Monday, June 30, 2008

No trash or recyling pick up this Friday

If you're in Baltimore County and your trash is usually picked up on Fridays, it won't be picked up this Friday (July 4) but will be collected on Saturday the 5th.

If your recycling is usually picked up on Fridays, that won't be picked up, either, and there will be no supplemental pickup. You just have to wait for the next time. (For us, that means no paper pickup this Friday. The following Friday will be bottles/cans.)

Thank goodness for the paper recycling bin at Woodbrook church!

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

Some in Roland Park fighting new retirement community

It would be on Baltimore Country Club land. The Sun says:

On June 23, more than 50 Roland Park residents gathered for an informal meeting to begin organizing a petition drive and planning other efforts, including a door-to-door campaign within the community. The Roland Park Civic League will hold a formal meeting to discuss the plans at 7 p.m. tomorrow at St. David's Church, 4700 Roland Ave. -- full story

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

Almost got into an accident today in the Towson Circle

I think the new traffic pattern at the Towson roundabout is an improvement. Having said that, today we were in the circle and nearly got hit (would have if I hadn't slammed on my brakes). I was going north on York, into the circle, then exiting onto Dulaney Valley Road in the left lane.

A guy in an SUV was entering the circle from Joppa in the right lane. That lane is supposed to exit onto Dulaney, and there is signage saying so, but apparently he didn't see it. He tried to veer left to continue into the circle which was problematic, as my minivan was there. ("Mommy, why you yelling?" my 2-year-old asked me.)

I wonder if they should put up some traffic delineators that would basically force traffic from the right lane of Joppa to turn right onto Dulaney?

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

Lynne Bricks at Belvedere closing temporarily

FYI: Lynne Bricks Belvedere Square Club Closing: In order to make improvements in the club, we will be closing entirely from July 1st -July 4th to refinish the floors. The club will re-open Saturday July 5th at 7am.

While they're at it, they should post some signs that say, "Please don't leave all your clothes and your gym bag in the dressing room while you shower and dry your hair and put on make-up because there are only a few dressing rooms and lots of people who want to use them and you are not the only person on the planet!"

Ah, that was cathartic.

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

Baby-related classes at Bediboo

Infant Sign Language:
FREE Intro Class and Playgroup Thursday July 10th 12:30-1:30 PM
Open to all. Regular class starts July 24th 12:30 PM- 1:30 PM Six week class session is $90 for one parent/one child.

Babywearing Basics Class:

FREE and open to all. Saturday July 12th 12:00 PM
Come to learn about different styles of carriers or bring one you already own and get help learning how to use it.

Cloth Diapering Workshop:

FREE and open to all. Saturday July 26th 12:00 PM
Come to learn about all types of cloth diapers and how to care for them.
**please note this was originally scheduled for July 19th, but, we had to move it to the 26th**

Infant Massage Informational Session:

FREE and open to all. Thursday August 14th 6:00 PM Introduction to Infant Massage, class starts after free session.

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

The latest crime report for Rodgers Forge area

From Towson/Precinct 6. Includes a break-in on Heathfield that was thwarted by an observant neighbor, and some armed robberies (not in Rodgers Forge). Here's the report.

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

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Did you lose a dog?

Update: I am told the dog is back at its proper home.

This was posted as a comment about baby carrots, but I'm thinking it should have its own platform. I don't know who sent it or what you should do if you have this dog, but email me at kris(at) if you have it and we can try to figure out something.

"FOUND DOG - A neighbor was walking by looking to find the owner of a beautiful black lab with gray on her face and some on her back. The woman found the dog on Dunkirk, but the dog led her to Stanmore Road. They are looking around the neighborhood for the owner. The woman that found the dog lives on the corner or Stanmore and Stanmore Court."

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

Baby carrots not so adorable

I don't know how I came across this post originally, but I found it interesting. Since reading it, I've been buying regular carrots and chopping them down to a nice size instead of buying baby carrots. The post also says that baby carrots have 70 percent less beta carotene than regular carrots, though I'm not sure on the source of that info.

"I stopped buying baby carrots a while ago. It just so happened that I was at a farmer's market a couple summers ago, and ended up buying some dark purple carrots out of curiosity. I thought that they might taste strange, but when I tried one, I was surprised to see that they tasted like... well, like carrots. But the carrot taste was something that I realized I hadn't experienced in at least ten years.

As someone who had been eating baby carrots for a long time, I had honestly forgotten what a carrot tastes like. Baby carrots are nice - they are usually crispy and sweet, but they are largely flavorless. They don't have that carrot-y taste and smell. ..." --more

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

Friday, June 27, 2008

This cafe sounds fabulous

I was just looking at the Irvine Nature Center website and it mentioned that the Coffee with T cafe is giving some of its proceeds to the center. I'd never heard of this place, but it sounds awesome and I can't wait to try it:

"Coffee with T is a neighborhood cafe with a fun and friendly atmosphere. Owner Theresa La Fond and her exceptional staff are serving up freshly baked muffin tops, over stuffed special "T" sandwiches, homemade soups and gourmet salads. Coffee with T is a favorite destination in the Greenspring Valley.

We proudly serve Zeke's Coffee, the City Paper's "Best of Baltimore" two years in a row!

We are a community supported agriculture (CSA)drop site.
For more information about CSA go to

Coffee with T is committed to the environment. We use compostable plastic cups made from corn, eco friendly paper coffee cups and biodegradable cleaning products. We recycle all of our cardboard refuse. We also believe in supporting local businesses. We carry free range eggs and honey from Carriage House Farms on Hillside Road in Stevenson, MD"

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

fax machines, jackets/hoodies recalled

1. Hewlett-Packard Co. Recalls Fax Machines Due to Fire Hazard
2. Children's Jackets and Hoodies with Drawstrings Recalled by Coolibar Inc. Due to Strangulation Hazard
... details ...

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

Sparklers, etc., more dangerous than people think


According to a May 2008 report by the National Fire Protection Association, nearly all of the more than 9,000 yearly fireworks injuries occur at illegal private displays.

What's more, it doesn't take a lot of fire-power to cause injuries. According to the report, 21 percent of fireworks injuries in the month surrounding July 4, 2006, were caused by sparklers.

And according to Dr. Dean Fiergang, a pediatric ophthalmologist and Maryland Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons executive board member, about 50 percent of fireworks-related eye injuries among toddlers are caused by hand-held sparklers. Yesterday, Dr. Fiergang cautioned parents against giving their children fireworks, no matter how innocuous they seem. -- more

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

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Lend a hand: Towson Parade needs volunteers

The Fourth of July Parade in Towson needs volunteers. Some of the duties can be done from home -- data entry, emails, phone calls, etc. To learn more about how to get involved and what positions are available for the Fourth of July parade, go here or call 410-832-2190.

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

cribs and toy helicopters recalled

1. Stanley Furniture Recalls Cribs Due to Entrapment Hazard
2. Westminster Inc. Recalls Remote-Controlled Helicopter Toys Due to Risk of Fire
... details ...

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

The Sun's coverage is about to get even skimpier

The Sun told employees yesterday that they plan to cut about 20 percent of the newsroom's staff. But they plan to still focus on news that readers want, which according to this story, amounts to "charts, graphs, maps and lists."

On a completely unrelated note, did you know that the current investigation into Sheila Dixon came after a Sun series of articles looking into her actions? Same goes for the outrage over poor treatment of injured veterans at Walter Reed. ... Wiretapping without a warrant. ... Watergate....

Yes, I want some news I can use, but I also want journalists to do more than just regurgitate information into charts and lists. (That's my job!) I'm guessing others want more information, too. So how is it financially smart to cripple your paper so much that it can't produce a good product that people want?

It's like if a restaurant was losing business because it had so few waiters that people didn't like eating there because the service was so bad. How much sense would it be to cut the wait staff even more in order to save money? Is that a recipe for success?

A friend of mine has been at The Sun for about 10 years. He used to cover one beat. Now he covers four, and that number will probably increase after the staff cuts. How deeply do you think he'll be able to dig into issues? How much time will he be able to spend developing sources and finding out more than what someone tells him in a press release?

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

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Supreme Court says no to death penalty for child rape

You know, I'm against the death penalty, but this is one area where I kind of feel like if you're gonna have it, this is a good time to use it.

AP: WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court declared Wednesday that executions are too severe a punishment for raping children, despite the "years of long anguish" for victims, in a ruling that restricts the death penalty to murder and crimes against the state. -- more

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

Info on Towson's Fourth of July parade

The Towson Fourth of July Parade will take place on Friday, July 4, 2008, beginning at 10:30 a.m. – rain or shine.

The Parade begins at Towsontown Boulevard and Bosley Avenue, proceeds north on Bosley Avenue, east on Allegheny Avenue, and south on Washington Avenue. The route ends at Chesapeake and Washington Avenues. More details here.

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

Police helicopter in Rodgers Forge

There was a police helicopter circling the area today around 1:00 p.m. Police tell me they were searching for a burglary suspect around the Stevenson Lane area.

Thursday update: Precinct 6 police say a girl was home alone when two males (age?) knocked on her door and asked for someone who didn't live there and then walked around the neighborhood. She called her mom, the police were called, and the helicopter happened to be in the area so responded to the call.

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

GBMC seeking volunteers

BALTIMORE, Md. – June 25, 2008 – Greater Baltimore Medical Center is seeking additional adult volunteers to join the organization’s nearly 900 existing individuals who give their time in all aspects of the hospital’s operations.

Positions are available in all departments, covering patient care, non-patient care and retail sales, and no previous medical training or knowledge is required. GBMC will try to match interests/ skills of volunteers with the organization’s needs.

Volunteers are asked to give a minimum of four hours of volunteer time per week, and flexible schedules are available for weekdays, evenings, and weekends. Free parking is available on campus for all volunteers.

If interested, please contact the GBMC Volunteer Services Office at 443-849-2050.

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

Middle schoolers said to need more hours, foreign language

The Examiner reports that a state education committee recommends that middle schoolers have longer days and learn a foreign language. Here's the article.

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

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More on the new car-seat law in Maryland

The Sun reports:

Starting Monday, Maryland will enforce one of the strictest child-passenger safety laws in the country, requiring children as old as 7 to be fastened in booster seats while riding in cars. The current state law requires children 5 and under to be in a child safety seat. -- full story

Luckily, my 5-year-old is in a ginormous car seat that should last us a while.

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

Sun's Kevin Cowherd bummed out by Towson's new traffic circle

... Gone, for the most part, are the sounds of brakes squealing, horns blaring, metal crunching, curses shouted into the air. Gone is the serial flashing of the upraised middle finger that often occurred when one car cut off another.
Oh, it used to be fun to drive the roundabout, remember? Well, fun in the same way jabbing your eye with a fork is fun. -- full column

I've driven through it a few times now and I have to say, I like it better than the old layout.

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

Baltimore House (selling/buying) Party

Saturday, June 28, 2008 1pm - 5:30pm
1700 N. Charles Street, Baltimore MD 21201

Choose from a variety of class topics and get insight and answers to all of your real estate questions. Visit with knowledgeable real estate professionals in Baltimore and find out how to excel in a buyer's market. There will be giveaways, music, prizes, food, drinks and more! This event is free but space is limited so register today at

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

Anyone have a good way to get to Traders Joe's without using the Towson traffic circle?

I'm wondering if there's a neat secret way to get to Trader Joe's in Towson without using the circle. I sometimes take York to right on Towsontowne Blvd. to left on Virginia to left on Joppa. But with the new development going in on Virginia, I'm thinking that might not be any better.

I also wonder if there's a better way to get back to Rodgers Forge from Trader Joe's. If you go out the main route onto Joppa, you are forced into the circle. A couple of times I have exited through the mall garage to get out near Nordstrom on Goucher to Fairmount. But that's not ideal.

Any other great routes out there, coming or going?

View Larger Map

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

Monday, June 23, 2008

This was the view from our yard earlier tonight

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

Baltimore City schools to get from-scratch lunches

The Examiner reports:

... “It’s unrealistic to expect a teacher to be able to execute a lesson plan if the child sitting in front of them is jacked up on Lucky Charms, or worse, no food at all,” said Geraci, who began his career opening restaurants in New Orleans and specialized in sales for companies including Pillsbury and Hormel Foods.

Antonia Demas, a consultant who for decades has worked to educate students in Baltimore and throughout the country about nutrition, said the trend of improving the quality of meals is relatively new and not unique to this city. -- full story

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

Car-seat laws about to change

Here are details.

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

Details on Walkable Towson

The Daily Record covered the Walkable Towson presentation:

Towson’s main retail district is getting a makeover that Baltimore County officials say will make it more pedestrian-friendly, encourage business and put the suburb’s public spaces on par with the open markets and plazas of Europe.

“Walkable Towson,” a plan introduced by the county last year, moved forward last Thursday with a presentation to the county planning board by the project’s designers, Stuart Sirota of Baltimore’s TND Planning Group and Richard A. Hall, president of Florida-based Hall Planning & Engineering, Inc. --more

Here's a Daily Record video story on the plan:

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

Jemicy School teacher killed in motorcycle accident

The Sun:

An English teacher at Jemicy School in Towson died recently in a motorcycle accident in New York as he was heading to Vermont for vacation, his mother said.

Gary Anthony "Tony" Smith, 29, of the first block of Griffin Court in Fells Point was traveling through an intersection about 11 a.m. Tuesday when a car making a left turn struck him, his mother, Nicole Gnezda, said that New York State Police told the family. -- full story

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

Rodgers Forge and Towson crime report

In the 300 block of Hopkins: "An unknown suspect pushed foil and foam in on a rear dining room window and set off the house alarm [I don't really know what that means]. The suspect then removed a bicycle from the rear porch. Entry was not gained into the house and the bicycle was recovered in the alley."

Read the entire crime report here. And here's another crime report for the week later. The officer who sends them out had been on vacation.

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

Sign language classes for infants at Bediboo in Lauraville

We taught our son sign language when he was a baby and it was amazing. He could tell me specifically what he wanted (banana, apple, more, etc.) and one time when I was putting him down for a nap he was fussing and I didn't know why. Then he signed "hungry," and I fed him and he went down right away. We did it with our daughter, too -- kind of half-assed, as is typical with the second kid, right? -- and it was also helpful. She's almost 3 now and sometimes she still signs "more" when she says it. Here's some info I received from the Bediboo shop:

Mommy & Me Sign Language for Babies 0-24 months: Beginning July 24th, Thursdays from 12:30-1:30. Session is 6 continuos weeks and the cost is $90 per adult/child pair; $20 each additional child. The teacher is Jeanne Pinto and she teaches through the program Sign 2 Me, which teaches American Sign Language.

Reduce frustration! Enhance Communication! Enjoy special time with your infant or toddler in this fun, educational, interactive signing-play-class and meet other signing families, too! Approximately 20 signs per week covered. Learn through songs, rhymes, books, music, and activities.

Free Introductory Class and Baby Signing Playgroup July 10th 12:30-1:30. Please call or stop by the Bediboo store to register or contact Jeanne Pinto for more information: jpinto5(at)

Location is 4321 Harford Road Baltimore, MD (same block as the Red Canoe)

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

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Woodbrook Baptist has a paper recycling bin in its parking lot

I just noticed that Woodbrook, at 25 Stevenson Lane, has a huge paper recycling receptacle in its lot, to the right of the church near the playground. I know the county picks up paper, but sometimes you have a lot to get rid of and need somewhere to put it sooner rather than later, which is the case for us right now because we forgot to put out our paper recycling last week.

Anyone is welcome to use it. No cardboard, just newspaper, office paper, etc.

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

Smaller schools are better for students

Liz Bowie of The Sun has a comprehensive story today about how the size of a school affects learning. Here's an excerpt:

Current educational research suggests small schools might be more beneficial to students. The optimum size for a high school is 600 to 900 students, according to a study published in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis in 1997.

"We did find that the ideal size of a school did not vary by the social or racial composition of the school. However, small size was more strongly linked to achievement gains in more disadvantaged schools," said Valerie Lee, a University of Michigan professor and one of the authors of the report.

Other studies have shown that students in small schools are more likely to be better known by their teachers and go to college. --full story

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

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Saturdays at Towson Farmers' Market

We went to the Saturday Towson Farmers' Market today. We had just come from the Waverly Market, where my husband goes every Saturday to buy milk from South Mountain Creamery, and of course there are tons of vendors and it's packed.

Then we swung by the Towson Market and it was about 1/8 of the size. At first we were worried it would be really lame, but they actually had a decent assortment of greens and flowers. It was also very easy to park and it was not very crowded. Of course, it needs to be more crowded to be a success, I'm sure. Hope you check it out. Here are some photos:
Towson Farmers' Market

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

I'm so jonsing for one of these

The LG all-in-one washer/dryer. Washes and dries all in one machine. Takes a while, but you don't have to transfer the clothes. Also super energy efficient.

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

Friday, June 20, 2008

Kids lighting firecrackers on roof of Dumbarton Middle

Karl Pfrommer sent this along:

"On Thursday around 3:15 p.m., an RFCOP observed several kids setting off firecrackers
at the top lot at Dumbarton Middle School. A call was placed to 911. The RFCOP, who was
on the field, drew closer to gain a closer look. The kids were throwing firecrackers at each other and lighting them in nearby trash cans.

The police did not arrived before the kids got into a dark Minivan. The person driving the van was a mother!

The RFCOP asked the woman why she was being so irresponsible. "I didn't know." The RFCOP told her she was on Baltimore County property. Then the woman pulled out of the lot, and headed west on Dumbarton Road. She was driving a dark Minivan with MD plates beginning with #375."

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

Tons going on this weekend

Check out the list of things to do (right sidebar) for Saturday -- it's huge!

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

Towson Farmers' Market tomorrow

Tomorrow is the second Saturday farmers' market in Towson. The Saturday market is on a trial run; if people come, it will continue. If not, they will end it and only have the market on Thursdays.

Held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the corner of Washington and Allegheny Avenue.

(I'm reading In Defense of Food right now, and it makes me want to go and just live at the farmers' market and eat as much green stuff as I can.)

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

Pile of Craft, Saturday, June 21

Charm City Craft Mafia is pleased to present the SECOND annual Pile of Craft held on Saturday, June 21st, 2008. The event, featuring 40+ crafty vendors, will be held indoors at St. John’s Church located at 2640 St. Paul St, Baltimore, MD 21218, from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM.

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

Thursday, June 19, 2008

REI now has BPA-free Nalgene bottles

I went to REI yesterday to buy some Kleen Kanteen water bottles, since you're not supposed to use the old Nalgene-type bottles that have BPA in them. I discovered they now have BPA-free Nalgene and Camelbak plastic bottles, so we got those because they're a lot cheaper and we tend to lose these things.

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

Art camps at Red Canoe Cafe and bookstore in Lauraville

Got this email today: Enroll now at Red Canoe summer camps in July! Stop in and pick up a registration forms and additional information! Check out the Young Rembrandts drawing program...

Children Need Art. Research points to a strong correlation between involvement in the arts and achievement in the classroom.

Art is Powerful. Unleashing that power in young people begins with drawing, the fundamental skills of all visual arts.

Young Rembrandts offers children a world of opportunity to develop skills, confidence, and knowledge. Participating in Young Rembrandts provides children with a comprehensive art literacy that serves them well, not just at the drawing table, but in school and on into adulthood.

We will be offering 3 camps at the Red Canoe this summer.

Ages 5 - 7
Jr. Under the Sea
M/T/W | 9:30 am - 11:00 am | 7/7/2008 - 7/9/2008 | $52.00

Ages 4 - 6
Parent and Child
M/T/W | 9:30 am - 10:30 am | 7/14/2008 - 7/16/2008 | $48.00

Ages 6 - 12
Animal Drawing Camp
M/T/W | 9:30 am - 11:00 am | 7/21/2008 - 7/23/2008 | $52.00

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

Does your local school have air conditioning?

Laurie Mitchell, a parent activist, is working with others to compile a list of which Baltimore County schools have AC. Only half actually have it, but apparently finding out which half is no easy task. She provided the attached list.

I e-mailed Michael Sines, facilities director for Baltimore County schools, on June 17 asking for a list but have not heard back. Mitchell was told she needed to file a Freedom of Information Act request to get the info (note: this is generally the type of thing done when seeking info related to, say, Watergate).

If you have info to add, please contact me or post a comment below.

Here's the list.

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

Hearing June 24 about zoning changes in Lutherville area

Towson Times reports:

In District 3, which runs from Lutherville to the Pennsylvania border, some residents want higher-density zoning so they can build houses for their children or otherwise develop their property.

But others worry that more houses or businesses will add to traffic and potentially reduce property values.

Some of the major issues include a request by the operators of the Timonium fairgrounds for broader zoning that would allow adding horse barns, which opponents fear could lead to slot machines. --more

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

Pet Rescue now in Lutherville Petco

Towson Times:

... It's not easy finding permanent homes for abandoned or stray animals these days, she said. There are so many more of them because of the poor economic situation -- things are costing more, people are losing their jobs or their houses and doing without.

"Everybody is tightening their belts, not realizing animals are in great need, too," she said.

A typical call might be from a landlord, she said. She got one the other day about an abandoned cat sitting on top of the trash after the people moved out, waiting for them to come back.

"It's heartbreaking," she said. "So many people are surrendering their pets because they can no longer afford them or the medication to help them." ...

In January, Petco gave Pet Rescue the use of two large rooms at its store at 1719 York Road on Saturdays between 2 and 5 p.m. -- on a trial basis.

The arrangement became permanent in April. ... --full story

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

Towson U to build new arena

The Sun reports:

Towson University has scrapped plans to renovate 32-year-old Towson Center and instead wants to build a $45.4 million, multi-use arena that could open by July 2011. ... A combination of university funds and auxiliary bonds will finance the project, which needs approval from Towson's board of regents and the board of public works. Sheehan said the total funding should be formally approved in a meeting Friday. --more

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

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Towson Circle III details

The folks at Heritage Properties were kind enough to send me some images and details for this project:

"Towson Circle III, the newest mixed-use project in Towson, is another Heritage Properties / Cordish Company venture to expand the already successful Towson Circle project, which includes Bahama Breeze, Trader Joe’s, Barnes and Noble, Pier 1 and The VIN Restaurant, among others.

The proposed four-acre urban expansion comprises all of the land bound by Joppa Road, Virginia Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue and Delaware Avenue. The new project includes a 62,000 square-foot, 2,500-seat multiplex cinema atop a 4-story, 700-space, Baltimore County Revenue Authority owned parking and approximately 60,000 square feet of retail/ restaurant space at the plaza and street levels and 60,000 square feet of office space above the retail.

The Cinema/Garage building anchors the southern portion of the site with the Retail/Office uses on the northern portion in two three-story buildings creating an open pedestrian plaza. The project design is based on principals of urban living and offers various facades to create a town center sense of place. Both the Cinema and Garage are accessible to and from one end of the plaza which extends between the three-story buildings to Joppa Road.

The open “T”-shaped plaza will include areas for “bistro-style” outdoor dining with a glass conservatory, landscaping and fountains. The plaza respectfully incorporates the historic Towson/Shealy Cemetery for some of Towson's early founders. Smaller scaled retail buildings will front along the existing streets and surround the large parking garage and Theater to bring the scale down at the street creating a pedestrian-centric design in keeping with Towson’s recent Urban Design Assistance Team (UDAT) study and walk-ability guidelines.

The approximately $ 75 million dollar development will be a LEED Silver Certificate high performance project. Included in the overall costs, the $17.2 million dollar turnkey Parking Garage will incorporate a $6.2 million dollar county grant to the Revenue Authority toward the purchase. Also included in the overall costs is a $2 million dollar State infrastructure grant for transport related work. Construction of the project is expected to commence about March, ’09 and to take about two years to complete and occupy. Lead by Curry Architects, the design team also includes Daft McCune Walker, Inc. (Civil Engineering and Site Design), Carroll Engineering (Structural), Phoenix Design, Inc. (MPE), Thomas J. Hoff Inc. (Site Engineering), Century Engineering (Utility Design) and Walker Parking Consultants. The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, Inc. will be the general contractor for the project and is providing value engineering input during the design phase. Heritage Properties is the Development arm for the project and The Cordish Company is the Leasing arm."

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

Check out the new plans for Towson

Loni Ingraham of The Towson Times has a story today on details of the new development, including an interesting illustration. Could be neat.

Towson Circle III will have a multiplex cinema atop a 4-story, 700-space parking garage owned by the Baltimore County Revenue Authority, as well as 60,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space at the plaza and street levels, and 60,000 square feet of office space above the retail space.

It will take about two years before it’s up and running, Cannella said.

The venture is an expansion of the Towson Circle complex, which was developed by the same partnership. Towson Circle includes Bahama Breeze, Trader Joe’s, Barnes & Noble, Pier 1 and Vin restaurant. --more

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

Can we ban those speaker cell phones?

What is with people using those cell phones where they operate like walkie-talkies? It's so obnoxious. Not only do you have to hear one person blathering on about something inane, you have to hear both sides of the conversation with a high-pitched BAH-DAH-BEEEP! in between transmissions. Do people have no sense of decorum anymore?

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

Baltimore County to require composting toilets in new construction

OK, they're not, but maybe they should, as the Examiner reports that water rates are going up. Composting toilets would save so much water.

About 225,000 Baltimore County residents will pay more to turn on the water tap and flush the toilet this summer when a 7.5 percent rate increase goes into effect July 1, officials said.

The increase affects all of the county’s public water and sewer customers, including about 10,000 commercial users, officials said. The increase — nearly double the rise Baltimore City residents will see — will help fund federally mandated upgrades to the county’s aging and chronically overflowing sewage system, County Executive Jim Smith said. --more

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

A resource for finding childcare and after-school activites

From Baltimore County. Here's the site for child care and here's the site for after-school activities. And here's the umbrella site for more info. You can also call directly at (410) 288-5600.

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

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Three area burglaries

Karl Pfrommer sent this along:

There were three burglaries last week at the following locations:

During the daylight hours of 6/10, 60XX Lake Manor Dr. and 25 Ruxview Ct. Apt. XXX were burglarized.

During the overnight hours on 6/11-12, 7XX Morningside Dr. was burglarized.


Lake Manor. A 13 yr. old boy was home alone when he heard someone knocking. When he did not answer the door, a male 20-30 yrs, 5'11, 180 lbs, wearing a white brimmed safari style hat, forced his way into the home. The boy then locked himself in a bathroom and called his parents on the cell phone. Moments later the father of the boy arrived home and confronted the intruder who initially tried to tell the father that he was there to fix an appliance. The suspect then fled out the front door. K-9 and patrol units checked the area with negative results.

Ruxview. Unknown suspect(s) forced the front door of the apartment while no one was home. The interior of the apartment was ransacked and a computer, plasma TV and XBox were stolen.

Morningside. A 50" Plasma TV was stolen from the basement. It is possible that the basement door may have been left unlocked overnight after the teenage boy had some friends visiting.


Stay Alert for and report any suspicious activity or persons immediately by calling 911!

Record serial #'s of electronic valuables. Ensure doors are secured at all times.

Sergeant Stephen Moffett
Precinct 6 Community Outreach Team &
Hillendale CSAFE Team
6877 Loch Raven Blvd.
Towson, MD 21286

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

Veterans' info seminar June 28

Saturday, June 28, 2008 10 AM – 3 PM

Baltimore County Veterans Muster - An information fair for veterans and their families to learn about the benefits and services offered to Maryland’s veterans by federal, state and nonprofit agencies. MDVA will have a booth with a Service Officer to assist with filing claims for disability and compensation. Representatives from other state agencies, Veteran Service Organizations, Veteran Employment Reps, and members of local community organizations will be present to provide information. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

Church of the Holy Comforter
130 W. Seminary Road Lutherville 21093-5523
For more info call 410-260-3842.

I think this is a good event, but it's sad to me that veterans would have to go to a seminar to learn how to cut through the red tape. Seems like they make it pretty easy for people to sign up to serve; shouldn't it be just as easy to get the benefits?

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

Wine Festival at Oregon Ridge, June 21-22

"Thousands of Wine Lovers Have Been visiting us over the years and this year will be bigger and better than ever. Think Global but Wine Local and this show has it all……… Over 13 wineries and 150 wines….plus organic farm products, local cheeses, specialty food items and so much more. Bring your family and friends and bring your lawn chairs and picnic blankets. Be ready to enjoy Baltimore’s ONLY wine festival! Parking and Kids Are Free [hmm, I don't know; I already have two] and there is something special for everyone." details

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

Free kids' movie today at Rock Candy

The shop Rock Candy in Lauraville will show a free kids' movie today at 11 a.m.
4321 Harford Road, Second Floor 21214

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

I love crime reports

A friend of mine who lives in Mt. Rainier/D.C. just sent me this from her neighborhood crime report:

3300 block of Chauncey Place: At about 11:30 p.m. officers patrolling the Queenstown Apartments complex observed a subject walking around encased in a body cast.

The officers had knowledge that this individual had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. The warrant stemmed from an incident several weeks ago when he jumped off the roof of a Queenstown apartment building in an attempt to avoid arrest on drug charges by Hyattsville City police. The individual was arrested and delivered to the custody of DOC in Upper Marlboro.

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

Mom, I want to join the circus!

Did you know there's a Summer Circus Camp? There is, and it's run by Michael Rosman, who is said to be "a graduate of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Clown College."

So, if you signed up too late to get your kid in to Brain Surgeon Camp or Junior Scientist Camp, you might want to check this out.

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

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sarbanes holding a virtual town hall meeting (aka: constituent conference call)

Congressman John P. Sarbanes says:

"On Tuesday, June 17 at 7:20P.M., I will be holding a Virtual Town Hall, via telephone. We will have experts on the line to discuss the challenges of home ownership in the current economy.

To participate in my Virtual Town Hall, please call 1-866-447-5149 and, when prompted, enter # 12965 as your PIN.

If you are unable to participate in my Virtual Town Hall but still wish to share your questions, comments or concerns, please call my district office at 410-832-8890 or contact me through my website"

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

Dog-bite safety

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 at 2:00 PM
The Baltimore County Department of Health and the Snyder Foundation for Animals is sponsoring "Focus on Fido", a dog safety demonstration for school-age children and their parents at the Towson public library. The demonstration will feature "Spirit," a trained canine assistant, who will help participants—especially children, in learning how to be safe around dogs.

Several “Focus on Fido” demonstrations have occurred across Baltimore County since April of this year.
Summertime is a good time for parents and children to think about safety around dogs. While the demonstrations are designed with children in mind, many parents and grandparents have expressed their thanks for the helpful tips they learned at these educational events.

Baltimore County Public Library—Main Branch

320 York Road Towson, MD 21204

For details, call 410-887-5961

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

Details on planning for Towson traffic circle

I contacted the Towson Chamber about the traffic circle, echoing some of the concerns raised by Forge Flyer readers in past posts on the topic. Jay Doyle, community revitalization specialist for the county, said the idea of a traffic-free downtown Towson was considered, but most of those involved in the planning agreed that the area did need some traffic and that businesses benefited from having people be able to park on the street near their shops.

I also asked if any changes were happening to the actual by-pass roadways, other than signage, and was directed to the two documents linked to below. I don't see any actual road changes.

It is a great idea to make Towson more walkable. I have some fears, though, that this plan might not quite make it walkable enough. I hope to be pleasantly surprised.

Towson Roadway Changes document

Roadway Support

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

See for yourself what made the school board reject Loch Raven addition

Video highlights, courtesy of Towson Families United, of the school board meeting where they rejected the money for the Loch Raven expansion. They note that the addition was never requested by the school system; it was only the county that asked for it.

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

Video of Ridgely Middle School student asking for AC in her school

She says, and I've heard this from others, too, that last year Ridgley had 27 school days where the temperature inside the classrooms was between 90 and 104 degrees. That is just insane!

The school was just renovated, and now the windows barely open and can't ventilate the classroom. But they didn't budget for the actual chillers so the HVAC units could cool the air. Hello! (Ridgely is just one of the HALF of all county schools without AC.)

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

Work on Towson traffic circle starts tonight

The Sun reports:

... The modifications will expand the roundabout's oval-shaped island, reduce part of the circle to a single lane and eliminate some entrances and exits. The changes are intended to reduce speed, give drivers clearer direction and make the roundabout safer for pedestrians, officials said.

One lane on each side of the three blocks of York Road between the roundabout and Towsontown Boulevard will be converted into parking spaces that officials say they hope will draw more customers to the businesses there and provide a buffer between fast-moving traffic and sidewalks. - more

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

Kids' concert at Merriweather, including Dan Zanes

July 29 & 30
Performers scheduled to include: They Might Be Giants, Dan Zanes, Ralph's World, and Choo Choo Soul, Hosted by Raven Symone.

"An engaging music festival for the whole family. Featuring performances by favorite Disney recording artists and special guests,with fun filled activity zones where kids can try out the latest Playskool toys,create arts and crafts, make their own music, move and shake on the dance floor and more!"

Children 2 years and under are free. Children 3 years and older must have a ticket.

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

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A fun pizza place

We went to Amer's Cafe tonight on Belair Road just below the beltway. It's my husband's new favorite place. The kids got to make their own pizza (with some help from a professional, who threw the dough up in the air, which they thought was cool), and the service was fast and very pleasant. I got a Greek salad that was pretty good, and my husband and mother-in-law got a pizza that they said was great. It's in a strip mall and is not the kind of place I'd usually try, but I read good things in City Paper and other places, so we thought we'd give it a shot. The decor is a little cheesy, but in a charming, unpretentious way.

On Friday and Saturday nights there is a belly dancer, and scarves for the kids to join in with the dancing, we were told. There's also a tarot-card reader those nights.

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

Friday, June 13, 2008

Forge Fest & community yard sale are tomorrow

Saturday, June 14. Starts with a community yard sale from 8 a.m. to noon. No central location; everyone is encouraged to have their own yard sales.

The picnic and festival, with moon bounce, pony rides, games, etc., will be behind RF Elementary from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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

Karl Pfrommer removed from the Rodgers Forge board

I don't really know what's going on behind the scenes here and honestly, I don't want to get in the middle of a messy situation. But I thought this might be of interest to residents.

From Karl Pfrommer: I am sending this email to inform you that in May the RFC Inc. Board members removed me from the board without cause. I was unable to attend that meeting because the date had been changed to another date, which conflicted with a previous commitment. I didn't tell you about this sooner because I, myself, was not advised of the board's action until early June. No cause was given for my removal; therefore, I cannot comment on the board action.

My board removal will not change our RFCOP operation and effectiveness. According to RFC Inc. President Lawrence Swoboda, the community association is supportive of the efforts of RFCOP, but RFCOP is a distinct and separate organization. I will also continue to work with RFC Inc. External Affairs Committee Chairman Don Gerding and will participate in community activities. And, I will continue to be active with the Greater Towson Community Council Association, the GTCCA.

I joined the RFC Inc. Board to foster better communications with neighbors and to improve community relationships. During my service on the board, I was asked to become the leader of COP and I continue my commitment to that work. I was also invited to work on the External Affairs Committee with Don Gerding. This partnership has more than doubled the committee's effectiveness and increased efficiency. Coordination between COP and External Affairs has been invaluable in our efforts to regulate and address concerns in Rodgers Forge. Most of you have been working on one or more of these community issues yourself. We have also made new relationships with our neighboring institutions and garnered unprecedented cooperation with government officials. We will continue our efforts in these areas.

Thank you all for your work and efforts to make Rodgers Forge a better place to live.

-Karl Pfrommer

From the head of the board:
For the record, you were removed from the Rodgers Forge Board with cause after considerable deliberation over several months and several meetings. Our conversations on this matter began in January, when you and I exchanged emails and met at your house on January 21, 2008.

You comment that it was done without cause. You are incorrect; It was done with cause and that point had been brought to your attention in January and in subsequent meetings and conversations.

I am sorry that you were not present for the final vote. You were present at the previous meeting during which the motion to remove you from the board was made. However, as you'll recall, the motion was tabled due to not having the required number of board members present. The motion was removed from the table at the subsequent meeting where over 75% of the board members were present. The implication that this was a surprise to you is unfair and inaccurate.

That said, your efforts to better the community have been excellent. Your leadership and development of the RFCOP has had a real, positive impact on the community. The Rodgers Forge board remains steadfast in its support of you and the RFCOP.

You, too, are one person on a short list of people who regularly shows up to and adds value to community and other local events. Your participation has been extremely valuable.

We have one sure thing that binds us, and that is our desire to keep Rodgers Forge a beautiful, safe, clean neighborhood in which to live. Our combined efforts are what make the difference.

Thank you for your dedicated service to Rodgers Forge, and I appreciate your service on the Rodgers Forge board.

Lawrence Swoboda
[president of the board]

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

School lunch in county getting more pricey

Gina Davis of The Sun reports:

The county school board approved the increase this week after officials said they need to charge more because of the rising cost of food and supplies. Without the increase, staff members said, the school system stood to lose 46 cents on every lunch. -- more

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

Marbella: New schools are expensive, but not building them is even more costly

Interesting column from The Sun's Jean Marbella today:

"... The cost of new schools is always cited, and, to be sure, the expense of building new schools is undeniable - although renovating and adding on to old ones are no bargain, either. Advocates say the county needs to address these funding issues and consider things such as impact fees that other counties levy on developers, which would go toward school construction.

With some schools straining at the seams - those "451" signs that advocates have placed in windows refers to the total number of students over capacity at Rodgers Forge, Hampton, Stoneleigh and Riderwood elementary schools - the county is past due on addressing the problem. Good schools - and that means ones that aren't so crowded that students are spilling out into portables - are vital to any area that wants to attract families and job-producing businesses.

Yes, schools are expensive to build, until you consider the cost of not building them." -- full column

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

Dance class fee, plus a recital fee?

A friend of mine has a three-year-old daughter who takes ballet lessons. When they signed up, she was told there is a recital but it's "optional." She didn't think much of it. Now that the class is almost over, she finds out that she has to spend $70 for the recital costume, plus $80 just to participate, and another $15 per ticket for anyone who wants to attend -- including the parents.

It would never have occurred to me that there would be a recital fee, and she said it hadn't occurred to her or to any of the other moms she talked to in the class. (Of course, they're all participating in the recital because it's what the kids have been training for and talking about.)

So, just a warning: If you're enrolling your child in a dance class, you might want to ask what other costs are involved besides just the monthly tuition. (Here's a list of places that teach dance, too, in case you're interested.)

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

Visit the Towson farmers' market tomorrow

If you'd like to have a farmer's market in Towson on Saturdays, be sure to go tomorrow -- the opening day. The Saturday Towson farmers' market is being run on a trial basis for one month. If they get enough customers, it will continue into the fall. If not, they'll only have the Thursday market. Hope to see you there tomorrow!

The Towson Chamber will be sponsoring an additional Farmers Market to accomodate community interest in adding market Saturdays. Our Thursday Markets will continue as in the past, starting June 12th from 11-3 on Allegheny Avenue. Our Saturday Market will begin June 14th from 9-1 pm located on the surface parking lot on the corner of Washington and Allegheny Avenue.

Join us Saturdays to shop for your fruits, vegetables and breads and please don't forget to visist one of our lovely shops and restaurants!

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

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Deer sighted in Rodgers Forge

My husband and kids were coming home tonight around 7:30 and a neighbor was outside and said there had been a deer on our street (we live near RF Elementary) and that it had stopped and was eating the lettuce that grows in our front yard. Just as they were talking about it, the deer ran by again.

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

more recalls

1. Robert Bosch Tool Corp. Recalls Hammer Drills Due to Risk of Injury

2. Children's Overalls Recalled by Sara Lynn Togs Due to Choking Hazard

3. Children's Merry-Go-Rounds Sold Exclusively at Toys R Us Recalled by Pacific Cycle Due to Fall Hazard ... DETAILS FOR ALL AT WWW.CPSC.GOV

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

Forge Fest, community yard sale are this weekend

Saturday, June 14. Starts with a community yard sale from 8 a.m. to noon. No central location; everyone is encouraged to have their own yard sales.

The picnic and festival, with moon bounce, pony rides, games, etc., will be behind RF Elementary from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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

"Walkable Towson" plan to be presented June 19

Towson, Md. (June 12, 2008) - The leaders of the professional design team that conducted the Walkable Towson planning charrette last June will present the resulting plan to the Baltimore County Planning Board on Thursday, June 19 at 4 p.m. in the Jefferson Building, 105 W. Chesapeake Avenue in Towson. The public is welcome. The purpose of the plan is to enhance vitality in the core of Towson by making it more inviting to pedestrians.

Richard A. "Rick" Hall, of Hall Planning and Engineering, based in Tallahassee, Florida, and Stuart Sirota, of the Baltimore-based TND Planning Group, will lay out the basic provisions of the plan, and will be available to answer questions after the presentation.

For more information, contact Barbara Weaver, 410-887-3495.

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

Priority: repaving parking lots, or putting AC in hot classrooms?

Now that the Board of Education has rejected the addition at Loch Raven High, County Executive Jim Smith plans to use the addition money for other projects. (See the list here.) I am baffled as to why the money wouldn't be set aside toward a new school, or to putting air conditioning in the schools that don't have it. Is it just me, or does that seem more important than repaving parking lots?

Does Smith know that the same people fighting the expansion are also pushing for AC? Is there a little retaliation going on here?

Here's what Sun reporter Gina Davis says in her blog post (you are free to post a reply to it on the Sun site):

... One community activist, Laurie Taylor-Mitchell, whose son attends Ridgely Middle School (which recently completed a $13 million renovation, but still lacks air conditioning), drove home this point in a WBAL radio interview this week:

"They need just $900,000 to add air conditioning," she said. "They now have windows that don't open at all or that open only six inches. The temperatures are 10 degrees hotter than it is outside."

On Smith's role, she added that his decision to put the $12 million into other projects without seeing whether the school board might support adding air conditioning to some of these school, "creates resentment." -- more

County Executive James T. Smith Jr.County Executive Jim Smith
400 Washington Avenue
Old Courthouse Mezzanine
Towson, Maryland 21204
E-mail Address:

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

Parent activist and Jim Smith battle it out on WBAL

County Executive Jim Smith was on WBAL radio yesterday discussing the school board's decision to deny the Loch Raven High expansion. He is confused and disappointed. (Listen here.) Following that, Laurie Taylor-Mitchell, a parent who has been fighting the expansion, asked the station if she could respond with a different perspective. Her response was aired at least twice yesterday afternoon. She discusses why she feels Smith's position makes no sense. She also discusses the fact that HALF the schools in Baltimore County have no air conditioning (most surrounding counties have 100% AC) and that the excessive heat in the classrooms is causing health problems. (Listen here.)

I'm curious about Smith's decision to now use the money that had been allocated for the expansion for improvements at other schools -- repaving parking lots, etc. -- instead of putting it toward a brand-new high school, which is what I believe the experts say is needed. ... Or at the very least, how about for AC?

Story and details of which schools will get repaved parking lots and improved footbridges, etc., is here.

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

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sidewalk sale at Cross Keys

June 12-15. Details, kind of, here.

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

Jim Smith disappointed Loch Raven expansion was denied

Towson Families United reports:

In statement released today, Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith said he is “extremely disappointed” that the Board of Education refused to approve his plan for a 400-seat addition to Loch Raven High School. The plan, which was placed into the county budget without knowledge of most school officials, originally received Board approval earlier this year. But upon further review, Board members said the county executive’s pattern of “warehousing” students in large additions around the Beltway has to stop somewhere. -- more

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

From the Sidebar: Stop unwanted catalogs

More from the Flyer's right-hand sidebar:

According to the National Wildlife Federation, 19 billion catalogs are mailed each year to American consumers, which equals 53 million trees and 38 trillion BTUs used to produce this volume of paper—enough to power 1.2 million homes per year.

To help cut down on this pollution, and on the clutter in your house, you can go to Catalog Choice (the site was created by the NWF) and enter the customer numbers from catalogs you don't want. They do all the rest. I unsubscribed to about a dozen catalogs in just minutes.

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

Parents will help run schools in city

Sara Neufeld of The Sun reports:

Parents of Baltimore City students will soon be involved in evaluating their school principals. They'll be able to check homework assignments online. And they'll have summer classes of their own to learn what to expect when their kids go to middle and high school.

Baltimore school administrators unveiled last night an unprecedented initiative to get parents involved not only in the education of their children but also in the governance of their children's schools. -more

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

School board rejects Loch Raven High expansion

Gina Davis of The Sun reports:

The Baltimore County school board voted unanimously last night to rescind its approval of a proposed 400-seat addition at Loch Raven High School.

The board approved the addition during a meeting in February, after County Executive James T. Smith Jr. included the addition among construction projects for the coming year. Smith has supported additions as an economically feasible solution for crowding. --more


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

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Loch Raven High expansion reconsidered

Gina Davis reports in The Sun:

The Baltimore County school board is expected to reconsider a contentious proposal to build a 400-seat addition at Loch Raven High School at its meeting tonight and might quash the plan, the panel's president said in an interview yesterday. -- more

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

pajamas recalled because of lead (!) and other stuff

1. Backyard Leisure Recalls Swing Sets Due to Fall Hazard

2. Progress Lighting Recalls Ceiling-Mounted Indoor Light Fixtures; Lights Can Fall Posing an Impact Hazard

3. Crate and Barrel Recalls Shag Rugs Due to Fire Hazard

4. The Children's Place Recalls Camouflage Pajama Sets Due to Excessive Lead

Details here.

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

Monday, June 9, 2008

Tomatoes may have salmonella

Dennis O'Brien of The Sun reports: Supermarkets and restaurants across Maryland are removing tomatoes from their shelves and menus after federal health officials warned of a widening outbreak of salmonella caused by some varieties of the fruit. -- more

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

Crime report for June 2 - June 8

Here's what's going on in the sixth precinct. Nothing in Rodgers Forge, luckily.

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

From the Sidebar: Get rid of your unwanted stuff, and be green at the same time

Another item from the Flyer's right-hand sidebar ... is great resource for getting rid of anything you don't need anymore -- especially things that would be a hassle to get rid of, such as old washers and dryers. It's a listserv where you can "offer" items or post "wanted" pleas for items you're seeking. It's like CraigsList but everything is free. We've gotten rid of things like extra laminate countertop material, old basement lights and lots of baby gear.

The Baltimore Free Store will come pick up large loads of donated goods. They then give these things away at traveling "stores" throughout Baltimore. It's like Goodwill, but people don't have to pay anything for the items. The Free Store asks for a donation to pickup, or you can drop stuff at their building. Tax deductable. Added benefit over other donation places -- they can usually come get your stuff within a day or two, not in a month or two.

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

Would you rather have a linen closet in the bathroom, or a washer & dryer?

We're re-doing our bathroom this summer -- down to the studs. We're also going to reconfigure the linen closet. If it were you, living in a 3-bedroom townhouse, would you rather have a linen closet in the bathroom to store towels, cleaning products and all that, or would you convert the closet into a mini laundry room with small stacking washer and dryer?

(Each of the three bedrooms upstairs has a small closet; no other storage. Currently laundry is in the basement.)

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

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Homemade laundry soap: green and cheap

I just came across this post on a blog called cleanbread and I found it interesting. I was a bit confused at first because some of the terms were new to me (like "washing soda") so the author, Johanna, was kind enough to do a part II for me. Both links are below. Think I'll give it a shot.

"I have been making my own for a while now and really like it. I just calculated the cost, and it's about $2 or 3 for 160 loads! All our laundry comes out clean and smelling good, including diapers."

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

Teachers, parents try to get kids to unplug

Liz Bowie of The Sun reports:

When River Hill High School 10th-grader Kelsey Balimtas sits down to do her homework, her cell phone and computer are always right in front of her. She would like to stay completely focused on the textbook, but honestly, she says, she just can't.

Her cell phone calls to her with an irresistible buzz she can't ignore. She bounces from homework to text message to Facebook and back to homework. "I think the quality of my homework is decreased," she admitted.

And so do college professors and high school teachers, who say this constantly plugged-in generation is less able to focus on subjects that take deep concentration. They see students who are smart but can't write long papers very well; students who have more trouble paying attention in longer class periods and students who are disorganized. Their observations are supported by more than just anecdotes from the classroom; brain research shows that it is difficult to do many things at the same time. -- more

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

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Babywearing: learn to use a carrier/sling this Sunday

Bediboo in Lauraville (4321 Harford Road, down the street from Red Canoe) is having a babywearing class Sunday, June 8 from 1-3 p.m.

This is for you if...
--you have a baby carrier you aren't sure how to use
--it's uncomfortable to wear your child
--you'd like to learn about other kinds of carriers
--you want to do something new with the carrier you've got (e.g. nurse in it, or put the baby/kid on your back)
--you have a newborn and want help w/ proper positioning etc etc etc.

It will be mostly individual & small group help and problem solving. Feel free to pass this on to anyone! It is completely free and open to anyone.

(There's also a Lauraville block party this weekend.)

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

Friday, June 6, 2008

Slots will cause more problems and raise less money than proponents say


An economist and an expert on the gambling industry argued at a forum Wednesday that Maryland has overestimated the state’s net gain from the approval of slots and substantially underestimated its social costs.

“The people who propose this don’t really know what the costs are,” said Robert Goodman, a professor at Hampshire College and former head of the U.S. Gambling Research Institute. --more

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

County to fine landlords who defy inspection law


Baltimore County officials are threatening hefty fines on rental property owners who don’t have their units inspected and registered under a new law that takes effect July 1. Fewer than 10 percent of qualifying properties have complied with a new law requiring rental buildings with one to six units to be inspected, registered and licensed with the county, officials said. -more

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

Some Harford County schools closing early due to heat, and in Baltimore?

Most counties around here have air conditioning in all their schools. Not Baltimore County -- details here. Harford County is closing its non-AC schools early today.

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

Raising "green" kids seminar tomorrow

Raising Green Kids in the City: Wondering how to be a more eco-conscious parent? The Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance presents Raising Green Kids in the City on Saturday, June 7, 2008 at 1 p.m. at the Light Street Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library (1251 Light Street, Federal Hill).

Guest speakers include: Washington Post reporter Mary Ellen Slayter, author of the article “Greening Up Baby: For the Eco-Conscious Parent, How to Be Gentle on the Earth and the Wallet;” Karen Fedor, former organic certification manager for the Department of Agriculture; Deborah Cogan, Federal Hill mother of two and owner of Spoons Coffee Cafe, the first restaurant in Maryland to become certified green. As a leader in the Green Restaurant movement, she has made many strides in the areas of waste reduction, clean energy, water conservation, energy conservation, pollution prevention, and supporting local farms and the local economy.

Topics include how to shop responsibly for food, how to keep play areas safe from chemicals, how to handle the diaper dilemma: wash vs. toss, and what does organic even mean? Is it worth the money? Plus food, drinks, and many green giveaways.

This event is FREE. There is an suggested $5 donation to fund future parenting seminars and events for downtown families. RSVP to

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

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Crib mattress, explorer kits and phone batteries recalled

1. Simmons Kids Recalls Crib Mattresses Due to Entrapment Hazard

2. Polycom, Inc. Recalls Wireless Conference Phone Batteries Due to Fire Hazard

3. Children's Animal Tracking Explorer Kit Recalled by MindWare; Contains Chemical That Irritates Skin and Eyes

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

Towson software firm to be sold

Lorraine Mirabella of The Sun reports:

Towson-based ViPS, a health software company and unit of HLTH Corp., will be sold to General Dynamics Information Technology Inc. for $225 million in cash, HLTH Corp. said yesterday. -- more

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

Have a room with clouds painted on the ceiling? Make a quick $1,000

A location scout for commercials is looking for a room that has clouds painted on the ceiling (a kid's room, dining room, any room) in which to film a commercial. It would take one day and you'd get about $1,000. (Um, excuse me while I run to the paint store...)

The firm is fully insured, and Cathi Forbes of Towson Families United called me and vouched for him; he's set up commercials in her house before.

If you fit the bill, contact:
Jon Jolles
location manager
clorox- greenworks commercial
benzo creative

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

Let the yard signage begin!


After a federal judge struck down a Baltimore County law limiting the lifespan of political yard signs, civil rights advocates say they plan to target other Maryland jurisdictions with similar restrictions. - more

And while we're on the topic ... you can get yard signs for John McCain here and yard signs for Barack Obama here.

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Changes to Towson circle to begin this month

The Examiner reports:

Officials said Wednesday that they hope to complete new traffic patterns around the circle and reduce York Road between the roundabout and Towsontown Boulevard by June 18. The changes will add parking on both sides of a three-block section of York Road, slowing traffic and easing pedestrian access to businesses, shops and restaurants, said Nancy Hafford, director of the Towson Chamber of Commerce.

“We can’t stand ourselves, we are so excited,” Hafford said. “At every aspect of this process, we’ve had people from the business and residential communities and the county working together to come up with something for the good of the whole.”

I'm still not clear on what is being done to divert traffic from the circle. Signage? Actual changes to the roads? What will occur besides just reducing lanes?

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Charles Village residents question trolley

The Sun:

Residents of Charles Village questioned the city's plans to study the feasibility of adding trolley car service between the neighborhood and the Inner Harbor. -more
I would LOVE a trolley service to the harbor!

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Baltimore City to buy land from man who defrauded city

Lynn Anderson of The Sun reports:

Baltimore officials voted yesterday to pay more than $1 million for three parcels of land owned by Gilbert Sapperstein, a liquor license broker and ex-convict who pleaded guilty to defrauding the city school system in 2005. -- more

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Baltimore County has one of nation's highest graduation rates

Gina Davis of The Sun reports:

Baltimore County's public school graduation rate is the fourth-highest among the nation's 50 largest systems, according to a report issued yesterday by a national education news organization. Baltimore City was ranked 48th.

The county's 80.3 percent graduation rate compares with a national average of 70.6 percent and a state average of 73.6 percent, Education Week and county school officials reported. -- more

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Have you seen Hulu?

I know I'm a little in the stone ages since we don't have cable, but I thought this site was kind of cool. It's -- I heard about it on WYPR's Digital Cafe -- and it has a bunch of TV shows that you can watch in their entirety. I think it's only NBC and Fox, but they also have tons of old shows like Mary Tyler Moore and Welcome Back, Kotter. You can also watch movies in their entirety, such as Sideways and The Usual Suspects. All for free.

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"from the sidebar"
What parents of newborns should know

Another installment of From the Sidebar (the sidebar of the Forge Flyer, that is)...

The DVD "Happiest Baby on the Block" by Dr. Harvey Karp is amazing and makes all the difference when it comes to soothing your baby and helping him/her/you sleep better. He also has a book by the same title, but if you only have time for one, I'd pick the DVD. You can rent it for free for three weeks from the Towson Library.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tire Park at Patapsco Valley

One of my lovely Rodgers Forge neighbors sent me this the other day for the Flyer: "Max and I just returned from a day at the recycled tire park at Patapsco Valley State Park. VERY COOL! It's very shady, has bathrooms and it's something different. It is a trash-free park, though, so you have to take out your own trash. It's only 30-40 minutes away."

Here's a link with info and here's another.

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Pool-safety tips

Kate Shatzkin of the Sun mom blog has posted a list of pool-safety tips that would be helpful for any parents whose kids go swimming. All the more relevant, as I just read a tragic story of a toddler drowning in Anne Arundel County.

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Obama clinches Democratic nomination, AP reports

AP: ... The tally was based on public declarations from delegates as well as from another 15 who have confirmed their intentions to the AP. It also included 11 delegates Obama was guaranteed as long as he gained 30 percent of the vote in South Dakota and Montana later in the day. It takes 2,118 delegates to clinch the nomination. ...

Clinton stood ready to concede that her rival had amassed the delegates needed to triumph, according to officials in her campaign. They stressed that the New York senator did not intend to suspend or end her candidacy in a speech Tuesday night in New York. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they had not been authorized to divulge her plans. -- more

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"from the sidebar"
safety information

The right sidebar of The Forge Flyer has lots of helpful info. Here's an example:

: Here's a list of resources on fire safety (which kind of smoke detector to buy, creating escape plans, etc.).

Car seats: Did you know most car seats are installed incorrectly and are not as safe as they should be? Here's a list of places that will do a free check to make sure your seat is in right.

Submerged car: This is kind of a fear of mine, especially when I'm going north on 95/395 entering the city on that tall ramp. (The fear seems a bit less irrational after the bridge collapse in Minneapolis.) Here's an article on what to do if your car lands in water.

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Weekly crime report, including the 17 vehicles smashed on Hopkins

We already reported the car-smashing rampage that occurred recently, but here it is in black & white. Also in the report, cautionary tales about getting drunk. Here it is.

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Dollar Tree now takes Visa

I don't shop at Dollar Tree much -- because I am on the Consumer Protection email list and get messages about once a week that another dollar-store product was recalled for lead -- but they have great pool toys and these awesome bubble wands. We lose them after a use or two, so why pay a lot?

I was going to stop in the store today to get a pail and shovel for my daughter but then I remembered I had zero cash. Then I noticed they now take Visa. No minimum purchase. A friendly FYI from the FF.

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A fun game for kids

My son received the game Zingo for his 5th birthday and we think it's great. It's like bingo but you're competing for who gets to fill in the space. No reading required.

Even my 2-year-old daughter likes it because she can dispense the tiles for us in a real game. Or she and I will play but we won't compete and we'll just help each other fill in our cards.

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Stone Mill Bakery now serves dinner


When Stone Mill Bakery expanded its territory (both literally and figuratively) last spring, it got plenty of press for its new Gourmet to Go space. What had been a bakery best known for its artisan breads and wicked desserts started turning out many more soups, salads and sandwiches. It also added pizzas and entrees to its menu.

What you may not have heard about is that this spring, Stone Mill is serving dinner from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. every evening. No reservations are taken; but with the expanded seating and the beautiful patio in back overlooking the Green Spring Station's version of a sculpture garden, you shouldn't have any trouble getting a table. -- more

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Towson U to host Special Olympics

The Sun reports:

The 2008 Special Olympics Maryland Summer Games will be held Friday through June 8 at Towson University, featuring 1,500 athletes competing in aquatics, track and field, bocce and softball. -- more

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