Ep. 91 - 2018 Unity Campaign with Ken Oldham, executive director of United Way of Frederick County

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Reliable private transportation. An affordable place to live. A safe and enriching childcare program.

These are just some of the services offered by area charities that will benefit from the 2018 Unity Campaign for Frederick. The annual collaborative fundraiser aims to break the record books by raising $475,000 for 31 nonprofits that provide health, educational and financial stability programs to struggling Frederick families.

But where exactly does that money go? And who does it help? And why does it matter?

On this special episode of Frederick Uncut, host Colin McGuire and reporter Nancy Lavin talk with United Way of Frederick County executive director Ken Oldham about the expanded scope and size of this year's collaborative campaign, which kicks off Sept. 11 followed by the signature "12 days of giving" Sept. 11-23. By the way, the end date happens to be Oldham's birthday, if you're looking for a gift idea.

We also hear from leaders of three three Unity Campaign participants about the programs and people they serve with the help of fundraisers like Unity.

Rick Trawick, director of Second Chances Garage, highlights the need for affordable, refurbished cars that give rural residents a way to get to work, to the store, or many other services otherwise inaccessible by public transportation. Habitat for Humanity of Frederick County's Executive Director Ron Cramer talks affordable housing, and the ways Habitat has filled the need for first-time home-owners and longtime residents of deteriorating properties. Lisa McDonald, the Boys & Girls Club of Frederick County's executive director, explains how planned expansion into the old Lincoln Elementary School will allow the club to quadruple its after school and summer programming for children and teenagers.

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Ep. 90 - Paige Tolbard, student member of the BOE

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Track star, outspoken advocate for minorities, Spanish-speaker and Kardashian-hater. Paige Tolbard is the newly-minted Student Member of the Board of Education, and she's launching her tenure on the board with a bang. 

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When things got heated during a conversation about racism and the achievement gap at last Wednesday's board meeting, Tolbard says she spoke for the students who would otherwise be unrepresented. A senior at Frederick High School, she ran a campaign on promoting school safety and providing information in both Spanish and English for the growing population of English Learners in Frederick County. 

On the latest episode of Frederick Uncut, Tolbard sat down with News-Post county government reporter Allen Etzler and News-Post education reporter Emma Kerr to bring us inside the mind of the modern high school student, tell us a little about the personal experience she brings to her new role and address the challenges of being heard as a student. 

She also tells you about her favorite star, Jake Paul — just kidding — and her primary means to getting a laugh: Twitter. 

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Ep. 89 - Per-Olof Kippel, winner of the 2017 National Clustered Spires High Wheel Race

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Per-Olof Kippel is back in Frederick this week to try to earn a second trophy to put in his bike shop. Kippel, the defending champion, joined the Frederick Uncut podcast this week with host Colin McGuire and reporter Allen Etzler to chat about high wheel bicycles and the upcoming race.

Kippel discussed shipping his high wheel bicycles from Sweden to Pennsylvania, where he traveled to pick them up Monday and assemble them before taking them to Frederick.

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Kippel, who will compete in high wheel races in Belgium and Frederick this year, talked about his affinity for Frederick’s race course — a nearly half-mile course he said provides the perfect blend of slight hills and straightaways.

The race is on Saturday with events scheduled to start at 1 p.m. The championship race is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.

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Ep. 88 - Alderman Roger Wilson

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Through juggling duties as a Frederick city alderman and Frederick County’s director of government affairs and public policy, Roger Wilson averages roughly 14-hour workdays.

This week, the first-term alderman also found some time to sit down with Frederick Uncut host Colin McGuire and News-Post reporter Mallory Panuska to talk about a variety of topics, including balancing the two jobs, for the latest episode of Uncut.

Wilson was one of the three new aldermen elected to the board in November, and within eight months he has already managed to spearhead an ordinance to form a Youth Advisory Council, co-sponsor legislation to create a senior citizen tax credit for low-income city homeowners and help allocate money for sidewalks in the fiscal 2019 budget.

Wilson also talked about his goal to bring back bulk trash pickup to the city, his dedication to transparency and ethics and the candidate he is endorsing in the 6th District congressional race.

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Ep. 87 - Brian Staiger, Senior Project Manager, Construction Dept. for FCPS

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Brian Staiger is a busy man in the summer months.

Taking a leadership role on school construction projects this year, Staiger is working to shepherd to completion what will become the new Rock Creek School on the Walkersville Middle School site.

Rock Creek School is a school for children ages 3 to 21 who have severe intellectual, physical, emotional, hearing, visual and learning disabilities. A number of benefits have been found for these children when their schools are adjacent to another school, Staiger said. For example, Rock Creek students can interact with other students. But determining which school would be the new home for Rock Creek students was arduous from the start.

On the latest episode of Frederick Uncut, Staiger sat down with podcast host Colin McGuire and News-Post education reporter Emma Kerr to walk through the early, contentious stages of finding a location for the new school through to addressing the latest "bait-and-switch" allegations from Walkersville officials.

He also tells you a few bits about his journey to FCPS and answers a question about his favorite restaurant in a bait-and-switch of our own.

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Ep. 85 - Stuart Harvey, Frederick County Election Director

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After months of preparation and many long days, Frederick County Election Director Stuart Harvey can finally take a breather — at least a short one.

Not only will Harvey and his staff soon transition to the general election in November, but they’ll also assist with the upcoming city election in Brunswick.

Harvey took some time this week to stop by the studio for the latest episode of Frederick Uncut, with host Colin McGuire and News-Post City Editor Pete McCarthy.

Harvey opened up about what first got him interested in politics, which resulted in a career overseeing elections. On this week's episode, find out the greatest challenges associated with preparing for an election, including what happens when unforeseen issues pop up at the last minute.

Harvey also explained what the typical days and weeks are like leading up to the primary. Here's a hint: Picture 80-hour workweeks.

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Ep. 84 - James Tucker, superintendant of Maryland School for the Deaf

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Maryland School for the Deaf opened its doors 150 years ago. At the time, there were few options for parents with deaf children.

Over the years, the school, which serves students from age 2 through high school at its Frederick campus and up to eighth grade at its Columbia campus, has and grown and continues to expand.

The school was the first of its kind in the nation to create a family education program in the 1960s. It was also the first to implement home visits to ensure deaf children’s families were nurturing their language skills early on.

On this week's episode of Frederick Uncut, James Tucker, superintendent of Maryland School for the Deaf, joins host Colin McGuire and News-Post reporter Hannah Dellinger to discuss his philosophy on deaf education as well as challenges that the deaf community has historically faced in education.

Tucker discusses his role in protests at Gallaudet University that led to the hiring of the school's first deaf president in 1988, and the deaf community's early adoption to advances in communication technology.

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Ep. 83 - Kris Fair, president of the board of directors for The Frederick Center

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Kris Fair caught his first glimpse of a gay relationship watching "Queer as Folk" through his family's home TV.

It was the early 2000s and Fair, then a student at Linganore High School, didn't know anyone who was "out" as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ): none of his classmates, his teachers or community members. Fair himself was unsure of his sexual orientation; he thought he liked men, but was somewhat convinced by the systemic mantra that it was "just a phase."

A chance perusal through the Sunday night TV options led him to the Showtime TV series, which he could only view through a scrambled picture because his family did not subscribe to that channel. 

Fast forward almost two decades, and Fair's then-concealed and uncertain identity as a gay man has become an integral part of his life and advocacy for LGBTQ rights, including as president of the board of directors for The Frederick Center.

On the latest episode of Frederick Uncut, Fair sat down with host Colin McGuire and News-Post reporter Nancy Lavin to detail the journey of acceptance, both personally and community-wide, that has occurred with regard to the LGBTQ community. Among the many signs of progress is the expansion of Frederick Pride, which will hold its 7th annual event Saturday in downtown Frederick.

What began as a small community picnic in Ballenger Creek — not even titled a "Pride" event to avoid some controversy, according to Fair — has blossomed into a full celebration along Carroll Creek Linear Park.

Fair also shares his own "coming out" story, reflections on his recent bid for political office, and his favorite TV show ... which, surprisingly, is not "Queer as Folk."

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Ep. 82 - A look back at the May flooding

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In a special episode of the Frederick Uncut podcast, host Colin McGuire and News-Post reporter Allen Etzler discuss the flooding in May, which stranded motorists, train passengers and caused millions of dollars’ worth of damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure.

The two are joined by staff reporters Mallory Panuska and Hannah Dellinger, as well as photographer Graham Cullen, as they recount their reporting from during and after the flood.

Hear from county residents Linsey and Louie Ashton, whose Feagaville neighborhood sustained extensive damage from floodwater, which swept away animals, vehicles and brought down a garage.

Listen as downtown business owners Ashley Goldston, owner of Indellibelle, and Bob Berberich, co-owner of Vinyl Acres, speak to Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor as he visits with downtown proprietors affected by the flood.

Stona Cosner, superintendent of Frederick’s Wastewater Treatment Plant also discusses how the facility couldn’t keep up with the amount of water entering the system, which led to wastewater backing up into some basements in the city.

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Ep. 81 - Daniel Phoenix Singh, executive director of New Spire Arts

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Daniel Phoenix Singh wants everyone to be closer to the arts — and to integrate arts and creativity into more aspects of everyday life.

Singh, who has been executive director of New Spire Arts since January, has a big vision for artists in Frederick and bringing more creative influence to areas like urban planning and education.

He wants Frederick’s children to explore art and dance and music in new ways and apply those skills to other areas of life like conflict resolution. And he wants New Spire Studios to be a place where artists of all ages can learn new skills without fear of failure or judgment.

On the latest episode of Frederick Uncut, Singh sat down with podcast host Colin McGuire and News-Post reporter Danielle E. Gaines to talk about embracing his love of arts in the U.S. after immigrating from India in his late teens. He also shares his Bollywood favorites and the role of art in his personal development.

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Ep. 80 - Elizabeth Cromwell, president and CEO of the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce

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Elizabeth Cromwell took a roundabout route to her position as president and CEO of the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce.

Growing up in Connecticut, Cromwell went to college in New Orleans and lived in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco before coming to Frederick. The geographic variety gave her different perspectives on how businesses can succeed.

On the latest episode of Frederick Uncut, Cromwell sat down with podcast host Colin McGuire and News-Post reporter Ryan Marshall to talk about her path to Frederick and about business in the county.

One of the most common things she hears from chamber members is how important it is to have a base of qualified people that can fill their employment needs, she said.

She talked about some of the biggest challenges facing business in the county, and the continued emergence of the technology industry here.

She also discussed several events that will be going on in the county in the next few months, and trying to find the line between when an event has run its course and when it can continue on to be a perennial on the county’s social calendar.

Ep. 79 - Jan Gardner, Democrat Candidate for County Executive

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In the final episode of our Frederick Uncut interview series with county executive candidates, the incumbent, Jan Gardner (D), shared highlights from her first term and made the case for a second.

“We need that leadership to extend over time, and that’s why I really believe that we need another term of pragmatic, sensible, stable leadership without all the drama,” Gardner said.

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She touted funding the Board of Education above the mandated Maintenance of Effort levels and a higher teacher pay scale. She also said the county’s economy had improved over her term, and she promoted the business incubator ROOT.

One of Gardner’s biggest accomplishments, she said, was retaining county ownership of the long-term care facilities Citizens and Montevue. In September 2016, Gardner announced the final settlement that returned the facility to county ownership. The previous Board of County Commissioners had approved selling the nursing home and the land to Millersville-based Aurora Holdings VII in June 2013.

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Ep. 78 - Brunswick prom king talks being trangender

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A Brunswick High School teen joined the Frederick Uncut podcast this week to talk about being transgender in high school.

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Mark, a senior at Brunswick who was recently voted prom king, opened up to host Colin McGuire and News-Post reporter Allen Etzler about the trans community at Brunswick High School.

Mark has experienced very different attitudes in school and at home in regards to his status as a trans person, he said. School has often been the place where he feels most like he can be himself.

In the coming weeks, Mark will continue the next step in his transition, and begin testosterone injections, which he will receive for the rest of his life, he said. Mark broke down the process of how a trans person gets testosterone, and expressed his excitement about growing facial hair.

Mark also talked about his prom king victory and mentioned that a student who originally walked out of prom after Mark won later apologized for his behavior.

For much of high school, Mark has been romantically involved with several partners. He talked about dating as a trans person, and said one of the first things he mentions to a potential partner is that he is transgender. Mark said typically, the partner has been understanding and supportive and it hasn’t affected the relationship.

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Ep. 77 - Regina Williams, Republican Candidate for County Executive

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Regina Williams, a Republican candidate for Frederick County executive, says she is disappointed in charter government.

“It has made many things political that weren’t,” she tells host Colin McGuire and political reporter Danielle E Gaines on this week's episode of Frederick Uncut. Changing what she saw as divisiveness in county politics, she continued, “begins with two things: communication and open-mindedness.”

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Williams was born and raised on a dairy farm in Johnsville and said she helped milk the cows before going to school. Her background, she said, enabled her to develop a work ethic and humility that she believed could serve her well in politics and help her meet her stated goal of creating a more civil atmosphere in county government.

 

Ep. 76 - Kathy Afzali, Republican Candidate for County Executive

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Del. Kathy Afzali (R-District 4) says she is “in it to win it” when discussing her run for Frederick County Executive.

The State Delegate joined host Colin McGuire and News-Post political reporter Danielle E. Gaines to discuss her candidacy for Frederick County Executive.

Afzali said her competitive spirit was in some ways forged in her former career as a dancer of relatively short stature on Broadway. She appeared in “Cats,” “Peter Pan” and “Grease.”

In that regard, she revealed that her biggest regret — not only in politics but in life— was getting in a 2012 Congressional race she was destined to lose. Afzali had heard that incumbent Roscoe Bartlett was going to bow out of the election that year, but he didn’t. Afzali ended up losing to him in the District 6 primary by a vote of 17,600 to 4,115 and garnering the ire of local republicans.

“It was really painful and people hated me,” she said. “I mean, the venom!”

Despite her competitive streak, she touted the importance of fostering a more collaborative environment in county government.

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Ep. 75 Pam Holtzinger, forensic nurse examiner

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Pam Holtzinger, a forensic nurse examiner at Frederick Memorial Hospital, joins host Colin McGuire and News-Post reporter Kate Masters to discuss one of her longest-running initiatives — training nurses across the state to conduct pediatric forensic exams in cases of child abuse and neglect.

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The important but difficult work is suffering from a lack of qualified providers who can conduct the exams. Holtzinger, who served on a state task force that examined backlogged sexual assault kits, also addresses domestic violence and strangulation as well as work to recruit more forensic nurses.

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Ep. 74 - Kirby Delauter, Republican candidate for County Executive

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Kirby Delauter, Republican candidate for County Executive and current Frederick County Councilman, joined host Colin McGuire and News-Post political reporter Danielle E. Gaines to discuss his aspirations for higher office as well as how public office has changed him over the years.

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He referenced unflattering coverage such as the 2015 #KirbyDelauter controversy in which he took to Facebook to threaten a Frederick News-Post reporter with legal action if she used his name without permission. The story gained national traction and generated mocking memes on social media.

Delauter’s top priorities for the county, he says, are building schools, moving forward with a proposed senior tax credit and supporting the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office in its 287(g) program- an agreement to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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Ep. 73 - Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership's MaryLynn Hinde and Ashley Bennett

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Leading the charge to identify and serve homeless students' vast and varying needs are MaryLynn Hinde and Ashley Bennett, New Horizons' program coordinator and social worker, respectively. On this week's episode, the pair sat down with host Colin McGuire and News-Post reporter Nancy Lavin to share what they've seen, learned and hope to expand moving forward.

Bennett also shares some details from her own experience as a homeless high school student, highlighting the fear and uncertainty that characterized her teenage years — feelings she has seen in many of the students she now helps.

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Ashley Bennett, left, and MaryLynn Hinde

Ashley Bennett, left, and MaryLynn Hinde