — would surely not draw more qual­i­fied can­di­dates for an al­ready tax­ing and of­ten thank­less po­si­tion. Mean­while, a re­view of other char­ter coun­ties found the salaries in line with sim­i­lar-sized col­leagues. At the core of the po­si­tions is a de­sire to serve the pub­lic. Coun­cil­woman Joyce Bowls­bey per­haps said it best when she said, “None of us are here for the money.” The $12,000 a year can be bet­ter spent else­where.

To Elk­ton’s new­est pro­mo­tional stunt: A well-crafted mu­sic video set to Justin Tim­ber­lake’s sum­mer an­them “Can’t Stop the Feel­ing” that fea­tures the vi­brancy and char­ac­ter of the county seat’s gov­ern­ment and down­town busi­nesses. The town has taken its lumps over the last decade, but the mu­sic video, which fea­tures a mon­tage of danc­ing and lip synch­ing, could help change some of the per­cep­tions around Elk­ton. The video’s pre­miere last week drew more than 100 peo­ple, who cel­e­brated the fi­nal prod­uct to­gether. We watched the video this week and were im­pressed by what the town was able to pro­duce. Keep up the good work!

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