Monday, April 30, 2007

Maggie Brown Stays On -- For Now

CA President Maggie Brown gets a contract extension but, according to the Sun, must leave in 2009. The Owen Brown rep cast the sole dissenting vote on the contract, saying the decision on whether Brown leaves should be based on her performance at that time.

Friday, April 27, 2007

More Big Boxes

From the Flier comes the line-up for the new Gateway Overlook shopping center at I-95 and Route 175. Slated to open in June are Best Buy, Office Depot, a large beauty and cosmetics chain called ULTA and a discounter for teens called Five Below. Those stores will be followed by the opening of a Lowe's home improvement store, a Costco discounter, three restaurants and a Chevy Chase bank branch in August. The restaurants will include a Houlihan's, Mimi's Cafe and On the Border Mexican Grill and Cantina. Wacovia will open a branch there later.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fatal Shooting at Running Brook 7-Eleven

Several news sites are running this item about a shooting in Running Brook:

COLUMBIA, Md. (AP) - Howard County police are investigating a fatal shooting at a convenience store in Columbia.

It happened about 3:10 this morning at a 7-11 in the 5700 block of Columbia Road. Police say a 40-year-old woman working as a clerk was wounded and died later at Shock Trauma in Baltimore.

According to police, a man outside the store called 911 to report hearing a gunshot in the store. The caller then saw a masked man run from the store toward Route 108.

Authorities are withholding the dead woman's name until her family can be contacted.

Police are looking into whether the shooting was a result of an attempted armed robbery at the store.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Farmers' Markets Part II

A little update from an earlier posting: There's not one but two farmers' markets in Columbia this year....This story in today's Post Food section warns the pickings might be a bit thin for crops such as peaches, asparagus, strawberries and such because of the cold spring.

Howard County Farmers Market at East Columbia Library

6600 Cradlerock Way (East Columbia Branch Library parking lot)

301-934-9004 (Lana Edelen)

2-6 p.m. Thursdays, May 3-Nov. 15

Howard County Farmers Market at Oakland Mills

Oakland Mills Village Center, 5851 Robert Oliver Pl. (Stevens Forest Road lot)

410-489-4460 (Linda Brown)

9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Sundays, May 6-Oct. 28

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Cover Boy

Holy moly, River Hill High's Daniel Hostetler makes it into Sports Illustrated for "pursuing his own personal three-peat"--he quarterbacked the championship football team, was a starting forward on the school's championship basketball team, and is now captaining a highly regarded lacrosse team. Daniel is headed to Georgetown to play lacrosse. He comes from an athletically gifted family and his uncle is former Redskin quarterback Jeff Hostetler (now with the Giants).

Actually, the April 23 issue of SI is a two-fer for Howard County. Right next to the full -page story on Daniel is an item about the end of 103-game winning streak of the Mount Hebron girl's lacrosse team. They equaled the all-time record but did not break it when they lost to a West Genesee team out of Camillus, NY.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Incumbents Prevail In Columbia Elections

All five incumbents win in a campaign largely devoid of any real politicking. Guess that means folks like the status quo. There are two new faces: Michael Cornell of River Hill and Evan Coren of Kings Contrivance.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Columbia Elections This Weekend

Ok, we don't have a proper town government, but we do have a Columbia Association board of directors and boards for each of the villages. These are the guys who maintain the paths, run the clubs and swimming pools, and tell us what we can do with our homes when it's time to make some improvements. Exercise your right to vote this weekend.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Get Ready For Some New Neighbors

The realignment of military bases around the country is projected to bring up to 22,000 new jobs to the Fort Meade area, pushing up home sales and filling schools with new kids, according to this Post story:

"A recent state study estimated that Anne Arundel and Howard would gain more than 12,000 federal and private-sector jobs as part of the reorganization bringing military workers to Fort Meade. Howard officials, however, say the number could be almost twice that, with jobs projected for the nearby National Security Agency, other defense-related organizations and businesses leasing property at Fort Meade.

"We are saying from the planning standpoint in that area on Fort Meade, there's going to be 22,000 new jobs," said Kent Menser, executive director of Howard's Base Realignment And Closure office.

The Post story says the influx "has been billed as the single largest job expansion in Maryland since World War II: 45,000 federal and private-sector jobs generated by the Pentagon's base realignment plan [throughout the state].

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Recycling Made Easier?

County exec Ulman's new budget includes proposals to buy hybrid cars, install solar power at a county test spots and, my favorite as the designated family member who drags the weekly recycling to the curbside, experiment with "wheeled, covered blue recycling bins in Elkridge - to see if they would boost collections and reduce windblown trash," according to the Sun.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Dining on the Web

I tripped across a dining roundup on this site while surfing around; it professes to list only locally owned and operated restaurants in and around Columbia. It's a good start for a list but don't take the "local" claim too literally; for instance, Clyde's is counted but it is really part of a Washington restaurant chain. Then again, Clyde's is one of this town's oldest surviving restaurants so maybe it deserves honorary recognition.

Monday, April 16, 2007

More Dough-duts Please

Missed this one last week: A Fractured Prune has opened in Hickory Ridge. The longtime Ocean City haunt is now franchising and makes donuts fresh per order; you can even concoct your own. Here's a link to the Columbia menu...

Friday, April 13, 2007

Signs of Village Life

The abandoned Safeway is finally coming down at the Kings Contrivance village center to make way for a new Harris Teeter in 2008 (where they bag your groceries and walk them out to the car!). Until then, Oakland Mills is getting ready to again host the weekly Howard County Farmer's Market, which this year will feature fresh meats in addition to produce. The farmer's market is scheduled to open May 6 from 9a to 12:30p on Sundays instead of Tuesdays---which means the full Columbia Talk crew can now partake!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Water Bills Going Up?

We get our water courtesy of Baltimore, and the city has proposed raising fees...but, for now, the boost is on hold, according to the Sun. The city says it needs the money to abide by a federal order to upgrade the system.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Students Win Voting Rights--Sort Of

Maryland lawmakers have approved a bill to give the student member of the school board voting rights, assuming Gov. Martin O'Malley signs off on the bill. There's some exceptions, according to the Sun:

"If O'Malley signs the bill into law, the next student member on the board would be allowed to vote on everything except site acquisitions, condemnation, consolidation, architect selection, appointment and salary of the superintendent, collective bargaining issues, employee discipline and other appeals, appointments, the capital and operating budgets, and student suspensions and expulsions.

"The bill also addresses how the student member would affect the voting dynamic of the [eight-member] board. When the student member votes, five votes would be necessary to pass an item; four votes would be needed without the student member. The bill states that juniors and seniors who live in the county and attend a public school are eligible for the position. It also states that students enrolled in the system's middle or high schools will vote to fill the position."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

But Will They Approve My Favorite Apple Fritter?

The county health department is issuing decals to restaurants that offer healthy eating...that is, places that use no trans fat, present nutritional information and offer healthy menu options. Send us a note if you see one of these at your neighborhood dining establishment....

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Big Falls and Fish Ladders

It's springtime and folks are flocking back to the parks. Here's some random bits: One young man apparently survived a harrowing 60-foot fall while visiting an overlook at Patapsco Valley State Park. Meanwhile, there was a story in WaPo the other day about the return of silver-sided alewives to Rock Creek in Washington, courtesy of efforts to clean up the water and build a fish passage around a dam. Here in Howard, we've seen similar comebacks...perhaps the best example is at Patapsco Valley's Daniels area.