Thursday, July 31, 2008

Woman blocks traffic in parking lot, then her keys are stolen and her car is hit

OK, obviously it's not funny that a car with kids in it was hit. But as someone who hates inconsiderate drivers (Oh, I think I'll just park my car in the middle of Calvert Street during rush hour and run into this convenience store for cigarettes!), this almost made me chuckle. Here's the story in The Examiner.


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

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Cougar-ish sighting on College Park campus

WJZ reports: Police say it's been seen numerous times on the campus, and the school is taking the sightings very seriously.

The description of the cat is light tan and tawny brown, about 4' long with a 4 foot tail, and weighing about 50 pounds. Several sightings have been reported from the area of Cole Field House, near the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, and continuing through the wooded areas to the area of the Comcast Center and Arena Drive Garage. --more


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Michael Phelps in the New York Times

Here's a link.


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Tugboat festival this weekend

The Baltimore & Chesapeake Steamboat Company alongside the Baltimore Museum of Industry are pleased to announce the First Annual Tug Fest on August 2nd & 3rd. The festival will take place on the grounds and docks of the Baltimore Museum of Industry from 10 am to 4 pm. For map, scroll below.

The Festival celebrates the rich maritime industrial heritage of Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay. The centerpiece of the celebration is the historic Steam Tug Baltimore. The Baltimore is the oldest operating steam-powered, coal fired vessel in the country. Focused around the central theme of "tug boats" will be activities, food and music directly related to the maritime environment. ... more info here


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Parents to get more control over kids' cell phones

New York Times: Nowhere is it written in stone that all teenagers must at some point run up their parents’ cellphone bills with 3,000 peak minutes, 5,000 text messages and enough new ring tones to fill the overnight slot on a college radio station. --more


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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Balto County schools get new board members

One board member was ineligible to serve again and a second resigned. Another was an Ehrlich appointee who was not allowed to stay on. Here's the story in The Sun.


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

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Extreme Makeover: The Foreclosure edition

Have you read the story about the family that got a brand-new mcmansion from ABC and then used it as collateral on a loan? They defaulted on the loan and now are losing their free home.

Washington Post: All the crying people did for the camera: They cried when television's magic wand touched them, and the hosts always cried, too, while telling the camera how good they felt making the dreams of the sick and wretched owners of substandard tract houses come true. Think of the many tears that were shed on American television over organized closets and new kitchen countertops.

Now comes a long period of tsk-tsk, and tut-tut. The schadenfreude potential is everywhere now in these newly sobered times, and it would be something if the Harpers would make themselves available for an entirely other kind of documented extreme makeover, penny by penny. -full story


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Cloth diapering workshop this Saturday

From Bediboo in Lauraville: This Saturday at 12:30-1:30 we will have our monthly diapering workshop. The class will cover folding a prefold (something I always wanted to be shown- not read on the internet!); discuss all your options, styles, brands, choices, etc.; environmental and economical benefits; and everyone's favorite topic: laundry!


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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

toy and rope recall



1. New England Ropes Recalls Climbing Lines Due to Fall Hazard

2. Wooden Toys Recalled by Earthentree Due To Choking and Strangulation Hazards ... details at cpsc.gov.


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Hearing today for teen accused of killing family

A hearing is scheduled to begin today determine whether a Baltimore County teen who is accused of killing his family should be tried as an adult.

Nicholas Browning was 15 when he allegedly killed his parents and two younger brothers as they slept in their Cockeysville home back in February. --more


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Monday, July 28, 2008

area crime

Karl Pfrommer sent this along:

From West Towson:

My housekeeper told me Friday, July 25, that someone came to our door one day last week and claimed to be a Verizon guy, there to check out the phone lines. He had no uniform or other type of identification, nor was there a Verizon truck visible. Another time, she said someone came by who claimed to be taking a survey. She never opens the door for anyone fortunately. I told her to immediately call the police if any such incidences occur in the future. And of course, I had a conversation with my 10 year old NOT to open the door for strangers.

I was one of those whose car was bumped over this morning. My stupid fault was leaving it unlocked! We leave lights on both fore and aft and have a dog that obviously hear the miscreants.
By the time I got through with the cops this morning, at least four cars on Roundoak were found to be burgled.

Alas, I forgot to lock my car up last night. (I live on Charles Street Avenue.) While I did lose about $3.00 in change-my aerobic bag with all of my music, certifications, and dances were stolen;so was my son's karate equipment. All told about $700.00!!! PLEASE remember to ALWAYS lock up!

From 5XX Allegheny Avenue SE corner of Allegheny at the Woodbine Avenue. This morning, Friday July 25, we noticed that someone had gone through the minivan last night. It appears that he (they) were looking for money more than anything else. We had couple of sunglasses, EasyPass, and the Satellite Radio face, and they are all there. From what we can tell, the only thing missing is bunch of change from the ashtray. All the material from the glove compartment was all over the floor.

In the past few months we have tried to be diligent about locking the car and house doors and setting our alarm for the nights. Also, we have a bright light that is on throughout the night around the cars. While this may look like some high school kids having fun, it is a little worrisome. I just wanted to to let you know, and please encourage our neighbors and friends to lock their car doors at nights.

Our new neighbors on Woodbine, across the street from us, had a laptop stolen from their car as well. Again, valuable item in an unlocked car.

Other Rodgers Forge incidents:

At 02:20 Sunday morning, July 27, a group of youths were discovered sitting on the middle field at DMS. A Jeep Cherokee was parked at The Snack Shack. After a flashlight was directed to their area and the vehicle, the individuals ran toward the west side of RFES . An empty magnum of alcohol was discovered where the youths had been. BCPD officers responded promptly to a 911 call. The units drove around the area, searching for the group. The officers checked the tag number of the Jeep Cherokee and phoned the owner. He said his daughter was the one driving the vehicle and he was coming to speak with the police.


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Parent/baby groups starting up again at GBMC

The free Tuesday group for parents of babies up to 8 weeks old will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Friday group (starting 8/5) for parents of children up to 1 year old will take place 10a-1p and costs $6 a class. Dee Dee will also do a class every other week for women with post-partum depression. Phone # for info. is 443-849-2229.


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No Sun business section


Friday was the last day for a stand-alone business section in The Sun. The Daily Record has taken note.


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Rally this Friday for Phelps and Hoff

The Sun reports that there will be a rally this Friday night in Towson for our Olympic hopefuls.


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Half-price parking permits at TU for hybrid drivers

Here's the story in The Examiner.


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

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Baltimore County schools getting wireless Internet

Gina Davis of The Sun reports that the county leads the region in getting its schools wireless. Here's the story.


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Dunkirk resident urges you to lock your car

I received this email today from someone who lives on the 300 block of Dunkirk:

"Good Morning!

I just wanted to send out a quick note to alert other residents... I went out to our van this am and it was obvious someone had gone through it. The compartments in our center console were open, the glove compartment was open and my registration packet was on the passenger seat, and my seat was folded all the way back.

Luckily there was nothing in there to take. There were some cds in a bin under our passenger seat that I don't think they opened or if they did, they didn't want what we had in there. Maybe they got off with 20 cents but that was it. No broken windows and they didn't tamper with my ignition.

I did call Baltimore County Police and filed a report. When I was leaving for work- I noticed that another neighbor's car looked like someone had gone through it (the doors weren't shut tight and from where I sit in the van, I could see the glove compartment was open) and my husband contacted them.

So just wanted to let you know. I know there have been crime alerts recently about keeping doors and windows locked. Just wanted to remind everyone about their cars too. We went to Target yesterday morning and when we got back, we didn't lock the car and we didn't use it the rest of the day. We very rarely leave it unlocked but will make sure that we double check now.

Just wanted to let you know."


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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Roland Park Barbie

My neighbor was just mentioning the various Baltimore-area Barbies. Kind of funny.

"Roland Park Barbie: This princess Barbie is sold only at Cross Keys. She comes with an assortment of Kate Spade Handbags, a Lexus SUV, a long-haired foreign dog named Honey and a cookie-cutter house. Available with or without tummy tuck and face lift. Workaholic Ken sold only in conjunction with the augmented version."

See the Columbia, Dundalk, etc. Barbies here.

Below is another version of Dundalk Barbie that my neighbor just sent to me. We are going straight to hell.


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Girls and math

The Examiner: Girls are scoring just as high in math as boys, according to a new study, suggesting programs encouraging girls’ participation in math and science are working.

Researchers hope this data will shatter a lingering perception that boys are better at math. --more


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Friday, July 25, 2008

Traffic delays on East Joppa Road

Details in The Examiner.


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Towson soccer starts soon

A note from our local soccer program:

Registration for the Towson United soccer program will be closing soon! Teams are forming now. Please go online and register if you haven't already at www.towsonsoccer.com.

There is space open in all age groups other then our co-ed clinic. Clinic is now accepting children for our wait list.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call or e-mail Lorie Kolesa, 410-377-2550 or towsonsoccer@hotmail.com. Please remember that this program is totally volunteer based and we are always looking for any time you can afford to give. See you in the fall!


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Purdum Pharmacy closed; Austin Pharmacy purchased their business

The owner of Purdum Pharmacy, Norton Grossblatt, has retired and the store is closed. Austin Pharmacy, just down the road at 6729 York Road (410.377.5300) has purchased their pharmacy business. That means if you had an account at Purdum, you now have one at Austin.

I never used Purdum's pharmacy, but I did use its postal services to mail packages and buy stamps. Unfortunately, Austin will not have those services.

Incidentally, not sure if it's related, but Grossblatt plead guilty earlier this year to Medicaid fraud.


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Get your tickets now for Fairy Princess Party

Go to Bediboo for more info.


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E-cycle event at Whole Foods tomorrow

Saturday, July 26, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Whole Foods in Mt. Washington
Bring Your E-Waste to our parking lot (near Starbucks). Free recycling services for your surplus personal computers and related devices to help protect the environment. Diverting toxic material from landfills, such as computers and monitors can reduce environmental contamination. Clean out your garage, or basement. Bring us your computers, phones, fax machines, wires and cables, printers, wires but no TVs.




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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Free parking on York Road not taking hold

Loni Ingraham has a story in the Towson Times saying that the new free parking spots on York Road in downtown Towson are not being used because the street is so busy it's hard to park, and because the one-hour limit makes it hard for restaurant patrons (not to mention people with kids going to the library).

So, they're going to change it to four-hour parking ... at least for now. Here's the story.


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Six recalls

1. Reebok International Ltd. Recalls Exercise Cycles Due to Laceration Hazard

2. Remote-Controlled Helicopter Toys Recalled by Innovage Due to Fire and Burn Hazards

3. Cost Plus Recalls Santorini Chairs Due to Fall Hazard

4. Kids II Recalls Infant Rattles Due to Choking Hazard

5. Horseshoe Magnets Recalled by Dowling Magnets Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

6. Pacific Science Supplies Recalls Magnets Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

www.cpsc.gov


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Mitt Romney for McCain's vp?

Interesting video from the NYT on a possible McCain-Romney ticket.


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Windmill in Phoenix being appealed

It would be great if people could look at the big picture here. In fact, I hope one day the Rodgers Forge board decides on windmill and solar-panel designs that would be appropriate for our homes. In fact, maybe they should be required so we don't have a random patchwork of changes.

Sun: Several Phoenix residents are appealing a decision by the Baltimore County zoning board that would allow a couple to build a 120-foot windmill on their property.

Neighbors say the windmill that Barry and Urszuela Antonelli hope to construct on their 97-acre property on Cooper Road would be an eyesore and would decrease their property values. -more


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Restaurant week starts July 26

Enjoy a variety of three-course dinners, in just about any cuisine that strikes your fancy, for only $30.08. Or try three-course lunches at select restaurants for just $20.08. And new this summer, many restaurants will also offer special culinary experiences, such as wine pairings, cooking classes, tasting menus and more. Plus, select Baltimore City garages are offering special $3-7 parking, and many hotels have special summer discounts and packages. So don't just eat and run. Stay awhile, and see what else is cooking in Baltimore.

http://www.baltimorerestaurantweek.com/?kwmid=4750269&kmcid=2034963375&match_type=


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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What about downed power lines?

This piece in The Sun today cracked me up. It's, in part, about the stilted language reporters sometimes use. Here's a conversation in newspaper speak:

"Frack: We had wide-ranging weather all season. One storm dumped more than seven inches of rain on our densely wooded lot, spawning hurricane-force winds and golfball-sized hail. Plus an unprecedented number of visitors arrived amid the facility restoration.

Hack: My, that must have sparked burgeoning confusion and decimated your plans for restoring your vacation site to a state-of-the-art facility. Was it sort of a defining moment?

Frack: It spurred a major shift in sleeping arrangements, triggered sweeping changes in the menu, and fueled a personal economic crunch.

Hack: What a chilling effect! How long were you beleaguered by this worst-case scenario?"

Full piece here.


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Resource for stay-at-home dads

From the Towson Times:

... Baltimore Dads, which has met once a week for nearly two years, now has an e-mail roster of 36 men.

Its meetings, which are informal gatherings on Wednesdays that are more like play groups, are held at individual homes, playgrounds, parks, libraries and places like the Maryland Zoo, Port Discovery and a strawberry farm in the country. -more

http://www.baltimoredads.org


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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

God fails to intervene against theft of St. Pius collection-plate money

ABC News reports that its security cameras shot footage of the armored-car robbers, and reports:

But some believe that camera wasn’t the only one watching. Carol Pacione is the Pastoral Life Director at St. Pius. She says, "God's watching everything, but he can't pull strings. So, this is just an incident that happened to us. We're not upset, we're fine. We've been well taken care of by the police, the people at Dunbar and our Archdiocese. Everything is okay."

A bit off topic, but that struck me as odd to hear from someone who works at a church. God can't pull strings? Well then, who can? Tony Soprano? And why do people pray? Is God up there shrugging, "What, again? I told you, there's nothin' I can do!"

Here's the full ABC story, including a photo slideshow that is very illuminating!


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Helicopter over Rodgers Forge at 10 p.m.

There's a helicopter flying around again. Police say there was a report of suspicious activity at Towson High, but it was just some kids walking around.


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Robert E. Lee Park bridge closed

Sun: An independent contractor recently completed a structural assessment of the bridge and identified several areas of concern. Although the park is in Baltimore County, it is owned by the city. It sits north of Mount Washington, adjacent to Lake Roland. -- more


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Pacifiers, lights, bikes recalled


1. Indoor Lighting Fixtures Recalled by Lithonia Lighting Due to Fire Hazard

2. It's MY Binky Recalls Personalized Pacifiers Due to Choking Hazard

3. Electra Bicycle Company Recalls Amsterdam Bicycles; Chain Can Derail and Pose Injury Risk to Riders

www.cpsc.gov


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Armed robbers headed toward Rodgers Forge ... lock your doors

Here's a Sun brief on the robbery.

Update at 4:30 p.m.: Police say the robbers still haven't been caught, but they think the suspects have probably left the area [unless they're in your basement hiding behind your water heater ...]. They advise keeping doors locked anyway; now and any time.

Update at 3:15 p.m.: I just spoke with police. The suspects are still at large. -Kris

From Karl Pfrommer:

A male and a female attempted to rob an armored car about 2:00 pm this afternoon. Police in patrol cars and a helicopter are searching for them as I type.

The suspects were wearing military type clothing. The man, who is black, was armed with a machine gun and the woman, also black, had a hand gun. They were last seen in the Channel 2 area heading toward Rodgers Forge. Overbrook Road and Hopkins Road are swarming with police officers.

If you should see ANY people that fit this description, call 911. Don't wait to ask or wonder.
Beware and call immediately.

Karl

Here's a brief from the local ABC station.


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Weird break-in in Wiltondale

From the Wiltondale citizens on patrol:

"There was a break-in on the 600 block of Wilton Rd. on Friday, July 18. Apparently, the man entered the home by removing a window A/C. He then made himself at home and was found the by owner, cooking chicken, listening to music and had been on the bed watching TV. Apparently, the owners had been having trouble with their flood lights and they were on during the day. Also, there were no cars in the driveway. I guess the guy thought they were away. He had two stories- He told the owner he was a worker from Lowes and then he told the police he thought it was his uncle's house and the front door was open. It sounds like the owner did the right thing and was calm about the situation, removing himself and calling 911. He was lucky! The man was arrested for breaking and entering.

I later found out that 2 people noticed this man waling through the pool parking lot and that others saw him through out the neighborhood- one even saw him sitting in the owner's front porch! I know it is hard to decide what is a good reason for calling 911. I am sure some people even feel like they are being judgemental about the way a person might look, but the main thing is, if you think something doesn't seem right, call the police. Please mention this past break-in and hopefully they will be understanding. You can also say you are calling on behalf of the Wiltondale COP.

Just this afternoon, I saw a women with her door open talking to a solictor. I still can't figure out why people open their door to strangers."


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Personal renewal group for moms

A Personal Renewal Group for Mothers is coming soon to Lauraville’s Bediboo boutique.

Supportive, nurturing and empowering, a Personal Renewal Group (PRG) is a life coaching program created specifically to guide moms in exploring and practicing how to 1) “reconnect” with who you are, 2) make well-being a priority so you can live, love and parent optimally and 3) experience greater life balance.

The program is based on the highly-acclaimed book from career/life coach RenĂ©e Trudeau, The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life.

Beginning October 2008 at Bediboo, and welcome to mothers at all stages of parenting, the 6-month renewal circle will meet twice a month (2nd and 4th Mondays) in the evenings, accommodating working moms.

The Personal Renewal Group provides mothers with the valuable opportunity to:
~Carve out much-needed time, just for YOU
~Focus on nurturing your “inner life” and create the life you desire from the inside out
~Enjoy regular, meaningful connection with like-minded women, in a small group setting

Stay tuned for registration details!


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Soy is dangerous?

I drink a lot of soy milk and eat a fair amount of tofu. My son used to have an allergy to milk so we gave him unsweetened, calcium-fortified soy milk, which he still likes and drinks even though his allergy is gone.

My dad just sent me a link to this book about the dangers of soy. I've heard a little bit about this before but never paid much attention. Guess I'd better read up. Anyone out there an expert on soy?


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Monday, July 21, 2008

Crime report for July 14-20

Here's the report, including this:

Unknown suspected entered through a back door. Once inside the suspect made communication with the female victim as she walked from another part of the house into the kitchen.

The suspect stated he needed to look in the basement because of some work that was being done to the alley. The male victim joined the 1st suspect and the female victim in the kitchen and then proceeded to the basement.

Another suspect joined them in the basement and appeared to be on a cell phone the entire time the suspects and the male victim were in the basement. The female victim stayed in the kitchen. At that time nothing was removed. The suspects left in a burgundy vehicle.

Later the victim’s called back and stated someone had ransacked and removed property from the upstairs. $10,000.00 and 1,500 coins; some rare and various values had been stolen.


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Study recommends pain relief for newborns

From The Examiner's health blog:

You may find this hard to believe, but I was taught in medical school (in the 1990s, not the 1920s) that babies don’t feel pain. This most often came up when we were doing circumcisions and we, squeamish and sensitive medical students that we were, asked our supervisors why we couldn’t use pain medicines for those poor screaming babies. “They aren’t crying because of pain, they are crying because they don’t like being held down,” I was told over and over. Yeah, sure. -- more
This comes just as my son has begun asking why his uncircumcised penis looks different than those of his circumcised friends. When I explained the whole thing, he was amazed anyone would get circumcised. Then I had to explain that it was a cultural thing and that some people think it's cleaner, etc. I don't think he absorbed all that, but at least he didn't seem worried that he's different.


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Delays on York Road in Lutherville today

Crews will be fixing a water main break. Read traffic details in The Sun.

(Read about the break here.)


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Sale at Kid to Kid consignment


Thursday, July 24th through Thursday, July 31st. Buy Two, Get One FREE on all markdown items, plus get an additional 10% OFF everything else in the store.

http://www.kidtokid.com/show_location.php?id=95

The store is near the Target in Cockeysville. If you're on York Road going north, go just past the Target and then turn right at the light on Cranbrook. Go about a mile. It's in the strip mall on your left.


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Friday, July 18, 2008

Free interior design seminar

August 13, 6 p.m.


Are you a “do-it-yourselfer” when it comes to decorating your own home? Do you want to live in a home that reflects your own personal taste? Do you wonder how to get started in discovering your own style?

Join Live Baltimore for a workshop created for those of us who can feel overwhelmed with trying to create the perfect room for our lifestyle. Even if you are not a born decorator, this workshop will help you gain confidence in the development of your personal style.

Register today for this workshop to receive a quick and easy overview of the design process. You’ll learn the principles of design – color, texture, balance - and how to apply them to any room or a whole house. Get ideas, inspiration and then let your imagination help you to create the home of your dreams!

Parking: Metered Street Parking

Space is limited! Register today!

http://www.livebaltimore.com/learn/


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Tide Point to have a farmers' market

Beginning July 24, Tide Point, the office complex located on the waterfront in Locust Point, will host a weekly farmer’s market. The market will have 4-5 farmers and producers offering fruits, vegetables, eggs, butter, cheeses, pasture-raised meats as well as baked goods, coffee, cut flowers and much more. Catch the market in the Tide Point Parking Lot 1040 Hull Street, every Thursday, 4-7pm through October 23, 2008.



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bottled water inversely proportionate to education

Bottled water in the country to our north is becoming less fashionable and some university students there are working to ban it on campus. An article of the latest Maclean's, the Canadian version of Newsweek, quotes a study from Statistics Canada (like our GAO) that says the people there who drink the most water are both wealthy and less likely to have attended college.

"People who are wealthy tend have the same likes and dislikes as people who are well-educated," the magazine says. "Not so with bottled water. The greatest consumers of bottled water in Canada are those with substantial incomes, but no more than high school education."


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Thursday, July 17, 2008

A great way to get away with murder

A note to anyone out to settle a score. Just get drunk and then run down the person you want to kill. Even if you get caught, you'll hardly serve any time in prison. Just read on:

The motorist who fatally struck a Towson University freshman in a hit-and-run while driving drunk in Towson in October pleaded guilty today to manslaughter and was sentenced to 18 months in the Baltimore County Detention Center.

Matthew David Miller, 26, of Loch Raven Heights, pleaded guilty in Baltimore County Circuit Court to one count of manslaughter by vehicle in the death of Kevin M. Ryan, 18, of Columbia, who was hit while walking on Hillen Road. -- full Sun story


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new school: Arts & Ideas Elementary

They're having an open house on July 26. Go here for details.

Here's a little bit of what they say on their site:

All growing children look for meaning and order; a child's demand to understand pushes the way ahead. In this way, they actively construct a rich understanding of the world. We believe students learn best at their own pace, unencumbered by compulsory lesson plans.

When they are given the chance, students tune to their individual gifts. By choosing each step, students own what they know. This is what it means to 'learn how to learn.'


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more on traffic calming in Rodgers Forge

Here's a story in the Towson Times that addresses the meeting last week at Rodgers Forge Elementary, which was recapped here. Also, the story below mentions that the islands can be landscaped or just concrete. My neighbor tells me that at the meeting people voted in favor of no landscaping because the community would be in charge of maintenance.

The traffic islands that address pedestrian safety are a first step in tackling the overall traffic problem, he said.

Speed humps are an option "that is still on the table," but they require a more complex approval process involving minimum counts of speeding traffic and consensus of 75 percent of the community.

Pedestrian safety devices such as the traffic islands don't have to meet that threshold, he said. -- more


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Artscape starts this Friday

July 18-20
The largest free public arts festival in the country, Artscape features 150+ artists, fashion designers and craftspeople; visual art exhibits on and off site, including exhibitions, outdoor sculpture, art cars, photography and the Janet & Walter Sondheim Prize; incredible live concerts on four outdoor stages; a full schedule of performing arts including dance, opera, theater, fashion, film, experimental music and performances by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; family events such as hands-on projects, demonstrations, competitions, children’s entertainers and multiple street theater locations; and a delicious, international menu of food and beverages that is available throughout the festival site. Details here.


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Baltimore moving closer to banning plastic bags

Stores will have to use paper (or, better yet, shoppers can use cloth bags). Here's the story in The Examiner.


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Do-it-yourself at Artscape

Artscape, which begins this Friday, will have a DIY section, the Sun reports.

Grey, a local ceramic artist, credits the art festival's decision to include the new section in large part to a major resurgence of the DIY craft movement. Rooted in the larger American DIY movement, which many believe began in the '70s punk scene, DIY subculture rebels against society's reliance on mass production and corporate exploitation of labor in developing countries and supports local businesses and eco-friendly living, she said.

"Members of the craft movement are generally people who value 'green' living and sustainability and want to reject big-box stores that help contribute to a lot of societal problems," said Grey. -more


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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pancakes for dinner

Charm City Moms has a recipe today for cottage cheese pancakes. Looks kind of interesting.


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

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Woman shot in Robert E. Lee park

Here's a brief in The Sun.


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County officials point to report to say no new high school needed

The report, though, does not take the base realignment numbers into account. Here's the story in The Examiner.


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Get your tickets now for Fairy Princess Party

Go to Bediboo for more info.


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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Yogurt containers taking over the world

We eat a lot of yogurt and it kills me that we can't recycle the containers. I just was on the Stonyfield website and they have a program where their containers get recycled into other products, such as razors. You can mail your containers to them and they'll recycle them.

Of course, that means more packaging, gasoline, etc., will be used just to get the containers to Stonyfield. I plan one day to get my act together enough to make our own yogurt. We've got the jars up in the attic; it's just a matter of getting them down. That involves pulling down a small ladder, climbing it, and looking around. Given all that, we should get around to it in the next 12-18 months.

Here's an interesting post about making your own yogurt, if you're interested. I'm looking forward to trying it.


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Changes to Towson roads on hold

The next stage, after the roundabout changes, is to make Chesapeake and Pennyslvania roads two-way instead of one-way. Some say this will make Towson more walkable and help businesses, others are not so sure. Also, it will cost $1 million to do so and finding that money will be difficult. (Why in the world would it cost $1 million? Isn't it a matter of changing some street signs and some paint markings on the road? I must be missing something here; please clue me in.)

Here's the story in The Sun.


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Monday, July 14, 2008

Coldwell Banker, manager of home with drug arrests, says tenant on way out

Neighbors report that the people living at 217 Dunkirk, some of whom were arrested in May after police said they found evidence of drug use, are still living in the house. This despite the fact that the landlord told the Towson Times they would be out by the end of June.

I spoke to Al Berrier today. He works for Coldwell Banker, which has managed the property for about 10 years. Although neighbors told police and Rodgers Forge officials that major drug dealing was going on and that there was a dangerous dog living at the residence, Berrier maintained that only marijuana was involved (police report notwithstanding). He said there is only one tenant on the lease, a Mr. Leavy (sp?), a man in his 80s who has "never been a problem." When asked if it wasn't a problem to have four or five unrelated people living together in violation of county code, Berrier said, "Mr. Levy lied to me. He told me one of them was his nephew. He had no idea any drug dealing was going on."

Berrier also said he questions the neighbors' complaints. "There've been a whole lot of BS-type of complaints," he said. "Big deal, a dog barked at you. It hasn't attacked anyone. Whenever someone said the dog had attacked someone, I asked for the story and they all backed down. ... I never got calls about drug dealing. I feel confident Mr. Leavy would not have allowed that to happen."

Neighbors are not so confident, and they fear that the tenants won't actually leave by the end of the month. But Berrier said he's already got the move-out walk through scheduled for the end of the month and that Leavy has found a new place to live.

"He's in the process of moving and that will be the end of it," Berrier said.

To recap, here's part of what ran in the Towson Times in May, 2008:

Neighbors, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals, said they witnessed what appeared to be drug transactions in front of the house. Cars would pull up and people would come out of the house and make an exchange through a car window.

A memo from Councilman Vince Gardina to residents in the neighborhood said that police had gone through the trash and were able to determine that there was drug activity at the home.

During the raid, police found heroin and cocaine residue as well as "needles and crack pipes." According to court records, police found multiple capsules containing drug residue.

And Citizens on Patrol had reported in May:

Police arrested two suspected drug dealers this morning, Monday, May 12 at 217 Dunkirk Road. RFCOP members had been watching activity at this rental house for several weeks and shared information with BCPD.

I received many emails from residents about several suspected rental houses; one with unsavory characters who had been conducting transactions in the street. (They had 5 vehicles.) Subsequently, RFCOP reported our suspicions to BCPD. Police asked us to discretely monitor the situation. The neighbors became COP members and furnished specific information for the police. A month later BCPD had completed their investigation, and very effectively too. Hence, the arrests this morning.


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Crime report, including burglary on Overbrook

200 block of Overbrook between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m.: "An unknown suspect opened a front window and entered the residence. The suspect took a laptop computer, wallet and cell phone from the dining room. The suspect exited through the front door." Full report here.


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Some of these "Examiners" freak me out

Do you ever read The Examiner online? (That's the only place I read it, actually, after having placed, oh, 20 calls to the paper to get them to finally stop delivering the paper version.) I don't understand the mug shots of their "Examiners" (columnists). Some look professional, like the "fashion examiner" and the "food examiner," but a lot of the others make the writers look like warmed-over death or total sleaze balls. Like, "Hey, dude, as long as we're here at Hooters, you wanna shoot a picture of me with your camera phone and email it to the editor?"

Could the paper not have some of its staff photographers shoot some decent pictures of these folks? Or are these shots supposed to make them seem more accessible?


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Roads near Artscape closed to traffic

Here are details from The Sun.


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New academic officer for county schools has her eye on the numbers

The Sun reports that Patricia Abernethy has a record of boosting exam scores. I know that's considered important, but I would have also liked to hear that she is passionate about sparking children's creativity and imagination. Of course we need the basics, but I hate to see our kids turn into a bunch of little calculators.

Morgan said she credits Abernethy with helping to increase the number of students in Washington County taking Advanced Placement courses and boosting the system's performance on statewide exams, such as the High School Assessments.

During Abernethy's tenure from 2002 to 2006 as deputy superintendent for instruction in Washington County, the system's performance on HSA exams went from among the state's lowest 25 percent to the top 25 percent, Morgan said. Last year, the county had the state's highest percent of students passing the algebra HSA, she said. --more


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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Baltimore air quality

Someone wrote to me today and asked where one could check Baltimore's air quality. If anyone else wants to know, too, I found this site:

http://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.showlocal&CityID=17


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

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Examiner to begin Sunday edition

Daily Record reports on The Examiner's reduction of delivery days and on The Sun's decision to eviscerate itself.

This weekend marks the planned launch of the Examiner’s Sunday edition, a part of a distribution overhaul that includes eliminating home delivery on all but two days of the week to save on printing costs.

Meanwhile, The Sun is reducing its newsroom staff by 20 percent, cutting its standalone business section and moving to a 50-50 advertising to news content ratio. The changes are part of a sweeping cost-cutting plan within its parent Tribune Co., which owns nine major daily papers. A total of 100 positions will be eliminated across The Baltimore Sun Media Group, which publishes The Sun and several community newspapers. -more


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Economy pushes stay-at-home moms back to the workforce

Jill Rosen has an interesting story in The Sun today about women who left jobs to be with their kids having to go back in order to cover their basic needs.

... Though it's impossible to say how many women are affected nationally, Maryland mothers who have immersed themselves in the world of juice boxes and playgrounds are putting resumes together, filling out job applications at malls, looking into day care licenses and watching other people's children for money during the day.

Their families need cash, and they're shelving their commitment to full-time parenting in order to get it. -- full story


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how to make cold brew iced tea

I was listening to the Splendid Table today on WYPR and there was a guest on who described how to make iced tea simply by putting tea and water in the fridge. I'm going to try it. Here's what he says to do.

I've gotten addicted to iced tea lately because it's more fun than water and I make it with almost no sugar so it's better for you than soda and healthier than diet drinks. Kids love it, too, especially peppermint or peach.


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topless t-shirts - cool idea

Sadly, I could use one of these now even though I'm not pregnant, but that's another story. Anyway, I was just on the Bediboo website and noticed these "topless t-shirts" that you wear like a tube-top around your pregnant belly. Great idea!


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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Deer to be hunted at Loch Raven reservoir

The Towson Times reported:

Two weeks ago, Democratic Sen. Jim Brochin, who represents the Towson area, and Republican Councilman Bryan McIntire, who represents much of the area to the north and east of Loch Raven Reservoir, advocated a managed hunt in a meeting with city Deputy Mayor Christopher Thomaskutty.

The county plans to hold at least one community meeting in the first half of August to explain the program to area residents. Markley said there will be opportunities for community input but said it is unlikely the managed hunt will be canceled.

Enid Feinberg, a Phoenix resident and one of three founding members of deersolutionsmd.com, said she was disappointed at the prospect of a hunt on reservoir property.

"If this wasn't so sad, it would be comical," she said.

Environmentalists brought in recently by Feinberg could find no evidence of damage caused by deer in wooded areas around the reservoir, she said. She also questioned the need for a hunt based on claims of overpopulation.

"There's no proof that we need this," she said. "There's no scientific data." -- full story


The Sun also ran a story today.


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Nursing store (Lactation Station) at GBMC closed

Thanks to Gretchen at Bediboo for passing this along; I hadn't heard. It's too bad, this was a great resource. (If you're in need of a nursing bra, Bediboo will soon sell them.)

The retail portion of the former "Lactation Station" store has been closed. GBMC will continue with all other support services provided by the store through the Parent Education Program. Lactation consultations, car seat installations, breast pump rentals and sales can now be arranged during designated hours. Please feel free to contact the Parent Education Program with any questions. 443-849-Baby (2229)


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Suburban farming

My husband, who has turned a large strip of our front yard into a vegetable garden, sent me this Wall Street Journal clip on suburban farming. With more people concerned about their food's carbon footprint -- and about its rising cost -- I bet this will become even more popular. I must say, it's really great to just go out to your yard to get the ingredients for a delicious salad for that night's dinner.


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Friday, July 11, 2008

UPDATED: Traffic-calming proposals for Rodgers Forge unveiled

Updated with new information: I spoke to a neighbor who attended the meeting. She said that the "refuge" islands are just one step in the process. After they're installed, the county is going to set up devices that will count the number of cars that use Dumbarton Road and the speed they're traveling. If officials deem them warranted, they may add speed bumps. She also said about 60-80 people attended the meeting.



I was not able to go to the meeting at Rodgers Forge Elementary tonight where they discussed the traffic-calming plans. But Karl Pfrommer left me mock ups and sent me this report:


"Rodgers Forge residents attended a meeting Thursday night to see the proposals for three traffic islands in front of the two schools on Dumbarton Road, the narrowing of the mouth of Pinehurst Road at Dumbarton Road, and a traffic island on Stevenson Lane at the Lanark Road crosswalk.

After the discussion all of attendees but three voted in favor of the proposals. Baltimore County requires signatures of the owners of seven properties most affected. Four of those owners were at the meeting and they all signed the proposal. If the plan is approved, only one half parking space will be lost in front of Dumbarton School on the north side of Dumbarton Road. One half parking space may be lost on Stevenson Lane at Lanark Road.

Two new ideas were introduced. A representative of the Rodgers Forge Elementary School PTA suggested modifying the wide curve on the east side of Regester Ave. at Dumbarton Road. The idea is to make it easier to cross Regester Ave. and Dumbarton Road.

A Brandon Road resident suggested converting Stanmore Road and Brandon Road to one way roads with diagonal parking on both sides. (Rear end into the curb, like it's done in Hamden.) The idea is to increase parking and reduce speed.

Neither of these ideas were approved. They may be considered."
Since I wasn't there I should probably not say too much. I really appreciate Don Gerding and others' efforts to remedy the speeding/crazy driving situation. But I do wonder if these would actually slow traffic that much. I know the little islands on Stevenson east of York that you encounter if you're on your way to Target (pictured above) don't slow me down at all and everyone I've talked to about it concurs. I think islands need to be designed such that you have to maneuver around them in order to really slow you down. I also worry about my kids standing on a concrete island with traffic zooming by so close.

The plan for Pinehurst where it deposits onto Dumbarton is to narrow the intersection to discourage people from turning around there and from going down Pinehurst the wrong way. See earlier post on this here. You can also go here to see the county's traffic-calming site and click on the "neighborhood traffic management program" to get more info.

Did you go to the meeting? What are your thoughts?


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Vin closing (temporarily?)

Vin in Towson is closing as of August 3 because of construction around the circle. But its chef, Chris Paternotte, is leaving for good, apparently. I liked Vin, though I hated it when they had their TV screens set to sports instead of to flowers. Kind of kills the upscale mood.

Here's info from The Sun's restaurant blog.


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

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Baltimore County 4-H Fair is going on

Through July 13. Here are details.


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

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Balt Sun killing its business-news section

Another addition to the "No, really, less is more!" file ... The Maryland Daily Record reports:

Before the newspaper is completely revamped at the end of August, business coverage will appear behind the Maryland section of the newspaper. Business will be afforded about the same amount of space as on Saturdays, roughly two pages of news and a stock page.

When The Sun launches its redesign, Bernie Kohn, assistant managing editor for business, told his staff that business coverage will shrink to two pages inside a new general news section. In an e-mail to his staff on June 30, Kohn said daily business coverage will focus on local stories, with theme pages moving to the overhauled features section. -more


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Police cracking down on bad drivers on York Road, etc.

The Sun:

As part of a pilot project being watched by state and federal officials, the county Police Department is stepping up enforcement of traffic laws in corridors with high rates of crime and crashes.

Since March, the county has increased patrols in six such corridors - Liberty Road, Baltimore National Pike (U.S. 40 west), Reisterstown Road, York Road, Eastern Avenue and Bel Air Road (U.S. 1 north). The Crash/Crime Corridor Program is part of a broader effort to crack down on aggressive drivers. --more


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Towson teen charged with killing his mom has trial date

The Examiner:

The Towson teen accused of beating his mother to death with a baseball bat waived his right to a speedy trial at his first appearance in Baltimore County court Wednesday.

Lewin Powell, a 16-year-old McDonogh School honors student, appeared in court wearing sweat pants and a gray “Bad Boys” T-shirt, quietly responding to questions from Circuit Judge Kathleen Cox with “yes, ma’am,” and “no, ma’am.” -- more


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No new school or AC, but better parking lots

The Examiner reports:

In what critics are calling a not-well-thought-out decision, the Baltimore County Board of Education voted Tuesday evening to forge ahead on a list of renovation projects that will be paid for with money previously earmarked for the expansion of Loch Raven High School. - full story


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Meeting tonight about traffic changes on Dumbarton and Stevenson

Tonight (Thursday, July 10) at 7 P.M., a meeting regarding finalizing traffic calming measures on Dumbarton Road will be held at the Rodgers Forge Elementary School cafeteria. All Rodgers Forge residents and other interested parties are welcome to attend.

Don Gerding, our community association’s Governmental Affairs chairman, will lead the meeting, with the goal that decisions as to where and what will be installed to calm traffic can be finalized. Baltimore County Traffic Engineering personnel will be on hand to show drawings and openly discuss the proposed methodology in detail. The area in question is Dumbarton Road, running from the westernmost boundary of the elementary school to the easternmost boundary of Dumbarton Middle School.

The meeting will also address the crossing at Lanark Road and Stevenson Lane.


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Thumbs up for Camp Dulaney

My 5-year-old son did one session at Camp Dulaney this summer and he loved it. (It's an offshoot of Dulaney Day School, which he didn't attend.) It was two weeks of morning sessions. It's on seven wooded acres and they got to go walking in a stream (and learn how to avoid poison ivy) and go hiking and do lots of neat projects.

He's often not very talkative about his days ("What did you do in school today?" ... "Oh, nothing.") but when I'd pick him up from camp he'd tell me all about what they did and say, "It was a lot of fun!"

I really loved that it was so shaded, too. I didn't have to put sunscreen on him or worry about him getting burned. On my way back from camp every morning I'd drive by Camp Bravo at Towson University (which I've heard good things about) and see all the little kids in the blazing sun and feel kind of bad for them.

If you need all-day care then I don't think Camp Dulaney would work, but if not, I'd give it a look for next summer.


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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Crossing at Lanark and Stevenson to be discussed

In addition to the plans for traffic calming on Dumbarton Road, the meeting at Rodgers Forge Elementary tomorrow (July 10 at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria) will also address the crossing at Lanark Road and Stevenson Lane.


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

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Petition for new high school presented to board

David Marks reports:

At the July 8 Baltimore County Board of Education meeting, the Perry Hall Improvement Association presented a petition with approximately 1,600 signatures in support of a new high school. It is not too late to add your names. Visit www.newhighschool.net, and click on "How You Can Help."

Contact David Marks at dmarks@att.net if you have any questions.


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Economy boots coupons' popularity

I heard the author of this article on NPR yesterday. There's a whole world of coupon clipping out there that I never knew about. I'm not big on coupons, largely because I don't often buy the products that offer them, but also because I'm too disorganized to remember them.

On a recent grocery shopping trip, Rochelle Hamby and her husband filled up a shopping cart with items that included steaks and lobster. Her bill came out to $14.

Hamby's pantry looks as if it could survive an apocalypse.

Using clipped-out newspaper coupons, deals she discovered online and her own aggressive shopping methods, she's filled the shelves with laundry detergent, toilet paper and soup. Her garage freezer is full of Angus sirloins and T-bone steaks, which, with a Wall Street trader's acuity, she stocked up on at rock-bottom prices. -more


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Meeting tomorrow about traffic changes on Dumbarton Rd and Stevenson Lane

On Thursday, July 10 at 7 P.M., a meeting regarding finalizing traffic calming measures on Dumbarton Road will be held at the Rodgers Forge Elementary School cafeteria. All Rodgers Forge residents and other interested parties are welcome to attend.

Don Gerding, our community association’s Governmental Affairs chairman, will lead the meeting, with the goal that decisions as to where and what will be installed to calm traffic can be finalized. Baltimore County Traffic Engineering personnel will be on hand to show drawings and openly discuss the proposed methodology in detail. The area in question is Dumbarton Road, running from the westernmost boundary of the elementary school to the easternmost boundary of Dumbarton Middle School.

The crossing at Stevenson and Lanark will also be addressed.


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

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Cross Keys shopping center said to be up for sale

Andrea Walker of The Sun reports:

... David Keating, a spokesman for General Growth Properties Inc., declined to discuss any sale of Cross Keys. But merchants said they were told during a meeting in the spring that the four-decade-old retail center was on the market.

Analysts and real estate experts said Cross Keys is a good candidate for sale because it's so distinct from the rest of General Growth's portfolio of mostly large suburban malls, such as Towson Town Center and The Mall in Columbia. --full story


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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

JFX and B-W Parkway closures

Parts of JFX will close on Thursday and parts of B-W Parkway will be closed tomorrow (Wednesday).


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

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Man committed suicide in parking lot on York Road

Here's a short article in The Sun.


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

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Stay away from that beltway

The beltway between York and Dulaney Valley Road will be temporarily closed beginning tomorrow night. Here's a story in the Examiner.


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

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reminder: Meeting this Thursday about traffic calming on Dumbarton Road

On Thursday, July 10 at 7 P.M., a meeting regarding finalizing traffic calming measures on Dumbarton Road will be held at the Rodgers Forge Elementary School cafeteria. All Rodgers Forge residents and other interested parties are welcome to attend.

Don Gerding, our community association’s Governmental Affairs chairman, will lead the meeting, with the goal that decisions as to where and what will be installed to calm traffic can be finalized. Baltimore County Traffic Engineering personnel will be on hand to show drawings and openly discuss the proposed methodology in detail. The area in question is Dumbarton Road, running from the westernmost boundary of the elementary school to the easternmost boundary of Dumbarton Middle School.


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

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Top 10 places for lunch outdoors

From The Sun's food critic Elizabeth Large. I love lists like this.


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What do you think of the Towson Library book drop?

I recently wrote to the Towson Library asking if they might consider moving or adding another book drop location. I often have to return books after the kids go to bed or while they're in the car with me. The book drop is in a secluded location that I don't like being in after dark alone, and it's a bit too far to go and leave the kids in the car. I was hoping they might add one that's a bit more accessible, such as under the skywalk to the parking garage.

If this is something you'd like to see, you might want to contact them.

Here's the response I received:

Thank you for your recent email. We have heard comments like yours and we understand your concerns about using the return drop. We are currently considering alternative solutions that would allow easy access for customers, while safeguarding returned materials as well.

Regarding the current location, when 24 hour return drops were placed at libraries years ago, it was decided that a fire resistent room was needed inside, and this was the only spot that planners saw as a feasible location. However we hope to experiment with other options soon.

I'll take this opportunity to remind you that many materials are eligible for a renewal, either online, or by calling our Shelf-Help line at 410-494-9063. I hope that we can continue to serve you as we work toward finding a better option for this convenience serve.

Sincerely,

Jennifer H.

Jennifer C. Haire
Towson Library Manager
Baltimore County Public Library

320 York Rd.
Towson, MD 21220
410-887-6166

jchaire (at ) bcpl.net


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Fourth of July police helicopter over Rodgers Forge

Update: Police say he was found and is fine.

Helicopter is searching Rodgers Forge right now - 10:25 p.m. - looking for a teenage boy with mental-health issues who walked away from his home, police say. They are worried about his safety.


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Monday, July 7, 2008

Latest Towson crime report

Several armed robberies and a shooting, none in Rodgers Forge. Here's the report.

Karl Pfrommer of Citizens on Patrol also reports that a house on Blackburn Court was burglarized (via the kitchen window) while the residents were home.


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Baltimore City looks at extending school day

Ugh, aren't kids confined to school for long enough as it is? I'd be for this, if it included a two-hour recess, which would be great for kids.

The Examiner: Mayor Sheila Dixon wants the school day expanded by two hours — but she isn’t sure how to pay for it.

“I’d like to have the school day expanded, from 7:30 to 4:30,” she said in an interview with The Examiner. “The KIPP Academy has a long day like that. I think kids need the extra support. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while.”

Dixon’s statements came as she tries to think of new ways to keep Baltimore’s youth involved in activities and away from crime. --more


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Joe Hairston bemoans funding structure and criticizes addition to Loch Raven High

Fascinating Q &A with Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Joe Hairston in The Examiner today. I just don't understand why he's kept so quiet during all this. Or maybe I do (job security?) but it's disappointing.

I think the county needs to do a serious overhaul of its governmental system. It's amazing that our county executive has so much concentrated power. That should change, no matter who gets elected next time.

Q: Overcrowding has been a hot-button issue, especially in Towson-area elementary schools. What’s being done?

A: I’ll have to work with the funding agency, and that is the county government. That’s one of the unfortunate conditions that exist in the state of Maryland — our funding structure. In my previous district [Clayton County, Ga.], I had the same funding authority as the county executive. We could tax, we could hold referendums. The school system had fiscal autonomy. In Maryland, it’s a lot different. One of the issues that has plagued us over the years is our sheer volume; roughly 60 percent of our schools are over 45, 50 years old. It costs a great deal of money, and there’s only so much to go around.

Q: County Executive Jim Smith took some heat for pushing an addition at Loch Raven High instead of a new school. Which is more appropriate?

A: The addition was never our preference. If you look at the site itself, it’s sitting right next to a road. If you don’t know anything about running a schoolhouse, an addition on that site would be a nightmare. -- full article


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Nature Camps land sold, but camp to remain

The Sun:

Back at Nature Camps on a recent afternoon, all these details seemed distant. Kids ages 4 to 16 (with the occasional 3-year-old) romped through streams, climbed on ropes courses and took part in activities in a laid-back atmosphere.

"We've tried a lot of camps, but this is the only camp that really works for my kids," said Nancy Hudes of Owings Mills, whose charcoal-covered son Paul was joined at the camps by his brothers Seth, 5, and Matthew, 7. "I think it's just the freedom - I know it sounds silly - but just the freedom to dig in the dirt." -more


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$600K for this? Are you kidding me?

UPDATE 7/7/08: Now it's down to $549,000. Hey, that's a bargain at half the price! I see that Sardelli Realty owns 6110, 6112 and 6114 Bellona. The only one with a price is 6110, for which they paid $495,000 in 2006. I'm guessing that's because it was a house on a large lot that they tore down and subdivided.


I drive by this house at 6114 Bellona almost every day and have been curious about it. The house appears to embody all that is crap about new-construction homes: the garage is the main focal point, there's no landscaping, no imagination, etc.

I looked today and they're asking $599,000. (Update: Now it's down to $579,000.) Here's the best part. The Realtor's description of the house begins with, "Suburban living at a city address." Yeah, that's just what I always wanted. An ugly house with a small yard on a busy street in a city whose taxes are double those of what I'd be paying six blocks away. Isn't one of the main points of being in the city the fact that you usually get a house that has more charm and character?


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The bigger problems with bottled water

I recently heard the author of Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It on NPR. Sounds like a very interesting book. Kind of mind-blowing when you think about all the problems associated with bottled water, aside from simply the non-biodegradable garbage they produce. And for anyone interested, here's where you can find Baltimore's 2007 water-quality report that tells you what is and isn't floating around in our tap water. (Click on "water quality report" on the right-hand side of page.)

In the follow-up to Garbage Land, her influential investigation into our modern trash crisis, Elizabeth Royte ventures to Fryeburg, Maine, to look deep into the source—of Poland Spring water. In this tiny town, and in others like it across the country, she finds the people, machines, economies, and cultural trends that have made bottled water a $60-billion-a-year phenomenon even as it threatens local control of a natural resource and litters the landscape with plastic waste.

Moving beyond the environmental consequences of making, filling, transporting and landfilling those billions of bottles, Royte examines the state of tap water today (you may be surprised), and the social impact of water-hungry multinationals sinking ever more pumps into tiny rural towns. Ultimately, Bottlemania makes a case for protecting public water supplies, for improving our water infrastructure and—in a world of increasing drought and pollution—better allocating the precious drinkable water that remains.


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Sunday, July 6, 2008

County Council to vote Monday night on school funds

The Baltimore County Council is scheduled to vote Monday, July 7, on using the funds originally set aside for the addition at Loch Raven for other school projects. Jim Smith, in what I can only imagine is an "Oh, yeah? Take that!" move, has said they will use the money mostly to repave school parking lots. Repaving projects were requested by BCPS, but no one has - to my knowledge - said these were at the top of the list. Meanwhile, many schools have no AC (and windows that barely open) and there seems to be no plan to relieve overcrowded high schools now that the addition hasn't happened. For more info, visit this website, which includes council members' contact info.

The Sun: In recent weeks, some Baltimore County parents have expressed outrage that County Executive James T. Smith Jr. decided to redirect $12 million - which recently became available after the school board rescinded its approval of plans to expand Loch Raven High School - toward "site improvement" projects, such as repaving and expanding parking lots and rebuilding tennis courts. ...

School board President JoAnn C. Murphy said there has been "strong sentiment" among the panel that air conditioning deserves greater attention because "it does have a direct impact on student achievement." --more

And here's a story in the Towson Times:
... On Oct. 10, parents say they recorded a reading of 90 degrees in a second-floor classroom when it was 80 degrees outside.

This spring, on June 9, they recorded a classroom temperature of 96 degrees.

... Meanwhile, students are not allowed to bring water bottles into classrooms, said seventh-grader Haley Mullen at a school board meeting June 10. And the school system has not provided fans ... more


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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Congressman Sarbanes virtual town hall July 7

Sarbanes says: "On Monday, July 7th at 7:10 P.M., I will be holding a Virtual Town Hall, via telephone, so that I can answer your questions and share my thoughts on how we can work together to fix the problems facing Maryland's Third Congressional District.

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

Today's posts are sponsored by kids' store Bediboo in Lauraville.


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Friday, July 4, 2008

Wa-wa-wa!

The Examiner: Customers at a convenience store in Harford County saw an unusual sight amid the coffee and doughnuts Friday morning - a couple saying their "I dos."

Scott Gaddis and Cindy Richardson got married at the Wawa in Abingdon, where they go every day for coffee. -more


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Jalepeno peppers suspected in salmonella illnesses

Sun:

Investigators are seeing more signs that the salmonella outbreak blamed on tomatoes might have been caused by tainted jalapeno peppers and have begun collecting samples from restaurants and from the homes of those who have been sickened, according to health officials involved in the probe.

New interviews with those who became infected found that many had eaten jalapeno peppers, often in salsa served with Mexican food, according to two state health officials. So far, none of the jalapenos taken from restaurants and from the homes of those who became ill have tested positive for Salmonella saintpaul. -more


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Meeting July 10 about traffic calming on Dumbarton

On Thursday, July 10 at 7 P.M., a meeting regarding finalizing traffic calming measures on Dumbarton Road will be held at the Rodgers Forge Elementary School cafeteria. All Rodgers Forge residents and other interested parties are welcome to attend.

Don Gerding, our community association’s Governmental Affairs chairman, will lead the meeting, with the goal that decisions as to where and what will be installed to calm traffic can be finalized. Baltimore County Traffic Engineering personnel will be on hand to show drawings and openly discuss the proposed methodology in detail. The area in question is Dumbarton Road, running from the westernmost boundary of the elementary school to the easternmost boundary of Dumbarton Middle School.


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Where all those little flags came from



A longtime Rodgers Forge resident, who didn't want to be named, was responsible for buying and putting out all the American flags you see blanketing the neighborhood. He declined money from the RF board for the flags because it is something he feels strongly about and he wanted to contribute to his community.


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Towson Fourth of July Parade happens rain or shine

The weather isn't looking too great, but the parade starts 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.


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Residents say money set aside to solve school crowding should be used to ... solve crowding

Or at the very least, they say, use it for something more pressing than repaving school parking lots, which is what most of the money will now be used for, after the Baltimore County School Board rejected plans to expand Loch Raven High. Such as adding air conditioning to schools, especially those where the windows barely open.


I found this quote in The Examiner to be quite revealing:
At a council work session Tuesday, school system budget director George Sarris said the [paving] projects were worthwhile.

“Every day, parents are picking up and dropping off students and maneuvering between buses and car traffic,” Sarris said. “Interestingly, aside from air conditioning, these are the types of projects parents most comment on.” -more


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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Kids' beds from Costco, fireworks and kids' jewelry recalled



1. Bayside Furnishings Recalls Youth Bed Toy Chests Sold at Costco After the Death of a 22-Month-Old Child

2. Fireworks Over America Recalls Fireworks Due to Shock Hazard

3. Children's Jewelry Recalled by Bead Bazaar USA Due to Risk of Lead Exposure

4. Black Cat(r) Fireworks Recalls Fireworks Due to Injury Hazard

... details ...


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Eat your beets! (And other foods you never touch)

My husband sent me this story in the New York Times of the top 11 foods you should eat but don't. He has converted me into a fan of beets, or at least of his beet-and-feta salad. I always hated beets before. Though I will under no circumstances eat a sardine.

Beets: Think of beets as red spinach, Dr. Bowden said, because they are a rich source of folate as well as natural red pigments that may be cancer fighters.
How to eat: Fresh, raw and grated to make a salad. Heating decreases the antioxidant power.


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A site for those advocating a new high school in Northeast

There is a website for those advocating a new high school in the Loch Raven area. Check it out here.

Myth: "I'm not standing in the way of a new high school...The stats are standing in the way of a new high school.” – County Executive James T. Smith, Jr. (Northeast Booster, February 1, 2006)

Fact: The County Executive has continued to block progress on a new high school. In the May 4, 2007 edition of the Times-Herald, the County Executive's spokesman said, "At the current time, there is no need for a high school in the northeast area." The spokesman said that adding onto existing high schools would solve the problem. The county has added a 150-seat addition to Eastern Technical High School, is adding 400 seats to Kenwood High School, and is proposing another 400-seat addition to Loch Raven High School. However, despite these additions, projections show that area schools will be overcapacity by 2016.

Myth: The Board of Education has not requested a new high school.

Fact: The DeJONG report, which was authorized by the School Board, specifically recommends the construction of a new high school. The School Board recommended funding to buy the land for a new high school, but the county government has not done so yet. Design and construction dollars cannot be requested until a site is found.


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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Flip-flop shoes can be bad for you

New York Times:

... Researchers from Auburn University in Alabama studied the biomechanics of the flip-flop and determined that wearing thong-style flip-flops can result in sore feet, ankles and legs.

“We found that when people walk in flip-flops, they alter their gait, which can result in problems and pain from the foot up into the hips and lower back,'’ said Justin Shroyer, a biomechanics doctoral student who presented the findings to the recent annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Indianapolis. --more


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County residents encouraged to fight reallocation of school funds

From the head of the Chatterleigh Assoication: As reported in the Baltimore Sun today [here's a link; scroll down to second half of story], a reallocation request for the $12 million dollars designated for the Loch Raven addition was inserted into the agenda of the County Council's work session. These funds have been taken away from their original purpose, to relieve overcrowding of the high schools.

The list of 42 alternative projects, mostly repaving projects, was devised by Jim Smith. While these projects have been requested by the Board of Education and by BCPS before, they present only a portion of the list of previously unfunded projects.

This fast tracking for funding of these 42 projects, brought up just before a holiday weekend for a probable vote next Monday, leaves no time public input and review, or for a timely review by County Council members
.

Please call or write your County Council member and ask that a vote on this reallocation request be tabled until the County Council, Board of Education members, and the public, have time to review and comment on this list.

Now is the time to act if you and/or your organization think that these funds should be used primarily for overcrowded schools, rather than repaving projects. Those repaving projects involving student safety deserve separate funding, not at the expense of dealing with our overcrowded schools!

Thank you,
Laurie Taylor-Mitchell
Vice-President, Chatterleigh Association

County Councilman Sam Moxley, Council1@baltimorecountymd.gov

County Councilman Kevin Kamenetz,
Council2@baltimorecountymd.gov

County Councilman T. Bryan McIntire, Council3@baltimorecountymd.gov

County Councilman Ken Oliver, Council4@baltimorecountymd.gov

County Councilman Vince Gardina, Council5@baltimorecountymd.gov

County Councilman Joe Bartenfelder, Council6@baltimorecountymd.gov

County Councilman John Olsewski, Council7@baltimorecountymd.gov


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Wind turbines could get easier to build in Baltimore County

I think this is exciting. Let's get with the times! Laura Barnhardt of The Sun reports:

Windmills used to provide power to houses would be regulated under a measure being considered by Baltimore County lawmakers.

The proposed resolution, introduced by Councilman Vincent J. Gardina, directs the county Planning Board to propose amendments that would regulate the location and use of windmills for residential energy. - more


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Vacation Bible School

"Immanuel Lutheran Church (Loch Raven Blvd at Belvedere Ave – across from Good Samaritan Hospital) will hold Vacation Bible School July 14th - 18th from 9:00 am to 12 noon. All children age 3 (toilet-trained) through rising 6th graders are welcome. Interested middle-schoolers are invited and encouraged to help. Registration forms are available by mail from Immanuel’s church office (410 435 6861) or by email from ale1993@msn.com (please place VBS in subject line). Any questions may be directed to Amy Elbers 410 296 8831 or ale1993@msn.com. Please reserve a space by contacting Amy Elbers ASAP. SEE YOU THERE!!!!"


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