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Fishy filing in Fifth District?

(July 15, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


Catherine M. Forbes, campaign manager for County Council candidate Mike Ertel, Democrat, Perry Hall/Towson, filed a complaint with the Maryland State Board of Elections on July 5. She alleges that candidate William Howard Paulshock, owner of Bill’s Seafood and Catering at 9016 Belair Road, filed for candidacy at his Perry Hall place of business in the Fifth Councilmanic District. But, she wrote, he lives in Kingsville in the Third District. Article II of The Baltimore County Charter states that a county council candidate must have lived within the district for which he or she is running for office for at least two years.

The paper trail concerning this matter is considerable. Forbes looked at the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (MDAT) real property data sheet for Paulshock in October, 2009. At that time it listed 4 Woodmar Court in Kingsville as his and his wife’s principal residence. When Forbes checked again in January, 2010, the principal residence was listed as 9016 Belair Road, the address of the seafood restaurant.

A renewal license with MDAT for Business Entity Information was filed by Paulshock for Bill’s Seafood on May 18, 2009, listing 4 Woodmar Ct. as his principal residence. Paulshock and his wife filed for Homestead tax credits from the county and state in 2009 and 2010. According to law, a Homestead tax credit can only be filed for the one main residence of individuals. These tax credits were filed for 4 Woodmar Court in Kingsville. The Paulshock’s did not file for Homestead tax credits for 2011. For the 2011 filing, minus the request for the Homestead tax credit, they gave their principal residence as 9016 Belair Road.

On the VoterBuilder Maryland website, the polling place of Paulshock’s’ wife Melinda Lee is listed as Kingsville Elementary School. But a voter registration form for William Paulshock, dated May 12, 2009, lists his polling place as Perry Hall Middle. The Loyola-Blakefield school directory of 2008-2009 notes son Bill residing with parents Mr. and Mrs. William Paulshock at 4 Woodmar Court.

Paulshock wrote in his campaign literature, Friends of Bill Paulshock.com, “I consider Perry Hall my residence and so does the law.”  He received notice on July 7 that a complaint was filed against him with the State Board of Elections. He commented, “That’s from my competitor Mike Ertel. I have several residences in Baltimore County and Ocean City. I have only one domicile under the law that is 9016 Belair Road.”

Forbes, who filed the complaint, disagrees. “It appears that Mr. Paulshock is registered to vote according to his business address. We have overwhelming evidence that Paulshock is attempting to run in a district in which he does not reside,” she opined.

Forbes brought the issue to the attention of the Baltimore County Board of Elections on July 6. County board members decided to butt out and let the State Board of Elections handle the complaint.

Dundalk soccer camp goes European style

(July 15, 2010)

- By Lena Sala - 


For the past seven years, soccer players from Europe have been traveling to the United States to teach American kids how to develop a real appreciation for how the game is played.

According to Andy Yianni, one of eight soccer coaches in the program and a former semi-pro soccer player, about 120 children signed up this summer to participate in the Challenger British Soccer Program, which breaks last year’s record of a little over 60 participants.

“Kids from age three to age 16 have joined together to take advantage of this opportunity,” stated Yianni. “It’s been really great to see them get so involved and be full of so much excitement, especially in these uncomfortable temperatures.”

The weeklong soccer clinic took place at the North Point Government Center located on Wise Avenue in Dundalk, and began on Monday, July 5 and ran until Friday, July 9, daily from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Temperatures that week topped out at more than 100 degrees.

The cost for a full day of the soccer clinic is $158 which includes many activities, snacks and, don’t forget, the opportunity to play with European soccer players. This past year, Chris Baxter took over the program which was recently handed over to him by his brother Mike Baxter who operated the clinic for the last six years.

Parents are also joining in on the excitement, especially this year with the growing popularity and interest within the program.

“Both my daughter and son are enrolled in the weeklong camp, and I absolutely love to watch them out there on the field. It’s a great experience for them to see the cultural difference in sports,” acknowledged parent Rodi Maul.

Maul also added that three of the soccer players actually stayed in his home throughout the week, which he admitted was very “cool.”

Yianni believes the reason so many of the kids are so excited about the camp is because of one game in particular called the “World Cup.”

“They love when we break them into groups because each group represents a country such as Argentina, Italy, France and so on. Once we do that, they compete against each other to see what group or country will win,” smiled Yianni.

If this sounds like something you believe your child would be interested in, then don’t wait another minute. Visit www.challengersports.com to register today for a program near you, so that you can make sure your child will enjoy a new understanding and appreciation for what soccer is all about.

Angels Supporting Your Troops, Inc. receives donation from Rosedale Federal Savings & Loan

(July 15, 2010)

- By Allison H. McAlister -


On Thursday, July 8, Robin Stevens, branch manager of Rosedale Federal Savings and Loan Association’s Kenwood location, presents Irene Spatafore and Char Gietka of Angels Supporting Your Troops, Inc. (ASYT) with a $500 check. This donation will be used to pay for the postage to mail packages to our troops overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan.

ASYT has recently received many donations to help them with their cause, including 200 decks of playing cards from Secretary of Veterans Affairs Edward Chow, 980 rosaries from Sister Lambert of St. Ritas, 130 pairs of socks from Grange Elementary School, 400 sample packets of Old Bay seasoning from McCormick and Company, 25 boxes of Girl Scout cookies from leader Jeanette Kemp, plus various donations from CCBC-Essex, Dundalk Optimist Club, Crossroads School, SAM’s Club and Sacred Heart of Mary, just to name a few.

ASYT is always in need of items for our troops, plus cash donations for postage. If you’d like to help this worthy cause, please contact Irene Spatafore at 410-284-5275.

Mount Carmel to start playing football

(July 8, 2010)

- By Ben Boehl -


After 50 years, Mount Carmel High School will have its first football team starting this fall. The school announced they will start with an eight-game schedule in 2010 and will join the MIAA (Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association) League for a full schedule in 2011.

Director of Athletics Mike Naunton said it’s time to add a football team to the athletic program. “The kids in middle school don’t know what it’s like not having football in their lives. There was a period when kids in the area didn’t have a football team when the Colts left, but this generation has grown with up football as the Ravens have been in Baltimore for 15 years,” Naunton explained. “We thought it was time to start a football program. Kids entering high school today have grown up playing football in rec. leagues and we have some good young players out there.”

The local community also wants to give back, so Bartenfelder Farms & Chapel Hills Farm and Nursery are  teaming up to hold a bull roast on Sunday, Aug. 8 from 3 - 7 p.m. at Chapel Hills, 4350 Chapel Road in Perry Hall, to raise money for the new football program. Bartenfelder Farms Owner and County Councilman Joe Bartenfelder and Chapel Hills owner Russell Berk are hosting the event.

“Mount Carmel is the only private school on the east side and it’s important we help it remain strong and vibrant for the community,” Bartenfelder said, whose two sons attend the school.

The bull roast will feature a menu of pork, chicken, various sides, all the fixings, beer and soda, plus music by the Satyr Hill Band, raffles and a money wheel. Last year, a bull roast was held for the Katie and Wil Brady Memorial Foundation and Berk decided to hold a fundraiser this year for Mount Carmel Athletics.

“We were originally going to do a fundraiser for Joe and his campaign, but Joe said let’s raise money for Mount Carmel athletics,” Berk said.  “The goal is to raise $15,000 - 20,000 for the program.”

Mount Carmel has already hired its first football coach, Robb Johnson. He was an assistant head coach at Bowie State and was the head coach at Pikesville High School in 2007. Johnson played at Overlea High and later played college football at Morgan State.

Johnson is excited about being the first head coach at Mount Carmel. He is an Essex resident and believes his team will be competitive because most of his players have grown up playing rec. football. “I don’t think it will be much of a learning curve,” he noted. “I think these kids are ready to play.”

A football program was also added to help the school’s enrollment. Naunton said the school has already heard from 25 students that plan to play football in the fall. “We know that there have been students that didn’t come to our school in the past because they want to play football,” he acknowledged.

Although Mount Carmel won’t play any of the Essex schools (Chesapeake, Eastern Tech or Kenwood) this year in football, Naunton hopes to play some of the schools in football in the future. He is just happy to add a football program to the school.

“Football is a community builder. There is always the big build-up for the game,” Naunton said. “It’s the one sports that everyone knows and loves to talk about.”

Bartenfelder agrees and stated football will be a nice addition to the school. “It’s important to help round out that educational experience. Participating in extracurricular activities helps add to that experience,” he said.

MDE opens communication concerning Sparrows Point consent decree

(July 8, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


Officials from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) claimed they have been meeting with community people concerning the 1997 Consent Decree for cleaning up Sparrows Point pollution. But Russell Donnelly, Chairperson of SECAP, Southeastern Communities Against Pollution, and Bear Creek area resident Bill Pribyl, who follows this issue, said the June 24 session at the Edgemere Volunteer Fire Hall was only the third public meeting to which they were invited since 1997.

While affected residents including Senator Norman Stone, D-6, politely expressed their frustration with lack of progress on the clean-up and with being excluded from information, MDE project managers Barbara Brown and Andrew Fan presented updates. The five areas MDE is concentrating on are Greys Landfill, a wet waste area, Tin Mill Canal, Humphrey Impoundment, the Coke Oven, a dry waste area, and the Coke Point Landfill. Although MDE Deputy Director Mitch McCalmon stated no coke ovens have been in operation in Maryland since 1991, a carcinogenic benzene and naphthalene plume underlies the Coke Oven area and is migrating. Six remediation cells were designed by MDE to remove the contaminant sources and prevent travel of the plume to the Chesapeake Bay.

Installation of sediment and stormwater storage basins, berm installation and final seeding and slope stabilization measures were completed at Greys Landfill. Groundwater monitoring wells have been sampled on a quarterly basis there since July, 2009. Greys Landfill does not have a liner, and the intent is to cap the landfill when it reaches 140 feet.

A real shocker came when McCalmon announced Severstal is building another landfill. The public didn’t have to be notified, he contended, because this site is outside the purview of the Consent Decree. Stone opined he was very happy the meeting was held but hopes Greys Landfill will be capped at any level before work on a new landfill begins.

The MDE team left contact information and professed to be available in the future for listening to suggestions from the public and holding meetings. But in spite of good intentions and the lengthy display of environmental clean-up accomplishments listed on the MDE website, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper on May 29, 2009, notified the MDE, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and past and present Sparrows Point steel plant owners of their intention to sue in federal court. The Notification is based on failure to clean up high levels of carcinogens and other toxins in soils, water and air.

More information about clean-up status is available at www.mde.state.md.us/Programs/LandPrograms/HazardousWaste by following the hazardous waste site link. For information about the Notification of Intent to Sue, key in “1997 Consent Decree” on the Chesapeake Bay Foundation website. For community outreach questions or suggestions, contact MDE project managers Barbara Brown, 410-537-3493 or Andrew Fan of the Mid-Atlantic Region in Philadelphia, fanandrew@epa.gov

Young girl raises money for firefighters

(July 8, 2010)

- By Sheri Booker -

When seven-year-old Addy Branson heard the news the Baltimore County Fire Station 6 in Dundalk had burned, she felt the need to do something. “I want to raise money,” she told her mom adamantly.

“She was very persistent and wouldn’t give up,” added her mom Mallory Branson who aided her in the effort.

The Bransons, who live in Rogers Forge, heard about the two-alarm fire as they watched the local news during this winter’s snow blizzard. The firehouse,which is located on Sollers Point Road, caught fire as crewmembers and members of the National Guard slept overnight. Additional crewmembers were on-call because of the severity of the snowstorm. According to reports, a new $600,000 fire engine was destroyed along with two medic units and a brush truck. A National Guard Humvee was also damaged.

A second grader at Roland Park, bright-eyed Addy encouraged her peers, teachers and parents to contribute to her campaign to raise money for the station. With their help she was able to raise $250. Unfortunately, the Fire Department does not accept donations and the damage was covered by insurance. So Addy and her family donated the money to the Baltimore County chapter of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundations which assists firefighters with illnesses and who are in need.

On Wednesday, the members of Firehouse 6 held a ceremony in honor of Addy and her efforts. She received several citations, including one from County Executive Jim Smith. She also officially donated her funds to the organization. “If we could get more kids to do this, we’d be a lot better off,” said Nick Coronos as he accepted the check on behalf of the Baltimore County Fallen Fire Fighters Foundation.

Oak Crest celebrates annual July 4th parade

(July 8, 2010)

- By Lena Sala -


Friday, July 2, marked 10 years of celebrating red, white and blue at Oak Crest Village Retirement Community, located at 8820 Walther Blvd. The center holds 2,100  seniors ages 60 years and over. Over 137 veterans  who are residents at Oak Crest came out for the July 4th parade and ceremony which recognized all war heroes throughout history.

Before the ceremony began, 97-year-old Pearl Harbor Veteran, Myrtle Watson shared some of her past by speaking about her experience in Hawaii as a nurse in the Army. “I was a nurse in the Orthopedic Ward for about three weeks prior to the attack brought upon the Japanese. I acutally watched the enemy planes fly right over me as I looked out the window of the two-story general hospital,”stated Watson. “The attack was so bad the bodies just began to pile up in stacks, which was very overwhelming since I was working by myself.”

Watson entered the Army as a nurse in 1941 and was forced to depart at the end of 1944 due to a kidney infection which kept her from working. She has been a resident at Oak Crest for 13 years.

Rob Liebreich, Associate Executive Director of Oak Crest, opened up the ceremony by humbly recognizing veterans from the Marines to the Air Force. Every veteran who stood received applause from their fellow neighbors who attended the event. “Standing here today I speak with nothing but respect for all the men and women who made this the greatest country on earth by ensuring our freedom,” acknowledged Liebreich. He also noted the seniors at Oak Crest have totalled up to 40,000 hours of volunteering last year within the community, including making blankets for new immigrants.

“Everyone who is here today, whether they served their nation or is just a civilian, has wisdom of experience which makes them a hero and makes the world a better place,” concluded Liebreich.

Maryland’s destructive illegal immigration legacy

(July 8, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


Although the new Norwood/Holabird Community Association does not endorse candidates or take a stand on political issues, Delegate Pat McDonough, R-7, was given a half hour to share his opinions about the impact of Maryland’s lenient policies towards illegal aliens. The occasion was a June 21 meeting at the Ateaze Senior Center in Dundalk.

McDonough refers to Maryland as a Sanctuary State, the friendliest state in the nation for illegal aliens. Maryland‘s illegal immigrant population is 350,000 and growing, according to him. The illegals receive more benefits than citizens. Residents spent $500 million in health care for illegals and $1 billion for their children’s education. Citizens pay for housing for illegals, including Section 8, which can be disruptive to neighborhoods.

Their children get slots in the Head Start program. Unskilled laborers who are citizens lose jobs, because illegals work for less. Throughout America, wages have been depressed for legitimate workers due to jobs given to illegals.

Turning to another aspect of the same subject, McDonough contended, “The situation concerning Mexico is very depressing.” Illegals send $32 billion back to Mexico. Drug cartels are receiving millions of dollars and use the money to purchase weapons and to move drugs across the border. On the other hand, Mexico, unlike the U.S., has very tough laws against illegal immigration.

He continued, saying we pay about $40 million per year against crime and drugs perpetuated by illegals. In Maryland, the illegal gangs are the MS 13 and Latin Kings.

According to McDonough, Casa de Maryland is bent on destroying the state. Taxpayer funds of $10 million go towards its support, even though one of its objectives is to reclaim the southwest of the United States. Casa de (house of) Maryland was recently praised by The Baltimore Sun as a good works organization. A headquarters was recently opened in the state with $31 million of taxpayer money and accolades from Governor Martin O’Malley and Senator Barbara Mikulski.

Another strong supporter is Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan dictator. His country donated $1.5 million. While in Caracas, the Venezuelan capital, and praising Casa, Chavez was simultaneously talking about overthrowing the United States government, according to McDonough.

Another bone of contention for McDonough is that liberals are against the Arizona Immigration Law. But a recent Rasmussen poll revealed that 66 percent of Americans are for it and only 14 percent oppose it.  McDonough contends the Arizona law is merely a duplication of the federal law with intent to enforce it.

Maryland attorney general Douglas Gansler is opposed to the law. When George Wilbanks, Publisher of the East County Times asked Gansler if he had read the law, Gansler replied he did not because it is unconstitutional for states to repeat a federal law. But McDonough observed that more than 150 state laws have been passed concerning the illegal alien issue.

He has tried to get 11 laws passed to tighten up procedures concerning illegals, but they all failed. “Our political leadership refuses to support the Illegal Immigration Act. They disrespect the law,” McDonough stated. His solution is for voters to “throw the bums out” at the next election.

He continued, “Leaders of both parties are pushing the agenda against liberty. The definition of a citizen is someone who votes. Do you believe our children and grandchildren will have the authority to make a difference in 10 years if we fail?” he queried. He is sending a certified letter to all candidates for the General Assembly and governor’s race, asking them their views on this issue and to make them public.

While answering a question from the floor about jobs and the economy, he quipped, “If we ever go to war with China, we will have to borrow money from them to finance it. They will have to supply our tanks and uniforms, because we no longer create anything here except service jobs.”

County unveils eight new fire engines

(July 1, 2010)

- By Lena Sala - 


On the morning of Friday June 25, County Executive Jim Smith, Fire Chief John Hohman and local officials gathered at Essex Station #7, located at 800 Myrth Ave., to unveil eight new fire engines.

The new fire engines have recently replaced the older models and have been assigned to career fire stations in Essex, Catonsville, Hillendale, Middle River, Westview, Brooklandview, Eastview and Towson.

According to County Executive Jim Smith, the total cost of all the engines is $3.6 million. “It is our duty to provide the recources that are necessary so that our firefighters can have the right tools to protect our community,” said Smith.

Two more new models will be created in the upcoming months. The ninth model will be sent to Dundalk Station #6 and the 10th one will be sent to Sparrows Point Station #57.

“Many people asked how we came up with the money to go about purchasing the models. It’s not something that we did overnight; it was a planned out multi-year process. The foundation of everything else government does is public safety,” Smith explained.

The newly built fire engines contain 250 gallon per minute pumps and can hold a capacity of 750 gallons of water.

During the unveiling, Hohman gave thanks to the County Executive for taking the time and effort to provide the fire stations with new resources.

“Jim Smith deserves a lot of credit because without his financial commitment we would have not been able to provide our employees with the money and tools to do their job,” acknowledged Hohman. 

Fiscal conservatives speak out on government spending

(July 1, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


What’s wrong with the way the Maryland General Assembly handles taxpayers’ money and what to do about it were topics presented to concerned citizens and local elected officials on Tuesday, June 16, at the Holiday Inn in Timonium. Master-minding the event was the Maryland Chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a national non-partisan group which advocates for economically responsible government.

General remarks from former Baltimore County prosecutor Steve Bailey included mention of Northrop Grumman’s wishing to move from California to be near Washington, D.C. and selecting Virginia over Maryland because of our poor business climate. Bailey noted four years ago Maryland was 24th most competitive in business, but now we are ranked 45th by The Tax Foundation, a statistics-gathering organization which has been around since 1937. Another observation of Bailey’s was that Maryland has raised the largest taxes in history, this time around.

The most prominent panelist of the evening was Delegate Steven R. Schuh who was one of only two delegates in the Maryland Legislature (General Assembly) to receive a score of 100 percent from Maryland Business for Responsive Government. Schuh contended the state is spending 42 percent more than it is taking in. Most is on education, Medicaid and pensions for government employees and elected officials.

Spending is up from $13.6 billion in 2007 to $14.5 billion in 2010. Debt is $1,500 for every household. Gimmicks to present a budget which appears to be balanced involve raiding funds - more about that later. Salary or wages of anyone who works from Jan. 2 - April 19 each year goes to paying off state debt - not to the worker.

Other points raised by Schuh are that we are the fourth most taxed state in the country, and the uncertain economic climate is adversely affecting small business. Privately, Schuh said Maryland’s unemployment rate of eight percent while a state such as Nevada has 14 percent unemployment is a mirage - Social Security and proximity to D.C. offer Marylanders an overwhelming number of government jobs which are all financed by taxpayers. Counting these jobs lowers the unemployment percentage rate, on paper.

Panelist Trish Date started as assistant bookkeeper and is now President and co-owner of Rittenhouse Energy Services, a local company founded in 1925 as Rittenhouse Fuel. She said one reason fuel prices are rising is because of the expense to taxpayers of supporting multiple government agencies which duplicate functions and do not share information. Another is government’s foray into costly and impractical green ideas.

Concerning the previously mentioned raiding of funds to present a balanced budget, dollars were taken by the General Assembly from existing programs such as public education, libraries, safety, death benefits, Medicaid, street and road maintenance and construction and the Chesapeake Bay Trust fund. These funds were transferred to the state General Fund. Delegate Susan Aumann, R-42, Towson, questions the constitutionality of transferring $350 million of local taxes from the comptroller’s fund and $20 million from the reserves of the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund. She advised as well this is the third year state employees have been furloughed and did not receive raises or cost of living adjustments.

To highlight the Great Divide between Democrats and the Republican minority in Annapolis, Aumann noted Republicans presented more than $850 million of possible spending cuts with the help of the Department of Legislative Services. But only a tiny portion of these were implemented. To add to the financial woes, it is unclear if the federal government will actually give Maryland an intended $380 million.

Solutions offered to cut down on debt were to cut taxes and bring down the size of government. Schuh quoted former president Gerald Ford who said, “They share a flawed vision that government is to solve all problems.”  Maryland Americans for Prosperity President David Schwartz opined, “One party has been running the state for 50 years. A definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over.”

Although AFP bills itself as non-partisan, its officials said voting for Robert Ehrlich instead of Martin O’Malley for governor and voting to bring more Republicans into the General Assembly would reduce state debt.

Information leak from closed Severstal meeting

(July 1, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


Confidential sources relayed to former Baltimore Sun reporter Mark Reutter the heated goings-on at a June 17 meeting at Severstal which was not open to the public. Reutter has been researching and writing about the steel industry since 1977. Author of “Making Steel: Sparrows Point” (2005), he now covers the local steel mill’s environmental and financial troubles for the website, The Baltimore Brew (www.baltimorebrew.com).

It is distressing to workers that nearly 1,000 slabs of Russian steel were delivered to Sparrows Point and more are expected to be arriving from Russia and Severstal’s mill at Dearborn, Michigan. Local 9477 is considering filing a grievance against Severstal for importing the slabs, because in their opinion, Severstal made an agreement with the union to use only United States steel when it purchased the Sparrows Point mill in 2008.

Another very sore subject for some employees is that in a recent letter plant manager David A. Howard wrote steel operations might be idled up to 45 days beginning around July 1. A meeting between Severstal and Local 9477 following the break will be scheduled for discussing permanent reduction of the labor force by 600.

The easiest way to access Reutter’s article, “Steelmaking’s future at Sparrows Point: uncertain” and his other articles about Sparrows Point steel is to contact him at via e-mail at reuttermark@yahoo.com.

War of 1812 Bicentennial Advisory Committee formed

(July 1, 2010)

- By Sheri Booker -


During Tuesday’s North Point Star-Spangled 200 Conference, Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith introduced the Baltimore County War of 1812 Bicentennial Advisory Committee. Francis Taylor, of the North Point Peninsula Community Coordinating Council, will chair the Bicentennial Advisory Committee and Carolyn Mroz, President of Todd’s Inheritance, will serve as vice-chair. As the state of Maryland celebrates the bicentennial, the committee will seek to educate, engage and celebrate Baltimore County’s War of 1812 heritage.

“The people of Baltimore County continue to display extraordinary pride, creativity, and commitment when honoring our nation’s heritage,” said County Executive Smith. The Bicentennial Advisory Committee is a subcommittee of the Baltimore County Conference and Tourism Advisory Committee. Its members include historians, historic preservationists, educators and researchers, citizens developing water, bike, and trail pathways, and community leaders. Most were in attendance at the North Point Star-Spangled 200 Conference at North Point State Park. Similar conferences have been held in Southern Maryland, Prince George’s County, the Head of the bay region and the Upper Eastern Shore.

The conference included a series of speakers who spoke on the War of 1812, The Battle of North Point, The British Perspective during the War of 1812 and Maryland DNR Plans for North Point War of 1812 Resources. Conference participants also attended tours of Fort Howard, Todd’s Inheritance, Aquila Randall Monument, Battle of Acre Park and Battlefield State Park.

“The War of 1812 Bicentennial Celebration is an opportunity for the entire state to share our heritage. Visitors from across the country will come to Maryland to learn about our history and celebrate the American spirit,” said Bill Peneck, executive director of the Maryland Star Spangled 200 Commission.

For more information on the Maryland War of 1812 visit  www.starspangled200.org and www.warof1812.org.

Baltimore County War of 1812 
Bicentennial Advisory Committee
Francis Taylor (chair), North Point Peninsula Community Coordinating Council
Carolyn Mroz (vice chair), Todd’s Inheritance
Jim DeArmey, Baltimore County Public Library
Ralph Eshelman, Cultural Resource Consultant
Christopher George, Author/Historian
Beth Huber, Middle River Water Taxi
Charles Ives, Maryland Department of Information Technology
Glen Johnston, Historical Society of Baltimore County
Ross Kimmel, Maryland Park Service
Bill Korpman, Maryland Department of Public Works
David Malkowski, State Highway Administration
Bob Palmer, Tradewinds Marina
Patricia Paul, Stansbury Park Project
Robert Reyes, U.S. Postal Service
Tim Rualo, Baltimore County Public Schools
Scott Sheads, National Park Service
Gay Vietzke, National Park Service
Harry Wujek, North Point Peninsula Community Coordinating Council
Harry Young, Baltimore County Defenders Day

Eastwood Elementary Magnet School hosts Camp Invention

(July 1, 2010)

- By Lena Sala - 


Monday, June 21 through Friday, June 25, teachers and counselors at Eastwood Elementary hosted Camp Invention, a weeklong summer program that teaches 21st Century life skills to children, including teamwork, problem-solving and hands-on activities.

Students entering first through sixth grades are eligible to participate in the camp. According to Kim Geho, Kindergarten teacher at Eastwood, this is the fifth year in a row that this program has been made possible.

“In order for our students to participate in the program, I had to send out over 20 letters to surrounding businesses in hope that they would donate scholarship money so that the cost of the camp would be less expensive for the parents to enroll their children in,” said Geho.

Out of the 20 letters sent out Geho only received two responses. One from Johns Hopkins University and one from Baltimore Community Foundation, who donated just enough money to the school.

Most of the lessons include many real-world math, science and learning challenges that last from 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Throughout the day students receive snacks as well as lunch, which is provided by the child’s parent.

“Camp Invention allows students to do something productive with their day by keeping them out of trouble as well as from sitting inside all day playing video games,” added Geho.

Back in January is when many of the students began to sign up for the weeklong summer camp and 41 participants from grades one through six took advantage of the program. Some of the activities include “Smart,” where students create different crafts that revolve around science, art and math; “Hatched,” which is an activity where they can earn play money to build their own environments; “I Can Invent” where students can take apart real electronics and use the parts to build their own robots; and finally “Power’d TM,” which allows them to create tiny creatures using electronics. Students participating were also able to have some fun in the sun by taking part in water activities, which included water balloon fights.

This is also a great opportunity for teenagers in school to earn their community service hours which are required prior to graduation.

Constellation group joins community in bay cleanup effort

(June 24, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


General Supervisor of Engineering Projects, Sandy Buxbaum of the C.P. Crane division of Constellation Energy, saw an oyster hotel demonstrated at a Bowleys Quarters Community Association meeting. He thought it would be very helpful in improving the condition of Seneca Creek and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.

The hotel, a wire cage, is a safe place where oysters can be grown to their highest potential. The inside of the device is surrounded by a flotation tube to keep it between 18 to 24 inches below the surface of the water, the cleanest level of waterways with the most plankton for nourishment. Barley grass serves as a filter, and mesh bags are deterrents to predators.

When oysters are four millimeters or the size of a pencil-head eraser, they are placed in the hotels until they grow to be more or less 65 millimeters, after about a year. The spat, in this case 700 to 1,000 baby oysters per cage, discharge millions of sperm which attach to an oyster shell. To wash away any disease, the shells are sterilized by ultraviolet rays of the sun. Contaminated shells are never put back in the water, thereby purifying the stock for everyone.

Why all the fuss? One properly cared for oyster can clean up to two gallons of water per hour or up to 60 gallons a day. Oysters also create reefs which support other aquatic life. Buxbaum noted the C.P. Crane Power Plant, located on Seneca Creek in Bowleys Quarters, has a long pier which is not in use. “Community people can put one or two cages under a pier, but we have room for ten,” he said. The cages are an experimental endeavor for C.P. Crane. If they are successful, more cages will be added.

Buxbaum met with Andrew Murzda, inventor of the oyster hotels, and observed Murzda’s enthusiasm for helping with Bay restoration. About 500 hotels are installed in the Bay with locations in Middle River, Wilson Point, Stansbury Marina, Millers Island and Edgemere.

Fox Ridge, Guardian Angels & legislators go for a walk

(June 24, 2010)

- By Sheri Booker -


When the Fox Ridge Neighborhood Association decided to increase their visibility, there was one idea that stood out among the rest - a Citizens on Patrol (C.O.P) walk in their Essex community. This way the community could actually witness the work that the group does for themselves, even if they never attended a meeting. But hopefully after viewing the parade of policemen and politicians, men in red tams and neighbors, they would want to join in.

On Tuesday night June 15, members of the Fox Ridge Neighborhood Association, the Guardian Angels, both Baltimore City and County Police, and legislators from the Sixth District gathered at Sandalwood Elementary School for the first C.O.P. walk. After a brief overview of rules and safety protocol, the group patrolled the  community on foot. Dozens of neighbors and friends, of all ages, joined the movement, which was led by police escort. Delegates Sonny Minnick, John Olszewski, Mike Weir and Senator Norman Stone were all in attendance.

Bonnie Kroll, a member of the Fox Ridge Neighborhood spearheaded the entire movement, as she searched for a way to get more community members involved. “We are just trying to wake up the neighborhood and point out the things that need to be improved. This is not a high stress crime walk.”  The group made notes of the cars without tags and homes with high grass and neglect, trash and sanitation issues.

The leader of the Guardian Angels, Marcus “Strider” Dent, played a critical role in organizing the event. “This is not just a crime watch. C.O.P. is a stronger way to empower the community,” he said. Dent, who leads the Southern Baltimore non-profit organization enlisted the police agencies to be a part of the walk. The Commander of Essex Precinct Captain DePaul and Chief Johnson lent their support. Lieutenant Colonel Garnell Green of the Southern District in Baltimore City, who works with the Angels regularly, was also in attendance.

For over 25 years, the Guardian Angels have been serving their community. They provide assistance to communities that request it. They support communities through neighborhood patrols and education initiatives with children and families about violence prevention and safety awareness. They currently have requests to meet with nine Baltimore City communities and three counties.

According to Chief Johnson, crime in Baltimore County is down by 15 percent, so county residents are much safer than they were a few years ago. There are 580 homes in the Fox Ridge community. The Fox Ridge Neighborhood Association meets the third Tuesday of each month at Sandalwood Elementary School.

Sandler and other cardiac arrest survivors
thankful for CPR/AEDs

(June 24, 2010)

- By Ben Boehl -


National CPR/AED Awareness Week is the first week of June and the Baltimore County Fire Department wants the public to be aware of how CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and AEDs (automated external defibrillators) can save someone’s life.

County Executive Jim Smith and Baltimore County Fire Chief John Hohman invited cardiac arrest survivors out to Perry Hall Station #55 to share their stories of having a sudden cardiac arrest and how they survived. Smith reminded everyone how sudden cardiac arrest is the number one killer in the country.

“Every year, just over a half million people die of cardiac arrest in America,” Smith said.

An AED is a portable electronic device that stimulates the heart and allows the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm. These devices are on every emergency unit in Baltimore County and are now available in public schools, county government offices and courthouses. Baltimore County calls its public’s access to AEDs “Project Heartbeat.”

“Baltimore County has made a commitment to add AEDs in public places throughout the county,” Smith added. “These are safe, effective and easy to use equipment. They can be used by non-medical personnel.”

For situations where an AED is not available, CPR can sometimes be used to revive a patient in cardiac arrest.

One of the survivors at the June 17 event was WBAL Radio’s “Detour Dave” Sandler, who got treatment from a doctor who performed CPR until paramedics arrived. Sandler is known around Baltimore for his traffic reports on the station.

“Without CPR training, Dave Sandler wouldn’t be helping us get home from work,” Smith said.

Other survivors included a man who started choking on a piece of food in a restaurant in Towson and a man who was working on the highway. All of the survivors, the paramedics on the scenes and the Good Samaritans were honored at the event.

Sandler spoke on behave of the survivors. He was playing at a baseball game in Reisterstown when he collapsed after running around the bases. “I happened to be at the plate and got a hit to knock in the tying run. As I ran, I started to feel dizzy,” Sandler recalled. “I fell down and started to collapse and flatlined after I crossed home plate.”

There was not an AED at the game, but Sandler was revived with CPR.

Many of the patients were revived with an AED. The County encourages private businesses and organizations to begin AED training.  To begin an AED program, call the EMS Division at 410-887-4860.

Discussion over Karll Trust Park site continues

(June 24, 2010)

- By Sheri Booker -


On Wednesday night June 16, members of the Edgemere Sparrows Recreation Council met in the cafeteria of Edgmere Elementary School to discuss development of the Karll Trust Park Site. Bud Chrismer, Deputy Director of Recreation and Parks and Jean Tansey, Chief of Capital Planning and Development led the meeting. The site is in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area and consists of 41 acres, 26 of which are undevelopable environmental areas and a related buffer. The buffer divides the site into two developable parcels: Parcel A, which consists of 11 acres and Parcel B, which consists of 3.9 acres.

In a prior meeting held on Feb. 22, members of the community compiled a list of “wants” and “don’t wants” in regards to the Karll Trust Park site. Some of the “wants” included two athletic fields, pavilions and playgrounds, dog park, lit hike/bike trail, magnet school with a promenade, synthetic field, previous parking, multi-use community center. The “don’t wants” included access from Chesapeake Avenue, wetlands dredged, light glare onto Chesapeake Avenue, over development.

Ms. Tansey presented four conceptual drawings based off of the “wants” and “don’t wants” list. The first drawing consisted of two fields, 9,000-square foot community building with meeting area and playground. The second concept included two fields (one lit and one unlit), Skate Park, Dog Park and no building. The third concept included a field, building, Dog Park, Skate Park, trails and a nature preserve. And the final drawing included a community building, trails, nature preserve, lit field, storage building, Skate Park and Dog Park.

After some discussion from those in attendance, Ms. Tansey made an additional drawing known as Concept 5, which will include a building larger than the proposed 9,000 square feet, one lit field and another unlighted field and a playground. The majority of people in attendance agreed to Concept 5. However, the Director of Recreation and Parks will make the final decision on concept plan layouts.

Historic welcome for Air National Guard

(June 17, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


The first ever Hometown Heroes Salute ceremony was held by the 175th Wing of the Maryland Air National Guard at Warfield Air National Guard base on Eastern Boulevard in Middle River on Sunday afternoon, June 13.

What is unique about this program is both service members and their families were honored. Among “those who cherish freedom and liberty more than life,” 700 combat missions were flown without loss of life and without safety incidents.

Ten people representing more than 1,200 Maryland Air Guardsmen who have deployed since September 11, 2001, were honored - one for each year since the war began. Military members and their families were recognized for length of deployment. Guardsmen who deployed for 30-179 days received a letter of appreciation. Troops deployed for longer periods of time received other awards.

Individuals who remained at home were thanked for performing day-to-day tasks such as caring for sick children and running a household. Spouses and significant others received an engraved pen and pencil set. Each child received an engraved medal. Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, who serves on the Intelligence and Appropriations committees, was acknowledged for his help with the fire station on the base and his interest in ensuring anything pertaining to airplanes is in good order.

Tech Sergeant David Speicher shared a bit of his experience in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and other locations near the Pakistani border. “This war is difficult, because there is no centralized government. But I see us making progress. We fly missions to discourage the enemy. We show force and have 30 millimeter guns, but we err not to hurt civilians or damage property.

“We came to take out the Taliban, but after the war is over, we must stay to win the hearts and minds of the people and to train local police and fireman,” stated Speicher, who is stationed at Fort Meade. He expects to be deployed again overseas, but the location of his future destination must remain confidential.

Other Hometown Heroes Salute ceremonies are expected in the future.

The 175th Wing of the Maryland Air National guard is comprised of the 104th Fighter Squadron with A-10C fighters and the 135th Airlift Squadron with C-130J cargo aircraft. Approximately 1,500 employees of the Maryland Air National Guard contribute nearly $80 million annually to Maryland’s economy.

Wilson Point Park wins Presidential Award of Excellence

(June 17, 2010)

- By Lena Sala - 


Wilson Point Park, located at 950 Beech Drive in Middle River, recently won the Presidential Award of Excellence for its 2009 design, given by the The Maryland Chapter of The American Society of Landscape Architects. The organization  helps educate and participate in the planning and architectural design of the surrounding natural environments.

The goal of this awards program is to promote excellence in the Maryland and Washington Metropolitan   area for outstanding architectural projects, based on quality of design. The three entry categories that the judges use to recognize the park’s achievements include: communications, which evaluates how well the architect intertwined history of the area, with techniques and technologies; analysis and planning, which recognizes a variety of activities that guide and evaluate landscape architecture design; and finally, design, which recognizes “site specific works of landscape architecture or urban design.”

The award is given to an outstanding project which reflects history based on its location and exceptional design, which makes it no surprise that Wilson Point Park was chosen as recipient of this award.

The 25-acre neighborhood park, located near The Martin State Airport and Lockhead Martin Manufacturing facility, was designed by architects Hord Coplan Macht, Om Khurjekar and Chris Schein. The designers decided to give the park an aeronautical theme based on the surrounding area. The park structures are made with standard metal which helps to provide the community with an image that goes along with the theme and represents different components of an aircraft such as wings, tails, propellers and other simple metal components.

The park includes a comfort station, playground, athletic fields, picnic pavilions, as well as parking and a boat ramp, making it the perfect location for some fun in the sun.

Essex resident Rivers gets drafted by L.A. Angels

(June 17, 2010)

- By Ben Boehl -


Just like many kids, Essex resident Ryan Rivers started playing baseball at the young age of 5. He played baseball for the Essex Rec. Council and the Harford Sox. Rivers graduated from Eastern Tech and helped lead the Tech Baseball team to a state title in 2007. He was good enough to receive a scholarship to play baseball at The University of North Carolina-Charlotte, where he majored in mechanical engineering. For most players, baseball is over after high school or college, but not for Rivers. Not only will he continue his baseball career, but also he will get paid to play as Rivers was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

“It was a great feeling to get drafted. I worked hard my whole life and to get that phone call was a special feeling,” Rivers said.

Being drafted wasn’t a total shock as Rivers said the Angels contacted him a few days before the draft. Although Rivers thought he’d be selected between rounds 12 - 20, the Angels drafted Rivers in the 35th round.

The 21-year-old Rivers is scheduled to meet with a scout in the next few days and believes he could head out to the west coast by the end of this week.

“The scout who drafted me said he will meet with me when he gets back to the east coast,” Rivers added. “I don’t know where I am going, but there is talk that the team in Tempe (in the rookie league) needs a first baseman. That would be great.”

Rivers was hoping to be drafted out of high school in 2007, but decided to go to college after he wasn’t drafted. If a player goes to college in baseball, he cannot be drafted until the end of his junior year or after he turned 21.

Even though he’s been drafted, he doesn’t feel too much pressure on the field. “The pressure is on for me to decide if I should finish school or go on to play ball. It’s a tough choice, but I feel like I’m ready to play at the next level,” Rivers explained.

Rivers finished up his junior year at UNC-Charlotte where he led the team in home runs (13), RBI’s (63), doubles (16), slugging percent (.630) and total bases (136).

After starting his career as a pitcher in his freshman year, Rivers moved over to first base. Rivers was named to the Atlantic-10 All-Tournament Team in 2010 and was a Second-Team All-Atlantic 10 selection in 2009.

He graduated from Eastern Tech in 2007 and has fond memories of the school and its baseball team.

“I had a great time at Eastern Tech. I remember every year we were in contention for a state title,” Rivers said.

National award given to Baltimore County and MD Army National Guard

(June 17, 2010)

- By Ben Boehl -


The Baltimore County Police Department, Baltimore County Fire Department and Maryland Army National Guard have joined forces over the years to serve the community. They make up the Maryland Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team - MDHART. On May 14, their service to the community was honored for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Swiftwater Rescue by the Higgins and Langley Program Development Award.

County Executive Jim Smith held a press conference to announce the award with Police Chief Jim Johnson, Brig. General James A. Adkins and Assistant Fire Chief Mark Weir at Martin State Airport on Monday, June 9.

“These are not heroism awards, but they recognize preparedness, teamwork and a job well done, sometimes under extreme conditions,” Smith said proudly.

MDHART is made up from the Baltimore County Fire Department, Special Operations Division, the Baltimore County Police Department, Aviation Unit and the Maryland Army National Guard, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 224 Aviation Regiment.

Smith said a perfect situation where MDHART was in action was during Tropical Storm Isabel.

“This award reminds us they (MDHART) make a difference where we least expect it,” Smith added.

Baltimore County Police Chief Johnson thanked the County Executive for providing the resources that enable MDHART to operate. The police department spends more than 2,000 hours a year looking for missing people, searching for suspects and rescuing individuals.

“No progressive police department in America can operate without an aviation department today,” Johnson said. “This is a much needed step to make the citizens in this region much safer.”

Brig. General James A. Adkins, of the Maryland Army National Guard, said his unit is known for helping overseas, but the National Guard is proud to help in the community in the time of need.

“We saw during the blizzard the importance of working together to make sure police, fire and medical services are able to function and serve the community,” Adkins said.

Eastern Tech teacher wins 2010 presidential award

(June 17, 2010)

- By Lena Sala - 


On Monday, June 7, President Barack Obama named Kimberly Burton-Regulski, mathematics department chair at Eastern Technical High School, as the winner for the 2010 Presidential Award of Excellence in Mathmatics and Science Teaching, making this the second time in two years that an educator in Baltimore County has received this honor. No more than two educators per state can be recognized.

Along with Burton-Regulski, another educator in Maryland won the award for excellence in science. Nationwide there were 103 recipients of the award this year, which recognizes Kindergarten through 12th grade math and science teachers for superior teaching within the United States.

“This is really such a great opportunity,” said Burton-Regulski. “I have been at Eastern Tech for 12 years now, and I never want to leave because it’s such a wonderful school and it’s very rewarding for my hard work to be validated.”

According to Burton-Regulski, the process for entering the contest was a long one. “I had to send in a videotaped lesson, along with gathering letters of recommendations from staff and the application itself is a reflection of my teaching,” stated Burton-Regulski. “Everything took about three months before I could finally enter, which took place last spring.”

After a year of waiting and anticipating, her hard work had finally paid off. Burton-Regulski was nominated by Eastern Tech Principal Thomas Evans and Assistant Principal Charlene DiMino.

“Kim is very deserving of this award,” said Evans. “She is not only an outstanding teacher but comes up with excellent solutions to solve problems at the school’s Professional Staff Developmental meetings for mathematics.”

Evans also added that last year, Burton-Regulski’s students all passed their High School Assesments (HSAs). Currently, she is teaching Algerbra 1 and Advanced Placement Computer Science.

On top of being recognized among teachers across the nation, Burton-Regulski will also receive a citation signed by President Obama and an expenses-paid trip for two to Washington, D.C. for a White House awards ceremony where the President will be present. She will also be receiving gifts and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation - who started the program back in 1983 on behalf of the White House of Science and Technology Policy - as well as participating in several days of educational activities.

Ever since the program began, more than 3,900 teachers across the nation have been recognized for their outstanding contributions to math and science as well as their excellence in teaching.

Burton-Regulski graduated from Loch Raven High School and has earned degrees from both Stevenson University and Towson University. Burton-Regulski stated in a press release that she has always wanted to be a teacher ever since she was a little girl. “Winning this award is just a dream come true for me,” she acknowledged.

Baltimore County: The place to be this summer

(June 10, 2010)

- By Ben Boehl -


As a summer arrives, Baltimore County wants its citizens to know there are plenty of free events ongoing in their own backyard. County Executive Jim Smith and members of the county government officially launched its “Free Family Fun” promotion at Marshy Point Nature Center last week.

With school ending and summer approaching, area children are going to be looking for activities and events to keep them entertained.

“There is something for everyone to do in Baltimore County,” Smith said. “Here at Marshy Point, there are canoe trips, nature walks and movie nights.”

Baltimore County Tourism Director Jill Feinberg said a list of events and information can be found at www.visitbacomd.com. “Party on the Plaza Concert Series” on Friday and Saturday nights from 7 - 9 p.m. at the Avenue at White Marsh, the Perry Hall Town Fair on July 10 at the Honeygo Village Center and the Latiofest on Aug. 21 at Dundalk Heritage Park are just to name a few.

“It’s all right here, within easy driving distance. Start your summer at the World Soccer Festival in Towson and end your summer at the Maryland State Fair in Timonium,” Feinberg explained. “And in between, check out Good Life Thursdays at Boordy Vineyards, Juneteenth at the Hampton National Historic Site and Summer Concerts at the Lurman Woodlawn Theatre in Catonsville.”

Smith also listed events in eastern Baltimore County that are available for free or at a low cost. Citizens can go to Ballestone Mansion in Essex, take a taxi ride along the river with Middle River Water Taxi and visit the Glenn L. Martin Aviation Museum. “These are all examples of all the things to do on the east side of Baltimore County,” Smith said.

Bob Barrett, Director of Baltimore County Rec and Parks said swimming is also available at Rocky Point Beach and Park, Miami Beach Park and Oregon Ridge Park until Labor Day at reasonable prices. “You can reach the beach without leaving Baltimore County,” Barrett said.

EMRCC celebrates 50th anniversary

(June 10, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


A cake from Geresbeck’s with yellow icing and deep purple trim stood on a side table at the Wednesday, June 2 meeting of the Essex Middle River Civic Council. Two citations from county government were placed in front of Rocky Jones, President, for public viewing.

Cathy Bevins, county employee and Democratic candidate for the sixth district County Council seat, presented the formal congratulatory announcement from Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith. It stated, in part, “Executive citation to the Essex Middle River Civic Council for 50 years of service for promoting community pride and awareness,” and, “Proud to recognize the outstanding efforts of the EMRCC and wish them success.”

County Councilman Joe Bartenfelder, D-6, who is running for County Executive, read aloud a County Council Resolution which, “extends respect, and admiration and sincere congratulations for 50 years of service to the community, and extends best wishes for continued success.” After that, he conducted a hand-clasping and vow-making ceremony for EMRCC officers and board members.

New and/or re-elected officers for the coming year are Rocky Jones of Essex, President, Bill Balch of Middleborough, VP, Kelly Tingler of Aero Acres, Secretary and Ray Reiner of Oliver Beach, Treasurer. Board members for the coming year who are representatives of various EMRCC member community associations are Bob Bendler of Wilson Point, Randy Cogar of Windlass Run, Tom Germroth of Vincent Farm-Bird River, Edward Kramer of Hawthorne and Ron Walper of Bowleys Quarters.    

Al Clasing of Holly Neck congratulated the EMRCC for its past efforts in improvements to Essex Sky Park, Hart-Miller Island and the massive cleanup on the Back River Neck Peninsula. He reported as well that County Executive Jim Smith cordially received his group’s letter suggesting Fort Howard be made into a national memorial park for veterans. The people Clasing organized as advocates for a park have a combined history of 240 years of volunteer community service.

Some people who made down payments for the now-abandoned project of placing a retirement facility for veterans on the Fort Howard property still have not had their money returned. “We are working from the bottom up,” Clasing advised.

In other news, the Bowleys Quarters Improvement Association invites the public to attend a forum for County Executive and County Council candidates on June 10, 7 p.m. at 1124 Bowleys Quarters Road.  Questions and answers will be taken from the floor. Refreshments, two $25 door prizes and a raffle for Christmas baskets will be offered.

Bowleys Quarters Community Association also invites the public to attend a community association pot luck dinner and candidates forum at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 22. The speakers will be Republican County Executive candidate Kenneth Holt and Republican state delegate candidate Kathy Szeliga, who seeks to be elected in the 7th legislative district. Szeliga has served as an aide to State Senator Andrew Harris.

In other community news, Middlesex has established a new association that will be meeting July 7 at the church behind Mars Supermarket. Ray Reiner reported a rash of break-ins at Oliver Beach. Electronics equipment is being stolen from boats. After stealing, perpetrators put the boat covers back on so the thefts are not noticeable.

Variety of accomplishments for Hawthorne Civic Association

(June 10, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


Lockheed Martin selected Hawthorne as a representative on April 24 to help clean up Hawthorne Park, Darkhead Park and Cowpens Creek. Other groups involved in the effort were Armstrong & Associates, St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church, students from four local high schools and people from Pennsylvania, Virginia, California and Arizona. Seventy-five volunteers removed 3,125 pounds of trash from the above locations. The trash included bottles and cans.

Hawthorne Civic Association donated $100 in scholarship money to Kenwood High winners Gina Markowski and Zachary Wojtkowiak towards college or a career school of their choice. To be eligible, the students had to have attended Hawthorne Elementary School.

A traffic light which was to be part of a system to catch speeding drivers has mysteriously disappeared. A space for the apparatus was dug near Hawthorne Elementary and some concrete installed. A sign is still there, and grass seed was put down. No one will answer questions as to where it will be. The school principal said everything was put in place, but members of the police department removed it. On a different subject, the State Highway Administration decided after a four month study no changes are needed to the traffic light at Kingston Road and Eastern Boulevard.

A $500,000 grant from the government is available for a dog park which would allow dogs to run without a leash inside an enclosure. Some people want it and some don’t. Dogs must be registered for participation. County government requires volunteers to be available from sunup to sundown for overseeing a dog park. Benches and trash cans are mandatory. The suggestion was made by a Hawthorne Civic Association member to send the future dog park to Honeygo. Comments on this subject may be submitted to county government until June 18.

Residents are invited to enjoy the walking paths, playgrounds and waterfront at Darkhead, Hawthorne and Kingston community parks.  On the downside, one resident has seen two large rats in an alley. He hopes people will keep their trash cans covered. 

Baltimore County Public Library kicks off Summer Reading Club

(June 10, 2010)

- By Lena Sala - 


Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith helped to kick off the Summer Reading Club on June 2 at the Perry Hall Library, located at 9685 Honeygo Blvd. Along with Smith, Sneaks, the library system’s mascot, made a special appearance to visit with fourth graders from Gunpowder Elementary School.

The Summer Reading Club will officially begin on June 21 and end on Aug. 14. Anyone from birth through their teens will be able to participate in the reading programs.

“The Baltimore County Public Library system is the best library system not only in Maryland but across the nation, because of the top quality people and the children who take advantage of the rescources that are out there, so that they can not only connect with their neighbors but be able to connect with the world,” stated Smith.

According to Smith, the SRC has been helping children to read and learn for over three decades throughout the county’s libraries.

Fourth graders from Gunpowder Elementary joined Smith for the kick-off, wearing shirts that said “Make a Splash,” to promote this year’s SRC theme, “water.” The fourth graders were awarded the opportunity of meeting with Sneaks the cat by participating in at least two after-school book clubs. All the children received free books provided by the Perry Hall Library.

Smith also added that 1,200,000 children have participated in the SRC activities and have put in 97,400 hours of reading time across the nation.

“Learning does not only take place in school but all year long. Libraries help to keep children connected with learning so that when fall comes back around they are ready to go,” explained Smith.

Jim Fish, BCPL Director, also made an appearance to talk with the children and get them excited about the upcoming SRC.

“We want to welcome everyone from children to parents to come participate in this wonderful program. I want to especially encourage a lot of parents to come so that they can have the opportunity to help interact with their child and making it fun for them to learn,” said Fish.

The children will not only be reading througout the program but will also be able to put on plays based on the book they will be given, so that they are not only sharpening their reading skills but also expanding their imaginations.

“The great thing about the reading club is that it improves the overall growth and ability to learn for the child. I have four young boys of my own and I started reading to them when they were just babies, now they are excellent readers and like to read stories to family members,” smiled Congressman Frank Kratovil, who stood alongside Smith.

BCPL has worked together to help coordinate and create award-winning SRC materials for Maryland since 2000. With the growing recognition of Sneaks across the U.S. and foreign countries, Smith also presented the annual “Sneaks Day “ proclamation to the SRC mascot.

“We hope the SRC will encourage more children to join up this summer and READ, READ, READ!” exclaimed Fish. 

Bevins and R. Weir announce candidacy

(June 10, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


Democrats Cathy Bevins and Rebecca Weir spoke at the Hawthorne Civic Association meeting on June 2 about their future hopes for Baltimore County. Bevins is running for the 6th District County Council seat. Weir, a Democrat, is challenging the three Republican incumbent delegates and Republican candidate Kathy Szeliga in the 7th legislative District.

Bevins’ priorities are to provide quality education, ensure safety of communities and recruit and retain jobs which support families. As Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith’s Eastside Constituent Services Coordinator for several years, she handled over 5,000 inquiries. The identity badge she chooses for her campaign is “Problem Solver.” A large part of her job was handling citizen complaints and working with state delegates and senators to help bring in state aid to the county. She has attended many meetings and other community events from Parkville to Dundalk.

Bevins said she is from a blue collar family and was born and raised in Dundalk in a row home community. She graduated from Dundalk High, and her husband from Kenwood High. Her four children attended public schools. Her new job as of Feb. 1 is as the administrator for the Baltimore County Volunteer Fire Department.

Bevins wrote in her campaign literature, “The working men and women of the 6th Council District need someone who will fight for them, especially in these challenging economic times - I believe I am the best person to serve as their advocate.” Her good news is that Allison Transmission is bringing 200 new jobs to the area which will help offset losses caused by the closing of Schaefer and Strohminger. Kohl’s will be adding 13 jobs.

Candidate Rebecca Weir is interested in helping veterans. She said she was a missionary for veterans in the 700-block of Washington Boulevard and produced a newspaper. She mentioned she fought for veterans for four years at hearings at the State Legislature in Annapolis. Helping veterans is a lifetime commitment for her.

Stopping crime is another interest. She stated she is responsible for closing down two bail bond businesses. On another subject, she commented on her travel to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. to help protect historic Aero Acres. Weir deplores what she perceives to be the negative environmental records of the three 7th District Republican delegates and hopes to reverse this trend.

Weir graduated from Kenwood High. She is related to the well known local Weir and Mace families. No contact information was given.

Republican physician to take on Ruppersberger

(June 3, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -

Marcelo Cardarelli, M.D. has thrown his hat in the ring to run for Congress in the second district against Dutch Ruppersberger. Cardarelli is Director of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery at the University of Maryland and a Republican. If he wins, he will be voting for smaller government and drawing down American debt. Re-elected or not, Ruppersberger will receive a lifetime annual pension of $264,000 provided by taxpayers due to his past and present government service as county council member, county executive and congressman.

Cardarelli admits he has supported Ruppersberger in the past. “I voted for him because he was a moderate Democrat. He went to Washington, D.C. as a moderate Democrat. Now he has become a liberal Democrat. He voted 98 percent of the time according to Speaker Pelosi,” he said.

Cardarelli’s primary interest is helping small businesses, including small corporations, thrive. “I believe small private businesses create jobs, but government jobs take money from the private sector,” he observed. He is against taxes waged on small business including capital gains taxes and noted that China has no capital gains taxes. He contends that both the Republican and Democratic parties spend too much. He said he wants what most of us want - the ability to make a living and live peacefully.

Cardarelli believes people near or below the poverty line should receive medical assistance. Besides that, he is against the health care bill passed by Congress. “This bill will make health care costs go up. Patients, not the government or employers, should decide what health care they want. People need health savings accounts. We should be allowed to purchase health care across state lines to encourage competition,” he opined.

His opinion is that taxpayer funding for abortion should not be permitted. Minors should not get abortions without parental consent. As a physician, he noted that medical equipment can now detect during early pregnancy which children have a chance to live when born, but he said anything related to that is a state issue.

He gave an example of when he thinks legal abortion would be appropriate: A very poor mother living in a shack in Argentina whose husband abandoned her and left her with six children and no source of income, had an abortion in Argentina, where the practice is illegal. She died soon after.

Cardarelli came to America from Argentina for medical training. He became a citizen eight years ago. If elected, he will give up his medical practice but not pro bono humanitarian surgery in foreign countries. He has a 27-year-old son living in California and a 15-year-old daughter here. He is divorced and lives in the Greater Towson area. His campaign manager is Ryan Shafik.

Hodges True Value Hardware celebrates 50 years

(June 3, 2010)

- By Allison H. McAlister -


Over the last 50 years, Hodges True Value Hardware has built a reputation for providing quality products and service to its customers. This commitment to customer service is one reason why the family-owned and operated neighborhood hardware store has survived and thrived even after the big-box home improvement stores moved in.

“There are two Home Depots and a Lowe’s all within three miles,” noted John Hodges. “But folks will end up going all over and still coming back to Hodges.”

Featuring a wide selection of hard-to-find parts and plumbing items, customers know they can count on Hodges to meet their needs. One customer revealed he’s known John for years and he is always helpful and can get him whatever it is he needs. Another customer was overheard saying, “I always come here first.” Yet another, who came to the store all the way from Harford County, said, “If you need something, you come here and get it.”

People have been coming to Hodges True Value Hardware since Wynona and Dean Hodges opened the doors on April 1, 1960. When Dean passed away in 1985, son John took over the business. His sister, Anita Johns, a real estate agent with Advance Realty, works at the hardware store part-time. And John’s oldest son, Bryan - the third generation - works there as well. In addition to the family members, employees also include June, Joyce, Jim and Glenn. Carol, who recently retired, worked at the store for over 40 years.

Customers also keep coming back because the staff is so helpful and nice. One customer raved, “The staff is super friendly!”

They’re also very knowledgable and will help you find what you need. In addition to the traditional products you’d expect to find at your neighborhood hardware store, Hodges True Value Hardware also sells propane, makes keys, repairs lawn mowers and sells pressure cooker parts. They also do a booming window business. Offering same day, on site double pane window repair, Hodges also repairs screen doors and windows. “We do a lot of service work,” John explains.

Got a window or screen door that needs fixing? Having trouble finding a part for that do-it-yourself project you started? Head on over to Hodges True Value Hardware and let them take care of you.

Patapsco senior receives national recognition for her artwork

(June 3, 2010)

- By Lena Sala - 


Sarah Henry, senior at Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts, located at 8100 Wise Ave. in Dundalk, recently took first place at the 2010 Magnet Schools of America 28th annual national conference which took place last month in April, in Tampa, Florida. Henry was recognized for her poster design, which will be used in Magnet Schools of America publications, according to Liberty Grayek, Magnet Coordinator at Patapsco High School.

“I have worked with a vast number of students in my educational career but I can say that Sarah has made an indelible impression on me. She is not a student that easily adapts to the structure of education, yet she works hard to learn and progess,” stated Grayek.

Prior to winning first place as the overall winner of the competition, Henry was also awarded first place in the high school division of the national poster contest, where she competed with high schools across the United States. Along with Henry’s awards given by the Magnet Schools of America, she was also recognized at the Patapsco Senior Fairwell Assembly on May 28, where she was presented with a plaque.

“I am just extremely proud of myself that my artwork will be displayed across the country. I have to give full credit to my art teacher, Bernie Zienkiewicz, who encouraged me to enter into the competition. She really believes in me, and without her ideas and motivation I wouldn’t have been able to come this far,” explained Henry. Zienkiewicz is the Visual Arts teacher at Patapsco High School and was filled with pride when commenting on Henry’s success.

“Sarah is an extremely talented young lady and manages to persevere through difficult times. The competition was yearlong and her poster design had to pass through the county and state divisions before she was able to win the nationals. She is very skilled in painting, drawing and programs such as Photoshop and Adobe,” explained Zienkiewicz.

According to Grayek, Henry’s journey to success has not been an easy one. Henry spent most of her childhood with her father in Dundalk, attending Bear Creek Elementary School and General John Stricker Middle School. Shortly after, Henry had moved in with her mother in Virginia, but after a few years she returned to her father back in Dundalk, where she then was accepted into the visual arts magnet program at Patapsco High School, while preparing for the four years that lie ahead of her. Henry also joined the Maryland’s Tomorrow program, which provides students with support for those who are at-risk. It seemed like things were looking up for Henry until the unexpected passing of her father last year.

“Sarah is still in the same home and lives with her two older sisters, Nikki and Theresa. Nikki having a husband and two children of her own to take care of, along with going to school and working, Sarah has basically been raising herself by maintaining her grades and having good attendance,” explained Grayek.

With graduation coming up in June, Henry talks of joining the military to help pay for her college. “I am joining the military Aug. 9. I hope to either be stationed in Japan or Hawaii, mainly Japan though because I have always dreamed of going there, and I know by making the decision to sign up, my college will be paid for,” said Henry.

With a huge support system among the teachers and Henry’s counselor at Patapsco High School, Henry now can find a way to believe in herself and is looking forward to her future to one day enrolling into a college or university that will allow her to pursue her true love - art.

Victory Villa Baptist Church gives back to the community

(June 3, 2010)

- By Lena Sala - 


On Friday, June 11 and July 9, Victory Villa Baptist Church, located at 75 Chandelle Road in Middle River, is inviting the public to enjoy some live music provided by the AbiRose and the Middle River Bands, as well as filling your stomachs with free food.

The Middle River Band is scheduled for June 11 and AbiRose will be performing on July 9, both from 6 - 9 p.m. Both bands will be performing a mixture of classical rock and country music.

According to Jim Howell, Pastor at the church for 16 years, the concerts were a way to give back to the community.

“People do not go to church for a few reasons and in my opinion the most important one is because people believe that churches are always after money, so I wanted a way to get people in the area to come out for a free event. With the economy being at its worst, I feel that people will really enjoy this,” explained Howell.

He also added that AbiRose not only plays locally but travels all throughout the state of Maryland and Virginia. Rock-A-Billy’s, located at 7105 Old Orems Road, here in Maryland is a popular place where you can listen to the sounds of AbiRose as well as karaoke and other live bands. Both bands consist of members from Victory Villa Baptist Church.

The concerts are perfect for all ages, with free food such as hot dogs, sodas and brownies, to free games and activities for children. The concerts will be held on the field along Compass Road, across from the church.

Free food and concerts is not the only thing the church is doing for the people. Howell explained he and other members of the church have traveled around the states doing a variety of missions work.

“Myself and others have visited Pine Ridge in South Dakota to rehabilitate a local church, located inside a Sue Indian Reservation, as well as Charleston, Maine to put in new windows at a Christian College. From Aug. 1 - 7, I will be traveling to Glenville, West Virginia to help build onto a local church,” said Howell.

Kenwood girls win regional tennis title

(June 3, 2010)

- By Ben Boehl -


Chelsea Leap and Samantha Lui are regional tennis champions. The two Kenwood seniors were crowned Regional Champions for girl’s doubles at CCBC-Essex on May 20.

They are coached by Fletcher Burchett, who believes Leap and Lui are the first tennis champions at Kenwood.

“This is the first region championship I think we have won in the history of the school,” Burchett said, who is still doing the research.

In a sport like tennis, a player must remain calm and not get upset over every play. Burchett said that’s why Leap and Lui are regional champions. Both have on-the-court determination and many times they have come back to win in the third set.

“They both are incredibly calm and collective on the court,” Burchett said. “They are resilient and don’t make a lot of errors. They force their opponents to make the errors.”

“We are both pretty quiet. We don’t get too excited or emotional when things go bad and we don’t get carried away when we win too. We keep each other in check,” Lui explained.

“We understand each other. We don’t get mad at each other,” Leap added.

Leap and Lui primarily played singles tennis so it took time for the girls to adjust to the doubles game and they were heavy underdogs going into the regional tournament at CCBC-Essex.

Their first game was against Dulaney, who was the top seed in the tournament, but the Kenwood team found a way to win. The girls went on to beat Towson for the regional title.

“We had a tough draw, especially playing Dulaney,” Lui said. “We knew it’d be hard.”

Leap said no one gave Kenwood a chance because they were considered as two singles players playing against teams used to doubles competition. It was a sweet victory for the Kenwood duo.

“It was amazing,” Leap explained. “We were so much in the game and when we won, we felt like that hardwork finally paid off.”

What makes this Kenwood’s team championship so special is the girls aren’t obsessive with the sport. It’s just for fun. They don’t live, sleep and breath tennis. While many tennis players train year-round and have played since they could walk, Leap and Lui didn’t start playing tennis formally until their freshman year at Kenwood and only play in the spring. They take the fall off to play badminton.

“It always takes a couple of weeks to get back into tennis. At first, I get frustrated because it takes so long to get back into a rhythm,” Leap said.

Leap and Lui’s career ended at the University of Maryland-College Park where they lost in the first round of the State Championship last weekend.

The tennis duo isn’t just successful on the court, but off the court. Both finished in the top three percent in the Kenwood senior class and Lui was selected as Kenwood Class 2010 Valedictorian.

“Both Chelsea and Samantha are outstanding students and they are involved in the school,” Burchett added.

Local legislators discuss new bills for Maryland

(May 27, 2010)

- Article & photo by Lena Sala - 


On Wednesday, May 1, The Chamber’s Legislative Committee presented their 2010 Legislative Wrap-Up Breakfast at the Maryland Air National Guard Dining Hall, located at 2703 Eastern Blvd. in Middle River. Guest speaker, Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler and elected officials from the sixth, seventh and eighth legislative districts dicussed bills recently passed during the 2010 General Assembly, which will impact Maryland.

Delegate John Olszewski, Jr. opened the meeting by giving thanks to the Chamber for its involvement and by introducing his new bill “School Reform of 2010,”which evaluates teachers on their students’ growth, to see where they are at the beginning of the school year compared to where they are at the end of the year. Another bill Olszewski discussed was the “Property Tax Relief Bill.”

“The Property Tax Relief Bill helps out small business owners by allowing them to make two payments  instead of one large payment at the end of the year. Along with this, I would like to make mention of the “Small Business Loan Program” that allows the State to fund loans to small businesses, which is very beneficial especially in this recession,” stated Olszewski.

Delegate Joseph (Sonny) Minnick expanded on Olszewski’s thoughts about the recession by talking about Maryland’s unemployment rate. “The unemployment rate started to rise back in 2007. Within just a couple of years the unemployment rate reached 162,000 people. Our funding for unemployement was rapidly declining and Maryland found itself having to borrow money from the State Government just to sustain the state’s funding. This is when I decided to come up with a solution which is “House Bill 91,” Minnick explained. This bill allows for the state to borrow money from the government but with a payment plan that requires for that money to be paid back in a reasonable time period.

“The state of Kentucky has borrowed over $600 million from their government for funding and has yet to pay back any of it. Their funding has now depleted to nothing. We are in the process of working to build up our state funding for unemployment. We recently put $127 million into our fund that does not have to be paid back,” Minnick said with pride.

Minnick also made note that interest on late payments has reduced to 0.05 percent and in March of this year, Maryland was number one across the United States with a decline of unemployment rates. There have been 38,000 new job opporuntites for the people of Maryland.

Delegate J.B. Jennings brought some new bills to the public, such as “Jessica Law 2,” where the punishment for sex offenders has increased from up to five years in prison to 15 years without parole. Under the same law, sexual predators are no longer allowed demunition credits, which allows 30 days to be taken of your sentence for good behavior. “Along with elimation of demunition credits, we also developed a tracking system for sex offenders in the community who are homeless. This way citizens are aware of who these people are,” he said.

Jennings also spoke on the issue of speeding tickets and said there will no longer be an automatic court date set for individuals who receive speeding tickets. It will be up to the people to request a trial date if they want to justify themselves before a judge, due to the large percentage of people who do not appear in court for their set trial date.

Delegate Pat McDonough talked about his feelings on local businesses. “Out of the 188 members on the General Assembly, only 18 members, including myself, are business owners,” he noted. “Almost 30,000 businesses have been lost in the past five years, and we need to start noticing the red flags and doing something about this growing issue. Seven anti-business bills have been passed this year and I received only 11 e-mails. There was also a bill on guns that was passed and I received over 500 e-mails. There needs to be more influence in the General Assembly.”

Delegate Joe Boteler decided to change the flow of the meeting by discussing his views on schools. “I had the idea for Virtual Schools, which allows children who have autism to be able to participate in after-school programs and periodically in sports,”said Boteler.

In order to do this, public schools would have to have specified curricular programs and provide specified materials and access to technology to the parent or guardian of the student enrolled at the school. Boteler believes Virtual Schools will cut back on the expenses of having to build new schools.

The Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, former State’s Attorney of Montgomery County and former member of the Joint Sniper Task Force, wrapped up the event with his views on the pollution in Maryland’s waterways by introducing “No Discharge  Zone,” a bill that is on its way to pass. This bill prevents boaters from releasing nitrogen into the Bay. Therefore, boaters will have to upgrade their boats to meet state requirements or add a discharge system onto their boats. This bill will also prevent human waste from entering the bay.

Gansler also touched on the recently passed Drug Reform bill that banned the drug “Salvia,” a hallucinogenic herb, to anyone under the age of 21. Salvia stores found their homes along the boardwalk inside Ocean City, Maryland, with signs in the front window stating “WE HAVE SALVIA.” More than 1.8 million people over the age of 12 have tried Salvia in their lifetime. Due to the popular growth of the hallucinogenic in O.C., Worcester County has recently banned anyone from selling it inside that district.

Gansler also spoke on an idea that will benefit farmers and the economy. “I believe that using chicken manure will help promote business for farmers because you can use the manure and convert that into energy at power plants. This will not only be a saleable product for farmers but will also help boost the economy,” concluded Gansler.

Back River Teen Center: The spirit shines on

(May 27, 2010)

- By Keith Roberts -


The doors may be closed, the building may be torn down, but the spirit of the Back River School will shine on forever.

The lower Back River Neck Peninsula was one of the first areas in Baltimore County to be served by a schoolhouse. A map of Baltimore City & County drawn by J. C. Sydney, C.E. in 1850 and using original surveys clearly shows the schoolhouse located in the vicinity of the present day Cheery Day nursery. The school remained in place until 1920, when it was destroyed by fire. Local folklore gives two different options for the cause of the blaze. One tale speaks of a student who received failing grades and started the fire in retaliation, while the second narrative speaks of a young man who was scolded by his father for leaving his coat at school. The boy went back to retrieve his coat but found the doors of the schoolhouse locked. Fearing his father’s wrath, the boy started a small fire hoping to burn a hole in the door large enough to crawl through and get his coat.

Unfortunately, the fire burned out of control.

A new two-room schoolhouse was built on the exact same spot and served the community until 1943. At that time, population increases in the area dictated the need for more classroom space and a new modern brick schoolhouse was built a few hundred feet down the road. Additions to the brick building were completed in 1950 and again in 1971. When finished, the school had the capacity for close to 300 students.

In the late 1970s/early 1980s, two factors led to the demise of the school. First, a slow-down in new housing construction in the area meant that no new students were coming into the community and second, with a majority of the school-age children growing up and moving out of the area, the district was left with mostly adults and seniors living there. By 1983, enrollment had dropped to 127 students and although it saddened many residents, the Board of Education was probably correct in their decision to close the school. One hundred and fifty years of history had come to an end.

Following the closing of the school the building had many uses, including a warehouse for the storage of voting machines. Lack of maintenance led to the building become in such poor condition that in the year 2000 it was deemed it would be more cost efficient to tear down and replace the building with a new steel community center than try to repair it.

To the community, it was more than just a schoohouse. It was part of our identity, a focal point, a meeting place, an after hours teen center, a recreation spot, a place of worship and a place that you knew as soon as it came into vision traveling down Back River Neck Road, you were home.

East Baltimore County declared Maryland’s capital for a day

(May 27, 2010)

- By Lena Sala - 


On Tuesday, May 18, Governor Martin O’Malley declared east Baltimore County Maryland’s “Capital for a Day,” by making appearances at Middle River Aircraft Systems to continue “Jobs Across Maryland Tour,” Gunpowder Park to make an announcement concerning the status of the Chesapeake Bay and Oak Crest Retirement Community to hold an official cabinet meeting. The Governor first launched the monthly “Capital for a Day” program back in 2007 in order to bring the State Capital to different parts of Maryland, including communities cities and towns, by holding a variety of events that address concerns from the people.

During O’Malley’s visit to Gunpowder Park, located at 7200 Graces Quarter Road in Middle River, he announced the Chesapeake Bay showed improvements in water quality for the 2009 year, based on the 2009 report card, which stated that the Bay earned an overall grade of “C”, which is an improvement from 2008’s overall grade of a “C-”. This is the highest mark in the past eight years the Bay has received from the annual Chesapeake Bay Report Card, which is an analysis the EcoCheck partnership between the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and the NOAA Chespeake Bay Program conducts annually.

To earn a grade “C” means there is a mixture of good and poor levels of water quality, as well as health indicators. In these areas the water quality is usually fair, meaning that the living conditions for the shellfish and fish is also fair.

“The Upper Western Shore was declared the highest ranked region for the the third year in a row by scoring a “B-” by having good water quality and good habitat conditions. We could have not made this possible without gathering an army of scientists from the Univeristy of Maryland to participate in stream surveys,” stated O’Malley.

William Baker, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, commended the University of Maryland for their dedication to the Bay over the last 40 - 50 years. “With the modest improvements in water quality there is still a lot of work left to be done. We need science to set the standard and for the government to enforce it, which is exactly what Governor Martin O’Malley and scientists have been doing,” he said.

O’Malley also announced the 2010 General Assembly approved his request for $20 million for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, which significantly helped Maryland to reach its goals for the Chesapeake Bay.

According to Dr. William Dennison, who is a UMCES researcher and project leader, even with a higher rainfall record in Maryland and Virginia, the Bay has improved. “Normally with higher precipitation rates, the health of the bay will decline by allowing run-off, sediments and toxins to enter the tributaries, but last year the Bay actually benefited from it, because it appears to have reduced the amount of pollutants that reach the mainstream Bay,” said Dennison, adding that with a spectrum of grades throughout the tributaries, there will be motivation for those who scored below a “C” to want to improve the conditions and water quality.

Along with the release of the Annual Bay Report Card, Governor O’Malley also launched the new StreamHealth website, which includes 250 webpages of data about how to measure the health of the local streams, the different types of insects housed in the streams and provides citizens, schools and scout groups with the resources to survey their streams and obtain funding opportunities along with technical guidance to help protect them. The website was developed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, with the help and cooperation of the Maryland Enviormental Service, The Maryland Departments of the Enviorment and Information, as well as Towson University.

According to Governor O’Malley, within the past 10 years about 1,800 Stream Wader Volunteers have taken samples of aquatic insect populations, from about 6,000 streams. “With excellent indicators of stream health, the re-bound of the Blue Crab has returned as well as oyster growth in our waterways,” stated O’Malley.

With the launch of the new website, the State Government is hoping for more individual actions to take place such as cleaning up trash and planting trees to help reduce run-off from entering the Bay. “The Chesapeake Bay has been on life-support for the past 30 - 40 years and it is our job as the people to get her walking again,” O’Malley concluded.

Eastern Tech team state champions third year in a row

(May 20, 2010)

- By Lena Sala - 


On Saturday, May 8, Seniors Dan Sarzynski and Ernie Kuehne brought great pride to Eastern Technical High School, by taking the win in the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills state finals, which took place at the Community College of Baltimore County-Catonsville Campus, located at 800 S. Rolling Road. The two seniors competed against nine other schools in the area. Each school took their two highest combined test scores on the written portion and created one team from each school to participate in the second half of the contest which included a hands-on portion.

The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills is an automotive technology competition that offers scholarships and prizes to high school juniors and seniors nationwide, who are interested in seeking careers as automotive technicians.

Sarzynski and Kuehne, both 17 years old, have been a part of the Automotive Technology department at Eastern Tech since they were sophomores. Eldridge Watts, the Automotive Technology Instructor, has seen his students win the state finals five times in the last six years. (One year the Eastern Tech team took second place.) This is the third year in a row the Eastern Tech team has taken first place and gone on to the national competition.

According to Kuehne, Watts has put in over 300 hours of overtime to help prepare the students for the state finals and the national finals, which Sarzynski and Kuehne will both be participating in, from June 13 - 15 on the front lawn of Ford World Headquarters in Deaborn, Michigan.

“Mr. Watts has been so dedicated to helping us students out by staying after school with us two to three hours a day without pay, so that we are ready and knowlegeable for the these competitions. I am confident that we will win the national finals this June,” smiled Kuehne.

The team with the highest combined scores from the national written exam and hands-on competition will be recognized as “America’s Next Top Auto Technicians.” Students at both state and national level will be receiving more than $10 million in scholarships this year. Both Kuehne and Sarzynski have received $16,000 in scholarships just by going to the state finals.

Senior Jeff Grueninger, the 2009 second place national winner, won $130,000 in scholarship money as a junior at Eastern Tech. Grueninger, along with Kuehne and Sarzynski, all work an internship at Al Packer Ford White Marsh everyday after school until 5 p.m., and all day on Saturdays as technicians.

According to Watts, Al Packer Ford White Marsh donated a 2010 Mercury Milan and 2010 Ford Fusion to the Automotive Technology department in order for the students to have practice before the upcoming competitions. Each team from each state will have their own car to work on at the national competition.

“I would just like to give thanks to everyone from Al Packer White Marsh who made it possible for these kids to have such a wonderful opportunity and so that this school can have the recognition it deserves for working so hard,” stated Watts.

Don Hubel, Manager at Al Packer Ford White Marsh, was all smiles when sharing a few words about the Automotive Technology Department at Eastern Tech. “The cooperation from the school and Eldridge Watts is just amazing. That department has been nothing but a success since he has been a technology instructor there,” said Hubel.

Success is exactly what Kuehne and Sarzynski, along with Eastern Technical High School, hope to have at this year’s national finals.

Sonshine hosts fundraiser for troops

(May 20, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


As part of an outreach to the community, Sonshine Fellowship Church on Sollers Point Road provided a venue and the Bonnie and the Bedrock Boys band for Angels Supporting Your Troops, Inc. on Saturday, May 15. “Our ministry in Dundalk is two years old. We would like to see it grow. This effort is part of our building a bridge to the community. Although our church provides child care, clothing and a food pantry, our primary concern is the spiritual needs of the community. When you meet spiritual needs of a community, the other issues will work themselves out,” said Pastor Terry Turbin.

During their first ever Hawaiian Luau, Angels Supporting Your Troops, Inc. chairman Irene Spatafore expressed disappointment about the small response from the business community. “I sent out 150 letters and only got two replies. One was from Sam’s Club with a $25 gift card and the other a $25 check from Pizza Johns on Back River Neck Road,” stated Spatafore. Senator Norman Stone, delegates Minnick, Olszewski, Jr. and Weir and Councilman Olszewski have pledged $500.

Donations of any amount will be appreciated to help with the weekly postage of $100 for six packages. Material goods can be donated as well. Most urgent needs are foot powder and ibuprofen, followed by washcloths, soap, toothpaste and suntan lotion. Some of these items are available at the Dollar Tree Store. The third tier of needs consists of playing cards, puzzle books, Frisbees, soccer balls and snacks. “Having been an Army vet out in the middle of nowhere, these tokens from home are a morale booster,” declared Susan Mullins of the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary.

Many heartfelt, tear-inducing letters of appreciation have been sent to Angels Supporting Your Troops, Inc. “A care package gives us strength to continue our work here,” wrote Jesse Ramirez.

“It is Americans like you that are making a huge difference for my marines and sailors. Your dedication of time and effort in providing them packages goes a long way.  Just knowing that their efforts are supported back home truly makes a difference,” noted Commanding Officer Brian Christmas, 3rd Battalion Marines.

Spatafore wants to remind people the war is not over. To donate, contact her at 410-284-5275.

Bartenfelder, Kamenetz, Holt still looking for votes

(May 20, 2010)

- By Ben Boehl -


Joe Bartenfelder, Kevin Kamenetz and Ken Holt faced off for another candidate forum for Baltimore County Executive. The three candidates met up at the Middle River Volunteer Ambulance Rescue Hall on Thursday, May 6. The economy and illegal immigration were the main topics discussed at the event.

“Over the next four years we are going to be taking care of budgets needs, not budget wants,” Bartenfelder said, referring to unnecessary projects. Bartenfelder hopes the business opportunities at Route 43 will generate jobs and turn around the local economy.  He also wants to invest in the county’s future by providing training for the 35 percent of high school students that don’t go to college. He said not every student is suited for college and that’s fine, but he doesn’t see as many opportunities in vocational training as there were 20 years ago.

“We need to make sure they (non-college students) have the education and training to be productive in the workforce,” Bartenfelder added.

Kamenetz said he has been a fiscal watchdog for the past 16 years as a member of the County Council. He is proud of Baltimore County’s record and claims there is no shortfall because of good management of government. “We have been good fiscal managers. We have been able to avoid furloughing county employees, avoid raising taxes and avoid cuttings services,” Kamenetz said.

Holt claims the county has a $200 million deficit and that will grow as long as the State of Maryland has a decline in income tax revenue. Despite the decline, government has grown 31 percent. “We have increased the workforce where everyone else is declining their workforce,” Holt said.

Charles “Buzz” Beeler, a candidate for County Council, asked all three candidates if they agree with the recent Arizona Immigration Law and their thoughts on G287, which gives local police to deal with illegal immigrants.

“When we say illegal immigrants, that says it all - illegal. It’s a crime and we should give our police the opportunity to deal with it,” Bartenfelder said.

Holt said he would have to look at the Arizona law before he would comment, but does favor some type of legislation. “An illegal immigrant should not be entitled to jobs, health benefits and education,” Holt said. “They shouldn’t be able to compete with citizens.”

Kamenetz stated that the job of local police is to protect the public and forward illegal immigrants over to ICE. “Local government needs to understand what its role is,” he said. “It’s not the responsibility of local government to deal with this issue.”

Committee to vet County Council candidates

(May 20, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


The State of Maryland recently chartered a grassroots Political Action Committee designed to give Baltimore County residents a stronger voice about development issues. The Baltimore County Community Political Action Committee (BCC PAC) will interview County Council candidates and select those whose views correspond most closely to their own for endorsement.

The PAC was formed in response to the disclosure that developers are raising more money than ever for candidates in three of the four districts whose incumbents are either retiring or running for another office. Campaign finance reports filed with the Board of Elections show that some candidates received contributions of $1,000 or more from developers, BCC PAC reported.

The PAC will test candidates on five major issues: 1) abolish the county development review process and give opponents an opportunity for input concerning commercial developments. 2) Give the People’s Counsel authority in major projects such as the construction of the Wal-Mart in Bowleys Quarters which was opposed by many residents. 3) Eliminate further construction in overcrowded school districts. 4)  Promote agricultural preservation and urban open space. 5) Return responsibility to the county traffic engineer to decide if an intersection is too busy and needs remediation.

“It’s good to create a level playing field in the councilmanic race so communities and citizens can be more involved with the government. This PAC provides a forum that community associations are unable to provide due to their chartering,” said Allen Robertson, Secretary.

Martin Gabler is Treasurer. Towson attorney J. Carroll Holzer, who has been working with county community associations on development issues for many decades, is Chairman. Information about candidates who are approved by BCC PAC will be shared with the Community Associations Network, a countywide umbrella group for community associations, and the media. County Council candidates wishing to be interviewed can contact Holzer at 410-825-6961.

Norwood opens Ben Carson reading room

(May 20, 2010)

- By Ben Boehl -


Students at Norwood Elementary got a gift as the Carson Scholars Fund and the Allegis Group announced the grand opening of the Ben Carson Reading Room at the Dundalk school. A ceremony was held at the school on Thursday, May 13 where Norwood students gathered to celebrate with song and dance. Principal Pat Goldys invited Ben Carson’s wife Candy Carson and BCPS Superintendent Joe A. Hairston.

“The Carson family is known worldwide, not national, but internationally, and we have them here in our school,” Hairston said with pride.

Hairston added that the school is blessed with this new room, as reading will help further students’ education.

“One day you are going to be in high school and I can think of no better way to prepare you, but to read,” Hairston said. “The level of your high school reading will have a direct relationship for your future.”

Norwood becomes the 53rd Ben Carson Reading Room as the program can be found in seven states.Ms. Carson stated over nine million minutes were spent in the Carson Reading Rooms last year.

“You don’t ever have to be bored when you can open up a book,” Mrs. Carson said. “You can go anywhere that book takes you.”

Dr. Ben Carson didn’t attend the ceremony, but he created a DVD with a message to Norwood students.

“The room was built for you to explore the world with books,” Carson said. “My mother said if you can read, you can do anything.”

The room was created with an underwater theme. The walls were painted blue with fish painted on the side. The mats and carpet are embedded with a pattern that looks like sand. Goldys said none of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for the Carson Foundation.

“Our children can read at any time. The room is open all day long,” Goldys said. “We can’t thank Dr. Carson and the Allegis Group enough for the generous grant that made this possible!”

Community concerned over road closing, traffic light removal

(May 13, 2010)

- By Ben Boehl -


When Honeygo Boulevard was extended to Belair Road back in February, Baltimore County wanted to divert traffic from Forge Road to the new extension. The plan included temporarily closing Forge Road between 60 - 90 days and resetting the traffic signal at the Forge and Belair roads to flash, with the idea of eventually eliminating the traffic light.

“The long-term strategy when Honeygo Boulevard was built was to get rid of the traffic light and reduce the level of traffic on Forge Road,” said Darrell Wiles, the County’s Chief of Traffic Engineering.

The plan hasn’t sat too well with the community, especially with local businesses. Brian Lewis of Schimunek Funeral Home said it’s hard to enter Belair Road from Forge Road when there is no red light signal to stop the traffic on Belair Road.

“We have a tremendous about of traffic for visitations and it’s even harder when we have funeral processions,” Lewis explained. “If we had to go southbound and turn left, we have to go through four lanes of traffic.”

On the other side, the dentist office and the gas station are upset because their customers are having trouble getting out and going left to northbound Belair Road.

With an angry community, a meeting was held on Wednesday, May 5 at Perry Hall Elementary. The result of the meeting led to a creation of a community task force that will evaluate the situation, but the traffic light was turned back on for operation. However, Forge Road is still closed from Honeygo Boulevard to Belair Road until the task force is completed.

Bill Paulshock, a community activist, candidate for County Council and owner of Bill’s Seafood, helped organize the meeting to get the traffic light operational. He said that over 100 people attended the meeting and were 100 percent behind the decision to have the traffic light on and Forge Road reopen. Paulshock thanks Senator Kathy Klausmeier and Delegate Eric Bromwell for holding a meeting as quickly as possible.

“If it wasn’t an urgent meeting, we would have been in trouble,” Paulshock said. “If we hadn’t moved quickly, we believe that light would have been taken down.”

Paulshock stated while the elimination of the Forge Road traffic light benefited the traffic north of Perry Hall, it created a safety problem in Perry Hall.

“Safety is the number one issue at the intersection,” he stated.

Joe Bertrain, a resident of Forge and Forge Park roads, fears that once the traffic light is removed, it will never be replaced.

“If the light is taken down, it will take years to get it back up. We want to keep that light up,” Bertrain said.

Another meeting was held on Monday, May 10 at Perry Hall Elementary School and the other concern is what to do at the intersection of Forge Road and Honeygo Boulevard. Right now, the motorists on Honeygo don’t have to stop and the Forge Road motorists have to wait until the traffic clears to cross Honeygo. Another traffic signal or a traffic circle could be added to that intersection. Delegate Rick Impallaria said a traffic circle costs anywhere from $1.5 - $2 million and a traffic light costs around $150,000.

“Traffic circles are great, but we are in a bad budget and it may be cheaper to do a traffic light,” Impallaria said.

Community celebrates opening of Evergreen Senior Apartments

(May 13, 2010)

- By Lena Sala - 


What once was a community that attracted criminal activity and violence is now the home of the Evergreen Senior Apartments, located at 1600 Renaissance Square in Essex, formerly the site of the Kingsley Park Apartments.

Thursday, May 6 marked the grand opening of the newly built community. According to Chickie Grayson, President and CEO of Enterprise Homes, Inc., 86 percent of the 81 units in Evergreen have already been leased.

“This community took extra special will getting past the recession and taking advantage of such a great opportunity,” stated Grayson.

Renaissance Square, which was named by the community itself, not only includes the three-story senior apartments but also 115 for-sale townhouses, cottages and single-family homes. To be exact, there will be 48 townhouse units, 22 cottages, 33 manors and 12 villas. Baltimore County acquired the site from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Developement. After a very long process and determination from the community, the Enterprise/Mark Building Joint Venture was chosen as a developer for Renaissance Square. Together the two companies helped to finance and plan out the project. They also were in charge of the construction management and marketing. The cottage and manor homes at Renaissance Square recently won the Home Builders Association of Maryland’s “MAX” award for outstanding homes. The MAX award recognizes local home builders that give buyers great value, excellent design and outstanding livability.

With newly built townhouses and single homes right next store, the seniors will be surrounded by a healthy and happy enviornment and will be able to make friendships not only inside their homes but out in the community as well.

The senior apartments range from 650 - 1,035 square feet and include a fully eqipped kicthen. The seniors get to enjoy a game room with a pool table, exercise studio, computer room and a suite for loved ones and guests to stay overnight. Evergreen also features 56 one-bedroom apartments and 25 two-bedroom apartments, so it is fit for everyone, whether you like the privacy of living by yourself or in the company of a friend. According to County Executive Jim Smith, The Evergreen Senior Apartments was a project seven years in the making.

“Myself and others could have not made this dream turn into a reality without the perserverance of the community, to turn what once was a blighted apartment complex into a beautiful and safe place to live for everyone; and that’s what renaissance is all about,” said Smith.

Larry Rosenberg, President of The Mark Building Company, stated that the Essex-Middle River community is the best selling community in Maryland right now.

“It takes a village to build a village. The spirit of Essex and Middle River allowed for the nightmare this community was facing to turn into a good dream and finally now a reality,” said Rosenberg.

Rosenberg also gave thanks to Architect Hord Coplan who designed the Evergreen Senior Apartments and the now deceased Donald B. Ratcliffe who designed the lay-out for the cottages and manors.

According to Councilman John Olszewski, Sr., Governer Martin O’Malley was a part of making this dream come true as well, by creating tax credits, which helped to make the process much more affordable.

“The great thing about it all is that even though I was a part of this, it was the individuals who got together and worked as a team. It’s nice to not have phone calls on crime coming through my office and the people now have the opportunity to live great lives,” said Olszewski, Sr.

The newly built senior apartments and townhouses not only give people in the community the opportunity to live great lives but also gives people who were once residents of Essex-Middle River the chance to return home, and that’s exactly what Evergreen resident Viola Jackson did.

“There is no place like home. I watched the Evergreen Senior Apartments be built from the ground up and it gave me the perfect opportunity to come back home. I am so thankful for everyone who was a part of this and for having a deep understanding of us as seniors. We can now live in a safe and comfortable community as one big happy family,” concluded Jackson.

Bartenfelder to run for county executive

(May 13, 2010)

- By Ben Boehl -


Councilman Joe Bartenfelder officially announced his candidacy for Baltimore County Executive at a rally at Towson University on April 30. The room was filled with his supporters, including politicians Delegates Sonny Minnick, Mike Weir, Todd Schuler and Senators Norman Stone and Kathy Klausmeier.

Bartenfelder, a Democrat, has served on the County Council in the Sixth District since 1995 and served as a member of the House of Delegates from 1983 to 1994. He said he is ready to be the next County Executive.

“Some people have begun listening tours during this election year. That sounds pretty positive. My listening tour began 28 years ago in the Maryland House of Delegates and the County Council,” Bartenfelder told his supporters. “I have listened and I’ve heard what the citizens want, expect and deserve. That is why I have made a commitment to them to deliver on their expectations. That experience and leadership has made me ready to accept, with conviction, the challenge at hand. I am willing and ready to move us forward as the next Baltimore County Executive.”

As a lifelong resident of Fullerton, Bartenfelder has successfully run his family business, Bartenfelder Farms on Ridge Road, with his wife Robin. He is the father of four children - Melanie, Jessie, Jamie and Joey, Jr.

Bartenfelder has been known for his involvement of preserving open space and for responding to the needs of the northern part of his district by helping to add police to the region, which has seen an increase in population.

“I get up every day and work just like everyone else in this room, and I promise you I will continue to work hard for you every day as your next County Executive, but I can’t do that alone,” Bartenfelder explained. “I need your commitment tonight, to help us win, and keep our county, Baltimore County, the best place to live in the great state of Maryland.”

While Bartenfelder stated that Baltimore County Public Schools has done a great job sending kids to college (65 percent), the county needs to focus on the 35 percent that don’t go to college. He hopes to make more of an emphasis on trade and vocational schools.

“We need to provide them that educational experience that gives them the opportunity for a productive job in the workforce,” Bartenfelder said.

Councilman Kevin Kamenetz also announced he is running for Baltimore County Executive. Bartenfelder and Kamenetz will face off in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary.

Nichols: 'It’s time for me'

(May 13, 2010)

- By Allison H. McAlister -


After 12 years of service as Administrative Director to the Essex-Middle River-White Marsh Chamber of Commerce, Sherman “Nick” Nichols is hanging up his hat. He plans to become a “snowbird,” living six months here in Baltimore and six months in Florida. “You never know what tomorrow will bring. I’ve done all I wanted to do and now it’s time for me,” Nichols explained at a retirement reception held in his honor by the Chamber on Friday, May 7, officially his last day.

Several Chamber members and friends turned out to wish Nichols well as he embarks on his early retirement, which will begin with a trip to visit family members in Florida and Texas. Food and beverages for the retirement reception were donated by Chamber members, including Sam’s Club, River Watch, Jad’s Caddy Shack, Carson’s Creekside, Eastern Tech Culinary Arts, Costco, Red Brick Station and Crab Quarters.

To thank Nichols for his many years of service with the Chamber, citations were issued from local politicians including Delegates Joe Boteler, Eric Bromwell and Todd Schuler, Senator Andy Harris, Delegates Pat McDonough, Rick Impallaria and J.B. Jennings, Senator Barbara Mikulski and Delegates Michael Weir, Sonny Minnick and John Olszewski, Jr. Nichols also received a proclamation from County Executive Jim Smith declaring May 7, 2010 as Sherman “Nick” Nichols Day.

Of course, the Chamber also presented a certificate and gift of appreciation from the Board. Past President Hal Ashman spoke of knowing Nichols as a neighbor before his involvement with the Chamber. “Nick lives right across the street from me in Oliver Beach, and he has always shown concern for his neighbors and their property,” Ashman said, noting Nichols would call him when he was out of town to let him know if anyone was on his property, even if it was the oil man or the Fed-Ex guy.

On behalf of the Oliver Beach Community Association, Ashman revealed the organization has established a $500 scholarship in Nichols’ name to be awarded to a local student.

Current Chamber President Gayle Adams teasingly remarked she couldn’t believe Nichols was leaving the Chamber position “in favor of a vacation home in Florida and a life of leisure.” But she appreciated the legacy he leaves behind.

Since 2000, Nichols has been instrumental in several accomplishments of the Chamber, including the Route 43 extension, Renaissance projects in Essex, the growth of the Chamber to more than 250 businesses and partnering with the county to create the Baltimore County Waterfront Festival, just to name a few.

“We truly had someone at the core of things, and we’re grateful for what you’ve put into the Chamber,” Ashman said.

Nichols said he was looking for “something different, something challenging” when the position for the Chamber’s Administrative Director presented itself. “And that’s exactly what it was and I enjoyed every minute of it.”

He also reminded everyone, “I’m still going to be around... just not in the winter.”

Colonial Camp Takes Glenmar Elementary School Back to the Past

(May 13, 2010)

- By Lena Sala -

On Wednesday, May 5, fifth graders from Glenmar Elementary School, located in Essex,  had the opportunity of meeting and interacting with The Colonial Camp, a year-round Colonial-American Program which offers opportunities to the public to experience the lifestyle during the 1770s time period.

The camp was started about 10 years ago by a man named Graydon Stephenson, who is currently the director of the program. Ever since, The Colonial Camp has been a success by traveling from school to school across the East Coast from New York to Florida.

“The great thing about this program is that we can use history to help teach children integrity, hardwork and character development,” stated Stephenson. “This organization stands out from all the others because the kids get a hands-on experience about how life was during the colonial period by participating in crafts and activities.”

Glenmar Elementary School is just one of 150 schools the organization visits each year. Some of the stations the students participated in included, “Indian games,” “candle-making,” “Indian war paint” and “Colonial clothing,” where they could try on auhentic Colonial-American clothing. Other stations included, “weaving,” where the students learned the history of fabric-making, as well as “quill making,” which is an exercise of using a feather quill and ink well.

According to Beth Andryszak, a fifth grade teacher at Glenmar, The Colonial Camp spent the night on the school grounds in military-style tents on May 4, the night before the students met with the Camp. Andryszak, along with other staff members at Glenmar, made it possible for the students to have such an opportunity.

“I originally got the idea from another teacher who had said a lot of great things about this program. Our fifth graders are currently working in Reading Research Labs, as a part of their Social Studies unit, where they will be writing a book on a historical figure in the Revolutionary War. I thought this would be a great experience for the children since it intertwines perfectly with what they are learning in class,” explained Andryszak.

The Colonial Camp mainly visits with fourth and fifth graders when they travel, since the students can relate to the different activitiess and lessons, because of what they are being taught in school.

The students were not the only ones who got a hands-on experience; about seven parents volunteered to help work in the stations with the children at Glenmar. The members from Camp trained the parents on what to do so that everyone could jump in on the excitement.

According to Jeremy Hodgson, who is a fife player in the Camp, children can actually participate in an all-week summer camp that allows them to stay overnight in the tents, chop wood and cook food, as well as dressing the part by wearing authentic clothing each day they’re there.

“The summer programs usually take place at historic sites. In Maryland, we have two sites that we are stationed in, which include Annapolis and Columbia,” said Hodgson.

Dining Out at: North Point Diner

(May 13, 2010)

- By Allison H. McAlister -


Have you missed the great homecooked meals at North Point Diner? Well, the wait is over. The restaurant is now re-opened for business after having to close and rebuild following a fire last August. Although everything in the diner is new, customers can still expect the same delicious home cooking served up by the same chef and wait staff.

What’s changed? The counter is in a different location and the restaurant has been opened up to allow for more seating. More seating means more dining patrons, and owner Mary Lou says the diner gets very busy on the weekends. She asks customers for their patience. “Everything’s cooked from scratch, so it takes longer than fast food,” she explains. “Bear with us while we work out the kinks of re-opening.”

Although the restaurant looks different inside, the food is still delicious. The same cook, Chef Mike, is in charge of the kitchen and his down home Southern fare is quickly becoming a huge hit with customers. The homemade Southern fried chicken is especially popular and Mary Lou reveals he makes a spectacular homemade rice pudding.

My co-worker and I visited North Point Diner on a recent weekday for lunch. We both started our meal with a cup of soup. I got the Maryland Crab and my co-worker ordered the Chicken Noodle. Both were really good and quite flavorful. Mine was packed with crabmeat and veggies and spiced just right. Clearly one of the best Maryland Crab soups I’ve tasted.

For our main entrees, my co-worker went with the hot turkey, while I decided on the chargrilled chicken salad. The turkey, smothered in gravy and served with mashed potatoes, was tender and delicious. My co-worker really enjoyed the potatoes, too, saying, “These are REAL mashed potatoes.”

My salad came out looking beautiful on the plate, the different colors of the various vegetables making it pop. A mix of greens with green peppers, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes and carrots topped with a grilled blackened juicy chicken breast, this salad was fabulous! The chicken was really tasty, and the salad was fresh and crisp.

And did I mention portion size? You won’t go home hungry, that’s for sure! In fact, chances are you may go home with leftovers!

Of course, we couldn’t resist dessert, so we tried the homemade apple pie a la mode. Mary Lou said ice cream is a new addition to the menu, so the diner is able to offer such desserts as pie a la mode and rootbeer floats. The big slice of pie was topped with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream, a mound of whipped cream, drizzled with chocolate sauce and adorned with fresh berries. The warm apple pie, baked with lots of crumbly cinnamon goodness, was fantastic.

Featuring a varied menu of appetizers, soups, salads, steaks, pork chops, chicken, seafood, pasta, sandwiches and desserts, the diner also offers daily specials, a seniors menu and a kids menu.

If you haven’t been back to North Point Diner since they re-opened, you’re missing out. Serving the neighborhood homecooking since 1996, North Point Diner is located at 2701 North Point Road in Dundalk. Open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, hours are Monday - Saturday from 6 a.m. - 10 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. - 9 p.m. For more information, call 410-477-1000.

Confidence rising among LNG opponents

(May 6, 2010)

- by Diane Carliner -


“Believe it or not, we are winning. The LNG terminal will never happen. We can stop them at many levels,” enthused Bart Fisher, Attorney for the LNG Opposition Team. The occasion was an informational meeting called by Opposition Team leader Russell Donnelly on April 21 at Patapsco High School in Dundalk. At issue is the attempt by AES Corporation to build a liquefied natural gas terminal on contaminated land in Sparrows Point. The frozen gas would be coming from foreign countries in tankers the size of four football fields, treated and pumped directly to a location 88 miles away in southeastern Pennsylvania.

A Notice of Intent was filed against the project by several entities at the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 17. The objective is to reverse the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Jan. 15 approval of AES-LNG. The plaintiffs are the State of Maryland with Baltimore County, the LNG Opposition Team of Maryland and Pennsylvania including the Brandywine Conservancy and central and southeastern Pennsylvania property owners whose properties were damaged by initial construction of the pipeline.

The first of the three issues on appeal concerns the necessity for the facility. Since AES first filed, huge supplies of natural gas have become available locally. According to Guido Guarnaccia, Security and Safety Officer for the LNG Opposition Team, we have enough natural gas here for 200 years, and AES has not provided Homeland Security against tankers passing hostile countries and Somali pirates on their way to local waterways.

The second concern is that FERC’s approval of the AES project appears to violate the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act and national historic preservation. “It seems these were trampled on by FERC. The core issue of federalism [states’ rights] is raised. The government does not want you to reverse these decisions. It would be very bad,” Fisher opined.

Donnelly worked hard on the third issue - AES did not include Virginia in their Environmental Impact Statement, even though their tankers would travel through 48 miles of Virginia waterways.

A formidable legal team is taking on FERC. Chief litigant Kenneth T. Kristl is Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic of Widener Law (school) in Wilmington, Delaware. Fisher, an experienced Washington, D.C. attorney, continues to represent the LNG Opposition Team. A Harvard graduate, he also has a Ph.D. in International Economics and in-depth understanding of the disposition of commodities such as natural gas.

A third legal team member, Carolyn Elefant, was once legal counsel to FERC. She now heads her own law firm and represents clients who dispute FERC’s energy regulation policies. Her website is www.FERCfights.com. Maryland and Baltimore County are represented by an assistant attorney general from the Maryland Department of the Environment.

William Strong lives on Bear Creek and thinks if the AES project goes through, it will be like living next to a time bomb. He is concerned about not being able to go fishing and crabbing when the tankers come through. He said the project will kill the value of houses. Eddie Zaledonis, also living on Bear Creek, believes the site is too small for the AES project and not needed because natural gas is flooding the market. Lola Hand of Anne Arundel County attended the information meeting, as she and Dundalk people help each other with industrial pollution issues. A 40-year volunteer, she said, “I have never seen anything moving forward with so much momentum.” 

New trash boom helps to restore Back River

(May 6, 2010)

- By Lena Sala -


On Wednesday, April 28, Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith, along with local officials and members of the Back River Restoration Committee (BRRC), helped to celebrate the newly installed Back River trash boom at an event which took place at 8105 Diamond Point Road.

The trash boom was designed to help reduce floating trash and debris that finds its way into the tributary. The idea first came about back in 2006, by former Eastern Technical High School construction teacher, George Malone.

“I have lived in the Essex area for almost 69 years now. My first fishing trip was along the Back River  back in 1981, which happens to be my favorite recreational sport,” Malone said. “As the years went on, I would notice trash pockets collecting along the headwaters of Back River and I decided that something had to be done about this growing problem.”

Malone is now the Vice President of the BRRC, a non-profit organization committed to the restoration of the river. The BRRC has partnered with Baltimore County to participate in numerous projects and events in the past year. More than 1,000 tires and tons of trash have been removed along the waterways thanks to this organization and 400 volunteers who joined together.

“People need to start looking at themselves as individuals and make positive decisions, because this trash boom can only do so much; it can’t eliminate trash completely. We as the people can make a difference not through words but through actions,” said Brian Schlipp, member of the BRRC.

According to Jim Smith, the cost of the design, materials and installation was $50,000. The estimated monthly operation cost is $4,000.

“From March 12 - April 15 of this year, the trash boom collected 80 bags of bottles, three cubic yards of large trash - such as traffic cones and garbage cans - and large amounts of natural debris,” said Smith.

The main trash boom consists of 700 feet of heavy-duty deflection and was installed at the headwaters of Back River just upstream and downstream of the I-695 bridges north of the Eastern Avenue/Boulevard exits. Located upstream around the wetlands is a 500-foot boom, which prevents floating trash that collects at the main boom from moving upstream with the tide.

According to County Councilman John Olszewski, Sr., 65 members of the Eastern Technical High School football team also helped join in to help clean up trash from around the area.

The trash boom does not only reduce liter - which is one of the key issues identified by the community, according to the Department of Enviornmental Protection and Resource Management who has been actively engaging in the community to develop a Tidal Back River Small Watershed Plan - but it also helps to improve economic growth for small businesses who are located along Back River.

“The people are the heroes and without them we could not have come this far in taking on this challenge,” concluded Smith.

Kenwood teacher wins $5,000 in Vegas bowling tournament

(May 6, 2010)

- By Ben Boehl -

Students at Kenwood High School know Chris Dotson as their technology education teacher, but what they might not know is that he’s a pretty good bowler too. Dotson just returned from the AMF’s $500,000 National In-League Tournament in Las Vegas where he won $5,000.

“It was one of the best experiences I have ever had in any type of tournament,” Dotson said. “I met so many different people. It was pretty cool.”

Dotson is a 24-year-old Middle River resident and is new to the area after moving from Binghamton, NY in August.

Bowling is in his blood as Dotson comes from a bowling family. He and his sister started bowling when they were four years old. His grandparents bowled, and his mom and dad are bowlers too.

“Bowling has always been a great bonding experience for me and my dad,” he said.

When Dotson heard about the $500,000 tournament, he decided to try to cash in on his love for the sport. He started off by finishing first at the local tournament in Middle River. Then he went to the regional tournament in Delaware where he finished first again and qualified for the national tournament in Las Vegas. His success continued out there as he finished fourth in his division, which is out of 27 bowlers. Dotson even surprised himself alittle that he was able to compete with the best bowlers in the country.

“I didn’t have high expectations of winning the tournament. I just wanted to go for the experience,” Dotson added. “But when I finished fourth place, that was pretty cool.”

He  plans  to put some of the $5,000 into a savings bond and will use the rest of the money to pay for education to receive his master’s degree. He will also continue his bowling career every week at AMF in Middle River.

Eastern Tech students score big

(April 29, 2010)

- By Allison H. McAlister -


The Automotive Technology department at Eastern Technical High School has seen its share of successful students over the last few years, as the school has won the state finals of the Ford-AAA Student Auto Skills Contest four years out of the last five (they took second place in 2007). This year, two top students are gearing up to add another win to school’s impressive record.

Eastern Technical High School seniors Ernie Kuehne and Dan Sarzynski received the highest written scores in the state on the written portion of the contest. Fifty-eight Maryland high schools were represented, with a total of 635 students taking the written test. This is the sixth time in the last seven years that Eastern Tech students have received the highest scores on the written test for this contest.

Credit is due to Automotive Technology Instructor Eldridge Watts. “He’s a great teacher,” explained both Kuehne and Sarzynski, adding that Watts often stays after school on his own time to help his students.

Because they aced the written test, the two seniors will now work as a team to compete in the “hands-on” portion of the contest which takes place in May at CCBC-Catonsville. Here, teams from the top 10 schools in the state are given 90 minutes to diagnose and repair a number of bugs in each of their cars. In order to become familiar with the test vehicle, Al Packer Ford in White Marsh has donated a 2010 Ford Fusion as a practice car for the Eastern Tech students to work on in preparation for the contest.

“We are very excited,” Sarzynski said of the upcoming competition. “We’ve worked hard for this.”

Both Kuehne and Sarzynski work as technician helpers at Al Packer White Marsh and plan to pursue careers in the automotive realm. Upon gradution, both plan to enroll in the Ford Asset Program offered through CCBC, where they will earn their associate of arts degree and Ford Master Technician certificate.

Hopefully the team will continue Eastern Tech’s winning streak and take the state finals in May. If so, they’ll be off to compete in the nationals. In 2008, the Eastern Tech team came in second place in the national competition. “We’re seeking the national title,” Kuehne confirmed.

Sisters of Chrome to Host Spectacular Weekend

(April 29, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


The women’s motorcycle club, Sisters of Chrome, will be holding their Second Annual Maryland Trauma Teddy Bear Rally on June 4, 5 and 6 at Camp Conowingo in Cecil County. “Last year was really a success. Everyone told us the event was well organized, and they had a good time. We sold all 1,200 tickets. This year we are expanding beyond our one-day event to three days,” said Chaos (real name Donna Day), Founder and President.

Donations of teddy bears and funding will go to fire, police and Emergency Medical Services departments. Anyone who participates in the motorcycle race must donate a new teddy bear. “The police, fire departments and EMS carry teddy bears in their emergency vehicles. If children have been involved in accidents or other trauma, a teddy bear is given to them. I was told it helps the children in a big way,” Chaos observed.

Motorcycle field games begin at different times on Saturday, June 5. Each motorcyclist must have a passenger. During one contest, the passenger has to throw high heels through a hoop in the center of a field. In another, a hot dog with mustard on the end is tied with a string to a clothes line. The driver cannot use his or her arms or legs. The one who takes the biggest bite of the hot dog wins. Another contest involves tossing water-filled balloons over a rope.

The races begin at different times on Saturday. Starting points are Harley Davidson of Baltimore on Pulaski Highway in Rosedale, Chesapeake Harley Davidson in Darlington and Cycos Motorcycles in Gambrills. The run from Darlington, Harford County, will have a police escort to Camp Conowingo.

But there’s more. Big band artists will be performing at the camp. Among them are Lou Gramm - lead singer of Foreigner, Confederate Railroad, Jimmie Van Zant, Amanda Overmayer from American Idol and too many more to be mentioned here. Children’s activities include face painting, a bike show, free pony rides, free wall climbing and games.

Dundalk Florist celebrates 100 years

(April 29, 2010)

- By Sheri Booker -


In the state of today’s economy, businesses only pray to celebrate a birthday each year.  On Saturday, April 17, Dundalk Florist celebrated its 100-year anniversary with an open house ceremony. They are definitely doing something right. Their secret formula is quite simple: family and flowers. “I’m excited to continue what my great-grandparents started when they immigrated here from Germany,” says Mary Kay McWilliams, one of the five siblings that run the business along with their parents.

With a slogan like “God creates and we cultivate,” how could the business not sustain itself for four generations? August “Augie” and Louise Koch own the business that their children now operate. The florist serves five counties and 152 zip codes.

They have 32 employees, six of whom are family; the others are from the local community. “This is a big accomplishment for this day and time. Not many businesses make it these days,” said 15-year employee Kelly McMillion. Most of the employees have five years under their belt, some even 20-25 years of service to the company.

The day began with a small ceremony, where the family received citations and plaques from County Executive Jim Smith’s office, Teleflora, Chamber of Commerce, the Society of Florist and various others. Guests were able to explore the beautiful shop and greenhouse, while enjoying lite fare and music. “It’s good for Dundalk to have a business sustain itself for 100 years. They’re the only florist I ever use,” said Cathy Bevins, a representative from County Executive Jim Smith’s office.

Over the decades, the business has expanded beyond flowers. Now it is a one-stop gift shop with everything you need for any special occasion. Their daily operation includes delivery service, wedding flowers, rental merchandise, floral tributes for sympathy, welcome arrangements for babies, anniversary and birthday arrangements, memorial arrangements for grave sites, as well as fruit and snack baskets, balloons, cards and gift items. In addition to traditional floral arrangements, they offer souvenirs, sports memorabilia, jewelry, handbags and sunglasses. They also have a greenhouse attached to the building for all of your gardening needs.

Perhaps Delegate Joseph “Sonny” Minnick said it best. “It’s a great day for flowers!”

Towson Tea Party polite but focused

(April 22, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


Although liberals have accused Tea Party-goers of being racist, Nazis, stupid, ignorant and disruptive, none of that was in evidence at the tax day rally at the Towson Courthouse on April 15. People who pre-ordered lunch, agreeing to pay $7.50 only to cover the taxes on pit beef and other substantial offerings, stood calmly in line. Those who waited for their two minutes of fame in the sun were equally patient before stepping up to the soapbox microphone.

The overall theme was the need to limit government spending, emphasizing the high cost of the health care plan, large pensions received by politicians and ever-increasing debt brought on by decisions of the Maryland General Assembly and Governor Martin O’Malley.

Mary Young of Hereford came to Towson because, she said, “I’ve been really disgusted. They [government] are spending recklessly. They have no respect for the taxpayers. They work for us. We don’t work for them.”

Kathy Noppenberger of Overlea, speaking for herself and her husband, stated, “We’re here for our children and grandchildren. We believe this country is headed for socialism. We want limited government.”

Chris Luciano, owner of CC’s Tavern in Essex, said property taxes have become 30 percent higher since County Executive Jim Smith took office. Councilman Bryan McIntire, R-3, (northern Baltimore County) added the County Council is responsible for setting property tax rates, and the state is responsible for assessments.

A national group, As A Mom, was one of the sponsors. Perry Hall mom Patricia Date, President, explained the group began with mothers who had a gut feeling that something is wrong. “My objective for Maryland is to get a local website. We will be sending questionnaires to every candidate. Their responses will be on patriotsformaryland.org. We’re not going to change the issues until we change faces,” she contended.

Kendel Ehrlich, wife of Robert Ehrlich, Republican, who is running for governor, addressed the crowd. “Government spending on housing, banks and student loans is out of control. You are tired of a one-party state. The 20 percent tax increase needs to be repealed. We lost 100,000 jobs in the three and a half years Bob has been out of office,” she observed.  Former Republican Delegate Ken Holt, who is running for County Executive, opined, “This country is in a time of peril.” He complimented the people who showed up for their patriotism.

Dee Hodges, President of the Maryland Taxpayers Association, warned that a $1 billion utility tax is coming, and anyone who needs a car better buy one this year. Next year a car will cost $3,000-$6,000 more because of new environmental standards.

A registered nurse mentioned a hiring freeze on nurses. “Nothing comes free. You will be waiting in line for weeks or months. What they are telling you is garbage. I can’t take care of people I have now,  and this government is going to put 12 more on me before they are through. The American Nurses Association [they support the health care bill] is only a small percentage of nurses. They haven’t a clue,” she noted.

Two people quietly carried signs in opposition to the ambient philosophy. One read, “I love Governor O’Malley.” The other had “Our country is doing better” on one side and “Tea Party Lies” on the other. In addition to As A Mom, other sponsors were Americans for Prosperity, Campaign for Liberty and the Maryland Taxpayers Association. A local Tea Party Convention is planned for October.

Who will be the next county executive?

(April 15, 2010)

- By Ben Boehl -


Councilman Joe Bartenfelder, Councilman Kevin Kamenetz and former Delegate Ken Holt are the main likely candidates to run for Baltimore County Executive. Holt announced his candidacy on April 14 and Bartenfelder and Kamenetz are expected to announce their intentions by the end of April. All three came to the Perry Hall Improvement Association meeting on Thursday, April 8.

Bartenfelder is a Democrat and a lifelong resident of Fullerton. He ran for the House of Delegates when he graduated from Towson State University back in 1978. He lost by 30 votes, but ran again and won in 1982. Bartenfelder served in the House from 1983 to 1994. He later ran for County Council in the Sixth District, a position he has held since 1995. In 2010, he hopes to become the next County Executive, although the County is facing a $150 million deficit.

“I would have rather ran eight years ago. Times were good, but this is the ideal time for me,” Bartenfelder said. “I didn’t pick the time, it picked me.”

He realizes that the county has some tough days ahead, but it needs to get back to the basics. “It’s going to take everybody pulling together. It’s going to take you the citizens,” Bartenfelder explained.

Ken Holt is a resident of Kingsville and has been out of politics for over a decade. The small business owner served in the House of Delegates from 1995-99, but wants to be the first Republican County Executive since Roger Hayden served from 1990-1994.

Holt wants Baltimore County to go from a regulated government to a facilitated government. He stated too many laws and restrictions have sent too many jobs away from the state. “The millionaire’s tax drove out a large percentage of millionaires in Maryland,” Holt explained. “It’s a very poor decision that has crippled our state.”

Holt said he would tackle the $150 million deficient without cutting services or increasing taxes.

“Cutting services and raising taxes is off the table,” Holt said. “ We need to focus on high cost/ low productivity areas in the county. We can do more with less.”

Democrat Kevin Kamenetz lives in Owings Mills and represents the Northwest district in the County Council. He has ties to eastern Baltimore County, as he worked at his father’s drug store on Belair Road in Overlea. “I learned to give back to the community from Dad,” Kamenetz said. “He taught me to tell it like it is, be straightforward with people and tell them where you stand.”

Kamenetz is proud of his bill that brought video surveillance to security malls as it has reduced crime and solved three homicides. In addition, he’s happy the county hasn’t raised taxes or furloughed employees despite the county’s budget shortfalls. Even though times are tough, Kamenetz is looking forward to the future of Baltimore County.

“Anybody can be a good county executive in good times. The challenge is to be a good county executive in bad times.”

All three men took questions from the audience and all three said they won’t raise taxes or fees, but admitted there won’t be any tax cuts. Bartenfelder and Kamenetz were questioned about the councilmen’s pension and both believe the system needs to be fixed.

A member of the audience asked a question of the candidates about a new high school for the Perry Hall area. Bartenfelder said he has supported a new high school for the area over the past 10 years and wants the county to buy property around Route 43 before it’s bought and developed for other projects. “The more kids in school, the harder it is to learn and the harder it is to teach,” Bartenfelder said.

Holt agreed with Bartenfelder and supports the idea of a new high school.

Kamenetz warns the cost for a new school will be around $80 - $100 million, but he is in favor of a new high school. He disagrees with Bartenfelder on the location of a school. With overcrowding at Towson, Loch Raven and Perry Hall high schools, Kamenetz wants to see a more centralized location.

“We can find land cheaper outside the [Perry Hall] area,” he said.

Marks running for County Council

(April 15, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


David Marks of Perry Hall announced on April 13 he will seek election to the fifth district. A locally well-known community activist, he was chosen president of the Perry Hall Improvement Association (PHIA) nine times starting in 1999. During his tenure, he led a grassroots campaign to build the new Perry Hall library.

Although running as a Republican, he worked with leaders of both political parties to preserve the Perry Hall Mansion and help block harmful developments such as a condominium next to Honeygo Park. A founder of Friends of the Perry Hall Mansion, the Perry Hall High School Alumni Association, the Perry Hall Town Fair Committee and Perry Hall Community Concerts, he launched a program for 100 trees to be planted within the community.

Marks is a former president of the Northeast Area Educational Advisory Council. As a leader with the Baltimore County Historical Trust, he is involved with preservation of historic buildings throughout the county. The Maryland Jaycees named him “Outstanding Young Marylander” in 2004.

His employment for 15 years has been in the transportation industry. He was chief of staff of the Maryland Department of Transportation from 2003 to 2007 but is in the process of resigning from his government job to run for County Council. He graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park in 1995 and received a master’s degree from Hopkins in 1997 in public policy with an emphasis on transportation. Marks and his wife Stephanie live in Perry Hall with their children Nicholas and Madeline.

“After 15 years as a volunteer and civic leader, I can be more effective for our community as a member of the Baltimore County Council. From school overcrowding to traffic congestion, we need leaders who will listen to their constituents, fight for our neighborhoods and reform county government,” Marks stated. Ruth Mascari, former chairman of the Baltimore County Historical Trust, had this to say about him, “Some candidates suddenly appear when an election rolls around. David Marks worked for 15 years in the community before he decided to run for office. I’m a Democrat who’s proud to support David Marks.”

Essex, Middle River development plans

(April 15, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -

Land use changes in Middle River and Essex are being implemented at a leisurely pace according to Office of Planning director Pat Keller, who presented updates, or lack of them, at the April meeting of the Essex Middle River Civic Council (EMRCC).

The focus for the area is shifting from growth to redevelopment. Funding was received from the federal government. “Because we spent ours on a project, the government gave us more,” Keller said. He did not mention the amount but noted the largest portion will go for a traffic study in connection with BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) people moving in.  The next largest allocation will be for environmental matters. A smaller percentage will be used for calculating property boundaries.

There is some redevelopment going on but no new development in the area. Middle River will be getting funding for LEED Certified (green) building to help reduce energy costs. County staff recently completed a draft for a new waterfront zoning designation. The Lower Back River Neck community will decide if they like the idea. That community plan was adopted a few weeks ago as part of the 2020 Master Plan. Keller thanked Al Clasing for his work on it.

EMRCC president Rocky Jones is concerned about the lack of local facilities. “We have small ones compared to other parts of the county. Eastern Regional Park is big enough for one basketball court. How useful is that? Indoor facilities are needed. I am on the board of the Rec. Council. I can see we are far behind other areas,” Jones contended. Keller replied that funding levels are chosen by the Department of Recreation and Parks. “We can ask Bob Barrett [Director] about funding for Stemmers Run, North Point and Chase,” he said.

He added that developers are talking about mixed use plans and underutilized tracts. A draft of the Depot and commuter train plans will be available in July.

In other news, a new, one-of-a-kind group is forming in Baltimore County - a Political Action Committee (PAC) chartered by the state. The goal is to support county council candidates who will best represent community interests. The PAC will not be supporting any one political party and in the future will be asking all county community associations to join.

The Board of Liquor Commissioners denied a license for a future liquor store at 836 Middle River Road in a relatively new building which has a rotisserie chicken carryout on one side. Chairman Thomas Minkin explained the request was denied due to neighborhood protests against the location. The site is next to athletic fields. There was concern as well about adding to the number of kids now going into the nearby woods and drinking.

Randy Cogar reported the residentially zoned nine-acre VFW property on Wampler Road was sold to a private developer for $260,000. “It would have been an ideal place for a community park, surrounded by residences,” he observed. He hopes his community can meet with the developer to try to work out plans that will be best for the area. After the meeting, Tom Germroth of the Vincent Farm Bird River Neighborhood Association praised Keller for his work with communities during the past six months.

CCBC Essex gets health care grant

(April 15, 2010)

- By Ben Boehl -


U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski, Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith came to CCBC-Essex to celebrate the $4.9 million grant the school received from the U.S. Department of Labor. The grant is part of President Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

CCBC President Sandra Kurtinitis invited the three politicians to the campus on April 7 to meet with School of Health Profession students.

“This is a special moment for all of us here at CCBC,” Kurtinitis said. “It’s one of the best things we have been able to do together.”

The grant is expected to train 2,031 workers with 1,012 expecting to receive certificates or degrees within three years. Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Nurse Support Technician (NST), Licenses Practical Nurse (LPN), Associate Degree Nurse (ADN) and Respiratory Therapist (RT) are the programs that will benefit from the grant.

“We want to help you build this bridge to somewhere,” Mikulski said to the students. “We are creating jobs for today and jobs for tomorrow.”

CCBC is the only institution in Maryland to receive this grant. Smith thanks Mikulski for securing the grant and said that Maryland is lucky to have her as senator. Smith also credits the students and faculty at CCBC-Essex for running a successful program.

“If this community college wasn’t one of the best and most productive in the country, you wouldn’t have gotten this grant,” Smith said.

With the national health care bill passing, Smith stated there is going to be more of a demand for more doctors, nurses and all types of health care workers.

“We are going to need more health care providers since more Maryland and Baltimore County residents have access to that care,” Smith said.

Brown said despite tough economic times, the O’Malley administration remains dedicated to funding education and the grant will add to it. “The funding for community colleges has actually gone up the past four years,” Brown explained. “Today is about economy recovery.”

One of the students that will benefit from the grant is Brittney Rhodes. She is a nursing student at CCBC-Essex and a graduate of Eastern Tech High School. Rhodes believes the grant will provide opportunities for students. The grant will increase enrollment by expanding physical space, creating new classes, enlarging current class size, engaging new partners and adding faculty and staff.

“More students will be able to join all these great programs,” Rhodes said.

Property of By The Docks owner seized by U.S. government

(April 8, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


Ten searches conducted by Immigration and Customs  Enforcement (ICE), Department of Homeland Security resulted in forfeiture of seven bank accounts and three vehicles belonging to George M. Anagnostou, owner of By The Docks Restaurant in Middle River. An affidavit signed by ICE special agent Matthew Schlegel stated the taking of property was due to violation of United States Code provisions against money laundering, also listed as racketeering (illegal business) and provisions concerning employment of unauthorized workers. Racketeering, as described by the U.S. Code, carries a penalty of up to $500,000 or twice the maximum value of property seized, or a jail sentence of up to 20 years.

Confiscated bank accounts forfeited belonging to Anagnostou were at Wachovia, First Mariner and BB&T. Vehicles seized were a 2006 Toyota 4-Runner, 2009 Harley Davidson and a 2006 Nissan Altima. These items were selected for removal to compensate for possible profits from the hiring and housing of undocumented foreigners.

The suspected workers were caught by identification of their cars on the By The Docks lot. The employees were housed at 1723 Earhart Road in Essex, a single family detached dwelling owned by Anagnostou. All of them have Hispanic names.

Three men of unknown citizenship had social security numbers with “no matches found” by ICE. Three others were from Guatemala, one from Ecuador, one from Uruguay and another of unknown citizenship. One man staying at the residence had a monthly rental agreement with lease holder “Raul Vasquez Torres” of “8108 Ritchie Highway in Pasadena.” Both Torres and this address remain unidentified.

Michael Stavlas, uncle of Anagnostou, was first found hiring illegals at his Timbuktu restaurant in Hanover in 1998. Some years ago, Anagnostou became a part owner. Timbuktu was included in the recent raid.

The Middle River defendant owns 17 companies, most of them limited liability. Their addresses are scattered around. A few of the MCMJ LLCs are in Rosedale at 9415 Philadelphia Road. Yia Yias Bakery at the same address is another. More companies are on Dorsey Road in Hanover. One is on Shipley Road in Linthicum, one in Owings Mills, one in Perry Hall at 4221 Winterode Way, at least one in Kingsville and one on Greenspring Avenue.

“Limited liability companies are used to avoid tax payments and enable persons to hold property while shielding their identity,” Agent Schlegel wrote in his affidavit.

“I support strong enforcement against illegal immigrants, and the ICE people are doing their job,” added Delegate Pat McDonough, an activist concerning illegal immigration. By The Docks remains open while the civil case against Anagnostou is pending in the U.S. District Court of Maryland.

Local resident goes to space camp

(April 8, 2010)

- By Ben Boehl -


When most of us went to high school, we would read a book or watch a video on outer space, but wouldn’t it have been cool if we could have gone for astronaut training? That fantasy became a reality for Nottingham resident Jenny Deshong. The 16-year-old Mercy High School student was among 160 students from 20 countries and 28 states who won a scholarship to attend a week of training at the inaugural Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy (HLCA) at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL.

Deshong participated in interactive activities and workshops designed to improve leadership skills.

“It was really a different experience. Everything was set up as if we were in space,” Deshong said. “Our dorm room was cramped together just like an astronaut’s quarters are cramped together in space.”

The astronaut training consists of stimulating a shuttle launch mission, experiencing what it is like to walk on the moon and tumbling in a space capsule. In addition, there were stress inducing and time-critical physical challenges and designing that included building and testing their own rockets and simulating jet-fighter pilot training.

Deshong said she enjoyed the mock space mission as she was working in the mission control room. While the experience was wonderful, it was not all fun and games.

“We started off reading off a script, but then problems came up and we had to make adjustments,” Deshong explained. “You had to think fast on your feet. They didn’t tell you what was next.”

Deshong and the other students met with scientists, engineers and former astronauts to reinforce core leadership competencies and provide them with firsthand accounts of professional experiences. These competencies include: purposeful leadership, critical thinking, integrated planning, effective communication and team trust and cohesion. Students were put to the test when many of the activities required them to present their findings or opinions to a panel of experts.

Honeywell and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center award the scholarships after an application and review process based on academic achievement and community involvement. Financial contributions from Honeywell employees help fund the scholarships, which include tuition for the weeklong program, meals, accommodations and program materials.

After high school, Deshong wants to attend college at the University of Maryland or somewhere close to home. She’d like a career in science and stated that the experience at astronaut training was helpful and a good life lesson.

“I would recommend it for everyone. You meet so many different people,” Deshong added. “It’s an experience.”

Master Plan 2020 offers new look for communities

(April 8, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


Instead of sprawling outwards with single family homes as was the tradition dating from the 1950s, the trend of designing living spaces has become upwards and more compact. County Master Plan Coordinator R. Bruce Seeley and Pat Keller, Director of the Office of Planning, explained why during a poorly attended Master Plan 2020 meeting at Patapsco High on March 23; energy has become more expensive and state laws require cutting down on pollution. “The Army Corps of Engineers has given the entire country a D minus for existing land use,” Keller said.

The way to remedy these challenges is to build walkable communities. Buildings will be three or four stories high with commercial, retail and office spaces on the ground floor. Areas will be made attractive with trees and good design features for building facades and street lamps, for example. Mass transportation and bicycle paths are a part of the scene. Research has found the addition of parks significantly cuts down on pollution, because runoff from buildings and traffic can be absorbed by the earth of the parks which cleanses pollution before it goes into the Bay and other waterways.

These types of communities should help in doing away with long commutes to work in heavy traffic, as more work will be available close to home. Cutting down on travel reduces contamination caused by tire treads melting on asphalt in hot weather and in general, on air pollution. The communities are to be built away from former industrial areas, which will be left alone.

The intent of Master Plan 2020 is to involve both county government and individual citizens in the planning process. Steve Verch of the Back River Restoration Committee informed the attendees that people want reducing trash in the water to be part of the 2020 plan. Reduction in trash will result in diminishing waterborne bacteria and making waterways swimmable and fishable.

Harry Wujek, President of the North Point Council, suggested examining results of the 2010 Master Plan to learn what worked, what didn’t and then figure out what we need to do. He asked to find out effects global warming will have on the plan. Wujek noted that pulling 100 or so tires out of the local river and creeks as was done recently was a source of instant gratification for the participants. He added the biggest disappointment of the 2010 Master Plan was lack of development of Sparrows Point, and he opined, “The developers have too much influence. We need to make that go away.”

Francis Taylor of the North Point Council stated the 2010 plan did not bring any dollars into the community. “Jobs need to be created on the existing industrial land. We don’t have a lot of things other areas have. Please make sure that dollars come to our part of the county,” he said.

Fred Theiss, President of Wells McComas, observed there are no buffers between his house and manufacturing zones.” We are constantly battling an oil refinery within one-half mile of my house and a medical waste facility. Make sure you are heading where you plan to be best,” he contended.

Jordan Hadfield of Old Dundalk mentioned Dundalk has the lowest median income in the county with Essex second. “There are a limited amount of jobs in our community. People are working all over the place. We need improved transportation to get people to jobs,” he declared. 

County Charter requires the Master Plan to be updated every 10 years. For questions or comments contact the county Office of Planning, 410-887-3480 or e-mail masterplan@baltimorecountymed.gov. The web address is www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/planning/masterplanning/index.html.

ESP rec launches A.S.P.I.R.E. program

(April 8, 2010)

- By Sheri Booker -


When Milissa Jablonski saw the opinion box at the Edgemere-Sparrows Point Recreation Council, she knew it was time to let her voice be heard. The parent of a child with special needs, she wanted to develop a program that would allow children with special needs to socialize with kids who were similar to them while having fun. She also wanted a place where parents and friends of these children could also interact, if they wished. While programs like this already existed, there weren’t any offered in the region and the need for one was very obvious.

A day after submitting her proposal, she was contacted by the council and formed a committee to organize the A.S.P.I.R.E. (Adaptive Sports Program Inspiring kids to Reach Excellence). The committee, which is comprised of parents and educators of children with special needs, wrote a program that promises to meet each child at their individual needs. It offers children the opportunity to learn many different sports and therapeutic activities, which will hopefully boost their self-esteem and acceptance by peers while learning a new sport or activity. The noncompetitive league of sports would also allow children to play together, exercise and learn teamwork and social networking skills.

Physical educator, Delke Crouthemel, signed on with the group to develop the adaptive sports. This spring, A.S.P.I.R.E. will off T-ball for its participants. An adaptation to the game is Dice Ball. The team will use a ball shaped like a die and whichever ball it lands on determines the number of bases. They are working on obtaining the necessary equipment, like beeping balls for students with vision and hearing problems. In the future, the program hopes to offer soccer and other sports.

After about eight months of meeting and planning, the program held its initial registration. Parents brought their children whose special needs ranged from autism, cerebral palsy and nonverbal communication to wheelchair confinement. “I want people to know that they shouldn’t fear contacting us. Take a chance and we will let you know if your child can participate in the program,” Milissa explained, noting that some parents worry whether their child can actively participate in the activities. Children with special needs, ages 6-18, are welcome to participate.

Registration will continue until the end of the week. The sessions begin in late April and will be held each Saturday at 10 a.m. The cost is $20 per session. For information on the program or to register your child, visit www.esprec.com.

Local men, women and children go bald for a great cause

(April 1, 2010)

- By Sheri Booker -


On Saturday, March 27, the wall outside of the Martin’s East ballroom was covered with the faces of innocent children. Though their smiles were as bright as ever, the kids featured on the wall were all diagnosed with cancer. In support of them, over a few hundred people gathered to help raise funds. The bald heads inside did not belong to cancer victims, but to supporters of childhood cancer research, who shaved their heads to raise money for the cause.

This was the region’s second annual St. Baldrick’s Charity event, a St. Patrick’s Day based event where local men and women shaved their heads in solidarity with children battling cancer to help raise money for cancer research. This year the head-shaving event raised over $68,000 for cancer research, nearly double what it raised last year. “Hopkins got two grants last year. It’s nice to see it comes back local again,” said Dominic Vasold, one of the event’s organizers.

The event, which uses volunteer event organizers and word-of-mouth campaigning, also tripled its participation this year. Out of the 160 participants, at least 10 children and 10 women shaved their heads for the cause. While head-shaving was the main event, plenty of other activities took place like raffles, a silent auction and a kid’s fun area.

“It’s definitely moving when you see men and women do something this big,” said Roxanne Montgomery, who was there to cheer on a friend.

St. Baldrick’s, which is a fusion of “St. Patrick’s Day” and “bald,” is a nonprofit that coordinates worldwide head-shaving events. In the last 10 years, they have rasied over $75 million from their events. All funds raised go to childhood cancer research.

For more information, visit www.stbaldricks.org.

Politics take center stage at Essex COP meeting

(March 25, 2010)

- By Ben Boehl -


The primary election is less than six months away and the local races are starting to heat up. The Essex C.O.P. invited four candidates as their guest speakers for their recent meeting. House of Delegates Candidate Todd Crandell couldn’t make the meeting, but the Essex community got to hear from Charles “Buzz” Beeler, Ric Metzgar and Jordan Hadfield.

Charles “Buzz” Beeler calls himself a “conservative, blue dog Democrat.” He is running for County Council in the Seventh District against Councilman John Olszewski Sr., who will be seeking a fourth term. “The main reason I got into this race is because I saw Baltimore County taking a path down a road I call moral dilemma,” Beeler said, who spent 39 years as a Baltimore County Police officer.

Beeler wants to focus on crime, traffic, gang activity, graffiti and rat infestation. He said the simple way to rid the community of rats is to use lids for trash cans, especially when Wal-mart was giving out free trash cans.

One of Beeler’s main platforms is illegal immigration. He blames the federal government for not securing the U.S.-Mexican border, but believes local jurisdictions can fight the problem. “I am a supporter of 287 G. It has been used in Frederick County,” Beeler added. The measure allows the Federal Government to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies, permitting designated officers to perform immigration law enforcement functions, according to a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).

Beeler said the councilman’s job is to be the voice of the people and his/her job is to work for the people and not Jim Smith. “Right now, I don’t think anyone’s voice is being heard from any members of the County Council, expect maybe Joe Bartenfelder,” Beeler stated.

Ric Metzgar is a candidate for the House of Delegates Sixth District and is trying to take a seat away from Delegates Sonny Minnick, John Olszewski, Jr. and Mike Weir. “Four years ago when I ran, my slogan was ‘we need a change.’ Four years later, we really need a change,” Metzgar said.

The Kenwood grad is currently a general manager at a local auto dealership in Essex. Metzgar wants to focus on seniors, public safety and jobs. After seeing places like Bethlehem Steel, General Motors and major retailers leave the area over the years, he wants to see less government involved in the private sector. “Annapolis is out of touch with small business,” Metzgar said. “We need to create jobs and roll back the unemployment tax.”

Metzgar promised to bring fiscal responsibility to the House of Delegates. He won’t be afraid of House Speaker Michael Busch. “If anything, he will be afraid of me. Look at me,” Metzgar said with a laugh.

At only 25 years of age, Jordan Hadfield is taking the opportunity to challenge a man who is three times his age. Senator Norman Stone has been in office for the past 46 years. Hadfield thinks of Stone as a good man, but believes it’s time for him to go. “There is an old saying if ain’t broke don’t fix it. Well, it’s broke. It’s been broken for a long time,” he said.

Hadfield says the community has let too many incumbents sit in office for a long time, including Stone, who has only been challenged three times in his 11 terms. “That’s shameful. Not for Senator Stone, but for the community. I know it’s difficult because of all the time and money, but only three times in 46 years?”

Hadfield is known for his work with the Dundalk Renaissance Corporation, UMBC and for Delegate John Olszewski, Jr.’s office.

Hadfield has divided his platform into jobs, education and the quality of life. “As jobs left, house values plummeted and crime went up,” Hadfield explained. “Dundalk is number one and Essex is number two in the amount of sex offenders in the area.”

Marshy Point director a rugged individualist

(March 25, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -

Besides running the show, a nature center director will take groups on walks or hikes. He or she will talk about creatures and vegetation observed along the way or which might be found on location during a different season. But Marshy Point Nature Center director Kirk Dreier is available for experiences beyond the job description and has knowledge of the outdoors which is, well, amazing.

How many people do you know who have cooked and eaten squirrels, rabbits, elk, deer, mice, and can prepare groundhog stew or serve fish on a plank a la the late 1600s? In this space shuttle, computer and iPod age, how many people do you know who can start a fire by rubbing stones together, make clothing from buckskin, fashion arrowheads, knife blades and axes from stone, carve a blowgun from black locust, create wooden bows from aboriginal types to the English longbow, or design Borneo-style crossbows from bamboo and other wood and then have the skill to shoot poison darts with them into trees?

Dreier can do all of these things and more. He shares a few of his talents at two annual events. One is the Fort Garrison Feast near Exit 21 of I-695. Here, at what was once a remote frontier post, nine rangers withstood Indian attacks in 1693. For the occasion, Dreier has imitated historic art works by donning buckskin leggings he made himself and painting his chest in authentic Indian style. For those who attend, partaking of the culinary offerings is strictly voluntary.

Another event Dreier coordinates, where people learn to “make things” and rough it in tents, is a Primitive Technology Weekend. It has been held at the edge of Oregon Ridge Park the first weekend in May for the past 21 years. “We try to do something different every year,” Dreier said. The theme is historic archeology. This year it will be cooking with soapstone bowls; digging a pit and learning how to fire a pot under primitive conditions. One year the Native American practice of smoking a variety of plants in different kinds of pipes to attract game was a huge success. The weekend is only $1 per person.    

Dreier’s innate love of nature was fostered by his Great Aunt Rose who owned 15 acres bordering Stemmers Run. She taught him to identify edible plants as he romped through the woods while visiting three sets of cousins. When visiting a grandfather with property near the Magothy River, he learned about sunfish.

By fourth grade, Dreier was an expert with a BB gun. When he was 13, his father bought him his first shotgun. Dreier remembers what is now White Marsh Mall as the old Campbell’s Quarries, a teenage paradise dotted with ponds, ducks, Canada geese and bobwhite quail. Another significant experience was bagging his first deer with bow and arrow while working on his bachelor’s degree at University of West Virginia.

As Director of the Marshy Point Nature Center for more than a year, Dreier thinks people need to learn the importance of protecting the fragile waterfront area and to have fun while doing it. “Focus should be on the natural beauty of the Bay, the nuances such as grass shrimp and migration above and below the water. Interrelated pieces of the mosaic need to be brought into focus and back out again to fully appreciate the whole picture,” he opined.

Dreier credits his assistant Winny Tan, one of the best Naturalists in Baltimore County, for helping him in so many ways with running Marshy Point Nature Center. Located at 7130 Marshy Point Road off of Eastern Avenue Extended, the nature center is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. For information about free or nominal-fee year-round activities for people ages four to forever, phone 410-887-2817 or visit www.marshypoint.org. If you accept the open invitation to stop by and Dreier is in, ask him about his taxidermy hobby - stuffing animal skins. “My goal is to see 50 cars in the parking lot every day,” he said.

Government pension growth unsustainable

(March 18, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


A town hall forum concerning runaway government funding from taxpayers’ pockets for pensions for Baltimore County Council members, the County Executive and others brought about 80 people to the Towson Library meeting room on March 15. Panelists and moderators represented Americans For Prosperity, a non-partisan national advocacy group for limited government. Their goal is to get citizens to insist that present and future elected officials commit to working for the people, not just for themselves - to stop the financial hemorrhaging.

As has been well publicized elsewhere, Councilman Vince Gardina, D-5, will walk away at age 53 with an annual lifetime pension of $54,000 for his five terms, 20 years of part-time government service. Councilmen Joseph Bartenfelder, D-6, and Kevin Kamenetz will walk away with $48,000. If either of them wins the county executive race in November, that one will walk away with $108,000 per year.

Baltimore County Americans for Prosperity co-chair Steve Bailey mentioned that Kamenetz put in a bill to reduce the pensions to 60 percent of pay, but the provision would only apply to those who will be serving on the County Council in the future. It passed. Bartenfelder then presented a bill to cap pensions on existing council members to 60 percent. Only one person voted for it.

“Johnny O. [John Olszewski, Sr., D-7] endorsed Kevin for county executive. It smells to high heaven,” said Bailey. “Kevin called and said, ‘I wish you wouldn’t talk about it.’ He said he is sacrificing and could make more money in private practice,” Bailey added.

County Executive Jim Smith will collect $150,000 per year when his service terminates. The figure includes pensions from when he was a council member for seven years and a circuit court judge for approximately 15 years. If he wins the race for state senate in November, he will be quadruple-dipping at taxpayer expense. Panelist Marta Mossburg of the Maryland Public Policy Institute tried to learn how many elected officials in Maryland were double-dipping or more. She was told the information would not be made public.

Another generally hidden item was brought forth by panelist Wayne Skinner, Towson county councilman from 1998 -2002. “A commission decides on the amount of pensions for county officials. The members are appointed by the County Executive except one, who is from a union.” In addition to the pension, county council members get health care benefits and a county car for their part time job. “I sure enjoyed not having to pay for gas while traveling on county business, and the tire replacements,” Skinner observed.

Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, D-2, is on track to receive $264,000 annually, thanks to taxpayer largesse. This amount includes accruals from his county council and county executive service.

The private sector is faltering by comparison. Panelist and actuary Steve Bourg noted that a private sector employee pension in a 401K is 10 times less than that of a government employee. Private sector employees must wait until age 65, while for a government employee, the pension starts with service. Only five percent of Maryland private sector employers have not frozen pensions. Only 11 percent of part-time employees get benefits. Of these, 34 percent work for government. “It’s not Wall Street; it’s gold plated benefits for government,” someone said.

A final question from the floor was, “Where is all this spending leading?” No one was able to give a definitive answer. The panelists relied heavily on number crunching to back up their facts. For information, Google “Americans for Prosperity Maryland.”

St. John Properties becomes true pal for PAL

(March 18, 2010)

- By Ben Boehl-


The Police Athletic League (PAL) program received a check of $25,000 from Edward St. John of St. John Properties and Baltimore Crossroads @95 on Friday, March 5 at the Mars Estates PAL Center. The proceeds came from the Baltimore Crossroads @95 5K Cross Country Challenge in October.

“Today is about investing. Investing in our future. Investing in our youth,” said Lt. Robert McCullough of the Baltimore County Police Department.

St. John said he wanted to have a fundraiser, but didn’t know what to do. He contemplated a golf tournament, but wanted something held at Crossroads off Route 43. That’s how the Baltimore Crossroads @95 5K Cross Country Challenge was born. St. johnis happy how the race grew from 500 people in 2008 to over 1,500 in 2009.

“The community jumped on board. Our little race at Crossroads has now become a community race,” St. John said.

PAL is an after school program designed for the youths of Baltimore County. PAL provides an alterative for children instead of crime and drugs. Each PAL Center is designed to meet the needs of each unique community. The PAL Centers offer a variety of free activities to youths between the ages of 8 and 17. PAL attempts to develop positive attitudes towards police officers by providing Baltimore County youth with role models. Most kids also get some exercise and usually meet new friends.

“Lawful enforcement has a social fabric in our community,” said Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson. There are nine PAL locations throughout Baltimore County, including three on the east side. The White Marsh Precinct 9 PAL is located at 8876 Goldenwood Road in Rosedale, the Essex Precinct 11 PAL is located at 1498 East Homberg Ave. in Essex and the North Point Precinct 12 PAL is located at 15 Commerce St. in Dundalk.

PJ Widerman, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Baltimore County Police Athletic League, believes in the PAL program but is upset the program only exists in Baltimore County.

“We are the only one left in the state of Maryland and that’s a sad statement for the rest of our state,” Widerman stated.

Nancy A. Grasmick, State Superintendent of Maryland Public Schools, came to the check presentation and is happy to partner with PAL.

“I recognize the need of children in this area. Some children don’t have stability at home and need these programs,” Grasmick said.

Ateaze Senior Center presents 'Hometown Favorites' cookbook

- By Allison H. McAlister -

People enjoy good food, and there’s just nothing like a home-cooked meal. Especially now that folks are living on a tighter budget because of the difficult economy, people are rediscovering the joy of eating in.

If you’re looking for some new tried and true recipes to add to your collection of family favorites, you should definitely pick up a copy of “Hometown Favorites,” a collection of recipes put together by The Ateaze Senior Center in Dundalk.

Chock full of tempting recipes you’ll be wanting to try, there’s even a few by some names you’ll recognize.

Marylanders love their crabmeat, and former First Lady of Maryland Kendel Ehrlich shares her recipes for crab dip and crab cakes. In addition to those, there is also a recipe for barbecue shrimp, which also gives credit to her husband, the former Governor Bob Ehrlich.

You’ll also find a crab cake recipe from Senator Barbara Mikulski, a turkey stuffing recipe from Senator Norman Stone and his wife and one for broccoli casserole from Councilman John Olszewski, Sr. The Councilman’s staff members also submitted recipes, as did Norwood Elementary School Principal Pat Goldys and several of Norwood’s teachers. There’s even a recipe for Creamy Tomato Parmesan Soup from Keith and Nancy Crass, owners of The Bistro at Kool Bean in Ocean View, Delaware.

Ateaze Senior Center put the cookbook together in order to raise funds for the purchase of equipment for the Ateaze Fitness Center. Bette O. and Steve Oszakiewski chaired the Cookbook Committee, which was comprised of several Ateaze members and staff. The cover design was created by Frank A. Duncan IV.

Bette said they came up with the idea for a cookbook fundraiser while exercising. “There are a few of us who talk about food and exchange recipes while we’re on the treadmills and joked we should put together a cookbook,” she explained. It didn’t take long to gather all the recipes, but putting it together was a lot of work. “We worked long and hard and it took a lot of effort, but we had lots of support and were able to have the cookbooks in time for Christmas.”

Containing almost 300 delicious and unique recipe, this cookbook will be a treasured addition to your collection for years to come. Best of all, it’s only $10. Since Mother’s Day is right around the corner, the Hometown Favorites Cookbook would make a great gift for all the moms on your list.

The cookbooks sold like hotcakes, but there are still a limited number available. “I’m hoping the cookbooks will make people want to join our senior center,” Bette explained. “The senior center is really a great place.”

To get your copy of “Hometown Favorites,” please call Bette O. or Steve at 410-282-3815.

The Ateaze Senior Center is located at 7401 Holabird Ave. in Dundalk. Call 410-887-7233.

Dundalk fire station heroes recognized

(March 18, 2010)

- By Ben Boehl -


The Dundalk Fire Station will never forget Feb. 10, 2010 when its building caught on fire the day of the blizzard. Fortunately there were no fatalities, as the quick work of 13 firefighters and EMS personnel and two Maryland National Guard members prevented the incident from becoming a major tragedy.

A ceremony was held to honor the firefighters and guard members at the Dundalk Fire Station, which is reopened for service.

“This is a nightmare that has turned into a dream come true,” Baltimore County Fire Chief John Hohman said about the brave heroics of the members of the fire station.

 They didn’t have time to react as the firefighters were sleeping on Feb. 10 at 2:40 a.m. They awoke to a fire in the engine bay that destroyed a brand-new $600,000 fire engine, a brush unit, a medic unit and a National Guard Humvee. Station personnel were able to save two fire engines and one medic unit. County Executive Smith is proud of the effort.

“You had enough presence of mind to go out and drag the hose to the fire hydrant and put out the fire. Even so, in seven minutes the roof collapsed,” he noted.

That meant the fire station had to find a new home and they did that same afternoon. The Dundalk Fire Station relocated and opened at Sollers Point High School before moving back home on Feb. 25.

“It reminds us how dangerous it is being a firefighter. We are lucky there were no fatalities,” said County Councilman John Olszewski, Sr.

Actually the blizzard might have been a blessing in disguise because the fire station was filled with a full staff of firefighters and National Guard members that were prepared to help citizens during the blizzard. Instead, they had to take care of business in their own building.

“Once again our fire stations in Baltimore County prove they are the finest in the nation,” Councilman Joe Bartenfelder said.

The County Executive presented Hero Pins to the following individuals:

* Captain Frederick L. Burkhardt, Dundalk Station 6B
* Fire Apparatus Driver Operator Dana A. Pack, Dundalk Station 6B
* PM Brandee L. Palmer, Dundalk Station 6B
* PEMT Adam M. Reininger, Dundalk Station 6B
* PM/FF Samuel E. Abrams, Dundalk Station 6B
* EMT Ginger M. Diegert, Dundalk Station 6B
* PFF Thomas L. Kimbel, Dundalk Station 6B
* EMT/FF Tracey D. Henry, Dundalk Station 6B
* PM/FF Stephanie A. Valencia, Dundalk Station 6C
* PM/FF Jamie M. LaRoque, Dundalk Station 6C
* EMT/FF Ryan P. Downey, Dundalk Station 6C
* Fire Apparatus Driver Operator Jeremy M. McDonnell, Dundalk Station 6C
* Lieutenant David R. Westbrook, Dundalk Station 6E
* Staff Sgt. Ed Graham, Maryland National Guard
* Specialist Sherie Peeks, Maryland National Guard

Saint Clare among Catholic schools victims of consolidation

(March 11, 2010)

- By Ben Boehl -


The Archdiocese of Baltimore announced 13 schools would be closing its doors and consolidating with other schools. Saint Clare of Essex, located at 714 Myrth Ave., was one of the schools on the list.

“The Archdiocese of Baltimore remains as committed to the education of children - all children - as it was when the nation’s first Catholic school opened in Baltimore more than two centuries ago,” Archbishop Edwin O’Brien said in a statement. “In order to do that, however, we need to address a number of factors - mostly demographic and economic - that have long affected our schools to preserve the history of Catholic education and transform its future.”

Still, the decision affects the lives of students, teachers, faculty and parents.

Maggie Dates is principal at Saint Clare and said morale was down on Wednesday, March 3 after the announcement, but students rebounded when they got back into a routine. She credits the teachers for keeping up student morale.

“Our teachers are the glue that holds everything together,” Dates explained. “They are amazing. Even though they won’t have their jobs at the end of the year, they are still helping our students during this tough time.”

This is Dates’ first year at the school and she was hoping that the school could keep up its enrollment numbers. The school has been battling the weak economy and felt good it made the best effort to keep the school open as long as possible. Dates realized the decision is not personal and is in the best interest for the long-term future.

“I respect the way the Archdiocese took a look at all the schools across the board. We knew that they were going to reduce and eliminate some schools. They took a symmetric approach and are doing what is best for all the Catholic schools in the area,” she said.

Students at Saint Clare have the opportunity to attend Saint Clement’s School in Rosedale and Mount Carmel School in Essex.

Saint Clare was not alone as Sacred Heart of Mary School in Dundalk and Our Lady of Fatima School near Southeast Baltimore County were the two other schools on the eastside that will close.

EMRWM Chamber and Marine Trades honor Mary Harvey

(March 11, 2010)

- By Maryann Horn -


On Tuesday, March 2, the Essex-Middle River-White Marsh (EMRWM) Chamber of Commerce and the Marine Trades Association of Baltimore County held a luncheon at the Riverwatch Restaurant to honor Mary L. Harvey, Director of the Baltimore County Office of Community Conservation. Harvey was honored for her many years of service to both organizations. A public servant for more than 24 years, Harvey has supported many community development programs that have benefited our area. She is considered to be an innovator and visionary, and always open to new ways to serve the citizens of Baltimore County.

Harvey was directly involved in the Baltimore County Renaissance program that took several crime-ridden, rundown apartment complexes in Essex and Middle River and transformed them into peaceful, beautiful, well-kept communities. The negative stigma these areas had previously been assigned has now all but disappeared due to this positive redevelopment.

“Without Mary Harvey, the Renaissance would not have happened,” said Jim Smith, County Executive for the past eight years. “All that has happened has had Mary Harvey’s hands in it. Essex, Middle River and the waterfront are great beneficiaries of the way Mary contributed to Baltimore County. Her approach was to get people involved.”

Smith pointed out some of the Renaissance projects. “Riverdale Apartments are gone. Now there is Waterview. Chesapeake Village - gone. Wilson Point Park is there now. Tall Trees no longer exists. Now there is the Fields at Renaissance Park and where Kinglsey Park used to be, Renaissance Square is rising. Mary had her hands in every one of those projects. She was also involved in Riverpoint, Hawthorne Trail and the osprey welcome statue.”

Smith went on to say UDAT (Urban Design Assistance Team) was Harvey’s idea. “UDAT brings people together and gets them excited bringing their ideas to the community.” He congratulated Harvey and thanked her for her commitment, dedication, enthusiasm and outreach. “It was an exciting ride for the last eight years in Baltimore County, for all of Baltimore County.”

Other dignitaries present at the luncheon had good things to say about Harvey as well. Bob Palmer, Marine Trades Association said, “I wish I had the magic you have to get things done.” Gayle Adams, EMRWM Chamber President, noted, “Mary is unflappable. She handles things with humor and joy.”

Harvey received citations from the County Council presented by Councilmen Gardina, Kamenetz and Bartenfelder); John Polek, President, Marines Trades Association; and from the Maryland General Assembly, presented by Fred Theiss, representing Senator Norman Stone.

Harvey started out in public service as an aid to Councilmen Volz and Gardina. She said she had the opportunity to work with two County Executives, Jim Smith and Dutch Ruppersberger. “They absolutely loved this county. That came through with all that has been accomplished. The County Executive allowed us to focus on one specific area. We had the money and we spent it wisely.”

She said there were lessons learned. “How to interact with others. We learned how the community wanted to be treated and what they responded to. Engaging the community is the way.

“We weathered some trying times. Change was hard. Many issues were crime issues,” she explained. She said Jim Johnson of the Essex Precinct reported police officers were getting beaten within an inch of their lives. “Drive-bys have a whole new meaning today.”

Mary gave much credit to her “great staff,” and she said the local institutions never let the community down. Businesses and community came together.

In light of the standing ovation, everyone present at the luncheon honoring Mary Harvey agreed the honor was well deserved.

Additional information:

In 2004, the Baltimore County Council adopted the Renaissance initiative as a golden opportunity to turn underused or neglected parcels of land into community assets. This involves only properties within the Urban Rural Demarcation Line (URDL) and only where community residents want such redevelopment to take place. This “collaborative” design process involves full community participation in order to ensure certainty that what is planned will be built, thus strengthening our communities.” Visit www.baltimorecountymd.gov/agencies/planning/renaissance for more information. 

Chesapeake High gets big fat check

(March 4, 2010)

- By Ben Boehl -


With tough economic times, school systems are hoping not to lose money in budget cuts. There sure aren’t expecting an increase in funds, which made Lockheed Martin’s $15,000 donation to Chesapeake High School a nice surprise.

Stephanie Hill, Vice President Ship and Aviation Systems and Baltimore Site Lead of Lockheed Martin presented a check of $15,000 to Baltimore County Public School Superintendent Joe A. Hairston and Chesapeake principal Maria Lowry at the school on Friday, Feb. 26.

“Lockheed Martin has an outstanding support of education and deep interest in investing in the future,” Hairston stated. The check went toward the school’s Project Lead the Way (PLTW) program that prepares students to be innovative and productive leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Hill is concerned that China has 200,000 engineers and India has over 200,000 engineers while the United States only has 129,000 engineers. That is why Lockheed Martin donated the check, to invest into their future so Chesapeake and other schools can produce the next generation of engineers.

“We (The U.S.) will not keep our competitive edge at this rate compared to China and India,” Hill told the students in attendance. “Despite the bad economy, the big opportunity for jobs is for IT and engineers so you are doing the right thing.”

Hairston is proud of the PLTW program as enrollment has increased from 21 students in the 2007-08 year to 140 students in this year’s program.

“You believe in yourselves, your teachers believe in you, your parents believe in you and we believe in you,” Hairston said.

Middle River enhanced development plan

(March 4, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


What started out as a request from the Essex-Middle River Civic Council for useful and non-redundant development in Middle River is expected to become part of the county 2020 Master Plan by summer, according to Pat Keller, Director of the Baltimore County Office of Planning. “The proposal under consideration will address the substantial development and re-development potential along Route 40 and Route 7 (Pulaski Highway and Philadelphia Road), development of the remaining White Marsh area, the activity along Route 43, Crossroads@95, the Federal Depot, the LMC Property, the MARC Station Property, the mini-storage property on Eastern Boulevard and various vacant sites,” said Bob Bendler, President of the Wilson Point Civic Association.

“Due to construction of MD 43, the sale of the GSA Federal Depot to the private sector, the redevelopment of Route 7 and Route 40, the area is proposed to be reconfigured to demonstrate a shift in focus from growth area to redevelopment area,” Keller noted.

The need for this plan is further supported by the anticipated demand created by the BRAC (Base Re-alignment and Closure). This section of Baltimore County is approximately equally distant from Aberdeen Proving Ground and Fort Meade and is served by a transportation network of railroad, airport and highway systems.

The area in question is approximately 10,000 acres with an estimated population of 19,000. Existing zoning includes industrial, 6,119 acres; residential, 2,800; commercial retail, 741; office 170 and deferred rural, 87. As focus within the newly delineated boundaries is on employment, projected population increase by 2020 is expected to be only to 20,975 persons. Number of households is currently 6,295, expected to increase only to 8,515 by 2020. But employment, which is currently 34,811, is expected to increase to 41,988 by 2020.

Also, according to Keller, multi-story buildings will be encouraged, and heights of at least two to three stories would be appropriate. The area does not support high rise development. Ultimately, buildings of four or five stories may be appropriate.

No new major roads are contemplated. Several connections need to be completed such as Campbell Boulevard and the Mohr’s Lane bridge, which is a top priority in this category. Also envisioned is a connector road from Earls Road to Route 43 to alleviate traffic congestion on Ebenezer Road and Eastern Boulevard. Internal roads will be the responsibility of developers.

Concerning zoning designations, 62 percent will be various types of manufacturing with 17 percent residential. Office and business zoning are part of the mix but take a back seat.

“This proposed Master Plan update formally acknowledges what has become a de facto growth area. The goal is to ensure growth compatible with existing business and residential communities while being sensitive to the environment and not having a negative impact on the Chesapeake Bay. It is also hoped this plan will reinvigorate the quality job creation envisioned, which resulted in the large infrastructure investment associated with the construction of Route 43,” Bendler opined.

Perry Hall Improvement Association president David Marks agrees with the Office of Planning that residentially built-out Perry Hall should become a Community Conservation area, and the White Marsh Growth area should be shifted farther south near MD 43 and Martin State Airport. Marks hopes the interchange at White Marsh Boulevard and Philadelphia Road will be reconstructed so motorists can make a better eastbound connection to White Marsh Boulevard. He hopes as well with current plans, once the economy improves, White Marsh Boulevard will not continue to be filled with empty business parks and pads.

Formal coordination for a Middle River Development Plan began with Resolution 10-09, presented by Councilman Joseph Bartenfelder, D-6, in February 2009.

Project complete: Honeygo Boulevard extends to Belair Road

(March 4, 2010)

- By Ben Boehl -


Honeygo Boulevard is finally complete. On Thursday, Feb. 25, the final extension between Forge Road and Belair Road opened for traffic. Honeygo Boulevard connects Belair Road all the way to White Marsh and Perry Hall boulevards.

“We wanted to provide access for the people of western Perry Hall to White Marsh Mall,” said Perry Hall Improvement Association President David Marks.

Baltimore County hopes trucks use the extension instead of continuous usage of Ebenezer and Chapel roads. The construction of the road has helped the Perry Hall community with more than just an access road.

“The expansion of Honeygo led to an area where the new Perry Hall library was built,” Marks added. “The addition created two new parks (Honeygo Run Regional Park, and Perry Hall Park) in Perry Hall.”

A ribbon cutting ceremony was scheduled to take place on Feb. 8, but was canceled due to the double blizzard. The event wasn’t rescheduled and the county decided to open the road with little fanfare last Thursday.

“In 1999, shortly after I became President of the Perry Hall Improvement Association, our organization worked to break a bureaucratic logjam that had delayed the completion of Honeygo Boulevard,” Marks said. “We knew that Honeygo Boulevard was not just an important connection between western Perry Hall and White Marsh, but that it could hopefully take truck traffic off local routes like Ebenezer and Chapel roads. Within two years, the project had been approved by state environmental officials.”

Before 2001, Honeygo Boulevard took motorists on an awkward left turn as it ended at Ebenezer Road. The Joppa Road-Honeygo Boulevard intersection opened in 2001 and Honeygo Boulevard was extended to Forge Road in 2006. Mark said the project is completed as plans to further extend Honeygo Boulevard to Gunview Road were scrapped.

“This is likely the last highway project to be built in Perry Hall,” Marks concluded. “We thank the county and the state for their support of a road that will not only improve mobility in Perry Hall, but hopefully lighten truck traffic on our neighborhood streets.”

Controversial education program denied, perhaps

(Feb. 25, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


Senator Norman Stone, D-6, is pleased that Baltimore County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joe Hairston verbally agreed not to make the reporting requirement of AIM, the Articulated Instruction Module program, mandatory. According to a Feb. 11 article in the East County Times, the program stipulates teachers must write an approximately 32-page progress report for each student in addition to the teachers’ regular workload.

After a barrage of protests from teachers and parents, a hearing was held by Baltimore County state senators and delegates in Annapolis to discuss the matter. Stone reported Hairston told the elected officials and audience AIM would become volunteer only from now on. Hairston’s statement at this venue appears to contradict a PTSA member of Dulaney High who stated Hairston told a Dulaney group on Feb. 4 that AIM would become mandatory this spring.

Others are not as confident as Stone that the reporting component of AIM as a requirement is gone forever. Delegate Wade Kach, R-5B, northern Baltimore County, contended, “I don’t think the hearing accomplished much. We couldn’t nail down the Superintendent about whether or not he is finished with AIM. He danced around it.”

Liz Bowie wrote in The Baltimore Sun on Feb. 18 that when Hairston was asked by Senator Jim Brochin, D-42, Towson, if he would approve the legislature’s writing the demise of AIM into a statute, Hairston replied he hoped the legislature would respect that his word was good.

Laurie Taylor-Mitchell, mother of a sophomore at Loch Raven High and PhD. in art history, is a very active grassroots dissenter concerning the student reporting component of AIM. She doubts AIM will not be made obligatory sometime in the future. In an open letter to Delegate Joe Boteler R-8, she noted, “Given that attempts were made to make AIM mandatory in 2007 and again in 2009, even after intense opposition from thousands of teachers and parents, and Dr. Hairston’s apparent refusal at the hearing to categorically state that AIM would never be implemented, i.e. a plain ‘no’ was never given as an answer, I remain somewhat pessimistic.”

Another unsolved issue mentioned in The Sun article which angered several legislators, including Boteler, is that Assistant Superintendent Dr. Barbara Dezmon can receive royalties outside the county for the AIM program she created with the help of others in the county. Within the article, questions using the word “ethics” were posed by legislators. Hairston’s response was to advise the lawmakers to take up their concerns with attorneys.

Teachers who agreed to “at least take a look at” the reporting component of the AIM program, in the words of Kach, will no longer be compensated for voluntary participation. Schools’ spokesperson Charlie Herndon was unable to find out on short notice if a task force set up to examine the student reporting component of AIM will continue or be disbanded.

New PUD law welcomed with some reservation

(Feb. 25, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


Allen Robertson of Bowleys Quarters has some nice things to say about a revised Planned Unit Development (PUD) bill, 5-10, passed unanimously by the County Council on Feb. 16. PUDs are mixed-use developments which can contain structures as diverse as single family homes, apartments, condos, high rises, convenience businesses for residents, commercial or industrial buildings and recreational areas.

The bill was presented by Councilman Kevin Kamenetz, D-2, as principal sponsor, Joe Bartenfelder, D-6, and Sam Moxley, D-1. Robertson is a participant in the countywide Community Association Network (CAN) and is an unofficial spokesperson of choice for community activists grappling with complex planning and zoning issues. “We enthusiastically support this legislative proposal as a major step in addressing the controversial and historical issues with the PUD process,” he said.

One highlight of the bill, especially for some Bowleys Quarters residents, is the removal of the clause making Bowleys Quarters the only place in the county that would have allowed PUDs outside the URDL, the Urban-Rural Demarcation Line which generally separates areas with metropolitan water and sanitary facilities from those which do not have these amenities. The original exception clause was included in Bill 16-07, sponsored by Bartenfelder.

One or more of new community benefits must be included in a PUD: 1) Structures should have at least a silver rating according to green standards. 2) High quality architectural design or quality building materials need to be included. 3) Benefits of on site or nearby county owned facilities for use by community residents or by a volunteer fire company have to be in evidence. 4) The PUD must present economic development opportunities or provide senior or workforce housing.

Robertson finds the above stipulations helpful but questions the vagueness of “high quality design or materials.” He believes a PUD should be of benefit not only to the people within, or for those using nearby county facilities, but for everyone in general. He approves a new requirement designating the Department of Permits and Development Management the agency responsible for posting notice of an approved PUD at least 10 business days prior to final vote on the PUD Resolution.

Robertson is in favor of an increased role provided by the bill for the Hearing Officer. “Usually members of the Planning Board do not have as much experience for judging a PUD as the Hearing Officer,” he opined.

An issue not addressed is a minimum size requirement. Many complaints have arisen concerning the smallness of some PUDs. Because PUDs are mixed used developments, Robertson and many people feel smaller developments should be implemented outside the PUD process.

At one time a PUD of one-half an acre was pursued in the Essex area by a developer but lost out due to lack of community support. At Millers Island, a PUD of 1.2 acres was approved by county departments but denied by the Board of Appeals when the decision was appealed by citizens. Current opinions about minimum PUD size range from 20 acres or more.

Another provision which Robertson would like added to the bill is that any PUD not in total compliance with the Master Plan should be tossed. One hundred percent of pristine land should never be filled with a PUD - only 50 percent or less should be designated for development.

Although County Council Bill 5-10 has become law, future amendments will be permitted. CAN participants and anyone else concerned about zoning regulations can continue to present proposals for amendments to relevant county officials.

ESP Rec Council says 'It’s our turn!'

(Feb. 25, 2010)

- By Allison H. McAlister -


Over the years, there has always been talk of development on the property behind the Food Lion grocery store in Edgemere. As the owners have changed hands, so have the proposed development plans. Instead of housing, now the plan for the parcel known as the Karll Trust property has everything to do with recreation.

Baltimore County’s Department of Recreation and Parks purchased the property from developer Mark Sapperstein last year. Now they must decide exactly what to do with their newly acquired land, so they went to the Edgemere community to get their input. At a meeting held Monday, Feb. 22 in the Edgemere Elementary School cafeteria, Jean Tansey from County Recreation and Parks asked community members for their “wants” and “don’t wants” for the Karll property.

The 41.1-acre plot of land, located off of Chesapeake Avenue, North Point Road and Willow Road, is within the critical area and the 100-year tidal floodplain. Wetlands are a large part of the property, and current DEPRM regulations call for a 100-foot buffer in critical areas. Because of this, approximately 26 acres are in the buffer area, leaving just 15 total acres available for development - 11.1 acres in Parcel A and 3.9 acres in Parcel B. Tansey explained, however, that really only six acres are developable due to the area’s Limited Development Area (LDA) designation, meaning only 15 percent of lot coverage is available to be used for things such as walkways, driveways and buildings. Fields would not be included in those six acres.

Edgemere residents had a long list of wants for what they’d like to see developed on the property, including lighted fields, lighted parking, a multi-use community center, a concession building, restrooms, artificial turf fields, pervious parking lots and walkways, a walking/bike trail to tie in with the Heritage Trail and a playground, just to name a few. Some of the things they don’t want include access from Chesapeake Avenue, lights shining on Chesapeake Avenue or the widening of Chesapeake Avenue. They also don’t want to see any type of dredging take place. A couple of people said they don’t want to see any development at all on the property.

Try telling that to the ESP Recreation Council. The Rec Council, in conjuction with the Millers Island community Association and the NPC (North Point Peninsula community Coordinating Council), came up with their own Karll Property Edgemere Multi-Purpose complex Leadership & Development Plan. After the County’s community input meeting officially ended, Pete Christensen, ESP Rec. Council President, led the PowerPoint presentation of their plan.

“We’re a growing community,” stated Christensen. “We have a huge Rec. Council with lots of programs.” The problem is a field shortage for both the Council’s spring and fall sports programs. “We are always fighting for space,” he explained.

Their property proposal includes a community center, two lighted fields, parking (with 175+ spots), three pavillions, a playground, a concessions area, restrooms, a boardwalk which would be the Heritage Trail start, a dogpark, lighted pathways and a walkway to Sparrows Point High School.

Christensen touched on several advantages of the proposed development, such as parking relief for Sparrows Point High School and alleviating traffic congestion to local events like the Fireman’s Carnival as well as the economic impact on local businesses by keeping the teams in their own community.

One person pointed out that the Edgemere/Sparrows Point Recreation Council has never had its own fields and does not have free access to fields at area schools. “It’s our turn,” Christensen concluded.

Baltimore County prepares for BRAC jobs

(Feb. 18, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


In spite of the poor economy, about 14,000 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) jobs are coming to Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) in 2012. “Buildings are being built and people have received notices about having two years to move,” said P. Michael Carey, Executive Dean for Continuing Education and Economic Development of the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC). The jobs will pay between $70,000 and $80,000 per year plus benefits.

Speaking at the Essex-Middle River Civic Council on Feb. 3, Carey advised a security clearance is needed for any of the new jobs, for U.S. Army civilians on the premises or outside contractors. It takes about 12 to 18 months to get the clearance. Two of the most important requirements for getting one are having good credit and being drug free. “Young people with bad debt and credit card problems who made mistakes financially can’t get a security clearance, and a lot of people at this time have these problems,“ Carey observed.

CCBC, Baltimore City Community College, Cecil College and Harford College worked together to develop programs to meet criteria for future APG employment. The four specific areas are engineering and engineering technology, mathematics and science, information technology and business. A security clearance is necessary for the business field as well.

Technical demands which can be met with an AA degree are for 500 or so engineering technicians and 1,000 or so logistics and supply chain jobs. The community colleges have added a new transfer program to four-year colleges for a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Degree and continuing education programs will provide access to many of the careers in logistics and supply chain functions.

The community colleges are seeking affiliation with the Defense Acquisitions University for training in logistics and procurement. New courses in Human Relations education specific to the needs of APG have been developed.

Appeal filed against FERC concerning AES-LNG approval

(Feb. 18, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


Washington, D.C. attorney Bart Fisher filed an appeal against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Friday, Feb. 12. At issue is FERC’s handling of  AES Corporation’s efforts to build a liquefied natural gas terminal in Sparrows Point with 88 miles of pipeline reaching into eastern Pennsylvania. The appeal is an attempt to get FERC to deny the AES-LNG project and to review FERC’s alleged transcendence of laws and policies regarding energy projects.

The motion was filed in the U.S. Central Court of Appeals of Washington, D.C., on behalf of the State of Maryland together with Baltimore County, the LNG Opposition Team with filings included from central Pennsylvania through Maryland to Virginia and the Brandywine Conservancy of Pennsylvania. The Conservancy is mainly concerned about future adverse effects of the pipelines.

The AES project, which involves placing a facility on contaminated land, and the entrance into the Baltimore County harbor of gas-filled tankers 12 stories high and as long as football fields, is frequently referred to as a potential terrorist threat. If approved, Turner Station, the nearest community to the future site of operations, would be impacted the most. Alice Mason, outgoing president of the Turner Station Conservation Teams, strongly supports the appeal. “It goes to show that ordinary people acting for the betterment of the community together with lawyers and public officials helping can get something done. I know that without all of them, AES would have their plant by now.

“We had one community meeting with AES. During the meeting someone mentioned that people could die from this project. AES’s response gave us the impression that their attitude was, ‘What are a few lives?’ I hear about lawsuits against them in other countries. Their bottom line is money, not human life. I am confident we will win and FERC and their big business puppeteers will lose,” she said.

Fire rips through Dundalk fire station during blizzard

(Feb. 18, 2010)

- By Ben Boehl -


During the double blizzard, Baltimore County Fire Stations dealt with many fire emergencies, but the Dundalk station had a two-alarm fire in its own firehouse.

On Wednesday, Feb. 10 around 4:30 a.m., Baltimore County Firefighters awoke to a fire in its Station 6 building located at the intersection of Sollers Point Road and Dunmanway in old Dundalk. The roof collapsed and it is believed that the fallen debris triggered the fire.

No one was hurt, as the fire started in the engine bay, but several pieces of fire equipment were damaged and destroyed, including a brand new $600,000 Rosenbauer Pumper fire engine that was just put into service less than a week before and had never officially left the firehouse for a call. A National Guard Humvee and two medic units were also destroyed in the blaze.

Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith stated despite the fire, the Dundalk area that the station services would not see a reduction in services or resources. He explained that both fire and medic units moved to the Sollers Point Technical High School, 325 Sollers Point Road.

“Maintaining continuity of emergency services is our first priority all around the county,” he said. “I credit the Dundalk fire station personnel for their quick and decisive actions that helped prevent further damage from this fire, and the Dundalk station captains for their resourcefulness in developing this transition plan to maintain protection for the citizens they serve.”

Fire Chief John Hohman said the cause of the fire is under investigation. In addition, all multiple county government resources are engaged to commence with the rebuilding process at the station.

Lingering bitterness about failed Fort Howard plans

(Feb. 11, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


World War II combat veteran and longtime community activist Al Clasing poured out his heart at the Essex-Middle River Civic Council (EMRCC) meeting on Feb. 3 concerning the failure of the county and state to build affordable continuing care homes for veterans and their spouses at Fort Howard. Ground was broken several years ago for a facility, but the developer, Federal Development, LLC, and county government could not agree on regulations - the East County Times has previously written about the dispute.

“My wife is blind and I wanted a protected place for her to live if something should happen to me. Almost every elected official is aware of the bitter disappointment that bashed our dreams. We [veterans] are getting old, and if anything is built at Fort Howard now, it will be too late for many of us,” Clasing said.

Most area veterans worked at Martin’s and Bethlehem Steel following their time in the service. “We are not wealthy people,” he noted. “We encouraged the Veterans Administration to have a public hearing. They failed miserably. People sold their homes in anticipation of the facility and moved in with their children. They put down $500 but didn’t get their money back.”

Two other veterans came to the EMRCC meeting in uniform to lend moral support to Clasing. One was Ron Alder, “Daddy Kool,” who stated, “The American dream that everybody felt good about became the American nightmare. But God is on our side.”

A spokesperson for Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, D-2, wrote, “Ruppersberger has been assisting constituents in their attempt to have their deposits returned.” But the three veterans attending the EMRCC meeting said they have not received any returned deposit money and do not know of anyone who has.

Ruppersberger added, “Our veterans deserve to enjoy this facility, its views of the Patapsco River and its proud past as an important piece of Maryland history. I look forward to seeing this historic property redeveloped in a way that takes into consideration the needs of the local community and the requirements of local and state government.”

The Congressman invited Clasing to contact him, but Clasing refused. “This has been going on for seven years,” he observed. He does not believe the elected officials and VA should be given a second chance at developing Fort Howard. He wants the property to become a public park.

“This is an issue for the United States of America to defend that property. Let’s make Fort Howard a monument park. The land could be transferred to the State of Maryland to become part of the Gunpowder State Park. It should be called the Veterans Park at Fort Howard. This way everybody wins,” he opined.

Delegate Kach requests investigation; AIM postponed

(Feb. 11, 2010)

- By Diane Carliner -


Retired county public school teacher Delegate Wade Kach (R-5B) is in the process of asking Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler to look into possible conflicts of interest involving the Articulated Instructional Module (AIM) which was prepared for grades K-12. Heavily protested by TABCO, the county teachers’ union, the student progress reporting aspect of AIM has been put on hold while being re-examined by a committee.      

One of Kach’s concerns is that Dr. Barbara Dezmon, an assistant school superintendent and creator of the program, may be a recipient of royalties if AIM is purchased by other school systems in the future. “The person who developed this program is an employee of the Board of Education. The program should be the property of the Board, not an individual,” Kach opined.

He questions the appropriateness of extra pay for the 1,100 teachers who participated in the AIM pilot program. “It is my understanding they were paid by the Board of Education (taxpayers),” he observed. A third question came to mind when he learned that the meeting of the committee to review AIM, handpicked by Superintendent Hairston, was closed to the public. In addition, he was told by Cheryl Bost, TABCO president, who is not a member of the AIM committee, that she was escorted out of the room when she tried to listen in. “It appears that the open meetings law is not being followed,” he noted.

Bost shared some of TABCO’s thoughts about AIM. “We are pleased that the progress reporting procedure has been postponed. The union will be looking to be part of the task force. We believe there are many tools that do the same things. With this program all subjects for every student must be reported on, and that means on average 32 pages of reporting for each student,” she contended.

Jacqueline Brewster, the PTA Council vice president for southeastern Baltimore County, added her negative view of the AIM student progress reporting procedure. “It is not currently in a format or language that is parent friendly. In order to support teachers in the education of our children, parents need to have quick and easy access to student progress reports,” she said.

Brewster prefers Edline, another reporting tool. “Edline is used in several southeast area high schools and has been receiving positive feed back from parents and teachers. But any school using Edline must fund from their limited school based budget, because the program has not been adopted by the county school system,” she added.

School librarian Anne Groth of Perry Hall is concerned that the progress reporting component of AIM will take time away from letting teachers teach and from extra-curricular activities that can be very valuable for students.

AIM is free, according to the county schools’ press release, and is intended as a cost saving measure derived from recommendations made by an auditing group. Implementing the auditor’s suggestions for curricular (academic subjects) alignment averagely costs up to $500,000 per school. Superintendent Hairston had voluntarily commissioned Phi Delta Kappa International in 2007 to audit the county school system to suggest curricular improvements.

The East County Times asked Dr. Dezmon, the creator of AIM, how she felt about the opposition to the student reporting component, but she declined comment.