Thursday, January 31, 2008

five choking, strangulation recalls

1. Kids II Inc. Recalls Crib Toys Due to Choking Hazard

2. Girls' Hooded Jackets with Drawstrings Sold Exclusively at Marshalls
Stores Recalled by Apollo Jeans Due to Strangulation Hazard

3. Baby Sterling Silver Teethers Recalled by Elegant Baby Due to
Choking Hazard

4. Car Charging Units Made By The Wenzel Co. for LL Bean Air Beds
Recalled Due To Injury Hazard

5. Campbell Hausfeld Recalls Air Compressors Following Fires

Details here.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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lawmakers trying to remove Grasmick

The General Assembly is trying to pass a law that would allow Gov. O'Malley to say to Nancy Grasmick, state superintendent of schools, "You're fired."
Here's the Washington Post story by John Wagner.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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green schools on the agenda

Jaime Malarkey of The Examiner reports: A Baltimore County lawmaker is endorsing a more stringent version of Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposal requiring all new public schools to have eco-friendly bells and whistles such as waterless urinals, rain-catching roofs and geothermal heating. ... full story


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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shoes for grades in B county and city

Dorothy Rowley of The Examiner reports: The school systems have partnered with Holabird Sports and Sports Boosters of Maryland to offer the Shoes for Grades incentive, which provides a new pair of New Balance athletic sneakers to students who ante up from the second to third marking periods. Their grades must improve by at least one letter in each subject, and straight-A students who maintain their grades also may claim the shoes. ... full story


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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school officials ask state for more school-construction money

Kelsey Volkmann of The Examiner reports: Overcrowded, dilapidated schools, broken air-conditioning and heating systems and an ever-growing number of classes in trailers led Maryland superintendents to plead Wednesday for more state school construction funds. ... full story


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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lawmakers say toy companies not doing enough to make toys free of lead

The AP reports: Dozens of federal lawmakers are demanding that Mattel Inc., the world's largest toy maker, stop selling toys that contain any amount of lead, claiming the company is not going far enough to address safety concerns.

The demand was contained in a letter released yesterday by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a Maryland Democrat. It was signed by more than 50 fellow lawmakers and sent to Mattel Tuesday. ... full story


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state may repeal law that makes you apply for tax credit

As noted earlier (see "top issues" on top right of page) a change this year means a previously automatic credit is no longer automatic. But that's met with anger and lawmakers are thinking of making it automatic again. Sun article here.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Baby Loves Disco coming to Baltimore

"...you'll find children younger than 7 sipping on organic juice boxes, munching on carrot sticks and bouncing to the disco hit "Funkytown" in the middle of the afternoon." Article, and dates of event, here.


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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

local Obama supporters seek volunteers

The Maryland Barack Obama group is seeking volunteers. If you're interested, contact maryland@barackobama.com and tell them what county you're in and that you'd like to volunteer. Or go here.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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State reps call Hairston and Smith to Annapolis to work on school overcrowding

Loni Ingraham of the Towson Times reports on the meeting last week of Towson Families United. (No word on if this Smith-Hairston meeting will take place.) I was at the TFU meeting but missed this nugget that Ingraham had in her article:

One mother said her son was among three 6-year-olds on their way back from a music class held in one of the temporary trailers, who found themselves stranded outside the school when an electronically operated door slammed shut and separated them from their 18 classmates.

Luckily, another teacher looking out the window noticed their plight.



What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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County council members looking toward Executive suite

So reports Bryan Sears of the Towson Times in this article. (I wonder if school overcrowding will be an issue?....)


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Rodgers Forge condos sold

The Sun has a blurb today on the sale of the Rodgers Forge condos. No word yet on what will happen to them. What a mess. Details here; second item.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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drinking hot water from tap is dangerous

So reports the New York Times: "The reason is that hot water dissolves contaminants more quickly than cold water, and many pipes in homes contain lead that can leach into water. And lead can damage the brain and nervous system, especially in young children." ... full story


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Rodgers Forge parent not so amused by Jim Smith's antics

Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith, who has come under fire from many Towson residents for what they call his disregard for the problem of overcrowded schools, recently served pizza to kids at a Howard County school after losing a bet. Rodgers Forge parent James Smith (no relation) suggests to Sun columnist Laura Vozzella that the county exec come help serve lunch at our overcrowded cafeteria. Read the piece here (scroll to bottom).


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Towson Families United now has a blog

The group, formed to fight overcrowding in Towson schools, now has a blog so you can get updates on issues, events, meetings, etc. http://towsonfamiliesunited.com/blog/


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state reps to look at school overcrowding in Towson

Gina Davis of The Sun reports that state lawmakers will meet with county school Superintendent Joe Hairston today to work on solutions to the overcrowding situation. Someone from Jim Smith's office may or may not attend. Here's the article.


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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Finding Nemo on ice

Finding Nemo on ice could give kids nightmares. But "Disney on Ice Presents: Finding Nemo" could be fun. Not that I think I'll mention it to my kids. I liked the movie, but I'll give Disney my money when they stop killing off the mothers at the start of every story and dressing the females in skimpy bikini tops. Anyway, here are details on the show.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Towson High jazz musicians to play Daedelus bookstore on Fridays

The Raise Four Quintet, composed of members of the Towson High School Jazz Ensemble, will be performing on Fridays from 4:00 until 6:00 p.m. at our Baltimore Outlet. Stop by to hear Jon Guo on bass, T.J. Adenekan on drums, Frank Falatko on piano, Nathan Byer on trumpet, and Charlie Sigler on guitar.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Obama campaign office in Towson is having a grand opening this Friday

Obama supporters in Baltimore County (Del. Dan Morhain and Sen. Jim Brochin are co-chairs) put out this statement recently:

"Baltimore County for Obama Campaign Office Grand Opening
Friday, February 1, 2008 at 6:00 pm
15 E. Chesapeake Ave.
Towson, MD 21286
(across the Street from the Main Entrance of the Baltimore County Library on the corner of York Rd. and E. Chesapeake Ave.)

At the Law Offices of Kathleen Cahill

All are welcome. We hope this office will be a center of activity for Obama GOTV activities in Central Maryland."

Details on this and other events here.


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mark your calendar: county school admin to take quesions about overcrowding

Ghassan Shah, planning administrator for Baltimore County Public Schools, will be answering parents’ questions about overcrowding on Feb. 7 at Stoneleigh Elementary at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria. (You don't have to live in the Stoneleigh district to attend.)


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Monday, January 28, 2008

here's what Jim Smith is telling people about overcrowded schools

I received this email today from County Executive Jim Smith (highlights mine):

Thank you for your inquiry regarding the elementary school situation in the Towson area. I want to assure you that all of us in County government are aware of the need for additional elementary school seats in the area. The school system is aware that we need both a short- term and a long-term solution to address this issue.

As you may have read in the newspaper, the construction of a new special school at Mays Chapel did not turn out to be a viable option. Both Dr. Hairston and I were originally informed by the State School Superintendent that federal regulations strongly discourage the construction of new segregated special education facilities. As you know, the State Superintendent recently repeated that assertion, but also indicated that she would not oppose the construction of a special school at Mays Chapel if its enrollment were limited to the current school population at Ridge Ruxton and if an early childhood addition was included in the design. However, the school system does not need an early childhood center at that location.

I also want to encourage everyone to consider what a difficult budget process the county is facing this year. Baltimore County received more than $40 million in State spending cuts as a result of the special session, including more than $23 million in cuts to the education budget. Facing those budgetary realities, it would be fiscally irresponsible not to investigate every option available to solve the current overcrowding situation. Baltimore County has not raised its property tax rate in 18 years or its income tax rate for the past 14 years, and I have no plans to raise those taxes this year.

With that in mind, the school system is preparing to review its ten-year projections and will be recommending alternative solutions to the Towson elementary school overcrowding issue in the near future.

I am monitoring the situation closely, and I look forward to hearing what Dr. Hairston and his staff recommend to the community.


Sincerely,


Jim Smith
Baltimore County Executive
jimsmith@baltimorecountymd.gov,


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things to do when school is closed Monday, 1/28

See the column on the right for lots of things to do when the kids are home. Possibilities include a sleight-of-hand workshop at the library; open bounce at Ultimate Play Zone; storytime at Daedalus Books; storytime at Barnes & Noble in Towson; and skating at Northwest Ice Rink. Enjoy!


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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This is Restaurant Week

Enjoy specially selected (prix fixe) three-course dinner menus for just $30.08. Some restaurants also offer a three-course lunch for $20.08. We expect many restaurants to participate. So, keep checking back for updated information. Also, as an added value during Winter Restaurant Week you can receive reduced priced parking for just $3 at participating garages.

January 28 - February 3


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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"do not deliver" newspaper law proposed

Kristen Wyatt of the Associated Press reports:

"Complaints ... have inspired State Del. Tanya Shewell to propose a "Do Not Deliver" registry that would work similarly to the "Do Not Call" registry for telemarketers. If approved, would be the first of its kind in the nation."
Read the full story here, which I must say is pretty ballsy of The Examiner to put on its site.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Kennedys endorse Obama

Ted Kennedy has endorsed Barack Obama [read story here], as did Caroline Kennedy (JFK's daughter) in this New York Times op-ed piece:

I want a president who understands that his responsibility is to articulate a vision and encourage others to achieve it; who holds himself, and those around him, to the highest ethical standards; who appeals to the hopes of those who still believe in the American Dream, and those around the world who still believe in the American ideal; and who can lift our spirits, and make us believe again that our country needs every one of us to get involved.

I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.

read more

Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is supporting Hillary Clinton.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Has anyone been to Skateland Orchard or Skateland of Putty Hill roller rink?

I just saw this online and was curious about it. I don't think I've been to a roller rink since I was about 10. Anyone know if Skateland Orchard is a fun place and what ages it's good for? And is nice or on the sleazy side? Or Skateland of Putty Hill?


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

out-of-control satellite to hit Earth in a few weeks

A kind of odd story from the Associated Press: "The satellite, which no longer can be controlled, could contain hazardous materials, and it is unknown where on the planet it might come down, they said."


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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stay away from small turtles, CDC warns

They have been linked to salmonella and children have been hospitalized. Here's an article.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Rodgers Forge couple indicted in son's death

Jennifer McMenamin of The Sun reports that the Rodgers Forge couple whose son died recently has been indicted.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Friday, January 25, 2008

County Exec Smith's future plans

Bryan P. Sears of The Towson Times reports that Jim Smith is already looking toward his next race, in 2010. He is barred from running for county executive again. Here's the article.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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New York Times endorses Clinton and McCain

The NYT "strongly recommends" that Dems give Clinton the nomination, and they say McCain is the "best choice" for Republicans. Here's the link.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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another group of County residents upset about development and overcrowded schools

Dorothy Rowley of The Examiner reports that residents in Perry Hall/Loch Raven area are upset at school overcrowding mixed with more development. They say County Executive Jim Smith has no plan to deal with it. (This may sound familiar to some readers.)


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Ayd Hardware's got your number

You have until March 9 to put numbers on the back of your house, if you live in the county. Here's a story from The Sun's Laura Barnhardt. Ayd Hardware, at York and Murdock, has stocked up on digits.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

"Hello, Baltimore County" now available online

"Hello Baltimore County" Is Now Online
Cable Public Affairs Show

Towson, Md. (January 24, 2008)–Baltimore County Government's half-hour public affairs talk show, "Hello Baltimore County," is now available on the county's web site. Previously, the show was only available to subscribers of Comcast Cablevision, on Comcast Channel 25 in Baltimore County.

To view streaming video of the show, simply log onto the county web site and select Agencies, then Communications. Or, go directly to the page at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/go/hellobc

Topics This Month

This month's show include:

  • Lacrosse Clinics and Recreation Update
  • County Executive discussing his General Assembly agenda
  • Winter Storm Operations Update

Television Show

The program is aired nine times per week on Comcast Cablevision Channel 25, only in Baltimore County at the following times:

  • Mondays at 9 p.m.
  • Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 p.m.
  • Wednesdays at 11 a.m.and 8 p.m.
  • Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Fridays at 10 a.m.and 9 p.m.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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What County Executive Jim Smith said in 2002

A neighbor just brought this up:

James T. Smith, Jr.
Inaugural Address
December 2, 2002


"...You have made it clear that, to the fullest extent responsible management will allow, education must be a priority to improve the performance of our young people throughout Baltimore County, and I commit to working with the Superintendent, school board, PTA's, education's professional associations and the County Council to accomplish that, and to continue to update our older school facilities, to create academic centers in our high schools that are too large[?], to attract principals, teachers and support staff to our more challenging schools, to reduce the administrative burden on principals, assistant principals and teachers, to move forward with new school construction where warranted, and, as with the delivery of all county service, to maintain a competitive salary structure throughout the system."

full text here


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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The YMCA in Towson is up for sale

The Towson Times' Loni Ingraham says the 17-acre site is going on the market.
(Now, wouldn't that be a fabulous site for a new school? Why doesn't the county make that a requirement for any new development. "You want to make millions on new houses? Great, first build a school.")


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Here's the scoop on what the county is, and is not, doing about Towson's overcrowded schools

There was a great meeting Wednesday night with the new group Towson Families United, spearheaded by Cathi Forbes, parent of a Dumbarton Middle School student and a kindergartner at Rodgers Forge.

Mike Ertel of the Greater Towson Council spoke, as did Delegate Steve Lafferty and State Sen. Jim Brochin. Delegate William Frank showed up near the end of the meeting; he’d been at another meeting about the new home assessments many people recently received. All of them were very supportive of getting a new school.

Three main things came out of the meeting:

1. Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith (jimsmith@baltimorecountymd.gov) doesn’t want to do the Mays Chapel project but doesn’t have any other suggestions or ideas. This baffled and angered many of the parents at the meeting. "If not Mays Chapel, then what's the alternative?" said Lafferty. "So far we've heard nothing."

(The “Mays Chapel project” is the plan to move the Special Education kids out of Ridge Ruxton on North Charles and into a brand new school that will be built on school board-owned land in the Mays Chapel area. Ridge Ruxton would then be converted back into a traditional elementary school, some redistricting would happen, and the new Ridge Ruxton would relieve the overcrowding.)

2. Despite what some have said, the Mays Chapel project can be done and does not break any laws. Sen. Brochin said he spoke with Nancy Grasmick (state superintendent of schools) and she said the Mays Chapel plan is fine as long as the new school includes an early-education component, which it can. And he got it from her in writing. Brochin said Jim Smith and Superintendent Joe Hairston should stop "bickering" and go to Annapolis and sit down with the state reps and find a solution.

3. Parents in Towson need to be much more vocal and united in their push for a new school. We were told Baltimore County Public Schools and county council members seem to think Towson parents will just take whatever they dish out (or don’t dish out, as the case may be) and not make a fuss.


We were also told some school board members have said the option of having RFES Kindergarten students housed at either Dumbarton or a nearby church next year are off the table. (That is not official yet.) There is supposed to be an announcement this week about what the short-term relief will be at RFES next year.

Kevin Burns, a parent who has been working hard on this problem along with parent Alyson Bonavoglia, said that the school board spent two years looking at other options to relieve the overcrowding and that after much study they determined the Mays Chapel plan was the best. This was not done on a whim, he said. Alyson also said they are working with Ridge Ruxton parents to make sure their kids get what they need and that they're not just shuffled off somewhere unacceptable.

Bottom line: Visit the Towson Families United website to get all the contact info you need for your local officials and let them know how important this is. Recruit your friends and neighbors to do the same – even those without kids because it’s the good schools that make our area desirable and our homes valuable. And come to a Towson Families United meeting if you can.

Also, Ghassan Shah, planning administrator for Baltimore County Public Schools, will be answering parents’ questions on the evening of Feb. 7 at Stoneleigh Elementary at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria, so that is a great opportunity to learn more.

And remember, as Cathi noted, that this is not the fault of school teachers, principals, etc., and that they have no control over the situation and are trying to do the best with what they're given.


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"It's like the county is in denial"
on overcrowding

The Examiner's Dorothy Rowley reports on Towson Famililes United and on the Mays Chapel issue. Here's the story.


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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Is it preschool, or a Rolling Stones concert?

So, I went to sign up my daughter for preschool today. There were a limited number of spots, and I was told I might want to get there ahead of the 9 a.m. registration time. Doors were opening at 8 a.m.

I arrived at 6:25 a.m. (later, actually, than I'd planned to arrive) and was the ninth person in line. Do you know what time the first person arrived?

One o'clock in the morning.

I talked to a guy who got there at 5 a.m. and was fourth in line. I'm thinking of opening my own preschool; seems there's a strong market out there.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Armed robbery at Royal Farms on York

01/16/08 Armed Robbery
Royal Farm Store 7204 York Rd. 21204 The suspect entered the store and jumped over the counter. The suspect displayed a revolver and stated, “Give me the money, b****.” An employee opened the register and the suspect grabbed several bills before jumping over the counter and leaving the scene. B/M, late teen early 20’s, thin build, wearing baggy jeans, black hoodie, and a black bandana over his face.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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An article on the new Towson Families United group (and meeting tonight)

By Loni Ingraham in The Towson Times. Here's the story.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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County Exec Smith seems determined to not open a new school

Loni Ingraham of the Towson Times reports: "Sen. Jim Brochin, whose 42nd District includes Towson, ... met with Grasmick on Jan. 16 and was told the state wouldn't have a problem with a free-standing new special-needs school if an early-childhood facility was included..." full story and reminder of meeting tonight about overcrowding


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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What's going on today

Kids' singalong at Red Canoe at 10:30 a.m..

Family Fun Day at 10 a.m. Owings Mills Mall.

Meeting tonight at 7:30 about overcrowded Towson schools.

Rodgers Forge Community Association meeting at 7 p.m. at Dumbarton Middle cafeteria.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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more qualified physics teachers needed

Kelsey Volkmann of The Examiner reports that: "Two-thirds of high school physics teachers didn’t major in the subject, a lack of qualifications that often leads to unenthusiastic students who never enter the worker-deprived science fields, researchers lamented Tuesday in Baltimore." full story


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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traffic/roads in downtown Towson to be improved

That traffic circle is a nightmare.
Here's The Sun's article.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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County residents with alleys have 45 days to put numbers in back of houses

As part of the new requirement, county officials can impose a fine of up to $100 if a property owner does not display the address numbers after a written warning. The requirement will go into effect in 45 days." ... full story


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City schools to pay students for good test scores

As if the emphasis on testing wasn't out of whack enough already...of The Sun reports that: "The Baltimore school system will pay high school students who improve their scores on the state graduation exams up to $110 each, a controversial plan that would be a first in Maryland." full story


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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

call the police if you see this guy: suspect sought in copper thefts in Towson, etc.

As noted in past posts, some Rodgers Forge residents have had their copper downspouts and gutters stolen. Now, according to Citizens on Patrol's Karl Pfrommer, there is a suspect:

Please be alert for the following vehicle that may be involved in some of these copper downspout thefts:

Unknown year Chevrolet Blazer, gray or dark gray in color, with a dent on the front passenger side wheel well area. The vehicle operator has been known to cover the tag number with red plastic, but the vehicle's tag number MAY have the numbers 1 4 0 7 in it, but not necessarily in that order. The operator has been described as a white male, 20 - 25 years old, 5' 7" and weighing about 170 pounds. He is dressed in work style apparel and was seen today wearing a gray sweatshirt with a red hood and dark pants.

If any residents see this vehicle, please try to safely obtain a tag number and call 911 immediately. Provide the 911 operator with the vehicle's current location or, if it is mobile, the direction of travel.

If any residents have information that is not happening now, but may be of assistance in identifying this person, please call the Precinct 7 Investigative Services Team at 410-887-1823.

We have emailed and spoken about the increase in thefts of copper materials (wiring, cables, gutters, etc.) because of the high re-sale value of copper on the scrap market. Some areas have recently experienced several thefts of copper rain gutters and downspouts from residential homes off the Dulaney Valley Road artery from the beltway north to Old Bosley Road. The suspect/s select target houses by cruising the residential streets and looking for signs of copper guttering (i.e. bronzish appearance, greenish patina, etc.) and then approach the home and twist off the downspout/s.

Captain Martin Lurz
Precinct 7


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Obama on whether Bill Clinton is a brother


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Baltimore children's-book author praised on national radio today

A children's book by Rodgers Forge resident Kevin O'Malley was discussed on NPR's "Morning Edition" today as part of a series of under-the-radar books -- books you should know about but might not. The book is "Gimme Cracked Corn and I Will Share." Read the glowing review here and find out what other good books you might be missing.


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Monday, January 21, 2008

Wi-Fi users beware: hackers may be lurking

From The Wall Street Journal: Many Wi-Fi users don't know that hackers posted at hot spots can steal personal information out of the air relatively easily. And savvy criminal hackers aren't settling for just access to credit cards, bank accounts and other personal financial information; they love to sneak into your company's network, too. ... Read the whole creepy story here.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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meeting this Wednesday about overcrowding at Towson schools

Towson Families United -- a new group created to fight overcrowding at Rodgers Forge Elementary, Stoneleigh, and other area schools -- is having a meeting at 7:30 p.m. on January 23. Details here.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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for those who want updates on Rodgers Forge overcapacity issue

The Rodgers Forge Capacity Committee reports that:

A number of people who have signed up to received RFES capacity updates are not receiving these emails because their providers bounce them back. This may be because some providers automatically bounce back emails with large distribution lists. These names are removed from the list after the first bounce back. Anyone who did sign up for these updates at RFES or at the BOE meeting, is not receiving them and wants to needs to send an email to this address requesting to be put back on.
rfescalltoaction (at) yahoo.com




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Baltimore County executive hopes for more school-construction money

Jaime Malarkey of The Examiner reports that Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith is confident he can get more state money for school construction, even though the county received less than a quarter of what it sought. Read story.

And in that same vein, don't forget there's a Towson Families United meeting Wednesday night about overcrowded schools.


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free admission to American Visionary Art Museum today

The museum is usually closed on Mondays, but is open today in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Free admission. http://www.avam.org


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tomorrow is the last day to register to vote

Here's info on how to get registered.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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dog found on Stanmore Road

Updated 1/21/08: Dog and owner have been reunited.

From a Rodgers Forge resident:
Medium-sized 40lb black/tan long-hair spaniel (?) mix. Does not have microchip. Found January 15 on Stanmore Road.


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Sunday, January 20, 2008

problems at LA Times could portend dark future for Baltimore Sun

The top editor of the Los Angeles Times, which is owned by the same person who owns The Baltimore Sun, was just fired because he refused to butcher the newsroom with more budget cuts. (Read AP story here.) He's the third editor to leave for such reasons. And you might remember that The Sun's former editor, Bill Marimow, was fired for similar reasons a few years ago. If you ever feel underwhelmed by local news coverage, this is probably why.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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miscarriages and caffeine are linked in new study

The New York Times has a story out today that says a new study shows a possible link between caffeine and miscarriages.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Clinton gets more votes in Nevada,
but Obama wins more delegates

Interesting that Clinton won about 51 percent of the caucus-goers in Nevada to Obama's 45 percent, but Obama got more delegates in the end (13 to her 12) because of the way they were weighted. Here's a story in the Times.


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county may build kids' gyms on top of garages

Bryan P. Sears of the Towson Times reports that the county is considering building indoor gyms on top of parking garages because of lack of money and space. Story here.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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today's the last day to put out your Christmas tree for recycling in county

Baltimore County says: To ensure collection of Christmas trees, residents must have the trees out at the curb no later than Sunday, January 20.

Residents who want to drop off Christmas trees themselves, may do so from Wednesday, December 26, 2007 through Saturday, January 26, 2008. Details here.

  • Set out undecorated trees only.
  • Do not set trees out that are in bags or wrapped in plastic.
  • No decorations or tree stands.
  • Only set out trees at the front curb/street.
  • Trees will not be collected from alleys.

Baltimore County collectors will pick up Christmas trees in standard trash/recycling trucks, and deliver them to County facilities to be chipped and later used as mulch. Baltimore County residents who live in an apartment or condominium should follow their concierge’s or property manager’s rules when recycling their Christmas trees.


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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Obama is funny

Whether or not you agree with him politically (which I do, although I'd also be thrilled to see Clinton or Edwards in the White House), you've got to admit he's got charisma, as evidenced in this clip in which he discusses his answer at a recent debate to the question, "What's your greatest weakness?"


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Waldenbooks at Towson closing; huge sale

Books are 40% off now at Waldenbooks in Towson Town Center (located on the first floor near TGI Fridays). Store will close as of Jan. 25. Think I might go stock up on some trusted favorites for future birthday-party gifts.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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school kids want better lunches

They've complained. They've protested. Students of the U.S. Constitution, they've drawn up a Cafeteria Bill of Rights, saying they deserve to have fresh fruits and vegetables and more than one meal selection a day. .... full story

We have friends with kids at this school (City Neighbors) and they love it. If I lived in the city I'd try to have my kids go there. How many kids would be fighting for fruits and veggies? If you're interested, here's what kids are served at Baltimore County schools, and what they're served at city schools.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Sunday, Jan. 20 is last day to put out Christmas tree in county

Details here.


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study says preschool personality likely to stay through adulthood

MSNBC: New research shows that in most cases the personalities displayed very early in life — as young as preschool — will stay with us into adulthood. The wallflowers will stay shy and reticent, though they will learn in time to be a little more sociable and assertive. And the average kids, the more resilient ones, will remain so. ... full story


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Friday, January 18, 2008

jott.com -- great if you're forgetful, like me

I heard about this on WYPR's Digital Cafe with Mario Armstrong and just tried it. It's pretty neat. It's called jott.com. You register online, which takes about 15 seconds, and then when you're out and about, you can call a toll-free number, leave a voice mail message, and it will then send the message in text form to your cell phone or email. You can also set it up to send messages to other people's email accounts where they can read the written message and, if they want, hear your actual message. You can also create groups so you can send everyone the same message at once. And it's free.

I like Jott better than sending myself a voice mail because I can keep it in my inbox and see it later. I have it set so it doesn't text my cell; it just sends me an email.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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magic workshop, Monday, Jan. 28

At Cockeysville Library, Jan. 28 at 2:00 (no school that day)
ages 11 to 17

Learn tricks of the trade, including performance tips, magic history tidbits, and reference sources. All props will be provided and can be kept. Info here.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Into to the Internet class at library, Jan. 28

Cockeysville Library, Jan. 28 at 9 a.m. (no school that day)
13 years and older
must register in advance
info here


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school closing info here

From The Sun. (No one has info on Baltimore City schools.)


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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You have until Tuesday to register to vote

Applications must be postmarked by January 22. Details here.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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less state money for school construction this year

So reports Gina Davis in a Sun article. And Kelsey Volkmann of The Examiner says O'Malley states, "This is the best we could do."

However, Baltimore County is getting the largest piece of the shrinking pie.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

more details on the defunct plan to ease crowding at Towson schools

The Sun's Gina Davis reports on what happened, and quotes Superintendent Joe A. Hairston as saying: "Right now, we're focusing our attention on helping the Rodgers Forge community. They know they need relief, and they know we're working hard on it."

The story also quotes Cathi Forbes, head of the new Towson Families United group that is fighting overcrowded conditions. Read full story here.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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City homeowners not happy with property-tax proposals

Read details in Lynn Anderson's story in The Sun.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Councilman Gardina reportedly storms out of meeting

The Towson councilman got angry at a response to his bill to look for affordable housing in Baltimore County, according to Laura Barhnardt's article in The Sun.

And The Examiner's Jaime Malarkey reports that: "The proposal drew sharp criticism from Pikesville Democrat Kevin Kamenetz, who called Gardina’s proposal a subtle push for subsidies for private developers. Many who think they can’t afford a house in Baltimore County haven’t explored all of their options, Kamenetz said."


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

announcement soon on plans for Rodgers Forge Elementary

I hear through the grapevine that RFES Principal Susan Deise, who seems to be doing all she can to make the best of a difficult situation, should have an announcement in about two weeks on what the short-term plan will be to relieve overcrowding at the school next year. We've been told the options are:

- house 5th graders at Dumbarton Middle School
- house Kindergarten at Dumbarton Middle School
- house Kindergarten in rented space from a nearby church
- do nothing and make the best of things

Stay tuned. (And contact us if you have more info.)


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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photo frames sold at Babies R Us recalled


Details here.


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meeting Jan. 23 about overcrowded Towson schools

Towson Families United is having a meeting on Wednesday, January 23rd at 7:30 at the Conference Center at Shepherd Pratt Hospital.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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a new group has formed to fight overcrowding at Towson schools

They are having a meeting on Wednesday, January 23rd at 7:30 at the Conference Center at Shepherd Pratt Hospital. The Conference Center is easy to get to with clear signage and ample parking. You can access it from either Charles or Osler. Here's a map.

From the Web site of Towson Families United: If you took the number of students over capacity in Towson's four elementary schools – Rodgers Forge, Stoneleigh, Hampton and Riderwood – you'd have enough to fill a whole new school. Classrooms are packed. Toilets are breaking down regularly from overuse. And in some cases, children aren’t allowed to see the school nurse unless it's an emergency. Yet Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith has refused to fund the school system's proposed solution to this problem, or propose a long-term plan of his own.

What's more, he and the Baltimore County Council have done nothing to stop the out-of-control residential building in Towson. Currently, there are 900 housing units being built in the area, with another 3,000 proposed. Where do they think the children living in this housing will go to school? .... visit the group's Web site for facts, figures, contact info of decision-makers, etc.





What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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meeting tonight re: city property taxes

Receieved this email today:

"Earlier this year, Mayor Dixon appointed a 26-member panel to review the city's tax structure and propose ways to reduce the property tax rate. The panel has finalized its report, which calls for a 32% reduction in property taxes over the next several years, and recommends alternate revenue sources.

There is a public hearing regarding the proposal tonight at 7pm at Poly High School, 1400 W Cold Spring Lane (21209).

All of us who live in Baltimore City know what an important issue this is. The property tax rate determines in part whether we can afford to continue living here, and has a huge impact on the resale value of our homes. If you are available tonight, you owe it to yourself to attend this hearing."


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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bill would make state grade tests earlier

By Kelsey Volkmann, The Examiner: The dreaded state tests come in January and May, but summer vacation’s almost gone by the time students receive results.

That leaves high-schoolers little time to schedule classes in areas where they most need help and eliminates the possibility of remedial work in summer school, principals and parents complain. ... full story


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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more on the new property-tax rules

We wrote about this important change earlier, and here's another story from The Examiner.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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County teachers seek pay raise

Sun reporter: Angry that a proposed budget for the coming school year does not seek an across-the-board pay raise, about 200 Baltimore County teachers packed a public hearing last night to ask the school board to add an increase for them. ... full story


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Very Hungry Caterpillar at the Lyric - Feb. 23

THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Saturday, February 23 at 12:30pm

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Little Cloud and The Mixed-up Chameleon by award-winning children's book illustrator and writer, Eric Carle, is retold on stage in black light.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar follows the wonderful adventures of a very tiny and very hungry caterpillar that progresses through an amazing variety of foods towards his eventual metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly.

Children will delight in the antics of Little Cloud. High up in a beautiful sky, Little Cloud slips away from the rest and transforms itself into various shapes of things it sees - a sheep, and airplane, a shark and more.

In The Mixed-Up Chameleon, a little chameleon is bored with its life - sitting about predictably changing colour all day. So it decides to embark on an adventurous trip to the zoo. Upon seeing the beautiful animals there, the little chameleon tries changing to look like each one of them.

Children of all ages are permitted and, regardless of age, MUST have a ticket.

Tickets are available at the Lyric Box Office in person, over the phone at 410-547-SEAT, 202-397-SEAT, and through TicketMaster.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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City Neighbors charter school open house Jan. 29

At 9 a.m. Details here.

We have several friends with kids there and they love it.

The mission of City Neighbors Charter School is to provide an extraordinary public school education with high academic achievement for all students. Our ultimate goal for our school is that through Project Based Learning, arts integration, parental involvement and community outreach, the students leave enlivened, with deep awareness of themselves, their families and the outside community, and with the capacity to be good citizens.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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have you heard of Abrakadoodle art program?

I hadn't, but I just saw an ad for it. Classes are held at Brown Memorial on North Charles.

"Abrakadoodle, remarkable art education for children, was founded by educators in 2002 and has provided innovative programs to tens of thousands of children."

Programs include:


Twoosy Doodlers
is for children age 20-36 months. Children experiment with paints, papers, glues and a variety of interesting materials and ideas in what is usually their first classroom exploration of art.

Doodlers is for children in grades 1 - 6. Children create their own unique masterpieces through painting, sculpting, sketching and exploring many types of creative materials.

Details here.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Monday, January 14, 2008

$500/night B&B for new moms

New York Times: Since the suite, called the Mommy Nest, opened about a month ago, a handful of brand-new parents have spent $500 a night to get adjusted to breast-feeding, sleep deprivation and other joys of parenthood. ... full story


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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my kids' new favorite treat

My kids (ages 2 and 5) are crazy for apples anyway, but they gobble this up and beg for more:
sliced-up apples, a couple dashes of lemon juice, a couple dashes of cinnamon. Shake it up in a covered bowl and serve.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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heavy traffic expected downtown tomorrow

The Sun reports that due to the Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast at the Convention Center, traffic may be hectic.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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new donut shop moving in to old Caribou Coffee site

I saw a sign today that said The Fractured Prune donut shop and Lee's Ice Cream are going into the spot formerly held by Caribou Coffee on York Road (next to Wells Liquors). I absolutely loved the atmosphere at Caribou; so relaxing. I wonder what this place will be like.

Interestingly, the donut shop's web site features weatherman Al Roker (who had his stomach stapled, presumably to prevent him from eating, among other things, too many donuts).


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Park School librarian wins coveted children's book award

The Sun: Laura Amy Schlitz was woken at 6:30 a.m. today by a representative from the Newbery Committee telling her she had won the top prize for "Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices From a Medieval Village," which Schlitz originally devised as a lesson plan for her fifth-graders. ... here's the book and the full story


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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new plan to keep young MySpace users safer

Reuters: Popular online teen hangout MySpace and 49 U.S. state attorneys general said on Monday they had agreed on a broad set of guidelines for protecting youths on the Internet. ... full story


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teens are biologically averse to early-morning classes

I've never understood why high school starts so early and kindergarten/primary school starts later. I understand there are issues related to bus routes, but why not just switch the schedules?

New York Times
: Research shows that teenagers’ body clocks are set to a schedule that is different from that of younger children or adults. This prevents adolescents from dropping off until around 11 p.m., when they produce the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and waking up much before 8 a.m. when their bodies stop producing melatonin. The result is that the first class of the morning is often a waste, with as many as 28 percent of students falling asleep, according to a National Sleep Foundation poll. Some are so sleepy they don’t even show up, contributing to failure and dropout rates. ... full story


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taxpayer money wasted at schools due to low morale of maintenance workers

Examiner: Despite a recently released report that gave passing maintenance marks to 33 Baltimore County public schools, a maintenance worker says many repairs go unattended due to a lack of motivation among work crews.

John Davis, 40, who has turned in his resignation after just a few months on the job at the schools’ Loch Raven shop, said he’s quitting out of frustration — and because his bosses feared he would go public about wasted taxpayer dollars. ... full story


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new cell phone rules could become law

I thought studies showed that it was the act of talking, not holding a phone, that caused accidents.

Examiner: Keep your hands on the wheel, not on your cell phone, would be the law under SB2, a bill filed by Mike Lenett, D-Montgomery. The bill would require use of hands-free devices such as headsets or speakerphones to talk on the phone while driving. ... full story


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how to avoid cliches on your résumé

MSN: Career experts always advise job seekers to avoid common résumé mistakes, but one grave error often left out of the mix is the overuse of clichés and vague phrases – and perhaps it’s the worst gaffe to commit. ... full story


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Guilford Elementary closed today

It has no water. Details.


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Sunday, January 13, 2008

another bouncy place opens


This one, called Bounce Party n Play, is now open in White Marsh. The Ulitmate Play Zone also opened recently in Timonium.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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a new kids' consignment store in Timonium

I haven't been there, but I just noticed there's a new consignment store called Kid to Kid located at 556 Cranbrook Road. 410-667-0360.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Christmas tree collection in county begins tomorrow (Jan. 14)


The Collection of Christmas trees for recycling will take place over a two-week period, beginning Monday January 14, 2008. To ensure collection of Christmas trees, residents must have the trees out at the curb no later than Sunday, January 20.

Residents should follow these rules when placing their Christmas trees at the curb to be recycled:

  • Set out undecorated trees only.
  • Do not set trees out that are in bags or wrapped in plastic.
  • No decorations or tree stands.
  • Only set out trees at the front curb/street.
  • Trees will not be collected from alleys.
more info here


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Saturday, January 12, 2008

"A Kid's Life" musical, Jan. 20

Direct from off-Broadway, this heartwarming musical is filled with upbeat music, dazzling dance and adorable characters. Zoe and Zack embark on a fun-filled adventure. Join them and learn to appreciate the environment, to believe in yourselves, and to respect others.
Enjoy the magic of a kid's life!


The Gordon Center in Owings Mills. Details here.

Jan. 20 at 3 p.m.

Appropriate for ages 4 – 10 years

Tickets: $7.00 (children under 10) • $9.00 (adults)


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Sleep Lady seminar Feb. 19

The Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance (DBFA) is proud to present the first in a series of parenting seminars.

The Sleep Lady is coming to help you and your family get a better night's sleep!

Kim West, author of Good Night, Sleep Tight, is known
to her clients as The Sleep Lady. She has developed
an alternative and effective approach to helping
children put themselves to sleep without letting them
"cry it out." Featured on Dr. Phil, Good Morning
America, The Today Show, and in countless magazines
and newspapers, including Women's Day, USA Today, and
Parenting Magazine.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008
7:30 p.m.
Streetlite Christian Fellowship
1121 Riverside Ave. Baltimore, MD 21230

Free parking available at Digital Harbor High School,
1100 Covington St. Baltimore, MD 21230

COST: absolutely free plus FREE FOOD and DRINKS!

RSVP: if you know you plan to attend to judy@jhu.edu
so we can prepare enough food and seating, but also
feel free to attend last minute.


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Deadline to register to vote is January 22

If you're not yet registered to vote, you have until January 22 to get registered in order to vote in Maryland's Feb. 12 primary. Here are details. And the way things are going, hey, who knows? Your vote might even matter!


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Friday, January 11, 2008

the squeeze on the middle class

MSN Money: Julia Boone is a lawyer and her husband is a small-business owner, but they still can't afford to buy a house in their home community of Falls Church, Va., a suburban enclave within commuting distance of Washington, D.C.

"Who are all these people buying million-dollar homes in our neighborhood?" she asks. "We feel like outsiders." ... full story


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more recycling bins available from city

The Sun: Additional single-stream recycling bins are now available from the Baltimore Department of Public Works from the Kane Street yard at 111 Kane St., across from Patterson High School. ... details here


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The Wire creator David Simon in Esquire

Esquire: HBO's The Wire has been labeled by many (including us) as the best TV drama ever made. The show's fifth and final season began this month and it focuses, in part, on the struggles of a daily newspaper in decline. That part of the story is set at The Baltimore Sun, and it has generated plenty of ink about the strained relationship between creator David Simon and The Sun, where he worked as a reporter for 13 years. In this advance look at an essay from Esquire's March issue, Simon makes his case.


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plan to alleviate overcrowding at Rodgers Forge and Stoneleigh schools is dead

I don't understand this at all. How could the board not know there was a federal law prohibiting this? And is it actually illegal, or just frowned upon? Or is this just a case of the board changing its mind for another reason?

Also, the Mays Chapel people are off their rockers. This is school property, purchased with the intent to build a school. Our schools should be overcrowded so they can have open space paid for by the school system? Please.

Towson Times
: "The Baltimore County school system's controversial plan to build a new school in Mays Chapel Park to alleviate overcrowding in Towson's elementary schools has been abandoned. 'Mays Chapel doesn't appear to be a viable option,' said Don Mohler, a spokesman for the Smith administration." The plan ran afoul of a federal law. .... here's the full story and a recap of the Nov. 13 meeting at RFES with school board reps and parents


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Missing Parkville kids found


Sun story


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Dr. Tellerman's office is moving

Dr. Kenneth Tellerman, pediatrician to almost every kid we know, is getting a new office in the Rotunda. In March he'll move to 711 W. 40th Street, Suite 438. Phone remains 410.243.8632.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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seeking: Baltimore County male Democrat

Doesn't even have to have a good sense of humor. Looks don't matter. Details here.


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Baltimore County schools get air-quality award

Read details in The Sun.


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Thursday, January 10, 2008

lint build up in your dryer is a fire hazard

Read more in the Towson Times.


What do you think? Post or read comments here: Comments

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Dumbarton Drama Club's new play

Dumbarton Middle School Drama Club presents
"Lucky, Lucky Hudson and the 12th Street Gang"
Thursday, February 14
and
Friday, February 15
at 7 P. M. in the Auditorium
Tickets will be $6.00

Steve, an aspiring writer, creates stories about a fictional
crime-buster Lucky Hudson. Lucky actually turns up and pulls
in Steve to defeat a gang of hoods known as the 12th Street
Gang, who are planning to pull off the biggest caper in the
history of crime. Steve finds himself in an underworld of seedy
nightclubs and city pavements populated by such colorful
characters as Big Al, Ma Cribbs, Skeets the Squeaker, Hong
Kong Holly, LaVernLaVern and her Broadway Babes, and of
course “The Boss.”
MADCAP FUN FOR ALL!


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mischievous goings on in Cedarcroft

From Karl Pfrommer of local Citizens on Patrol:

“Cedarcroft COP has forwarded this email from a resident who
lives at the corner of Blackburn and Cedarcroft Roads.

‘At 2:10 this morning, Wednesday, 1/9, I took my dog outside to relieve himself. I started to hear voices coming from Blackburn Lane so I stood next to my dog and held his collar so he would not run to see who it was. As I waited for my dog to finish I heard, "Don't touch any shit you aren't going to take." This was said at least twice. When the group of five (I am pretty sure there was a girl in the bunch) got to the corner of Blackburn and Cedarcroft one of them saw me and hushed the others. They too then looked my way. Without rushing, I took my dog into the house and called 911. When I saw the group they were headed toward Gittings. At least one of them was carrying a long object. All of them looked to be in their early twenties. The one with the long object had shoulder-length dreadlocks.’

Please be mindful, careful, and lock your doors and windows. See
something? Say something! Make the call. 410 887-2222 or 911.
-Karl”


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important info about property-tax change

This comes to us from Melissa Tillman, a Rodgers Forge resident and Realtor at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

Basically, a property-tax credit that used to be automatic isn't anymore; you must apply for it or you'll pay a lot more in taxes.
You can go online and apply for the credit in just a few minutes.

“Perhaps some of you are aware of the recent and very important change to the law and process for the State of Maryland Homestead Tax Credit, which limits the amount of assessment increase on which an eligible resident homeowner actually pays for their property taxes each year. If you are not informed about the new procedures, please read further - this is very important!

Effective immediately, the credit will no longer be automatic - you must apply for it, or you will pay the full tax bill for your property!

Many of you likely just received your new assessment in the mail within the past week or so. Buried among those pages was the APPLICATION FOR HOMESTEAD TAX CREDIT ELIGIBILTY. You must either fill that form out and send it in [note: the zip code on the envelope is different than the office zip code, but that is correct] or go online and file your application electronically at
https://sdathtc.resiusa.org/homestead/.

You must do this by April 1, 2008, or you will be billed the full taxable amount on your next tax bill.

Additionally, please take a moment to look at your new assessed value. In most cases, the assessed value is fair and accurate with market values, however, in some instances it is not.

Also take note that on the back of the assessment notice is the appeal procedure. Don't be afraid to appeal your assessment - the form will walk you through the process.

Here is a link to the SDAT page explaining the whole thing:
http://www.dat.state.md.us/sdatweb/homestead.html

Please feel free to forward this to friends and neighbors who may also have been unaware of the implications of this big change (for the average homeowner, it is several hundred dollars difference)!”

And here's a related story in The Sun.

Do you have special expertise that you'd like to share with other Forge Flyer readers? Information about gardening, home repair, organization, etc. Let us know!


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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Servant's servant to serve

The Examiner: Pikesville Democrat Kevin Kamenetz will chair the Baltimore County Council in 2008 — a year, he said, that could prove difficult for local governments facing cuts in state funding. ... full story


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Towson U working on captioned radio for deaf

The Sun: A new research center at Towson University will lead efforts to make radio accessible to the hearing-impaired using technology unveiled yesterday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The device would show what is being said on the radio using a screen that scrolls text much as closed captions roll by on TV. ... full story


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teens who gave toddler acid burns are sentenced

The Sun: Two teenagers accused of pouring industrial-strength drain cleaner on playground equipment in Middle River were ordered yesterday to serve a year of home detention and to complete 500 hours each of community service at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. ... full story


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hearings on wind-power turbines postponed

The Sun: Because of public interest, the agency has moved the first hearing from an elementary school to the larger Garrett College Auditorium, 687 Mosser Road in McHenry, and postponed the hearing from Jan. 23 to 6:30 p.m. Jan. 30. The second hearing, also postponed for a week, will be at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 31 in Room 161 of the Arundel Center, 44 Calvert St. in Annapolis. ... full story


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Baltimore County schools ask for $1.9 billion

The Sun: Despite anticipated state funding shortfalls, the Baltimore County school system is seeking about $49 million more than this year's budget for the coming school year to help cover teacher and staff pay raises, maintain smaller kindergarten classroom sizes and expand academic initiatives. ... full story


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WTF?

The Examiner/AP: Two men wheeled a corpse through the streets in an office chair to a check-cashing store to cash his Social Security check. ... full story


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mom fights food allergies

New York Times: ... Ms. O’Brien has emerged as a populist hero among parents who troll the Internet for any hint about why their children have food allergies.

Ms. O’Brien encourages people to do what she did: throw out as much nonorganic processed food as you can afford to. Avoid anything genetically modified, artificially created or raised with hormones. Don’t eat food with ingredients you can’t pronounce. ... full story and her Web site


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Photography show at The Rotunda

New show at Gallery G at the Beveled Edge: Photographs by Howard Korn. Runs January 12-31 with opening reception Saturday, Jan. 12 from 6-8:00 p.m.


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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Rodgers Forge Elementary art to be displayed at the Towson Library

RFES students' work will be on display at the Towson Library in February. Riderwood students' art is there this month.


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This is the funniest thing I've seen in a while

I'm not sure what this is, exactly, but it cracked me up. All I know is that it appears to be Finland's answer to Grease.


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oldie but goodie

As long as I'm posting videos ... I put this one on the site a while ago but it's worth repeating. It's "Total Momsense."


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Baltimore's "The Wire" in the New York Times

No Happy Ending in Dickensian Baltimore and Bittersweet Work of Wrapping The Wire. I haven't read these because I haven't seen Season 4 yet and I'm fearful of spoilers.


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Pacific Cycle Recalls Children's Trailer Bicycles


They can detach and injure child. Details here.


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Video Center on York/Regester closed indefinitely

I love the Video Center at 6807 York Road. (410-377-7018) They don't have as many selections as a Blockbuster would, but they also don't have all the junk you'd find there. I'm always pleasantly surprised by the variety of films they stock. (And Bella, the owner, is so nice.)

Unfortunately, the store is closed for the time being as Bella deals with an illness in her family. We send best wishes to her and her loved ones.


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The 411 on college savings plans, Jan. 12

College Savings Plans of Maryland
"Parents and grandparents, do you need help financing your child's college education? Learn about the Maryland Prepaid College Trust and the Maryland College Investment Plan. Save here. Go anywhere."

Saturday, January 12, 11:00 AM at the Towson Library.

(College whatnows?)



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Rodgers Forge experiences a rash of
car vandalism

From Karl Pfrommer:

"The vandalism against car wing mirrors continues in the 300 block of Hopkins Rd. and the immediate surrounding area. The known tally is now 9 mirrors in the space of one week. Some of the mirrors are smashed, others have the complete mirror and housing broken off or left hanging.

There has also been a recent rash of smashed car windows parked near the intersection of Regester Ave. and Pinehurst Rd.

It would be great if the person/people doing this could be caught. (I suspect it is juveniles.) Replacing a mirror or window falls into the category of too small to meet the insurance deductible limit and more than we want to pay out of our own pocket. If anyone should see a suspicious person or group of boys, especially after dark, call BCPD: 410 887-2222 or 911.
-Karl"


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Parents rally for elected school boards in city, county

Examiner: Parents should have more say over who governs school boards, say activists who plan to lobby for partially elected boards in the Baltimore metropolitan area.

“There should be a sea of parents in outrage,” said Reba Hawkins, a Baltimore mother of two. ... full story


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Monday, January 7, 2008

Baltimore County seeks less $ from Annapolis

The Sun: Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. outlined today his wish list for state lawmakers, which includes funding for school repairs and construction and legislation to address problems such as speeding.

But recognizing the state's fiscal problems, Smith asked for less funding from Annapolis, including $5 million in bond bills -- half of what the county requested last year. ... full story


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Sunday, January 6, 2008

"The Wire" opens last season

The Sun: Cast and crew from HBO's The Wire, augmented by a few hundred friends, fans and family members, took over the Senator Theatre yesterday afternoon to mark the opening of the show's fifth and final season. Which made yesterday both a celebration and a final goodbye. ... full story


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parts of Charles Street, etc., temporarily closed for police funeral Monday

Here are details from The Sun.


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Saturday morning programs at the Science Center

The Sun: ... "As the solid heats up, it sublimates and inflates the balloon," explained Joyce A. Trageser, the supervisor of school programs at the Maryland Science Center and the instructor for its first Saturday Morning Science workshop of the year. "Think of it - it's a solid changing to a gas without becoming a liquid. That's pretty amazing."

The trick was one of more than a dozen wow-worthy, hands-on demonstrations in a 90-minute program about "Fire and Ice." The Science Center will rotate through a series of five workshops - though they call them "funshops" - over the next 18 Saturday mornings.... full story


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Saturday, January 5, 2008

Greater Towson Council has a new president

Towson Times: The new president of the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations wants his organization to be proactive when it comes to changes and development proposed for Towson.

"We want to be there helping to make it happen rather than letting it happen and being opposed to it," said Ed Kilcullen, who was elected leader in December of the umbrella group that represents more than 25 residential neighborhoods. ... full article



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Greater Towson Council meeting Jan. 17

"GTCCA is a nonprofit umbrella group representing the interests and concerns of over 30 some neighborhood associations in the Greater Towson area. We are organized for the purpose of education, assistance in development, and as a means of presenting a united front on common issues or problems too large or too complex to be handled effectively by individual community associations. [web site here]

Monthly business meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month (except July and December) at 7:30 p.m. at the Sheppard Pratt Health System Conference Center, 6501 North Charles Street, Towson, Maryland 21204. The next business meeting is Thursday, January 17, 2007. If you believe that your Neighborhood Association in the Greater Towson area may not be represented, attend this meeting and obtain the details."


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QuestFest runs Jan. 14-27

Quest Productions presents QuestFest, a two-week international festival celebrating visual theatre. QuestFest features groundbreaking work from exceptional performers and companies dedicated to the use of movement, gesture, and digital media to tell stories. By stripping away the artifice of language, QuestFest builds bridges between disparate communities and cultures. Details here.


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Computerized voting machines plagued with problems

New York Times: After the 2000 election, counties rushed to buy computerized voting machines. It turns out that these may cause problems worse than hanging chads. ... full story


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Huckabee is an enigma wrapped in
an egg roll

Mike Huckabee is funny and charming and seems like his heart is in the right place. But I have to say, the more I learn about him, the wackier he sounds. Here's part of what he says on his Web site:

I am running to completely eliminate all federal income and payroll taxes. And I do mean all - personal federal, corporate federal, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare, self-employment. All our hours filling out forms, all our payments for help with those forms, all our shopping bags filled with disorganized receipts, all our headaches and heartburn from tax stress will vanish. Instead we will have the FairTax, a simple tax based on wealth. When the FairTax becomes law, it will be like waving a magic wand releasing us from pain and unfairness.
That's normal. I'm all for simplifying the tax code, but come on.

And a related article on the subject:

Christian Science Monitor: ... Some economists have long held that a national sales tax would be a more economically efficient way of financing US activities. It would encourage savings, and discourage spending, for instance. It would eliminate deductions that skew the tax code.

But other economists point out that some of those deductions, such as the one for interest paid on home mortgages, are enormously popular. Sales taxes are regressive – that is, they affect the poor, who must spend a higher percentage of their income to live, more than the rich.

And there is debate over whether a 23 percent national sales tax, as called for by Huckabee, would raise enough money to replace the taxes lost. Some economists say the rate would have to approach 50 percent, particularly as Huckabee's plan also calls for a "prebate" cash subsidy for poor taxpayers. ... full story



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