Saturday, December 18, 2010

More Muck For CA

First the IT work bogged down, now this. The company CA hired to dredge Lake Elkhorn is now suing us for $1 million in a dispute over how much work has been done, ExploreHoward reports.

According to the suit, the homeowners' association failed to properly do the sediment surveys required before the work began and failed to determine how the mud has shifted during the work. Therefore, the company alleges that the association has no accurate way to measure how much mud has been removed. Further, the suit accused Columbia Association of refusing to discuss the issue or to respond beyond its refusal to pay for some of the work.

...Cynthia Coyle, chairwoman of the association's board, denied that the association has refused to discuss the dispute, saying that "discussion has been going on a regular basis."

The association board in August approved increasing the cost of the Elkhorn project by $1.3 million -- to $6.5 million -- after a consultant told the board that much more sediment than predicted had washed into the lake from heavy storms since an early survey taken in 2006.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Hobbit's Glen Makeover

CA is considering several options to fix up the Hobbit's Glen golf clubhouse, ranging from a basic renovation to a snazzy rebuild. The cost would range too, from $2.6 million to $7.5 million.


The Hobbit's Glen Golf Club clubhouse is more than 40 years old. It is not energy efficient and many of the major building systems (roof, HVAC, plumbing, electric, etc.) need to be replaced. In addition to these necessary renovations, the CA staff has proposed a number of enhancements.
You can find a discussion of proposals in a .pdf  here.

You can tell CA what you think here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hooked on Nooks

From the HoCo library:

On December 1, HCL began lending 60 Nook ebook readers to customers. Howard County Library President and CEO Valerie J. Gross notes, "As part of Howard County Library's educational mission, we are committed to providing both exceptional customer service and cutting-edge educational opportunities to our customers. While we have offered downloadable ebooks and audiobooks for a number of years, Nooks are simply the newest format for customers to experience books."

Howard County Library chose Barnes and Noble's Nook because it offered both local technical support and a local partnership. According to Julie Oakes, Community Relations Manager at Barnes and Noble in Ellicott City, the partnership was a welcome surprise. “When we were approached by Howard County Library, we thought, 'Why couldn't the Nook be for library use?' ” Oakes states that Howard County Library is the first and only library currently lending Nooks.

Library customers are thrilled. All 60 Nooks are currently on loan, and an additional 276 customers are waiting their turn. The Nooks come loaded with 34 titles from both popular book club selections and New York Times bestseller lists, including The Help by Kathryn Stockett and Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson. Additional titles will be continue to be added to the Nooks, which may be loaned to anyone with a Howard County Library card, and follow the same lending rules as other electronic collection materials.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Transparent Education

We're doing a little housekeeping here. We told you a while ago that school board member Alan Dyer had sued over the system's policy for deleting e-mail. Well, his request for a preliminary injunction was denied, according to this Dec. 2 report in ExploreHoward.

 A few days later (Dec. 6) we saw this in the school system e-letter:

School System Rated A+ for Transparency
The HCPSS has earned the highest rating for the openness and accessibility of its public records and other key data, based on a rating of its website by the Sunshine Review, a non-profit organization dedicated to state and local government transparency. The HCPSS earned the highest score of any Maryland school district.

"This rating reflects our ongoing commitment to provide needed information as quickly and easily as possible," noted Patti Caplan, Director of Public Relations for the HCPSS. "We encourage anyone who needs help finding information to contact the Public Information Office, and we’ll do our best to locate it for you."

Full details of the Sunshine Review's assessment can be found here

Scaring Up Some Mini Golf

It's not exactly Columbia, but how can we resist? We saw this on the press release wire...

Atlantic Realty Companies, Inc., one of the largest commercial real estate developers in the Washington, DC/Baltimore, MD region, recently announced that Monster Mini Golf opened in Columbia, MD.

Monster Mini Golf is an indoor monster themed glow in the dark 18-hole miniature golf course that offers a host of family-oriented fun activities. Visitors feel the excitement and adventure of playing mini golf amidst cool monster décor with custom and animated props.

"It's a great place for the whole family," says Dan Russell, owner of the Monster Mini Golf in Columbia, MD. "Courses are challenging enough for adults to navigate, yet very playable for children. And our whacky in-house DJ entertains adults and children alike."

In addition to miniature golf, Monster Mini Golf has its own family arcade containing many of today’s most thrilling arcade games. At the end of play, game tickets can be redeemed for great prizes.
Monster Mini Golf also has two posh haunted mansion style private party rooms for Birthdays, Fundraisers, Group Field Trips, and Corporate events.

"We are thrilled to have the first Monster Mini Golf in the Washington metropolitan area," says David A. Ross, Partner, Atlantic Realty Companies, Inc., owner of the property. "We expect families from Virginia and DC as well as Maryland because it is so unique and is extremely accessible just off of I-95."

Broker for the Atlantic Realty Companies was Craig Cheney at KLNBretail Commercial Real Estate Services; Monster Mini Golf broker was Jeff Hoffman with CapStar Commercial Realty.

Atlantic Realty completed an eight million dollar renovation on the center last year, which was originally built in the 1980's. Monster Mini Golf joins Ollie's, My Organic Market, Starbucks, Maaco, Jerry's Subs & Pizza, Kids First Swim Schools, Panda Express and more. Columbia East Marketplace is located at the intersection of Rts. 1 and 175 in Columbia, MD, one-half mile from I-95.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Minority Majority

From the public schools newsletter:

The HCPSS hit a milestone this fall when for the first time the percentage of white students fell below 50 percent, meaning that the combined minority population is now in the majority. At 48.6 percent, white students still outnumber other racial/ethnic groups, but enrollment in other groups, such as Asian and Hispanic, have increased dramatically in the past decade. The percentage of Asian students has increased from 9.9 percent to 16.0 percent and Hispanic enrollment has increased from 2.0 percent to 8.3 percent since 2000.

This year, due to new federal regulations for collecting racial and ethnic data of students, the school system has information on the number of multiracial students. Students of two or more races make up 6.2 percent of the HCPSS enrollment. African American students make up 20.0 percent of the student population, while other groups, such American Indian/Alaskan and Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, are well under one percent.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cultural commentary

Have any thoughts on the Columbia cultural scene? Some folks want to hear from you. Read on...

Dear Oakland Mills Community,

In September 2010, an Advisory Committee was established to develop a Cultural Master Plan for Downtown Columbia. The Committee is currently looking to hear from our Howard County residents to gain insight into Columbia’s current cultural scene and gather ideas to be included in the Cultural Master Plan for Downtown Columbia. To this end, a survey has been developed and it has been requested that our residents complete this by Friday, December 10th. To access this survey, visit . Also, please feel free to share this information with our neighbors in the hopes to reach as many residents as possible.

Thank you in advance for helping spread the word so that we may create a Downtown Columbia that is reflective of our community desires.

All the best,

Dr. Calvin Ball

Council Member, District 2


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Skimming from the ATM

From HoCo police:

Howard County police are asking the public’s help in identifying two men who installed an illegal device on an Ellicott City ATM and then fraudulently withdrew thousands of dollars from victims’ accounts.

Through investigation, police believe the suspects installed and removed a skimming device on multiple dates in October at a drive-through ATM at Columbia Bank in the 4400 block of Long Gate Parkway in Ellicott City.

Skimming devices fit over existing ATM card openings and record account information without the knowledge of the user. Thieves then download the account information and fabricate fraudulent ATM cards that are then used to illegally withdraw funds from victims’ accounts.

Victims began to report unauthorized withdrawals from their accounts in mid-November. To date, police believe the suspects have successfully withdrawn more than $90,000 from victims’ accounts. Investigators believe attempts were made to access more than 100 accounts in hundreds of transactions. The fraudulent transactions have occurred throughout the Baltimore-D.C. region at various ATMs.

Police ask anyone who may recognize the suspects to call 410-313-3200. Callers may remain anonymous. If you notice anyone acting suspicious at or around an ATM, call 911.

Residents are advised to carefully inspect ATMs before using them. Customers should look for unusual equipment, wires or other devices attached to the ATM. Check the device for loose attachments that are temporarily affixed. If a machine appears as though it has been tampered with, do not scan your card, and alert your bank immediately.

If you have been a victim of fraudulent ATM activity, report it immediately to your bank. If the illegal charges were made in Howard County or if you believe your card was compromised as part of this series, please call Howard County police to file a report.

Here's a link to the pictures.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Economic Development Chief To Step Down

From HoCo PR:

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman announced today that Richard “Dick” Story, CEO of the Howard County Economic Development Authority for the past 17 years will retire effective March 1, 2011. Since 1993, Story has served as the CEO for the not-for-profit, quasi-private economic development corporation. He was responsible for implementing programs for business retention and expansion, new business attraction, public policy and other economic development initiatives in this strategically located County.


Prior to working for Howard County, Story was the Executive Director for the Baltimore County Economic Development Commission from 1989 to 1991. He obtained his Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration from Towson University using G.I. Bill benefits following a tour of duty in the U.S. Army; he served as Commanding Officer of the 84th Engineering Company in Nuremberg, Germany from 1968 to1969.

Over the next few weeks, County Executive Ulman will work with the Economic Development Authority Board in searching for a new CEO. Per the Howard County code, the Executive nominates a candidate for Board approval.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

General Growth's Shrinking Empire

The owner of Columbia mall is steadily casting a smaller shadow over these parts. From the Sun:

General Growth Properties is selling the Gateway Overlook Shopping Center in Columbia for $90 million. The shopping center, which opened in 2007, includes tenants such as Trader Joe's, Loehmann's, Costco, Best Buy and On the Border.

The sale is part of a strategy by General Growth, which emerged from bankruptcy this week, to sell non-core assets to boost its balance sheet. The sale of the shopping center located at Routes 175 and 108 will help the company reduce about $55 million in debt and generate $35 million in proceeds.

Turning Methane to Energy

From a Pepco release:

Pepco Energy Services, Inc., a subsidiary of Pepco Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: POM) and a leader in renewable energy projects, has been chosen by Howard County, Maryland, to implement a design/build construction contract at the Alpha Ridge Landfill, located near Baltimore.

The $3.9 million contract calls on Pepco Energy to design and build a new 1 MW landfill gas to energy generating plant at the Alpha Ridge Landfill on Marriottsville Road in Howard County, Maryland.

"Howard County continues to look for all possible options to save energy, money and the environment," said Evelyn Tomlin, Chief, Bureau of Environmental Services. "This Alpha Ridge Landfill gas to energy project is one of the most important green projects for Howard County."

Methane gas, which is currently burned in a flare at the landfill, will now be used as fuel for a reciprocating engine and generator to produce 1 MW of electric power. The completed project will export electric power to the local utility grid and provide power for electric vehicles used at the landfill.

"Pepco Energy is pleased to have been chosen to implement a comprehensive design/build construction contract for the Howard County Alpha Ridge Landfill," said John Huffman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pepco Energy. "The project demonstrates the county's commitment to optimizing its existing assets and to having a positive impact on the environment."

The plant will generate revenue for Howard County to help offset their landfill costs through the sale of the electricity produced. Additionally, as the plant runs full-time at full load, it will displace approximately 5,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year that would otherwise be produced from traditional fossil fuel power plants. Design and permitting are currently underway, and the plant is estimated to go into commercial operation by early 2012.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Blandair Work About To Start

A contract for phase one has been awarded!

From HoCo gov:

Phase I is located on the west side of Oakland Mills Road and it will contain the following amenities: three lighted, synthetic turf multi-purpose fields; one playground; a parking lot for 270 cars; and pathways for pedestrians and cyclists that will connect into the County’s existing pathway system. A second contract will be let in November 2010 for the construction of a picnic shelter and comfort station. Phase I completion is targeted for December 2011.


When the entire park is completed, it will preserve the majority of existing forest, wetlands, meadows and a historic farm complex, while providing active and passive recreation experiences. This unique site will afford visitors the opportunity to learn more about the County’s agrarian roots and enjoy nature -- right in Columbia’s backyard.

The Phase I Contract Agreement was awarded to Urban N. Zink, Contractor, Inc. of Chase, Maryland.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

School Board Member Sues His Board

Board of Ed member Allen Dyer has filed a lawsuit against the school board over a disagreement about how the system handles e-mails, according to ExploreHoward.

Dyer said his action is in the interest of preserving public records and documents.

“I cannot accept the unauthorized destruction of public records and, therefore, I am preparing to ask the Circuit Court of Howard County to order the end of the destruction of public records by the Howard County Board of Education and its employees,” Dyer wrote in an Oct. 21 letter to school system lawyer Mark Blom informing him of his plan to take the matter to court.

No word on what if anything Dyer thinks is in those e-mails.

ExploreHoward said Dyer has gone to the courts before.

Dyer, who was elected to the school board on his fourth attempt in 2008, has sued the school board in the past on matters dealing with open meetings. After six years of litigation and appeals, that lawsuit was thrown out in 2006 when the state’s highest court denied a review of the case, in which lower courts had ruled that Dyer lacked standing. Dyer, a lawyer, also has represented other parties in lawsuits against the school board.

Since becoming a member of the board, he also has twice challenged board decisions by appealing them to the state Board of Education.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Golf Outing Gone Bad

We know. We know. We haven't posted in a while, but we couldn't pass up a chance to repost this story on ExploreHoward.

Howard County Police Officers’ Association President Gregory Der criticized fellow officers for “inappropriate behavior by a few that left a lasting impression” during a fundraising event at Turf Valley on Oct. 15.

A handful of police officers and other golf tournament attendees were criticized for unruly behavior, such as excessive drinking, jumping in a golf course lake and driving a golf cart into the Turf Valley pro shop. In an e-mail sent to police officers and County Executive Kenneth Ulman, Der said civilian attendees and tournament sponsors called him and said they were “embarrassed to be associated with the police department.”

"I apologize for the lack of judgment that some of our members and golfers utilized,” he wrote.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hands Off

On Friday, a new Maryland law goes into effect requiring hands-free gear when using the phone in the car.

We saw this in a Verizon Wireless press release today.

Maryland will join the District of Columbia and seven other states (Calif., Conn., Del., Wash., N.J., N.Y., and Oregon) that require drivers to use a hands-free device while operating a motor vehicle. The new law will be a secondary offense, meaning that a driver must first commit a primary offense, such as speeding or reckless driving before they can be ticketed. The fine for a first offense is $40 and subsequent offenses will cost a driver $100.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Stink Over Bugs

The infestation of marmorated stink bugs has been a big topic at Talk Headquarters. There's been all sorts of debate over whether they should be killed or sent back outside. (Personally, we show no mercy).

Here's ExploreHoward's take.

The best line of defense, experts say, is to try to prevent the bugs from entering one’s house by sealing and caulking windows, foundation cracks and other points of entry and to be sure that window screens are in good condition. The bugs typically are more attracted to light-colored houses and the south side of buildings, she added.

“These are nuisance pests, but they’re not going to bite you,” McComas said.

WaPo's dos and don'ts.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Whole Lotta Lockdowns

It must be the lingering effects of the recent full moon. Here's a few notices sent by school officials to parents today:

From Oakland Mills High:

1:40 p.m. Today at approximately 8:25 Mr. Eastham was notified by the Howard County Police that they were arriving at the school to implement a drug scan on cars in the parking lot. This action was being taken as part of a partnership agreement between the Howard County Public School and the Police Department in an effort to maintain a drug-free school environment.

Mr. Eastham immediately took the emergency action of placing the school into Lock Down. This action was taken to ensure all students remained in their assigned classroom. Approximately 50 minutes later the police concluded their drug scan and students and staff were released from classrooms and resumed their regular schedule.

I am please to inform you that no students were found to be in violation of Howard Public School System Policy. I would like to remind parents that all belongings in a student’s car are considered to be in the possession of that student. Please make sure you inspect your child’s car regularly to ensure no items that would violate school policy are stored in the vehicle.

If you have any questions regarding this action, do not hesitate to call me.

Mr. Eastham

From Long Reach High:

2:35 p.m. There was a police matter in the area and we were instructed by the Police Department to get all of the students in the building and go on a lockdown. This happened at approximately 2:05 pm., and lasted 13 minutes. All suspects were apprehended

If you have any issues or concerns, please feel free to contact the school.

Mr. David Burton

From Jeffer's Hill:

2:14 p.m. Dear parents,
Currently JHES is on lock down per the direction of the Howard County Police Department. This is due to an outside circumstance. Please remember that students may not be picked up until we are given the notice that the lock down has been lifted. Please continue to monitor your email for updates.

2:20 p.m. Thankfully we were alerted that the lock down has been lifted. This was due to a home invasion in the area. We are back to normal activity.

From Oakland Mills High, again:

3:15 p.m. Parents,

This is to inform you that this afternoon we needed to implement the emergency procedure of Lock Down under the direction of the Howard County Police Department. This was the second Lock Down that we had today. Please see a previous email regarding the first Lock Down.

At approximately 2:00 pm we were directed by the Howard County Police Department to put the school in Lock Down. This action was taken to ensure the safety of our students and staff members. A situation was occurring in the neighborhood that may have put our students at risk if we had dismissed on time.

If you have any questions regarding this action, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Frank Eastham

And Oakland Mills Middle:

3:25pOMMS Families,

This is to inform you that this afternoon we needed to implement the emergency procedure of Lock Down under the direction of the Howard County Police Department.

At approximately 2:00 pm, the school implemented the Lock Down procedure. This action was taken to ensure the safety of our students and staff members. A situation was occurring in the neighborhood that may have put our students and staff at risk.

Our students and staff promptly responded to this situation. Student behavior during the Lock Down was commendable.

If you have any questions regarding this action, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Shiney Ann John


A word of warning from HoCo PD:

On Saturday, Sept. 25, motorists are advised to expect traffic congestion and delays in the area of Merriweather Post Pavilion and The Mall in Columbia due to the Virgin Mobile FreeFest, which is expected to draw more than 30,000 concertgoers.

Starting at 10 a.m., police will be directing traffic on Little Patuxent Parkway, Brokenland Parkway, South Entrance Road and Hickory Ridge Road. Delays are also expected on U.S. 29. Police will be using message boards and additional signage to assist motorists.

Little Patuxent Parkway from Brokenland Parkway to South Entrance Road may be closed temporarily at times as a traffic control measure.

Full access to Town Center businesses, including The Mall in Columbia and
Toby’s Dinner Theatre, will be available.

Motorists should plan ahead and allow extra travel time.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A "Patch" For Us

AOL is finally bringing one of its Patch local news sites to our neighborhood. We learned this from a Twitter follower by the name of David Greisman.

Columbia Patch will go live on October 15! In the meantime, if you've got story ideas for before then or after then, please drop me a line.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bringing The Broadband

If at first you don't succeed, try try again.

HoCo won a piece of a federal stimulus grant to bring more broadband to the state, after an earlier application was rejected. We're a little late with this news, but we enjoyed Frank Hecker's analysis (essentially, the money is nice but the county's share is probably no more than $10 million plus a required $2 million match).

Here's the county's Sept. 17 release:

Today Howard County, in partnership with the State of Maryland and the Maryland Broadband Cooperative, received a $115.3 million broadband stimulus award (Broadband Technology Opportunities Program) from the Department of Commerce under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This award will be used to directly connect over 1,000 community anchor institutions across the state including 458 K-12 schools, 21 community colleges and institutions of higher learning, 262 public safety agencies, 44 libraries and 221 other government facilities. In addition, it is anticipated that the award will save or create over 1,700 jobs.

“Not only will this investment interconnect 715 community anchor institutions throughout Central Maryland and create jobs, it will also open up countless economic development opportunities including public and private partnerships and reach areas that are currently unserved or underserved by broadband,” said County Executive Ulman. “This grant is going to provide us with the critical infrastructure we will need for the future.”

Of the $115.3 million received by the state, $72 million will be directed to Howard County (a grant sub-recipient) who will be chairing and managing the creation of the first ever Inter-County Broadband Network (ICBN), on behalf of 10 government jurisdictions across Central Maryland. ICBN member jurisdictions are: Anne Arundel County, City of Annapolis, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Carroll County, Frederick County, Harford County, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County. The ICBN will directly connect the community anchor institutions, interconnect government networks, provide enhanced public safety interoperability, allow for limitless educational opportunities, high-speed internet, and data and resource sharing capabilities. It is also estimated that once complete, the ICBN will provide local governments more than $28 million in annual cost savings.

President of Columbia Telecommunications Corporation Joanne Hovis commented on this significant award saying, “this grant would not have been possible without the leadership of County Executive Ulman and the hard work of his staff over the last 18 months. This was a highly competitive grant, and they deserve the credit for making this possible.”

Monday, September 20, 2010

Free Trees

We received this from Oakland Mills High:

Howard County is offering free trees as part of its "Plant (It) Green" program by launching "2010 MORE Trees in 2010." Each County residence can sign up for one free native tree. Registration will remain open until all trees have been reserved.

Each County residence that did not receive a free tree in the spring giveaway is entitled to choose one free native tree: a Red Maple (Acer rubrum), a Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis), an Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis), or a Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida). Trees will be provided in two- to five-gallon containers and may measure five feet in height. Tree selections are subject to availability.

Details and order forms are available online at and must be completed and submitted by 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, September 22.

Trees will be available for pickup only by residents on Friday, October 1, 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. or Saturday, October 2, 7:00 a.m. to noon. There are two pickup sites (in West Friendship and Columbia) from which a resident may select when he/she completes an order form. The County may redirect residents to a new pickup site should traffic flow concerns arise.

Residents should consult with their homeowners' or neighborhood associations to determine any planting restrictions. The County is unable to guarantee the survivability of the free trees.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Body Discovered At Long Reach High

Police say there's no evidence of foul play, according to ExploreHoward blog.

From principal's note to school community:

Dear Parent/Guardian,

We have some sad news to share with you relating to a tragic incident which was discovered at Long Reach High School on the morning of September 15, 2010. As many of you have probably heard, a deceased person was found on school property by a community member. The police are continuing to investigate this incident; no other information has been made available to us at this time.

Throughout the day, school administrators, Student Services staff (school counselors, school psychologist, and health assistant/nurse), and members of the school system’s Crisis Team were in the building and available to provide guidance and support for students. Many students were already aware that something had occurred at Long Reach this morning and had questions about what happened, so we wanted to make sure that we addressed their concerns as soon as possible. The Long Reach High School Student Services staff members will be available to provide ongoing support throughout the rest of this week for students.

The loss of life of a person is certainly a shock and we are never quite prepared for a situation such as this. When we hear news like this, many of us feel different emotions. Some of the emotions a parent or student may have are fear, sadness, anger, confusion and guilt, which are all normal. Young people often react differently from an adult to news such as this. It is important that you deal honestly and directly with your child’s questions and give him or her the opportunity to express his/her feelings. Please feel free to contact an Administrator or your child’s school counselor if you have questions or need additional information.


David P Burton


Council Race In Brief

Howard County Council member Mary Kay Sigaty bested Democrat Alan Klein in the only contested council primary Tuesday.

ExploreHoward has the full rundown.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Weekend Bargains

From the River Hill village association:

Come out and find your treasures at the River Hill Community Yard sale tomorrow [Sept. 11]from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Red balloons will mark the following participating streets: River Run, Autumn Wind Circle, Whistling Winds Walk, Flowering Water Trail, Folded Leaf Square, Enchanted Key Gate, Distant Thunder Trail, Morning Light Trail, Grateful Heart Gate, Mellow Twilight Court, Wild Orange Gate, Lilac Bush Lane, Western Sea Run, Blue Point Court, Tender Mist Mews, Gentle Call, Garden Walk, Trumpet Sound Court, Guliford Road, Indian Summer Drive, Bright Flow Muse, Rippling Water Walk, Jeweled Hand Circle, Laurel Leaves Lane, Countless Star Run, Gleaming Sand Chase, Nodding Night Court, Floating Clouds Path and Linden Lithicum.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Police Charge Man in Jeffers Hill Fire, Death

(Update: Police charge man with killing his ex-wife.)

From HoCo PD:

Howard County police have charged a Columbia man with killing his ex-wife and setting her apartment on fire. Damon Willie White, 34, of 6007 Majors Lane, has been charged in an arrest warrant with murder and arson. He was injured in the incident and is currently being guarded by police at Shock Trauma. He remains in critical but stable condition and will be taken into police custody when doctors clear him for release from the hospital.

Investigators believe the victim, 35-year-old Thelma Wynn, was stabbed to death by White in a domestic assault. Detectives learned White has been temporarily staying in the residence. Police and fire investigators also believe White intentionally set fire to the apartment after stabbing Wynn. Investigators found a knife in the apartment that they are analyzing as the possible murder weapon.

Wynn had four children who lived in the residence. The two girls, ages 17 and 15, and two boys, ages 11 and 6, are in the custody of family members. They were not home at the time of the incident.

Fire and rescue personnel responded to Majors Lane at 2:42 p.m. Sept. 7 for a 911 call from a neighbor reporting a fire. Investigators found White injured and Wynn deceased inside the apartment.

The fire was contained within the apartment where Wynn and White resided. No one else was injured in the incident.

(Original post)

HoCo police suspect something else killed a mother of four in an apartment fire in the 6000 block of Majors Lane shortly after 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to this WBAL report. A second person, a man, was found inside critically injured.

Police said they don't believe the fire caused the woman's death. Officials said both victims appeared to have injuries that were unrelated to the fire, but it's too early to tell if it was a domestic incident or if a third party injured the couple.

"We don't think that their injuries or the death of this woman were caused by the fire. It looks like there was another cause which we're still working to determine," said said Sherry Llewellyn of the Howard County Police Department.

The man was taken to Shock Trauma in critical condition.

Both victims appeared to be in their 30s and lived at the apartment, police said. Neither has been identified.

Friends told 11 News that the woman was the mother of two girls and two boys. The children range in age from 6 and 17.

"All of them are very good kids -- well-mannered, well-behaved. I wish I had the space, and I'd take them in myself, because she was an exceptional mom to those kids. To know those kids, their mom is gone now, it's heart-wrenching," said neighbor Maureen Burris.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Wilde Lake Lockdown

From an e-mail notice to the Wilde Lake High community:

Good morning Wilde Lake Nation,

In an effort to keep the Wilde Lake community updated, I want to share that today we received a call from the area Police Department, informing us of two men who had been involved in disruptive actives in the community. As a precaution,we went on a modified lockdown for approximately 1 hour. At no time during this hour were students or staff in any danger. After receiving updated information from the police, the modified lockdown was lifted with nothing out of the ordinary occurring. As always thank you for your support.

Restia Whitaker

Dedging Up A Detour

The Oakland Mills Village folks sent out this piece of advice:

Due to the dredging of Lake Kittamaqundi there is currently a temporary mulch path on the Lake Kittamaqundi side of the Route 29 footbridge. Ample signage is in place to direct people to the mulch path (which is a detour).

Friday, August 20, 2010

Iron Girl Gridlock

The Iron Girl triathlon is coming to town this Sunday at Centennial Park.

From HoCo PD:

Major traffic delays are expected on Sunday on Md. 108 and surrounding roads for the Aflac Iron Girl Triathlon. Motorists are advised to use caution when sharing the roads with an anticipated 2,000 participants.

From 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., Md. 108 will be closed to westbound traffic between Ten Mills Road and Centennial Lane. Southbound Centennial Lane from the park entrance to Md. 108 will also be closed.

Police officers will be posted at various locations throughout residential roads on the bicycle course to direct motorists or to temporary close roads to ensure the safety of the bicyclists.

Delays are anticipated along the following roadways, where participants will be given the right of way:

• Homewood Road
• Folly Quarter Road
• Carroll Mill Road
• Mt. Albert Road
• Cantor Lane
• Jumpers Hill Road
• Triadelphia Road

Motorists are advised to allow extra time or plan alternate routes and are reminded to slow down and use caution when sharing the road with bicyclists.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


We periodically check the listings of who's coming to the Mall in Columbia, and found this notice posted back in July:

* Vera Bradley: Now Open!
* CJ Watch & Jewelry Repair: Now Open!
* Best Buy Mobile: Now Open!
* Coldwater Creek: Opening October 2010 on the lower level, Nordstrom Wing

From our new perch at Capital Business we get touts for all kinds of retail openings around the region, leaving us to wonder what effect if any General Growth's trip through the bankruptcy courts is having on its ability to attract fresh concepts.

Here's lists of new store openings at Montgomery Mall and Tysons Corner. And the Tysons list doesn't include the recent announcement that an American Girl store is headed Fairfax way in 2011.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Policing the Pathways

From HoCo police:

Howard County police have charged a Columbia teen for inappropriately touching a woman on an Oakland Mills pathway and are asking anyone who may have been a victim to come forward.

The teen was charged on Aug. 13 as a juvenile with fourth-degree sex offense and second-degree assault for an incident that occurred on June 30 in Oakland Mills.

Police are investigating three additional cases in which women were inappropriately touched while walking on pathways in that vicinity in April and July. Detectives are working to determine if the same suspect may have been involved.

In the April case, the suspect approached a woman on a Sunday afternoon. In the other cases, the suspect approached the women on weekday mornings. The suspect engaged the women in conversation, then began to make lewd comments and touched the women inappropriately. In all of the cases reported to police, the women fled on foot to safety.

In an attempt to identify the suspect, on Aug. 4, an undercover female officer was stationed on a pathway in the area where the crimes occurred. The teen approached the plainclothes officer and solicited her for prostitution. He was subsequently charged. Through investigation, police then linked the suspect to the June 30 incident.

The teen is described as a black male; 6 feet, 2 inches tall; 160 pounds; with brown hair, brown eyes, a medium complexion and short hair. Anyone who may have been a victim or who has information is asked to call police at 410-313-STOP. Callers may remain anonymous.

Police have recently increased patrols in this area of Columbia. As a result, patrol officers also made a quick arrest in an armed street robbery Saturday.

Police responded to a footbridge over U.S. 29 on Saturday for a reported armed street robbery. Two victims were sitting on a pathway near Lake Kittamaqundi when two unknown suspects approached them, displayed a gun and stole a backpack and mp3 player. The suspects fled on the footbridge over U.S. 29 toward Stevens Forest. The victims called police and provided a description of the suspects. Patrol officers in the area responded quickly and located two suspects matching the description provided by the victims. The suspects led police on a foot pursuit and were apprehended in the 5600 block of Stevens Forest Road. The suspects were in possession of the backpack and mp3 player that were reported stolen moments earlier.

Gehiji S. Thomas, 19, of 3005 Belmont Avenue in Baltimore, and Christian G. Graham, 16, of 9426 Farewell Road in Columbia (charged as an adult), are facing two counts of armed robbery, two counts of robbery, using a handgun in the commission of a felony, two counts of first- and second-degree assault, three counts of theft, two counts of reckless endangerment and possession of a firearm by a person under age 21.

Thomas and Graham are being held at Howard County Detention Center. Thomas is being held without bond, and Graham is being held on $50,000 bond.

Six Arrested For Car Thefts

UPDATE...The police department corrected some of the dates and other details from an earlier release, and we have updated.

From HoCo police:

Howard County police have charged six people for a series of five motor vehicle thefts in Columbia over the summer.

The following cases have been closed:

• A June 16 theft of a 2004 Ford F150 from the 8400 block of Greystone Lane in Columbia
• A June 21 theft of a 1997 Dodge Caravan from the 8700 block of Cloudleap Court in Columbia
• A June 24 theft of a 2000 Dodge Caravan from the 6000 block of Majors Lane in Columbia
• A June 26 theft of a 2008 Infiniti M35 from the 6300 block of Gray Sea Way in Columbia
• An Aug. 1 theft of a 1998 Buick Regal from the 5700 block of Stevens Forest Road in Columbia

In all of the cases, police recovered the stolen vehicles. Police tied the suspects to the cases using evidence found in the recovered stolen vehicles. Police also linked the suspects to the thefts after they located property that had been stolen from the cars and then pawned.

In the June 21 case, shortly after the 1997 Dodge Caravan was stolen, a patrol officer spotted the vehicle in Columbia and initiated a traffic stop. The driver failed to stop and led police on a pursuit that ended when the driver of the stolen vehicle collided with a tree on a ramp from U.S. 29 onto Md. 175 and both the driver and passenger fled on foot. They were later apprehended by police.

Joseph Brandon Davis, 21, of 649 Charraway Road in Baltimore
• June 16 theft: charged with motor vehicle theft, conspiracy to commit motor vehicle theft, unauthorized removal of property, presence in a vehicle with the intent to commit theft and theft
• June 21 theft: charged with two counts of motor vehicle theft, two counts of theft, two counts of unauthorized removal of property, two counts of presence in a vehicle with the intent to commit theft, four counts of malicious destruction of property, fleeing and eluding police in a vehicle, fleeing and eluding police on foot and driving without a license
• June 26 theft: charged with motor vehicle theft, conspiracy to commit motor vehicle theft, two counts of theft and two counts of conspiracy to commit theft
• Arrested Aug. 17 and being held at Howard County Detention Center on no bond

Stephen Charles Diggs, 19, of 5971 Mill Race Court in Columbia
• June 21 and June 24 thefts: charged with two counts of motor vehicle theft, two counts of theft, two counts of unauthorized removal of property, two counts of presence in a vehicle with the intent to commit theft, four counts of malicious destruction of property, fleeing and eluding police in a vehicle, fleeing and eluding police on foot and driving without a license
• June 26 theft: charged with motor vehicle theft, conspiracy to commit motor vehicle theft, three counts of theft, three counts of conspiracy to commit theft, unauthorized removal of property and conspiracy to commit unauthorized removal of property)
• Arrested Aug. 10 and being held at Howard County Detention Center on $33,500 bond

Ashley Nicole Collins, 18, of 6516 Overheart Lane in Columbia
• June 16 theft: charged with motor vehicle theft, conspiracy to commit motor vehicle theft, unauthorized removal of property, presence in a vehicle with the intent to commit theft and theft
• Arrested June 24 and released the same day after posting $3,000 bond

Andy Lymonne Connely, 18, of 5792 Stevens Forest Road in Columbia
• Aug. 1 theft: charged with motor vehicle theft, conspiracy to commit motor vehicle theft, two counts of theft and two counts of conspiracy to commit theft.
• Arrested Aug. 13 and being held at Howard County Detention Center on $6,000 bond

Heather Gwen Ladd, 31, of 311 South Smallwood Street in Baltimore
• Wanted for June 26 theft: charged with motor vehicle theft, conspiracy to commit motor vehicle theft, two counts of theft and two counts of conspiracy to commit theft
• Police are attempting to locate Ladd. Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to call 410-313-STOP. Callers may remain anonymous.

Diangelo Wayne Smith, 19, of 6318 Red Haven Road in Columbia
• June 26 theft: charged with motor vehicle theft, conspiracy to commit motor vehicle theft, two counts of theft and two counts of conspiracy to commit theft
• Aug. 1 theft: charged with motor vehicle theft, conspiracy to commit motor vehicle theft, two counts of theft and two counts of conspiracy to commit theft
• Arrested Aug. 12 and released the same day after posting $30,000 bond.

Monday, August 16, 2010

School Supplying

We're happy to pass on from the nonprofit group twentyfivefortyfive (twentyfivefortyfive is an initiative of The Columbia Foundation, which serves as a catalyst for building a more caring, creative and effective community in Howard County by encouraging philanthropy among those between the ages of 25 - 45.):

twentyfivefortyfive is hosting a "drive-by" giving event on Sunday, August 22 with Prepare for Success, a local organization that provides backpacks and school supplies to thousands of Howard County school children in need each year. Your donation of school supplies will go directly to local students and help them get off on the right foot this school year.

It's easy: while you're out shopping for school supplies for your children or even during your weekly grocery run, please consider picking up a few extra items from the list below. And, it's a great opportunity to get your kids involved in giving as well by helping to pick out school supplies for others while shopping for their own!

Then all you have to do is swing by the Columbia Foundation headquarters (10227 Wincopin Circle in Columbia) on Sunday, August 22 between Noon and 3 p.m. to drop them off -- we'll take care of the rest.

Thanks for your interest in twentyfivefortyfive and we hope to see you on the 22nd!


Supplies needed:

· Backpacks
· 3-hole lined paper
· Highlighters
· Subject dividers
· Pink erasers
· Colored pencils
· Marble composition books
· Sticky notes - 3 x 3
· Pocket folders
· Blunt scissors
· Zippered pencil pouches
· Magic markers
· 2" 3-ring binders
· Glue sticks
· 12" rulers
· #2 pencils
· 1-subject spiral notebooks
· crayons

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dredging Up The Numbers

How much is a lake worth?

The Sun has a thorough story on what's up with all the dredging, and why it seems to be taking so looooong. Seems folks miscalculated the amount of sediment flowing into our manmade lakes. And guess what? Even when it is done we will still be stuck with the algae!

Measurements this year revealed higher-than-expected sediment flows into Elkhorn and Kittamaqundi over the past four years that would raise the cost at least $3.4 million above the $11.4 million estimate for dredging both lakes, CA officials were to report to the association board Thursday night. Estimates on a smaller dredge project at Wilde Lake are running $700,000 under the $2.2 million budgeted. Preparations for dredging at Kittamaqundi and Wilde Lake are to begin next month, officials said.

"I appreciate they're going to be troubled by the additional money," said Dennis Mattey, the Columbia Association's director of construction.

The board can shift funding from the Wilde Lake project to the two larger lakes; other possible options are to reduce the amount of sediment removed or find more money. Since the biggest single expense for dredging is setting up the equipment staging area, Mattey said it might make sense to go ahead despite the costs. Removal of each added inch of sediment will cost about $100,000, according to a consultant, who said the muck is deepening at a rate of nearly 3.5 inches per year in Lake Elkhorn and 4.5 inches a year in Lake Kittamaqundi.

"I also don't believe it's going to be cheaper in five or 10 years to remove the sediment," Mattey said.

The Columbia Association had earlier sought to limit costs by dredging about 80 percent of the sediment that has accumulated in Lake Elkhorn since it was built in 1974. In some areas, water once 7 feet deep had filled to less than 2 feet, according to the consultant's reports.

Even after dredging, the water will be no more than 5 feet deep. No dredging is to occur in the lake's broad center section, behind the Swan Point townhouse development. Most of the work is taking place at the narrower eastern end of the lake, though the dock cove, the pond below the dam and the nearly fully silted pond behind the lake's source stream still must be dredged.

Engineers and consultants said that since a storm in June 2006 dropped 10 inches of rain, sediment has flowed into Lake Elkhorn at a rate 47 percent higher than expected. Estimates were based on calmer weather from 2001 to 2006. During the past four years, sediment flow into Lake Kittamaqundi was 97 percent higher than CA estimates. Wilde Lake, the smallest of the three, was 23 percent higher. Wilde Lake has been dredged several times, which has reduced sediment buildup.

For Elkhorn, that translates into an added 22,000 cubic yards of mud, and 37,000 cubic yards more accumulated in Lake Kittamaqundi.

Meanwhile, Elkhorn dredging has proceeded fitfully, with the dredge stopped and silent almost as often as it is operating. McHugh said the dredge scoops up sediment and pumps it to a receiving tank faster than it can be pressed dry and disposed of, which forces periodic shutdowns.

Charles Grey, the Columbia Association's project manager for dredging, expressed frustration that work has not proceeded more quickly, but the dredge must stop each time the green tank fills with sludge. Once dried and expelled, a large front-end loader lifts it into trucks. Then the barge, which uses a hydraulic device to chew and loosen the sediment before pumping it through long plastic pipes to the dredge site, can resume work. Work stopped on much of Aug. 6, for example, because of an electrical problem on the dredge, Grey said, and a hydraulic breakdown Monday delayed work again.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Road Paved With Stimulus $$$

From HoCoGov:

A Howard County construction project to mill and resurface a section of Little Patuxent Parkway between Maryland Route 175 and Columbia Road in Columbia is scheduled to begin on or about Sunday,August 15. Weather permitting, the project is expected to be completed by Tuesday, August 31.

This section of Little Patuxent Parkway is eligible and approved for repaving under the federally funded American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA), signed by President Obama in February 2009. A portion of ARRA funds received by the Maryland Department of Transportation is reserved for distribution to county governments for Federal Aid eligible projects on county-maintained roads.

Construction will take place from 7 p.m. through 5 a.m. from Sunday, August 15, through Tuesday, August 31. Flagging operations will be in place to direct traffic as needed and variable message signs will be in place to advise motorists of the construction.
For questions or concerns about Capital Project H-2008, contact Lisa Brightwell, Public Works Customer Service, at 410-313-3440, or by e-mail to

Monday, August 9, 2010

WL's $1 million home

OK, not quite $1 million but in this market, close enough.

The Sun said the renovated manse near the WL boathouse sold for $928,000.

10026 Hyla Brook Road sits on .565 acres and has 7,112 sq ft of living space. The French country-style home has 5 bedrooms and 5 ½ bathrooms. The 2-story home was originally built in 1800 and was fully gutted and remodeled in 2004.
The expanded home now features 4 fireplaces, hardwood floors, a solarium, full, finished basement and an attached, 3-car garage.

Marketing director leaves CA

Steven Sattler is stepping down as CA's director of communications and marketing, according to the ExploreHoward blog.

Sattler had been employed by the association, the nonprofit that owns and operates Columbia’s recreational facilities, since January 2007. His resignation was effective July 16, according to CA staff.

One of the major projects that fell under Sattler’s purview was the development and launch of a Customer Service System, information management software under development since 2006 and intended to be launched earlier this summer after multiple delays.

The $2.7 million system, which was supposed to be launched in late June, was delayed indefinitely after a testing period uncovered major deficiencies in the software, mainly in financial accounting, according to Sattler and CA President Phillip Nelson.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Secret America

Here's my ed note in Capital Business this week:

I read with special interest last week The Washington Post's three-part series on "Top Secret America" because what the paper described as "the capital of an alternative geography of the United States" is my home.

I reside in Columbia, near Fort Meade and the National Security Agency north of Washington. My father was one of those people who never talked about what he did, and he was hardly alone. It didn't really register with me until I went off to college that I seemed to know a lot of mathematicians and engineers and people who wore badges on chains around their necks.

I think I began to get a sense of our alternative geography when I spent a couple summers delivering flowers for a local shop. My trips would invariably take me to many of Columbia's nondescript buildings, some without posted addresses. The local maps were not reliable, so I learned to cast about for delis, bars and barber shops to ask for directions. Sometimes I guessed where I needed to go by spotting a security guard -- who in those pre-Sept. 11 days always seemed out of place in the sleepy suburbs.

True story: As a reporter, I also once spent a day at the site of what would become the National Business Park across the Baltimore-Washington Parkway from the NSA. I was there to do a story on a fellow who was hellbent on saving frogs from the bulldozer. He would spend hours collecting the amphibians so he could move them to safer wetlands elsewhere. His efforts didn't seem nearly as creepy as the van idling nearby, watching us.

It wasn't until March 9, 1991, that the NSA, after 37 years, erected a sign formally acknowledging its presence in our parts. I know: I wrote the story.

Friends often complain to me that Columbia seems so bland, and reflecting on it, perhaps that's how Top Secret America likes it. But to live there is to know better. It's hard to hide one's private passions, as many merchants will tell you. Just hang around the wine racks or the Nordstrom shoe department. I once did a story on a local landmark, an outdoor biker bar called Daniels that sits just yards off Route 1. It was late afternoon and many of the stools were filled with guys and gals in leather, their gleaming Harleys parked nearby. Several, it turned out, worked for one of the contractors in the area or the "Defense Department."

It's a special club, the national security industrial complex. During the telecom boom, I knew acquaintances who jumped from government service to funny-named start-ups specializing in fiber optic gadgetry. Many of them made out handsomely, like they saw the future before the rest of us.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wilde Lake's Village

Kimco's plan is out. What say CA, the Interfaith Center and the Howard County school system? Aren't they key partners in whatever happens?

Will there be a village in the new town center?

Sounds like a mission for a community planner, and lo and behold CA apparently has hired one, a professional planner by the name of Jane Dembner, according to this story in the Flier.

As the first village to have its shopping center slated for a major overhaul, Wilde Lake leaders were quick to welcome Dembner’s attention.

“As soon as she came on board we asked her to come out and listen,” Wilde Lake village manager Bernice Kish said.

Although parts of the redevelopment process at the Wilde Lake center, owned by Kimco Realty Corp., already are underway, village board members have expressed a desire to craft a more widespread master plan for the entire community, addressing traffic and roadways, connections within the area and other factors, Kish said.

“She’s going to be invaluable to us when we look at doing that kind of encompassing plan,” Kish said of Dembner. “It will be a true master plan for the entire area, not just the village center.”

One thing that’s clear to Dembner about Columbia is the “great pride” she sees residents take in their community.

“I do think it’s special here. We all have a stake in it. I know this as a resident.”

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Where's the Wow?

The owner of the Wilde Lake shopping center has offered its vision for remaking the village square, according to the ExploreHoward blog.

Two-hundred apartments, an open courtyard, a 27,000-square-foot food store and a 14,000-square-foot stand-alone drug store are among the elements planned for the future of the Wilde Lake Village Center, according to plans outlined for residents Thursday night.

The proposal, on which planners hope to break ground in summer 2012, was described to residents by Geoff Glazer, Kimco Realty Corp.'s vice president of development for the mid-Atlantic region, as a "balancing act of what we can do, feasibly, what the market will let us do and what we've heard from you about what you think is important as a community."

The redevelopment of Wilde Lake — Columbia's first village shopping center, built in 1967 — has been in the works for several years by Kimco, the company that owns the majority of commercial space at the center.

Reaction seemed to be mixed. And then there was this comment:

Though pleased with the plans, resident Michael Davis asked Kimco to incorporate a "wow factor" to distinguish the center as "the birthplace of Columbia."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Obstacle Course

We've seen a lot of schemes in HoCo to slow down traffic -- circles, speed bumps, speed humps, re-striping roads, rumble strips, increased patrols, stop lights -- that never seem to quite do the trick. But this little experiment in our neighborhood appears to actually be having an effect, and gradually drivers are getting the idea that they are SUPPOSED TO STOP when pedestrians are in the crosswalk.

In our tests, motorists stop about 65 percent of the time. But if we catch the driver's eye, the percentage goes higher. Regardless, the combination of narrower lanes and that little sign in the middle of the road does force many drivers to slow down.

Shortly after the obstacle course went up, we witnessed one driver who tried to fly through the intersection only to clip the curb, bash her rim and pop her tire.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Weekend Beats

Looking for something fun to do this weekend? We promised to pass this on:

Border Busting World Music Highlights International Day Festival on July 24th with the Guy Mendilow Band

The Guy Mendilow Band delivers its dynamic blend of Israeli and Sephardi tempered with Brazilian street beats and blues at Columbia’s International Day Festival at the Town Center Lakefront in Columbia, MD. The free festival runs from 12pm-10pm on July 24th and features live music, international food, crafts and children's activities. More information can be found at and

Blurring boundaries and connecting sounds, stories, rhythms and roots is central to the mission inspiring the Guy Mendilow Band.  Israeli peace songs and ancient Sephardi canticas meet Bahian street beats and blues. Drawing from a life lived in Israel, South Africa and Brazil, where musical collaboration cuts through ancient conflict, Israeli born musician Guy Mendilow is sowing the seeds of peace with music.

“The buoyant, life-affirming, sweetly acoustic music of Israeli-born Mendilow incorporates influences from across the Middle East, South America and beyond. It's a folk music of hope and affirmation, sophisticated in its delivery but easily accessible to listeners anywhere. ” Chicago Tribune
It’s no surprise, then, that the Guy Mendilow Band includes world class musicians from Israel, Argentina, Japan and the United States. Or to find the group partnering with international peacemaking organizations, such as Seeds of Peace, whose work with Palestinian and Israeli youth and adult educators helps forge the personal relationships so critical to communication and reconciliation.

The Guy Mendilow Band challenges your concept of borders as you listen to Sala’am, an Israeli anthem used during the peace marches, that subtly introduces Brazilian elements in its arrangement and whose warm harmonies nod to Crosby, Stills & Nash. Or take the tastefully modern setting of the ancient Sephardi song Durme Durme, sung in that melting pot language of Spanish, Arabic, Greek, and Hebrew, created from the wanderings of the ancient Jews from Spain to the Mediterranean and Middle East. Mendilow pushes the sonic envelope by taking ancient instruments in new directions, though the band does this whimsically, with an almost adamant refusal to take itself too seriously. For instance, in Whistler’s Brother, Mendilow’s award-winning overtone singing playfully duels with a flute. Or Blues for Dino, a tongue-in-cheek slide berimbau (musical bow and arrow) blues number — a tip of the hat to Brazilian berimbau hero Dino Nascimento. The band’s fusion stems from a life-long cultural mix infusing most aspects of Mendilow’s life.

“This isn’t for quirky ears, it’s for jaded ears that need to be shaken awake with something substantially different that keeps the interest on the beam throughout. Delightfully different, even when it seems like it might be familiar. ” —Midwest Record

On a personal level, Guy’s musical mission is to explore the connection between places he’s called home. Out in the world, he has oriented his band around the premise that music, and music making, can play a unique role in the effort to transform “the other” into a fellow human being to whom one can at least listen, if not necessarily agree.

 “It was the height of Apartheid and my family, though secular and Israeli, was invited to participate in one of the only integrated church services in Johannesburg,” Mendilow recalls about the sparks of this passion. “We were sitting in my elementary school gym after-hours, a large gathering.  The service was almost entirely singing: blacks and whites together, in beautiful harmonies. It lit something strong in me.”  Throughout his childhood, Mendilow and his family played continental hop-scotch, with community singing in the living room as an important way of connecting with others.
To Guy Mendilow the music cannot be separated from the message, whether you are part of the audience at the Chicago World Music Festival, New York’s Tribeca Performing Arts Center, in a master workshop with government education ministers from Palestine, Israel, Jordan or Lebanon, or swapping songs between Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the 26 diverse young people in the American Boychoir — Mendilow’s first touring experience. The Guy Mendilow Band continues to blur musical boundaries and offers its modest contributions to today’s larger peace puzzle: by creating person to person connections, one song at a time.  

Thursday, July 22, 2010

CA Opposes New Tennis Center

 The Columbia Association is fighting plans by a nonprofit group called Howard County Tennis Patrons to build an 8,000-seat tennis stadium, 12 indoor courts, 18 lighted outdoor courts, a clubhouse and offices, according to the Sun. The HoCo Council held a public hearing this week and has scheduled a vote July 29. The patrons are seeking approval of a 40-year lease on 14 acres of county land near Troy Hill in Elkridge.

Every group represented at the hearing supported the plan except for the Columbia Association, which operates 24 outdoor and 9 indoor tennis courts throughout the planned town. Chief Operating Officer Rob Goldman said tennis earns CA $1.7 million in revenue annually in fees and he fears the loss of $500,000 a year after the new complex opens.

"I don't feel there's enough demand to fill all these courts," he said, adding that the county would subsidize the nonprofit by covering any deficit, taking only a percentage of revenues as rent and plowing half that back into the facility. That's unfair competition, he said.

State: Two More Schools Miss Mark

From the Flier:

Six of the 58 Howard County public elementary and middle schools failed to meet the state’s standards for annual improvement based on their Maryland State Assessment scores, according to data released Tuesday.

Last year, four county schools did not meet Adequate Yearly Progress, a standard set by the state that is raised each year.

Despite the slight increase in schools missing the mark, Jose Stevenson, the school system’s director of Student Assessment and Program Evaluation, said the numbers are encouraging.

“When you get to a higher level of performance, the increments of progress get smaller, and it’s not unusual for the numbers to dip slightly,” he said.
Noteworthy in the assessment data is the fact that in the past few years, elementary schools have increasingly had groups of students receive a 100 percent pass rate. This year, 10 schools had at least one instance in which an entire grade level of students passed an assessment in reading or math. There were nine schools in 2009 and six schools in 2008 that had perfect pass rates.

The schools that did not meet the 2010 progress standard are Jeffers Hill and  Veterans elementary schools, and Mayfield Woods, Murray Hill, Oakland Mills and Wilde Lake middle schools.
County school officials are planning to dedicate extra support to those schools, according to Terry Alban, the school system’s chief operating officer.

Those six schools all reached the 2009 state standard, but Oakland Mills Middle missed the mark in 2007 and 2008. Because it did not reach the standard for two consecutive years, Oakland Mills was placed on a list of schools the Maryland State Department of Education deems in need of improvement. It will remain on the list until it meets the standard in consecutive years.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Secret Life

WaPo has been shining a light on our quiet little hamlet of late, and today zeroed in on Fort Meade. The paper calls us a parellel universe, an "alternative geography of the United States." Maybe that should be our new handle.  No more are we the Next America.

Henceforth, we are the Alternate America. But shhh!, don't tell anyone.

See the coverage in its full glory here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Short Stay And The Power of Staying The Course

Friends have been telling us that our weekly note to readers in Capital Business reads like a blog, so we permit us to re-post here:

This time a year I'm often asked if I have any plans for the summer.

Mostly my vacations revolve around shuttling my son hither and yon to soccer tournaments. But I did take my one and only true break last week.

It involved a single overnight, a birthday present to my wife.

We made our pilgrimage to the Inn at Little Washington.

Like a lot of folks, we've often wondered if the place was really as good as its reputation.

Well, we got our answer. The food, the service is simply to ... die ... for.

This column is much too short to do our stay justice. We found pleasures in the simplest of gestures, the tiniest of tastes. We ordered the inn's tasting menu and before the first of our seven courses arrived came a variety of treats. One was a small cube of barbecue pork belly. I'm the kind of guy who prides myself on working a grill. I like to measure my cooking times in hours, not minutes. My meat in pounds, not ounces. But after that one bite, I'm ready to throw away my recipes.

Throughout the visit, I couldn't help thinking how our whole stay had been shaped by years of trial and error. Chef Patrick O'Connell started the restaurant in a garage (shades of the dot-com boom!) and opened the inn in 1978. The guest house is now part of a little village of cottages, gardens, a gift shop and more. There's talk of adding a spa one day.

That lesson in longevity was one reinforced before we arrived at the central Virginia inn. We started the day with a stop at Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson near Charlottesville. We've made many trips to the historic site and its gardens over the years, and as I grow older I have come to appreciate just what a labor of love creating that place on the top of a little mountain was to the nation's third president. Jefferson spent 40 years designing, building and remodeling the estate.

These days so many businesspeople are in such a hurry to establish something new and exciting and then look for a hasty exit -- as if they don't really trust their creation. My vacation this year let me reflect on the power of building a business bit by bit by bit, until it becomes part of the DNA of a place.

Our stay at the inn might have been brief, but it left a lasting and happy memory.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Bike Lanes To Where?

The county has been repaving streets in our Oakland Mills neighborhood, and we were pleasantly surprised to see some new bike lanes appear....

...only to see them disappear just as quickly. Now, granted, the road narrows in certain places, but you wonder if these lanes lead to a false sense of security. One moment after we took this photo a school bus roared by, and believe us, there wouldn't be room for the two.

Wouldn't it make more sense for the lanes to steer a rider to the sidewalk in such tight quarters?

As we pondered that question we wondered who designed these lanes... a highway person or a bike person? Then we saw this story.

In some places, the bike lanes disappear because there isn't enough room to create turning lanes for cars. Stevens Forest Road is not exactly a highway. Do we really need turn lanes? What would happen if cars had to slow down a little?

We commute daily to DC, and we can testify to the fact that there is nothing that makes us want to hop on a bike faster than to see two-wheelers coast on past us as we crawl in city traffic.

The Stevens Forest lanes also take a rider to Broken Land, except only the bravest riders would venture there.

So we assume these lanes are part of a work in progress, a step -- or turn of the pedal -- in the right direction. But only a step.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Ticket Reserved For Them

HoCo PD, working with state officials, issued a dozen tickets this week to people who parked improperly in spaces reserved for the disabled, according to the Flier.

During the crackdown, an MVA representative approached drivers pulling into or leaving a handicapped space and checked to see if their placard was registered to someone in the car. If not, a police officer would issue a citation.

The citation fee for parking in a handicapped space without a placard is $350. Citations for using someone else’s placard carry a $130 fine, police said.

Placards are confiscated after a ticket is issued, police said.

“What’s most disappointing in these details ... the violators that we’ve been encountering are those who are improperly using a family member’s handicapped placard,” said police Maj. Gary Gardner, who oversees enforcement efforts.

“Of all people, those individuals should have a better understanding of the frustration disabled people have in locating parking close to a shopping center. If their conscience doesn’t stop them then we hope to by using our enforcement and issuing citations, so hopefully the pocketbook will have an impact.”

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


CA is delaying its new $2.7 million customer service system -- after working on it since 2006, and sending folks to Bangalore to consult -- because, well, it just doesn't work yet. (Remember this odd release about hand-crafted computing?)

From CA:

The Columbia Association (CA) is delaying the implementation of the new Customer Service System.

During the User Acceptance Testing phase major deficiencies in the software were discovered, primarily in financial accounting. To expedite resolution, the CA Board of Directors has approved staff’s recommendation to bring in an outside firm to assist staff with evaluating the software with regards to architecture, security and compliance with industry standards. The CA Board of Directors also approved staff’s recommendation to bring in an outside Project Manager to assist CA’s CSS development team with the final phase of the project. A new launch date is not being announced at this time.

CA will continue its efforts to encourage residents to come into CA’s Membership Service Center or our Sport and Fitness Facilities to have their pictures taken for new membership cards. CSS requires all members and residents to have new photos taken for their new cards. Those who have previously had their photos taken for CSS will not be required to have them retaken.

Here's what the Flier reported:

The new information management system, which cost CA $2.7 million and was developed by Bangalore, India-based ITC Inc., is designed to store member data and allow customers to sign up and pay for activities online.

Nelson said his decision to hire an outside firm to evaluate the software came after multiple attempts by ITC to correct the software.

“We tried to give them every opportunity to make this work. I just don’t think they have the accounting acumen.” he said. “This is a huge software project. It’s over 140,000 lines of code and they all have to fit together.”

According to Steven Sattler, CA’s director of communications and marketing, several of the software’s functions did not meet Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. The outside firm’s review will serve as “reassurance” that the system is working properly.

Here's what CA says on its Web site about its due diligence of ITC:


* CA performs extensive reviews and conducts site visits and reference checks.
* ITC Infotech, a Bangalore India company, with US headquarters in New Jersey, is selected to custom-write CSS, and a contract is finalized in December with the company.
* ITC Infotech is a global IT services company that is a fully-owned subsidiary of ITC Limited, a $5 billion diversified conglomerate. ITC Limited is rated among the “World’s Most Reputable Companies” by Forbes, and among “India’s Most Valuable Companies” by Business Today. It is featured in the Leader Category for the “2008 Global Outsourcing 100” by the International Association Outsourcing Professionals, and it is “acknowledged as an excellent alternative for companies that are looking for flexibility and attention – almost like an extension of their internal IT organizations” by Forrester.

# Today, CSS has a motivated, dedicated, unyielding team behind it, and they are looking forward to successfully launching the new software system during CA's Fiscal Year 2011.

Here's a 2006 blurb in the Flier discussing the role of CA staff on the project:

CA board member Philip Marcus, of Kings Contrivance, proposed the ban on overseas contracting after two senior officials spent four months in Bangalore, India, helping a firm install the new Resident Service System customer service program.

Several CA board members became alarmed when they learned Donna Dupree, director of Communications and Marketing, and Rafia Siddiqui, vice president of Administrative Services, were in Bangalore for four months to work on the project.

CA hired New Jersey-based ITC Inc. to install the program that allows customers to pay their annual charges online and to sign up for memberships. ITC has conducted much of the work on the project at its Bangalore office.

Marcus believes a local company could have handled the contract. While many private companies are working with overseas companies, outsourcing is a more controversial issue for public and semi-public companies such as CA, he said.

Marcus is considering withdrawing his motion before the vote, he said.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

REI Coming to Town

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.), a retail co-op providing quality outdoor gear and clothing, today announced plans to open a new store at Columbia Crossing in Columbia, Md. this fall.

“A new store in Columbia will allow us to better outfit cycling, paddling, camping and general outdoor enthusiasts in the area, and hopefully inspire others to adopt an outdoor lifestyle.”

The 24,000 square-foot store will equip customers and members with gear and apparel from the top brands for camping, climbing, cycling, fitness, hiking, paddling, snow sports and travel, including the award-winning REI brand and Novara bike products. The new store will feature a bike shop for quick assemblies or repairs, a gear rental department to explore new activities, and a community space for the co-op and its non-profit partners to host outdoor-related classes, events and presentations.

“REI is committed to increasing the number of people recreating in the outdoors, and we are excited to expand our resources in the Baltimore and DC areas,” said Anne Maleady, REI retail director for the Northeast district. “A new store in Columbia will allow us to better outfit cycling, paddling, camping and general outdoor enthusiasts in the area, and hopefully inspire others to adopt an outdoor lifestyle.”

The company supports local organizations dedicated to conserving natural resources or increasing outdoor access through education, volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions. In the past year, REI has granted more than $90,000 to 11 outdoor and conservation non-profits in the Baltimore and DC areas, including the Alice Ferguson Foundation, Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts. The new store will expand upon these efforts by partnering with local organizations to coordinate outdoor classes and events, and volunteer opportunities.

REI currently operates 112 retail stores nationwide, including three other locations in Maryland in College Park, Rockville and Timonium. In addition to the Columbia store opening, the company will open a store in Norwalk, Conn. this fall.

Hiring for Columbia will occur approximately three months prior to the store’s opening, when REI will recruit 40 to 50 employees who share a passion for the outdoors and quality customer service. Once hired, each new team member will take part in REI’s comprehensive sales and product training program, deepening their ability to be a knowledgeable outdoor resource for customers and the community. More information about employment opportunities will be available at

While anyone may shop at REI, members pay a one-time $20 fee and receive a share in REI’s profits through an annual member refund based on their purchases. Earlier this year, more than $80 million was distributed to more than 3.9 million active members based on the co-op’s 2009 sales. Members also receive discounts on gear rentals, trips offered through REI Adventures and local REI Outdoor School classes, in addition to free standard shipping on their purchases of $75 or more through, and phone direct sales orders.

Never Mind

Two announcements, 15 minutes apart:

Dear River Hill Community,

It is with a great deal of appreciation and sadness that I write this letter. Today I informed the staff that I will be moving on to a new challenge as a principal on special assignment at the Board of Education. I feel very fortunate that for the past six years I have been given the privilege to work at the best high school in the Nation – River Hill. It is the best, not because of the awards, test scores or list of accomplishments, but because of the wonderful students who walk the halls, the incredible teachers who care so much about each student and the parents who have gone above and beyond to support their students and the school.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have made my time on the Hill such a positive experience. Thank you, students, for being the best of the best in everything you have done. I set high expectations for you and time and time again you lived up to and exceeded those expectations. Your efforts each day in the classroom, on the stage or field, or in whatever way you represented River Hill made me proud. Thank you, staff, for always making learning personal. You have been the wind beneath the wings of our students. Your passion for teaching and love for our students was evident each day. You truly have epitomized the term “team” in your actions in providing the best instructions for our students. Words cannot express the appreciation I have for how hard you have worked. It was rare for me to leave at the end of the day and not see many of your cars still in the parking lot – thank you for your incredible work ethic. Thank you, parents, for all of the ways you have supported River Hill. Whether it was volunteering in guidance or staying up all night at P3, you have given your time and energy to make our jobs easier and provide a great environment for our students. Your students have been exceptional and I know it is because of the expectations you have set and role models you have been for your child.

The River Hill community has been my family for the past six years and I feel fortunate to have been your principal. I will cherish the wonderful relationships I have made during my time on the Hill. I wish each one of you much success and know that with such a strong community family supporting River Hill it will continue to be preeminent.

I am proud to announce that the new River Hill High principal is Mr. Nick Novak who is currently at Glenelg High. Nick will be a wonderful principal and is excited about coming to such a supportive community. I am sure you will give him a great deal of support and welcome him to the community.

William Ryan

Dear Parents and Community Members,

Recently an email was sent out with information on personnel changes at River Hill. Unfortunately we were premature in making this announcement. All changes need to be approved by the HCPSS Board of Education before announcements can be made. We will let you know when changes to River Hill leadership are approved.

William Ryan

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cradlerock Splits In 2011

From HoCo schools:

Cradlerock School, Howard County's only prekindergarten to Grade 8 school, will be returned to an elementary and middle school configuration effective July 1, 2011, according to a report presented by Chief Academic Officer Linda Wise and approved by the Board of Education last Thursday. Phase 1 of the transition year begins immediately with the appointment of separate administrative teams to serve the lower and upper school grades.

Principal Jason McCoy will serve as administrator of the lower school and Jennifer Peduzzi, currently Principal of Patapsco Middle School, has been appointed as administrator of the upper school. Each administrative team will work with staff, students, and parents to plan for a smooth transition to two schools next summer.

This first phase also includes the establishment of transition teams, the development of a transition plan, the development of two school improvement plans, and the implementation of appropriate transition activities. During the transition year, official Maryland State Department of Education and Howard County Public School System documents will continue to list Cradlerock as one Prekindergarten - Grade 8 school.

Phase 2 begins July 1, 2011 with the separation of the lower and upper school components into two schools. The transition team will make decisions such as the names for the two schools, school mascots, and school colors. From July 1, 2011 forward, official state and HCPSS documents will identify what was formerly one school as two schools - an elementary and a middle school.

The school's current configuration presents several barriers to success, according to the report. The transition to two schools will remove those barriers and support efforts to improve student achievement and behavior.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Should Route 29 Be Widened?

Should the state get rid of the only remaining traffic signal on Route 29 in Howard County?

Let 'em know:

The State Highway Administration will offer an Informational Public Meeting and has invited community members to attend which will take place Wednesday, June 2, 2010 at 6:30pm, Hammond High School, 8800 Guilford Road, Columbia, MD 21046.

Plan experts will be on hand to answer any questions that residents may have. We encourage all residents to attend and learn more about the project. There will be an opportunity to share your thoughts and suggestions with SHA through interaction with SHA staff or by completing a comment card.

For details on this proposed plan, please contact MarieFrance Guiteau, Project Engineer, Highway Design Office, at 410-545-8885.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Pathway Police

Little did we know that taking the puppy out for her early morning constitutional made us a lawbreaker!

HoCo PD and the CA are co-sponsoring a new site on safety and May's tip no. 1 surprised us:

Pathways are closed from dusk until dawn. Do not use pathways after dark – it is against the law.

...soooo, no more moonlight strolls after a quiet dinner at Clyde's, we guess. Or how about all those kids who use the paths to get to high school before dawn? And it'll be interesting to see how this is enforced July 4th.

Of course, pathway safety is a concern. But is the answer to make sure no one uses them?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Who Say WL Needs A Grocery?

One of the more provocative bloggers around these parts, Frank Hecker, serves up some food for thought on Wilde Lake's lack of a traditional grocery:

I’m just a naïve outsider from Ellicott City, but this is something I’ve never understood. I go to Wilde Lake Village Center all the time, and it doesn’t exactly strike me as a "food desert". In particular, I regularly go to shop at David’s Natural Market, which certainly has food for the table, has milk for the kids, and may even have diapers for all I know (I’ve never checked).

So why exactly doesn’t David’s qualify as a grocery store according to [county council candidate Alan Klein] and others? Is it because it isn’t a real grocery store (doesn’t have national brands, has a limited selection)? Because it’s not the right kind of grocery store (patronized primarily by "outsiders", too "crunchy" for the people of Wilde Lake)? Because it’s not a basic grocery store (which I presume is a code word for "cheap")? I don’t mean to be snarky here, I’m genuinely interested in what’s going on here (beyond just nostalgia for the Giant that was and is no more).

I’m not an expert on the economics of retail development, but I presume that if the economics were favorable for a traditional supermarket at Wilde Lake then the Giant would still be there.

Hecker goes on to do some rough math on how much it would cost to subsidize David's prices to make them more affordable to people who cannot easily travel to cheaper options -- and calculates it would be less than Howard's Healthy Howard initiative.

Now, I’ll fess up: I’m writing here partly with tongue in cheek. ("What, you’re going to tax us more so that people in Wilde Lake can buy tofurkey at David’s! The very idea!") But I’m also trying to make a serious point: If the county can’t simply wave a magic wand and make a grocery appear in Wilde Lake (as I and others believe), and if there’s really a serious question of social justice here (as Alan Klein claims), then Klein and other who agree with him owe it to the taxpayers of Howard County to actually put a price tag on solving the problem that they claim exists, and make the case to the voters that paying that price is worth it in order to make Columbia and Howard County the sort of place we all want it to be.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Yield To Triathletes

From HoCo PD:

Major traffic delays are expected on Sunday, May 23, on Md. 108 from Columbia Road to Harper’s Farm Road due to the Columbia Triathlon. Motorists are advised to use caution when sharing the roads with an anticipated 2,000 participants.

From 6:45 a.m. to noon, Md. 108 will be closed to eastbound traffic from Harper’s Farm Road to Ten Mills Road.

Delays are anticipated along the following roadways, where participants will be given the right of way:

Running route (6.2 miles)
• Old Annapolis Road
• Carillon Drive
• Cross Country Drive
• Century Drive
• Colonial Drive
Cycling route (25.2 miles)
• Homewood Road
• Folly Quarter Road
• Triadelphia Road
• Triadelphia Mill Road
• Green Bridge Road
• Howard Road
• Linthicum Road
Howard County police officers will direct traffic at all major intersections.

Motorists are advised that race participants have the right of way.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Budget Bits

The County Council passed $824 million operating budget on a 4-1 vote, with Republican Greg Fox the lone nay, according to the ExploreHoward blog.

Amid talk of a weak economy and the need for fiscal responsibility, the Howard County Council passed an $824 million operating budget Wednesday, guaranteeing unpaid furlough days for county employees and cuts to local bus routes while boosting a community services emergency fund.

Council member Calvin Ball sent in his District 2 highlights, which include money to move forward with Blandair Park:

US Route 1 Corridor Revitalization (C0285) $2,000,000

A project to plan, design and implement a series of streetscape, pedestrian, bicycle and public green space improvements on public property. Revitalization of the US1 Corridor is a priority under the General Plan 2000. The purpose is to invest public funds in community enhancement projects that will spur revitalization by the private sector, promote economic development, improve public safety and enhance the quality of life in existing older neighborhoods.

Storm Drainage Project, Lincoln Drive at Cedar Village Park (D1155) $340,000

A project to eliminate the freezing of runoff on Lincoln Drive and Cedar Avenue. There is an inadequate drainage system to carry the runoff from the park side of the road to the outfall side of the road. I have advocated for this funding as a means to address this issue.

Bellows Spring Elementary Addition (E1018) $4,850,000

A plan to provide additional classroom space and additional core infrastructure space. Additional space is likely to include space for 100 students (4 classrooms) above existing capacity (Grade 1-5), an art room, a music room, a gym activity room and a cafetorium expansion. I was driven to have this funding included because it is expected that by 2011, the number of students in Grades 1-5 will exceed capacity by 275.

Snowden River Parkway Widening (J4222) $985,000

A project to design and construct a widening of Snowden River Parkway by adding a third lane and sidewalks on the eastbound roadway from Broken Land Parkway to Oakland Mills Road. This project will develop the third lane and increase the capacity of the roadway and provide an improved level of service. It was important for me to have this project funded as I have received numerous concerns from my constituents to install sidewalks in this area to create a more walkable environment along Snowden River Parkway.

US1 Projects (J4233) $500,000

A project to design and construct transportation improvements along the US1 corridor. The US1 revitalization program intends that the entire length of the road be changed over time to reflect the approved streetscape design. Each year, I vigorously advocate for funding towards Route 1 revitalization projects as these are necessary enhancements for those who live, work or travel along this area.

Oakland Mills Road/ MD175 Interchange (J4237) $1,500,000

A project to design and construct a new MD175/Oakland Mills Road interchange and the re-alignment of Oakland Mills through the proposed Blandair Park. The project will provide access to the proposed Blandair Park as shown on the approved master plan for the park. The improvements will also provide vicinity roadway network connectivity and capacity for the area bordering the southside of the park.

Route 1, Route 175 to Port Capital Drive (J4241) $750,000

A project to design and reconstruct approximately 2300 feet of US Rte 1 from MD Rte 175 and Port Capital. These improvements will be the first County capital project to implement the Route 1 Corridor Improvement Strategy which includes a new roadway typical section.

Troy Park & Historic Rehabilitation (N3957) $1,944,000

A project to acquire an additional 5 acres, rehabilitate an 1820 historic house, and design and construct a 106-acre Regional Park at MD100 and US 1. This project conforms to the goals and objectives of the 1999 Comprehensive Recreation, Parks and Open Space Plan, and the 2005 Land Preservation, Recreation and Parks Plan. It was necessary to fight for funding towards this project as this park will provide needed recreation facilities for our Elkridge residents and those in surrounding areas. This project is a key component to the US1 Corridor Revitalization effort.

US29/ Broken Land Parkway 30” Water Main (W8265) $410,000

Project for replacement of 1,000 LF of 30” diameter water main in the vicinity of US29 and Broken Land Parkway(Phase 2) and construction of 2,400 LF of 36” water main to parallel the existing main (Phase 1). The 30 inch diameter transmission main is the major water supply serving this area of Howard County. An acoustic monitoring of the transmission main revealed premature failures of the prestressing wires in the reinforced concrete cylinder pipe. The failures are attributed to stray electrical currents in the area. This capital project will replace the affected portions of the pipeline and provide protective measures against future failures. The parallel main is needed to meet the increased demands as outlined in the Master Plan and I was pleased to advocate for funding towards this maintenance project.

Blandair Regional Park (N3102) $1,461,000

A project to master plan, design and construct a 298 acre regional park, and restore the 19th century Blandair Mansion and out buildings located off MD 175 in Columbia. This project has been identified in the 2005 Land Preservation, Recreation and Parks Plan and is endorsed by the Recreation and Parks Advisory Board, and the Blandair Planning Committee.

Parkland Acquisition Program (Blandair, N3103) $1,766,000

This project establishes a fund for County-wide park land acquisition and related expenses. This project allows the County to move quickly to acquire land which becomes available, and satisfies one or more of the following objectives: addresses State and County Greenway objectives, protects sensitive natural resources threatened by development, acquire additions to existing parks, and/or satisfies park and open space needs as identified in the 2005 Land Preservation, Recreation and Parks Plan.