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4-H'ers compete in Cecil County 4-H Dairy and Market Steer Show

FAIR HILL — Cecil County 4-H members took to the Stafford Pavilion at the Cecil County Fair Wednesday to compete for ribbons in the Dairy and Market Steer Show.

“Dairy steers are just like meat steers,” said Mackenzie Underwood, who helps with the family farm in North East, is a former member of 4-H and holds the titles Miss Cecil County Farm Bureau, Miss Maryland Agriculture, Maryland Dairy Princess and Maryland Miss Agriculture USA. “But (the meat) is more of a dairy quality.”

Underwood said in processing beef and dairy cows are cut the same into various portions such as ribs and roasts.

“But dairy beef is leaner meat,” she said, adding that cows raised specifically for beef are bulked up and are stockier animals. Obviously, at a dairy farm a male cow is not as necessary – except for breeding – so those are sold for meat or to other farms.

At the Dairy and Market Steer Show, the 4-H members were trying to show their best candidates for the 4-H Livestock Auction to be held Saturday at noon at the fairgrounds. Judge Karson Fahey had the job of choosing the winners. He walked quietly from one to the next, running his hand along the backs of the animals and asking each handler questions.

“Holsteins are more popular with dairy,” Underwood said, noting that what is raised on her family farm. “Angus is popular with beef.”

However she added, Brown Swiss dairy steers tend to win at the fair.

The public is invited to bid at the Livestock Auction. The young animal owners have also been inviting people to attend in hopes of getting the best price for their project animals. Meat rabbits, goats, lambs, pigs and cows will be on the block. Proceeds from the sale will be used by the 4-H member for the next project or toward post secondary education.

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Emergency service reimbursement for Cecil County volunteer fire companies may be on the horizon

ELKTON — Volunteer fire and EMS companies of the Cecil County Firemen’s Association are inching closer to obtaining reimbursement for certain costs related to normal fire and rescue operations through legislation that allows companies more authority to bill insurance companies for payment rather than individuals.

A public hearing for Bill No. 2022-09 Emergency Service Expenses Reimbursement took place Tuesday evening in front of the County Council during a work session where the council worked to understand and adjust parts of the bill to put it in good standing to be passed.

“Cecil County volunteer fire companies provide a critical service in safeguarding lives and homes of Cecil County residents,” wrote County Executive Hornberger in a letter to the council read by Acting Director Steve Overbay during the work session. “With costs continuing to escalate, my administration fully supports company interests in seeking reimbursement from insurance companies to defray costs associated with emergency service.”

The bill currently works to assist volunteer fire companies across the county in billing insurance companies for equipment, medical care, and transportation associated with motor vehicle collisions and rescue operations. The council and Cecil County Firemen’s Association are working to ensure that the bill maintains strict focus on the fact that the billing from the fire companies is to go directly to insurance companies and not individual community members. As of now, it is unclear if the legislation is situational to services provided to uninsured individuals, or provided services as a whole.

In the past, Cecil County fire companies have run into instances where insurance companies have refused to pay claims because there was an absence of county legislation stating that fire companies could bill insurance companies. Director Wayne Tome of the Port Deposit Fire Company noted during the work session that his fire company would only bill if the patient was transported because they could attach that bill to medical bills.

“If you bill it separately, it is a bit more complex to justify and collect that money,” said Tome.

An alternative to collecting this money owed to fire companies would be through additional taxes – something the council is looking to avoid.

“We are trying to introduce legislation here that would prevent any additional taxation of the citizens of Cecil County while also protecting and helping our volunteer fire and EMS companies,” said Councilman Bill Coutz.

Continuing in the letter to the council from Executive Hornberger, she notes that the language of bill 2022-09 should align closer with similar legislation from Howard County’s bill 09-2019. Specifically, Section E of the Howard County legislation which states that a county resident should not be required to pay any out of pocket costs relating to emergency medical services because the resident is deemed to have already paid any uninsured portions of emergency care through their taxes paid to the county.

Councilman Coutz responded by stating that it is virtually impossible for Cecil County to mimic Howard County legislation since Howard County fire service is a fully funded service by the county.

“Cecil County does not have a fully funded fire service and it doesn’t have a dedicated fire tax that Howard County does that pays for the entirety of that legislation (09-2019),” said Coutz.

During the session, Councilwoman Donna Culberson made the suggestion that the legislation should include a generalized cost of service that fire companies across the county would universally charge for.

Director Wayne Tome of the Port Deposit Fire Company noted that in the past, Port Deposit Fire Company would bill anywhere from $100, to $400 for rescue services.

“$400 being the most complex rescue where we would have to cut the roof off, pop a door, stabilize the vehicle, extract the patient, and heavy entrapment,” said Tome. “Then $300, we would pop a door and stabilize the vehicle with not much cutting.”

Tome continued by explaining that the $200 dollar pricing would be for the deployment of a hose line and putting out fires and the $100 would be for deploying absorbent chemicals to clean up hydrocarbon spills.

First Vice President of Singerly Fire Company Robert Muller added to the discussion by noting the extreme difference in pricing that Singerly Fire Company charges versus Port Deposit.

“We have four level rates as well, level one is $750, level two is $1,500, level three is $2,250, and level four which is the most complex is $3,000,” said Muller.

Setting a universal rate for all fire companies to charge across Cecil County will be something that all nine volunteer fire companies that operate as individual entities would have to agree upon. Nothing from the public hearing for bill 2022-09 is final. The next hearing for the bill will be Tuesday, August 2, 2022.