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County Comment: Home Chemical Safety Week and Poster Contest

[Photo Caption: Home Chemical Safety Week Poster Winners. Front L-R: Lexus Guthrie, Jazlyn Davis, Cody Crouse. Standing L-R John Latimer, John Barr, Sheriff Doug Mullendore]

County Comment
Home Chemical Safety Week and Poster Contest
by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer

In its regular meeting on April 17th the Washington County Board of County Commissioners issued a proclamation for Home Chemical Safety Week, and presented awards to winners of then annual Chemical Awareness Poster Contest for elementary school students.
Emergency Management Coordinator Verna Brown and Fire and Emergency Services Director John Latimer brought the annual event to the Board.
A Proclamation designating April 15-21 as Home Chemical Safety Week in the County and in the City of Hagerstown was presented by Commissioners' President John Barr. Hagerstown Mayor Bob Bruchey issued a similar proclamation.
For the past 7 years the Local Emergency Planning Committee has partnered with the Washington County Public Schools and area businesses to provide an educational program on home chemical safety to fourth grade students. The two-lesson program provides students information on the definition of a chemical, how to read labels and develop safety rules for proper storage and handling of chemicals. The participants are given an opportunity to illustrate a particular chemical safety tip learned during the program in a poster contest.
The winners receive a gold medal and prizes from participating sponsors including book bags, U.S. Savings Bonds and gift cards. All finalists receive a T-shirt and a silver medal. The County's Special Operations Team provides lunch for the finalists and a ride in their special operations truck for the winners. Approximately 7,000 students have been taught Home Chemical Safety since the start of the program.
Corporate and community sponsors include Good Humor Breyers Ice Cream, Shawley's Gas, the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, Washington County Public Schools, The Ladies Auxiliary from Leitersburg, Fairplay, and Antietam Fire Companies, Washington County Special Operations, and the Washington County Division of Fire and Emergency Services.
The 2007 First Place winner is Lexus Guthrie from Lincolnshire Elementary School, who receives a Gold Medal, a $100 Gift Certificate from Circuit City, and a $100 Savings Bond.
The Second Place winner is Jazlyn Davis from Salem Avenue Elementary School, who also receives a Gold Medal, a $50 Gift Certificate from Toys R Us and a $50 Savings Bond.
This year's Third Place winner is Cody Crouse from Pleasant Valley Elementary School, who receives a Gold Medal, a $50 Gift Certificate from Toys R Us, and a $50 Savings Bond.
The winners' elementary schools - Pleasant Valley, Salem Avenue and Lincolnshire - will receive a pizza party for all fourth graders. All students who participated in the program will receive an ice cream treat from Good Humor/Breyers, and all 11 finalists had lunch at McDonalds provided by the Special Operations Department.

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