Sunday, January 31, 2010

Single-stream recycling begins Monday

Woo-hoo! More details are here.

No plastic bags!

Didn't recycle before but want to start now because it's going to be so easy? Find out which day your recycling gets picked up by downloading your schedule here. These are the old schedules that alternate between paper and bottles, but at least at my house, the recycling day hasn't changed, so on those days you can set out mixed containers.

Here's a story about what happens to much of that recycled material, by Meredith Cohn of The Baltimore Sun.

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

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I can't stop laughing

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

Princess & the Frog necklaces from Wal-mart recalled

Hazard: The recalled necklaces contain high levels of cadmium. Cadmium is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects.

Description: The recalled jewelry is shaped as a metal crown or frog pendant on a metal link chain necklace in a crown hinged box. The packaging has the words The Princess and the Frog on it ... more

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

Friday, January 29, 2010

HGTV wants to see Baltimore-area kitchen renovations

Hey, let's see some of those Rodgers Forge-Baltimore renovations on HGTV! (Anyone want to buy me cable?) This was sent to someone in the Riderwood area who forwarded it along:

I am now casting for Season 4 of HGTV's Bang For Your Buck. We are going to be filming in Baltimore, MD, on March 8-11. We're looking for three recent (completed within the last 2-3 years) Kitchen renovations between $20k-$120k in the greater Baltimore area to feature on our show.

I am hoping that you will be able to help us out again by sharing this information with your community members. Feel free to contact me via email or phone with any questions you may have. I really appreciate it!

Thanks so much,

Cyndi Ortiz
Casting AP | HGTV’s Bang For Your Buck
High Noon Entertainment
4100 E Dry Creek Rd | Centennial, CO 80122
Office: 303.712.3177 | Cell: 757.817.7157
Watch "Bang For Your Buck” Fridays on HGTV at 9:30/8:30c!

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

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Redistricting recommendation made; not yet public

Assistant Superintendent Barbara Walker told me in an email today:

"I have made my recommendation to the Superintendent. The recommendation is first presented at the Board meeting on February 9 and then released the next day to involved schools and interested parties who make a request. Therefore, I cannot release the information until after the first Board meeting."

There will be a public meeting with the Board of Education on Feb. 24 where the public can speak about the recommendation. Then the board will vote on the recommendation on March 9. (The Feb. 9 meeting is open to the public, too.)

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

Senator Theatre to go to Charles Theater or Towson U

The Baltimore Sun: Baltimore's 71-year-old Senator Theatre will either continue as a full-time movie venue or morph into a performing-arts center and home to Towson University's WTMD radio, officials of the agency charged with mapping its future announced today. -- full story

Here's a video that TU did to support its bid:

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

Rodgers Forge Apartments seek shuttle bus to Towson U

Here's an email that was sent yesterday from TU to the Rodgers Forge Association:

"I wanted to bring to your attention that the management of the Rodgers Forge apartments has recently been in touch with our transportation services director to request possible TU shuttle service to the Rodgers Forge apartments, which currently house about 200 TU students, faculty, staff.

The route has not been designed yet, but our best guess is that it would be direct to the apartments (the Rodgers Forge Road loop) and out. Our shuttles use existing MTA routes and stops.

They are far from ANY decision or resolution on this, but I wanted be sure you had this information as early as possible.

I will continue to keep you updated as I get more information. If you have any additional questions, I will do my best to get you answers."

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

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Redistricting process was not tainted

I have been talking to members of the Boundary Committee about how events unfolded and the controversy over having Scenario G added back in near the end of the process.

This is not to argue the merits of any of the scenarios; I’m sure most people have a preference and they’re sticking to it. And frankly, I think there is not one perfect option. I see drawbacks to all of them. I also have friends in Gaywood and friends on Stanmore and I feel sick about any of them being sent to West Towson Elementary when they would much prefer to walk to RFES.

But a member of the Boundary Committee has been accused of acting improperly and “tainting” the process. I just do not believe this to be the case based on the conversations I have had. Again, I’m not trying to argue for Scenario G here, but I would like to set the record straight as much as possible.

Here are the facts as I understand them:

1. According to Sirota, the Boundary Committee was never told to remain silent. Instead, they were instructed to use their judgment and discretion when discussing the various options. (Being told to use discretion does not make sense if you have also been told to not say a word about anything.) This is also in line with what BCPS spokesman Charles Herndon told the Towson Times: "as with any committee, we ask for discretion in discussing the data and options."

(Read the full article here:

2. On the morning of the Jan. 6 meeting at Loch Raven, I asked Cathi Forbes, who was on the boundary committee, if she would share the scenarios with me so people could know what to expect. She said she didn’t feel comfortable just sharing the boundaries because it would be better if they were shown in context with all the enrollment data. To me, this sounds like someone using her discretion. She did not indicate in any way that she was forbidden from sharing the information.

3. Janice Moore learned from someone (I don’t know who) that there were four scenarios but was unclear as to whether Rodgers Forge would remain intact under any of them. She called Sirota to ask him if he could clarify information about the boundary options. She had never met Sirota nor had she ever spoken to him prior to making that call.

4. Sirota did not initiate the call with Janice Moore. She called seeking the info, he told her what the four maps’ boundaries were, and told her that she should go to the forum to see the maps and data. He said he would have shared the same basic information with anyone from any neighborhood had they called and asked him because that was part of his charge on the Boundary Committee as outlined in Policy 1280.

5. Policy 1280, which covers the redistricting process in Baltimore County, specifically states that committee members should share information from the meetings.

C. Committee Members 

1. Committee members will endeavor to work with the Executive 
Director of Schools and the Office of Strategic Planning to:

a. Receive and review information on the housing developments 
and neighborhoods included in the study area using maps and 
data provided by staff 

b. Serve as representatives of the affected schools and interested 
individuals from the affected neighborhoods 

c. Seek input from the interested individuals from the affected 
neighborhood to identify concerns and preferences 

d. Provide input to the Boundary Study Committee as a 
 representative of the affected neighborhood, not as an 

e. Provide, where necessary, information from the Boundary 
Study Committee to interested individuals in the affected 

f. Identify the various boundary options

(You can read all of Policy 1280 here:

6. It is unfathomable that the committee would be instructed from the outset to not share any of the information that was discussed in the meetings. These were open meetings. Did BCPS also say to the audience members, “We’ll let you watch and take notes, but you must swear to secrecy”?

7. It is true that the Dec. 23rd meeting in which Scenario G was put back into the mix was not made public ahead of time nor was the public invited to observe. This is said to have been appropriate under BCPS rules. Are we to believe then that Barbara Walker told people only after the Dec. 23rd meeting that they needed to remain silent? No one has made that argument and frankly it’s quite ridiculous.

8. Gaywood and Pinehurst had a fair chance of being cut out of the RFES district whether or not Scenario G was included as an option. The other three options include Scenario I, which cuts out all of Gaywood and part of Pinehurst and two blocks of Rodgers Forge. So even though Gaywood and Pinehurst might not have known that “G” would be an option, they should have or could have known that “I” was an option.

9. If “G” had not been an option and if everyone had gone to the meeting at Loch Raven not knowing anything about any of the options, there are a few ways it could have played out. One is that Rodgers Forge residents who were concerned about keeping RF together would have “voted” for Scenario I because it cut out the smallest portion of RF. Another is that there would have been a huge outcry from RF that there wasn’t even one option that kept it intact and we’d see even more controversy than we’re seeing now.

10. The results of the Loch Raven meeting are meaningless. That was not a vote. It was an opportunity for residents to get information and feel like they were part of the process (which I don’t think they were). If you went to the meeting at DMS where the committee voted, you know that they received the results of the Loch Raven meeting immediately before they cast their votes. They barely even looked at them. Saying the results of the Loch Raven meeting had any sway over the committee is like saying the U.S. Supreme Court would be influenced by the results of a mock trial at the University of Baltimore Law School (that the court received two minutes prior to rendering a ruling).

I think it is perfectly reasonable to argue for or against any of the scenarios based on their merits. But to say the process was tainted by one person is just not right. The only way this process has been tainted is by BCPS' short-sighted planning.

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

Changes to Beltway at Charles

Dear Constituents,

On or about 8 p.m. Thursday night, February 4, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) will begin a long-term temporary closure of the left-turn ramp from southbound MD 139 (Charles Street) to eastbound I-695 (Baltimore Beltway Inner Loop), weather permitting.

As of 6 a.m. Friday morning, February 5, the left-turn ramp from southbound Charles Street to eastbound I-695 will be closed to all traffic, and motorists approaching the Charles Street Interchange from Lutherville will be directed to use the official ramp detour route: north/eastbound Bellona Avenue to eastbound MD 131 (Seminary Avenue) to southbound MD 45 (York Road) to the York Road Interchange ramp to eastbound I-695.

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

BCPS suspends AIM grading system

Liz Bowie of the Sun reports: Hairston acknowledged the tensions that have arisen since his office announced last month that all teachers must use the program. "I am mostly concerned about the community. What has happened in the last two months is not reflective of the community," he said at a school board meeting. -- full story

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

Monday, January 25, 2010

Does your house have power?

(Then how are you reading this?) I've heard a lot of Forge homes lost power during this storm. Did yours? How long was it out?

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

Helicopter over Rodgers Forge

There's a police helicopter flying around this afternoon. Towson Police say they are looking for a juvenile who ran away. They say there is no danger to the community.

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

Latest crime report

There was a break in on Rodgers Court and this disturbing incident:

"The victim was driving on I-83 when the suspect vehicle began swerving and taunting him. The victim pulled over. The suspect vehicle pulled over and a second vehicle boxed the victim in. The victim was assaulted by seven suspects. One of the suspects attempted to take his watch and get into his pockets. A second victim was kicked in the face trying to get out of the vehicle."

Read the report here.

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

Schools closing, circa 1978

Thanks to T.A. for sending this in. It's from The Sun in 1978. Click image to enlarge.

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

Free lift tickets, act today

From Pat Forteich -

The kids are off from school Friday Jan 29th.
I usually send out an email to the families in TRC baseball that it would be a good time to go to Ski Liberty ( or Ski Roundtop (
It's a 1-hour trip to Liberty and 1 hour and 20 minutes to Ski Roundtop.
Tubing is also available - about $20 for 2 hours for 5yo+ and $7 for 2-4yo.
Free Lift Tickets for:
- The 4th and 5th gradersgraders (a savings of $40) when you complete the form at

If you wait too long for the free tickets, you will need to expedite (4-day turnaround) this at $25 per child.
Info on the rates for lift tickets, rentals and lessons are at

To save a few dollars, pack a lunch, snacks, drinks, etc. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a great source of energy.

If you get there early in the day, the lines will be short to buy the tickets and get your equipment. And be sure to invite your friends!!

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

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Candidates amass cash for Balto. County races

Baltimore Sun: Some of Maryland's most intense political contests of the year are unfolding in Baltimore County, where candidates are gathering cash to position themselves for county executive, the County Council and the state legislature. -- full story

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

Redistricting coverage in The Sun and Towson Times

Article: Rodgers Forge critics relieved by school redistricting plan

Article: School boundary panel recommends keeping Rodgers Forge together

Letter: Rodgers Forge redistricting: NIMBYs and neighborhood chauvinists

Letter: Rodgers Forge Elementary decision tainted

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

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pottery Barn decorating class this Sunday

Free class from Pottery Barn, plus get a 10% off coupon. Go here for details.

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

Lost dog -- is he yours?

Yay Amy on Regester -- the dog's people have been found!!!

From an RF neighbor who just found him: "It is a male, same color as a yellow lab, about the size of a dachshund. He has freshly trimmed fur, with longer hair on his tail and ears/head. He comes on command and sits, and smells of shampoo. I found him on the 400 block of Regester, coming from the east (going the wrong way on Regester).

I cannot keep him here. We have a 10 month old lab, and they are not getting along. I will need to take him to Animal Control if I cannot find the owners tonight. Or, if there is ANYONE out there who would be able to "foster" him for a little while, that would be wonderful.
He is very sweet, and is housetrained.


Claim him by calling (443) 872-6927.

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

The full packet of maps

Here is the full packet that was distributed at the meeting at Loch Raven. I suppose most people who want to see it have already seen it. (Click here to view.)

To clarify, the maps with a single letter are maps that were not altered by the boundary committee and show exactly the scenarios that BCPS presented. The maps with the "-1" are maps that were altered by the boundary committee. That is, E-1 and A-1 were redrawn by the committee; I and G were not altered and remain as BCPS drew them.

Next week BCPS will put all of the eight maps they originally presented to the boundary committee on its website.

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

Family concert Jan. 24

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

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Here comes the freezing rain

What are the odds school will start on time?

(Apparently ... excellent.)

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

Saturday Morning Science at TU this weekend

January 23: “Journey to the Abyss: Deep Sea Volcanoes and Hot Springs”

The Saturday Morning Science programs are free, open to the public, and suitable for all ages. Details here.

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

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Updates from the meeting -- it's G

Bottom line: The boundary committee voted for Scenario G. Now it's up to BCPS to decide what to do.

My sitter canceled for tonight plus I'm sick, so I will curl up with my laptop in bed. A neighbor is sending me updates from the meeting and another is calling me afterward to relay what happened.

Here's what we have so far (later posts at the bottom):

90% capacity is considered over capacity.

Assistant Superintendent Barbara Walker will present her recommendation on Feb 24. Public will be allowed to speak.

Board will make their decision on March 9.

Scenario G was chosen at the public forum at Loch Raven.

Barbara Walker said someone may present another scenario at the public forum that would make one school at 115% capacity.

25 or so G fliers flying high

10 or so E-1 fliers flying high

Stu Sirota is trying to engage the group in conversation on G. No one wants to talk about it. They are now voting. Paper ballots.

G won.

The vote was 7 for G and 3 for A-1. The school principals who were on the committee were not allowed to vote.

Stu is now asking for G to be modified to include Gaywood. Says it would bring numbers for RFES to just about 100%. [Current enrollment of Gaywood residents at RFES is 34.]

A woman is pushing for no to Gaywood. Said to be a slippery slope, where does it end?

They are ok with adding the eight Pinehurst homes.

Everyone walked out quietly. There was no cheering or booing.

(The committee's vote does not mean Barbara Walker will necessarily recommend G to the Board of Education, and the board can vote however it wants.)

The Towson Families United blog (TFU's Cathi Forbes was on the boundary committee) says:

Speaking of the controversial redistricting process, Forbes told the committee: “What’s been disheartening to me these past few weeks is that there really isn’t a bad choice here. Both schools will be great, with great principals and teachers. A school isn’t a building. It’s the people who fill it.” Read their full post here.

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

Tonight is not going to be fun

Clearly some people are going to leave the meeting tonight with bad news. I am getting the impression based on comments on the blog and conversations I've had that people feel each neighborhood is being unfair to the other.

I just want to remind people that neither Rodgers Forge, Gaywood or any neighborhood had any input into creating the original maps. [Clarification: They didn't have input into the original maps but committee members could make modifications.] Even the Boundary Committee members (aside from BCPS employees) had no say in the original maps. Committee members were not given access to mapping software and that kind of thing. Instead, they were handed eight maps that each had a different redistricting scenario. They whittled it down to four. They were not able to tinker with the scenarios they were given. [Correction: They were able to modify the maps.]

So *each* of the four scenarios that we've seen were drawn solely by BCPS with some tweaking by committee members. Rodgers Forge did not draw a map that excluded Gaywood and the apartments. Gaywood did not draw a map that excluded part of Rodgers Forge.

I think these maps were flawed, I think the whole system is flawed. ("You're out of order!") Can you explain how it happened that there was a "451" campaign based on being 451 kids overcapacity, and BCPS built a school that has a capacity of exactly 451 kids? And there's no room for expansion. Brilliant. [Cathi Forbes tells me it was a nod to the 451 campaign. So, yes, someone can explain it.]

When we find out tonight what the boundary committee voted for, let's keep in mind there were no good options. If you're upset, be upset with BCPS.

Update: My point with this post was that the Rodgers Forge Community Association did not submit a map. The Gaywood Community Association did not submit a map. Many options that would have made more sense (turning Bykota back into a school, building WTES and doing an addition on RFES, etc.) were not pursued by BCPS/Baltimore County.

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

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Latest crime report

Nothing in RF. Here it is.

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

RFCA says if you support Scenario G, speak now

The boundary committee, which is tasked with redistricting for the new West Towson Elementary, is having a meeting tomorrow (Wednesday, 1/20) at which they will decide which map to support and forward on the Board of Education. The board usually goes with the committee recommendation.

The Rodgers Forge Association is asking that anyone who supports Scenario G (the only option that keeps Rodgers Forge together at RFES) to contact school and elected officials today or Wednesday. Read details here, including the letter the board sent to the redistricting committee.

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

Gaywood community endroses Scenario E-1

"The Gaywood Community Association represents the Gaywood Community, a group of 144 row homes encompassing the 200 block of Gaywood Road, and the 200 and 6400 blocks of Blenheim Road, immediately adjacent to historic Rodgers Forge and currently districted for Rodgers Forge Elementary School. We have surveyed our residents after careful, objective review of all options and by an overwhelming majority vote, we agreed upon Scenario E-1. Thus, the Board of Governors of the Gaywood Community Association has voted to endorse Scenario E-1." Read full letter here.

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

Restaurant Week starts Jan. 22

The most delicious week of the winter is back, as Baltimore’s restaurants offer special three-course menus for Restaurant Week. At select restaurants, enjoy a variety of three-course dinners, in just about any cuisine that strikes your fancy, for only $35.10! Or try three-course lunches at select restaurants for just $20.10.

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

Reminder: Redistricting meeting this Wednesday evening

Wednesday, January 20th, 6:00 p.m. Dumbarton Middle School Library
Open to the public, no public comment. A work session where the boundary committee chooses the scenario to be recommended to assistant superintendent Barbara Walker, and critique the community boundary process.

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

A snapshot of historic Rodgers Forge

I just received this fabulous account of Rodgers Forge back in the day:

Dear Kris,

Through the amazing connections of Facebook, I stumbled on the Forge Flyer. I moved to Rodgers Forge (Murdock Rd., one block from York Rd.) in 1954, and grew up there until 1973. I moved to Register Ave. briefly, about ten years later, but haven’t been back for over 20 years.

I walked to Rodgers Forge Elementary and Dumbarton. I suppose it seems like the stone age, but I’ve never felt older than when I saw that RF was being given “historic” status. In the early 1950s, it was so brand new. It was also so much fun.

The Arabers would come down the alleys in the summer selling strawberries. The herds of baby-boomer kids knew all the cut-throughs yards; massive late summer hide’n'seek games would cover 2-3 blocks. Snowball stands thrived in alley garages. We rode bikes to the Senator Theater to see stuff like “House on Haunted Hill,” and bothered the “floor walkers” as we shrieked our way through Stewart’s Department Store—which seemed such a height of sophistication.

In the winter we made a fortune shoveling snow from the endless sidewalks, enough to buy hamburgers and milkshakes from Rudy’s Delicatessen up on the York Rd. strip of stores. Is the basement bowling alley still there? It was the hangout and had pre-digital pinball machines and and infra-red rifle shooting galleries to die for. Rodger’s Forge back then had everything a kid could need, including magical yellow street cars that would whisk me and my grandmother downtown to the big stores down on Howard St. where we would have lunch at Hoschild-Kohns.

You were privileged if you had a friend with a Stoneleigh Pool membership. Rodgers Forge, being on the less affluent side of York, couldn’t afford a community pool. Doctors, bankers, and business executives lived in Stoneleigh, while teachers, car salesmen, and paint store owners inhabited Rodgers Forge, many of them 2nd generation immigrant Irish Catholics.

I could go on, but I’m feeling too much like an old fogey. It’s nice to know that RF is surviving well enough to be considered historic. I’ve subscribed to your mailing, and look forward to seeing the changes. Maybe other RF veterans are writing in too!


Robert Maier, North Carolina

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

Monday, January 18, 2010

Relief for Haiti

The New York Times has a list of organizations that are providing relief in Haiti. If you haven't donated already but want to, see the list here.

Photo: Lionel Michaud cried after finding his 10-month-old daughter among the bodies outside the central morgue. His wife was also killed when the building they lived in collapsed while he was at work. Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times

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

Free admission to American Visionary Art Museum today


A celebration in honor of the life and dreams of one of the greatest visionaries in recent history. Join us for guided tours, birthday cake, performances, demonstrations and other fun stuff for a FREE day at the museum! A special invitation is extended to educators and all the wonderful people who help to empower the next generation! Visit our shrinky-dink bar (inspired by Andrew Romanoff's shrinky-dink memoir in our "Life, Liberty & Pursuit of Happiness" exhibition), hear Abu the Flutemaker share his story and visionary instruments made from discarded objects, watch Batala (an all-women percussion band) perform and then participate in a drumming workshop, have some birthday cake and watch a video about MLK Jr. and his extraordinary life. A day to celebrate all of life's possibilities!

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

Friday, January 15, 2010

Speeding on Stevenson Lane

A Rodgers Forgian who lives on Stanmore Road has agreed to work with the RF board and help tackle the issue of speeding on Stevenson Lane. The street will likely be getting a speed camera soon, although that is not guaranteed.

She's looking for input on additional solutions. What do you think would help slow down cars? (The county says speed bumps are not an option.) We all know it's a problem, now we just need good ideas for how to solve it. Comment below and share your thoughts.

Update: I'm adding some photos of the "traffic calming" measures that Baltimore County lists on its website. Speed humps are not allowed on Stevenson but I don't think that means all other measures need to be ruled out. You can download the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program to read more about it.

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

Think this would fly at Rodgers Forge Elementary?

Thanks, CM, for passing along:

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

Thursday, January 14, 2010

kitchen re-do

JJ kitchen 1/14/10 3:58 PM

We've been renovating the kitchen a little at a time for a few years. First we added the new quartz counter and some appliances, then a few months ago we ripped out the linoleum floor and old tile back splash. Some friends and I put the new tile in ourselves. One interesting note about this kitchen - someone years back filled in the opening to the living room. This gives us a wall for fridge, and more counter and cupboard space along the main wall. Also note the fabulous floor we found under the linoleum!

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

Rodgers Forge kitchen renovation

NOTE: I've added a new tag called "renovation photos" (click on it below a post or at the top of the page) where you can see a collection of all these renovation posts.

"My husband and I recently had our kitchen renovated. Attached are Before/After Pictures. You are welcome to post them on the Forge Flyer. I've lived in Rodgers Forge all of my life. My father renovated the kitchen in 1974. We are the third owners of the home. We used Rick Guy with Mill Valley Kitchens in Hampden for our cabinets and Dave Iwanicki was our contractor."

LM kitchen 1/14/10 9:54 AM

Share your Rodgers Forge renovation photos; email them to kris(at)forgeflyer(dot)com and be sure to put "forge flyer" in subject line or it will probably get deleted as one of the hundreds of spam messages I get per day.

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

Last night's board meeting

At last night's Rodgers Forge board meeting, board member Jean Duvall went over the new historic designation that has been awarded to Rodgers Forge. The listing on the National Register of Historic Places does not in any way limit what you can do to your house but it does mean you might qualify for a tax credit when making upgrades, such as new windows. The RF website will soon have info about the process. The board has no say over the process but it can point you in the right direction. I think this website would be helpful for homeowners.

A Rodgers Forge resident is going to help the board tackle the speeding problem on Stevenson Lane. She wants to hear from people about possible solutions. I will do a separate post about that.

Finally, the board had an extensive conversation about redistricting. Many board members said they wished there was a way to include surrounding communities into Option G or create a fifth option that would be more inclusive. But the board concluded that at this point that it was too late to get another option on the table and that it needed to get behind one of the options presented by the Boundary Committee. Because G is the only one that keeps all of Rodgers Forge together, the board voted unanimously to support G.

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

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Random walker spotted

Did you leave a walker on the wrong porch? I received this email today:

Hi Kris,

We live on Dunkirk Road. This morning as I was leaving for work, I found an aluminum walker on our stoop. I asked my wife, “What’s with the walker?” We were both at a loss. There was no note, and we’re all too young and mobile to need one. And – since I’m not an aging Oriole or Raven – I don’t think anyone was trying to make a comment about how fast/slow I am.

The walker was not there last night at 7:30pm. Aside from an empty can of malt liquor deposited on our lawn Saturday night, we don’t get a lot of random junk tossed on our lawn or porch.

My guess is that someone left the walker by accident on Dunkirk, and that it was put on our porch by a well-intentioned passer-by (we know our neighbors). Or someone dropped a walker off for a friend/relative and got the wrong house. Either way – it’s a bit bizarre. Got any suggestions?


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

Rodgers Forge basements

Lots of people have been asking to see what others have done with their Rodgers Forge basements. Send me photos of yours, including "before" photos if you have them. I think people are most interested in creative ways to use the entire basement instead of simply the common front-half-finished and back-half-concrete-floor-and-walls.

Mail photos to kris(at)forgeflyer(dot)com and be sure to put "forge flyer" in subject line or it will probably get deleted as one of the hundreds of spam messages I get per day.

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

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Janice Moore apologizes for her comments in the Towson Times

"... While I am upset that the Rodgers Forge community was not asked to participate in the redistricting committee and I feel our voice has not been adequately heard, I do not wish to create a divisive atmosphere. I sincerely hope we can all work together to keep our community intact, strong, and inclusive. It is also my hope that my comments will not antagonize members of the boundary committee or Baltimore County Public School officials and negatively impact our community when it comes time to choose a redistricting scenario." -- full post

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

Poll for Rodgers Forgians north of Stevenson

A Flyer reader was wondering about this, and it's an interesting question:

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

Rodgers Forge board meeting this Wednesday, Jan. 13

Hmm, I wonder what will be on the agenda?

7:00 pm at the cafeteria of Rodgers Forge Elementary. All are welcome.

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

Monday, January 11, 2010

Enrollment projections, RFES addition study, capacity calculations

It might be too late in the game for any of this to matter, but here is some data about a few of the topics people have been discussing regarding the redistricting question.

1. What are the actual enrollment projections for Baltimore County Public Schools?
Download "Enrollment Projections, 2009 through 2018, Revised 3/11/2009" to see the numbers. (Scroll to the middle of the page to find the link.) Excerpt below (click image to enlarge):

2. Where do the capacity numbers come from and have they changed?
Several people have posted to the Flyer saying the definition of "at capacity" has changed over the years because the calculations have changed, meaning that now RFES has a capacity of 396 but in earlier years it had a capacity that was higher. I found this 2003 report that shows what they were pre-1993. There might have been a later change, I don't know. (Speak up if you know and share any relevant links.) Here's a preview:

(One might argue that the smaller class size is obviously better for students and teachers, and one might argue that while that is true, having an additional 50 kids spread out over the six grades is not that big of a deal. One might also argue that the crowding could get worse in the coming decade and then we'd be in the same situation we were in a few years ago, and one might also argue that enrollment numbers might fall.)

3. Was doing an addition at Rodgers Forge Elementary ever considered?
Yes, and you can download a PDF of the 2008 report here and refer to pages 21-23. Highlights:

An option investigated for expanding the facilities at Rodgers Forge was to provide a one- or two-story addition at the rear of the building, yielding approximately 200-300 additional students. Common spaces (cafeteria, gymnasium, etc.) could be expanded accordingly. By adding a new faculty/staff parking lot behind the west wing of the building, the bus drop-off could be reconfigured to provide visitor parking in front. Access to the new parking lot could potentially be accessed from Dumbarton Road and Stevenson Lane.

⋅ There is ample opportunity to expand the parking on the north side of the building.

⋅ It appears that it would be relatively easy to enlarge the common spaces.

⋅ Addition would provide ample opportunity to improve interior circulation.

⋅ Addition would eliminate the need for the existing relocatables.

⋅ Addition would not disrupt the existing athletic fields.

⋅ Parking expansion could minimize faculty / staff / visitor parking on neighborhood streets.

⋅ Addition could help to unify the existing varied floor levels and improve accessibility.

⋅ The increased capacity could offset existing overcrowding at this school.


⋅ Existing relocatables would need to be relocated prior to construction of an addition.

⋅ New parking expansion could involve extensive regrading, construction of access roads and removal of mature trees.
⋅ Addition will increase bus and car traffic in a residential neighborhood.

⋅ Potential for expanding the bus loop is limited

⋅ The construction of the addition would impact play areas adjacent to existing building.
⋅ Construction access to rear of school may be complicated.
⋅ The school is surrounded by steep topography.
⋅ The construction of the addition would require manipulation of the current topography.

⋅ The construction of the addition would potentially disrupt occupied school.
⋅ Addition would not relieve all of the overcrowding in the Towson area. [Keep in mind this was written before West Towson Elementary was approved.]

4. There must be a few families in this area who would prefer that their kids go to WTES; can't they opt to go there so our numbers stay low enough to fall within the guidelines?
I have no idea if this kind of thing has ever been done in Baltimore County and if it would be considered. Anyone have any insight?

I had a thought the other day along the lines of, "Why don't they leave RFES at 115% capacity for now -- and keep our community intact -- and then build an addition? Now that WTES is about to open, that would solve all the overcrowding problems." Then I looked at the numbers (see enrollment projections above) and when I took into account the 300-seat addition that Hampton Elementary is getting and the 451 capacity of WTES, that puts our area under capacity through 2018 (if their projections hold true). I doubt BCPS would give Rodgers Forge Elementary an addition if the surrounding area was undercapacity.

Perhaps someone with a better head for numbers or for thinking outside the box will look at this data and come up with a brilliant solution that will make sense to the Boundary Committee, to Baltimore County Public Schools and to our community. And maybe they will organize quickly to get the decision-makers to rally around this option. If not, someone's going to have to get on the bus, Gus.

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

Does this cat need a home?

Received this email the other day: "I have seen this stray cat around for maybe a year now. He came to my backyard the other day and I fed him. He looks pretty beat up and not neutered, though he appears well fed. Could you post his picture in case anyone knows anything about him or if anyone is willing to take him in from the cold. Even if only to foster him while I could try to find him a permanent home."

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

Cat still missing (not anymore)

Update from Baxter's mom: "Baxter update:Thanks to a very diligent neighbor (Amy W.) who spotted Baxter going into her neighbors garage and called us....we now have Baxter home safe and sound. He survived 3 snowstorms and 3 weeks of being outside. He is a little lighter but happy to be home.:)"

"Our cat went missing in the 300 block of Hopkins Rd. He is an indoor cat and unfortunately did not have his collar on. He was last seen Sat. Night. We are not sure how he got out. He is a long hair orange tabby...fat. Please email me or 410-372-0834.
Monica Ludwig"

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

Rodgers Forge bathroom transformation

Someone just posted asking about bathroom pictures. This is something I posted a few months ago:

Rodgers Forge bathroom

I love seeing what other people have done with their homes, especially ones that are pretty much identical to mine in layout. Our house was a fixer upper, and this is what we did with the bathroom. Initially we were just going to get a new toilet and sink and try to do repairs on the rest, but it was in such bad shape we had to just start over.

Luckily our friend Brandon has been doing tile work for years and came to help us. He's available for tile jobs, by the way, if you have any upcoming projects.

PS: We hired Jeff Noppenberger (410-628-7213) to do the plumbing. He was great, and he gave my husband very helpful construction advice. He was recommended to us by other Rodgers Forge residents. We bought the green tiles from Susan Jablon Mosaics. It's neat, the site has a program where you can make up your own color combinations.

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

Latest crime report

Nothing in this immediate area. Here it is.

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

Towson Times on redistricting

Loni Ingraham of the Towson Times has a story about the redistricting:

... Two of the scenarios — dubbed “A-1” and “E-1", would have children in hundreds of houses on the north side of Stevenson Lane, as well as those on Stanmore Court and Stanmore, Lanark and Brandon roads, attending the new West Towson school, even though Rodgers Forge Elementary, in some cases, is 20 feet away on the south side of Stevenson Lane. -- read full story

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

Another RF kitchen

Thanks, JG, for sending these in. They did a cherry peninsula and white cabinets. We didn't get the "before" shots, but it sure looks nice in the afters!

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

Chinese manufacturers swap lead for even more toxic substance (brilliant!)

Associated Press/ABC:

The top U.S. consumer product regulator is warning Asian manufacturers not to substitute other toxic substances for lead in children's items, a message that follows the launch of a government investigation into Chinese-made jewelry that lab tests showed was laden with the heavy metal cadmium. -- full story

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

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Virtual home tour

Above - before

Above - before

Above - after

I posted pictures of an interesting RF home the other day and another RF resident sent me before-after photos of his home. I love looking at this kind of thing. It's great to get ideas from others with similar layouts.

Have any photos to share? Send them to kris(at)forgeflyer(dot)com and be sure to put "forge flyer" in subject line or I might think it's spam.

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

Sun: Parents say overcrowding's preferable

Mary Gail Hare of The Baltimore Sun reports:

The Rodgers Forge community in Towson has long pushed to ease the crowding at its neighborhood elementary school. But if eliminating congestion means transferring their children to a new, $25 million school, few in this close-knit community of nearly 2,000 townhomes seem willing to make the change. -- full story

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

Next meetings about redistricting in Towson

Mark your calendars:

On Tuesday, February 9, February 16, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2010, Barbara Walker presents the recommendation to the members of the Board of Education at the regularly scheduled meeting. It is a Board meeting, not a work session, so there is opportunity for public comment at the end. [Rescheduled from Feb. 9 and Feb. 16 b/c of snow.]

On Wednesday, February 24th March 10 at 7:00 at Loch Raven High School, the Board of Education members will hold a special meeting to hear public comment on the plan. That is the only agenda item for that meeting. [Rescheduled from 2/24 b/c snow postponed the Board of Ed meeting.]

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

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Christmas tree collection

Christmas tree recycling collection from Baltimore County single-family homes and town homes will begin Monday, January 11, 2010. To ensure collection, residents must place their tree at the front curb/street by Saturday, January 16, 2010. Details here.

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

Friday, January 8, 2010

Look at this Rodgers Forge dining room/kitchen

A friend of mine told me she saw this house as she was getting ideas for kitchen renovations by looking at real estate listings. (We do the same thing and even go to RF open houses sometimes to see how people configured their basements. We've gotten some neat ideas.)

This isn't something I'd copy to the letter, but it's interesting to see a twist on the old standby. Here's a link to the listing. (And, hey, it's in the Rodgers Forge school district under all four scenarios.)

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

Full boundary maps

For those who have inquired, and rightly so, about maps that show all the Towson school boundaries, go to this post on Towson Families United and download the PDF.

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

Poll: Which of the four scenarios would you choose?

Of course, your vote here means absolutely nothing, but I thought it would be interesting to get a sense of where people are. (Besides frustrated.)

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

What about this boundary scenario?

It unfortunately does not include the Rodgers Forge Apartments (which are also excluded in "I" and "G") or the Rodgers Choice townhomes or Armagh Village (which is excluded in every scenario, sadly). The above is basically E-1 but includes the northern part of Rodgers Forge instead of the northwestern part of the area. It has all of Rodgers Forge, Gaywood and Pinehurst.

PS: I see a lot of people are favoring keeping RFES slightly over capacity. The boundary committee has indicated this is not an option because the state won't pay for a new school only to keep the other school over-crowded. I don't know if this is a law, a policy, or a guideline. Does anyone know? Anyone want to volunteer to find out? I love the activity on this blog but of course commenting here doesn't actually do anything. ... For those who favor that option (the 115% option), can you find out if it's a possiblity? Then we can either take it off the table or look at it more closely.

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

Two-hour late opening today for schools

In Baltimore County and Baltimore City.

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

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Four Scenarios -- with maps

These are the four scenarios we were shown at the meeting tonight about redistricting and boundary changes. These were developed by the West Towson Elementary Boundary Study Committee. Click on an image to enlarge it. (Before you breathe a sigh of relief, the top image is not an option.)The above image shows what they will *not* consider because it puts RFES above capacity. A committee member told me the state will not fund a new school and then allow the school it was supposed to be relieving to stay overcapacity. I don't know if this is a state law or written policy or just a mindset.
E-1 puts RFES at 89.9% capacity (359 students -- capacity is 396) and WTES at 93.35%.
A1 puts RFES at 89.65% (358 students -- capacity is 396) and WTES at 90.91%.

Scenario I puts RFES at 88.89% capacity (354 students -- capacity is 396) and WTES at 92.24%.

Scenario G (which is the one favored by the Rodgers Forge board -- who showed up tonight en masse, I might add) puts RFES at 93.18% capacity (372 students -- capacity is 396) and WTES at 85.59%.

Clearly, there is no option that is good for everyone. I do wish we could have seen some sort of imaging that showed us the child populations in each area or on each street. For instance, someone at the meeting tonight said, in private, why can't we have Option G but also include Gaywood, which is just like Rodgers Forge and to anyone who doesn't know better would think is actually a part of RF? (Blenheim Road, whose houses back to the Tot Lot, is not technically Rodgers Forge and in Option G they go to WTES.)

Anyway, we have no way to see what the effect of that would be. Would it add 5 kids to RFES or 50? Wait, is that what the top image shows? Is each dot a kid? It's not clear to me. If so, it looks like adding the blocks of Blenheim and Gaywood that are rowhomes and excluded would add 23 more children and still put you under capacity at 395.

There was not a point at which audience members -- at least 400 people were there -- could ask questions in front of the group, so it was hard to get a sense of what parents were thinking.

There was a slide show and an explanation of the numbers, then we broke into small groups to discuss our priorities and vote for our favorite scenario. The vote is not binding but will be taken into account.

The results of the "vote" will be discussed at the January 20 meeting, which I think will be at Dumbarton Middle School. This meeting is open to the public but the public will not, if I understand correctly, have a chance to participate or voice their opinions.

Then the committee makes its recommendation to Barbara Walker, who is the Central Area Assistant Superintendent. She takes the recommendation to the Board of Education on February 9.

There will be a public meeting where people can voice there opinions to the board on Feb. 24.

The board makes its decision on March 9.

If your child is in 4th grade now, he/she will have the option of staying at his/her current school next year even if your school is changed. (If your fourth grader goes to RFES now but you get redistricted to WTES, you can stay at RFES next year.)

So, what do you think?

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

The Four Scenarios

I am at the meeting, so sorry for the screwy format. Here's what we see so far.

Option A-1:
Goes south to city line, includes RF apartments and Gaywood and Pinehurst but excludes Stanmore and Brandon and Lanark. Maybe divides Stevenson but not clear. Goes to York Road.

Option I:
Includes RF above Stevenson and Yorktown, goes south to city but excludes 100 blocks of Blenheim and Dunkirk and Murdock. Also excludes RF apartments. Includes Pinehurst Road but not Blenheim.

Option e-1:
North boundary is Stevenson, east is York road, west is Bellona, south is city line. Includes Rodgers Choice.

Option g:
Includes all of Rodgers Forge proper but excludes apartments and Gaywood and Pinehurst. Also includes Yorktowne.

There is no scenario in which Armagh Village goes to RFES.

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

Meeting tonight about school boundary changes

You probably know this already, but there will be a meeting tonight about school boundary changes. The public gets to vote on which of four plans is best, but I don't think the vote is binding. (Anyone know?) But I would think that if there is a huge outpouring of support for one plan, then that would carry weight.

The Rodgers Forge board is urging support of Option G, although I don't think any of the options -- including exactly what Option G says -- have been made public except for at the small meetings that were held previously. At those meetings, the public could attend but could not speak or participate. I don't think these were particularly well publicized. I did do a post about it in October, but I didn't see info anywhere else. Maybe I missed some announcements?

I'm told there are no perfect solutions and that someone will be unhappy in any scenario. I appreciate the work that has been done on this issue, but I'm having trouble seeing how a scenario would make sense if it didn't let kids who live a block or two from RFES attend RFES. Of course, I didn't go to these previous meetings so I am a bit in the dark about how the numbers shake out. I guess we'll see tonight.

Here are driving directions to the meeting, which will be at Loch Raven High. These are from RFES:

1. Head southeast on Dumbarton Rd toward Regester Ave. (0.4 miles)

2. Turn right at York Rd (351 ft)

3. Take the 1st left onto Regester Ave (go 1.4 miles)

4. Turn right at Loch Hill Rd (0.1 mi)

5. Turn left at Loch Raven Blvd/MD-542 N (go 2.6 miles)

6. Turn right at Cromwell Bridge Rd (0.1 mi)

7. Turn left at Cowpens Ave.

Destination will be on the right

Loch Raven High School
1212 Cowpens Ave
Towson, MD 21286

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

Councilman Vince Gardina to Baltimore County schools

Dear Dr. Hairston:

It is a difficult task to redistrict school boundaries and one which is impossible to gain complete consensus. As you know, I have served on the Council for nearly 20 years and have always deferred to the Board's decisions on redistricting. However, regarding the new Ridge-Ruxton School, I find that it is important to consider the cohesiveness and sense of strong community that has existed in Rodgers Forge for the past 60 years. This is a great community with great people who would like to have the community attending one school. If possible, please keep Rodgers Forge together.

Vince Gardina

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

Visit B&O museum and Science Center for free w/zoo membership

In January and February when the zoo is closed, you can use your membership card to get in to the B&O or the Science Center. (Thanks for the heads up, Sue!) Details here -- scroll to bottom of page.

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

Teacher backlash puts grading system on hold

The Baltimore Sun reports that Baltimore County schools are re-thinking a complex new grading system after an outcry from teachers. But Superintendent Hairston seems to think it was simply bad wording on the memo that was the problem and he blamed teachers for blowing things out of proportion. One must wonder, too, about the person who created this grading system being able to sell it for profit to other districts. Very interesting article.

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

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Baltimore jingles

Jay Leno show comes to Baltimore and writes jingles.

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

Rodgers Forge Board's position on redistricting

From president Janice Moore: Only one (1): OPTION G, keeps our community intact!!! It is imperative that any and all community members attend and vote for this option. The other three options have some part of the Forge redistricted to the new school and for our community I feel this is NOT acceptable. -- read full post

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

Christmas tree collection begins Monday

The collection of Christmas trees for recycling will take place over a two-week period, beginning Monday, January 10, 2011. To ensure collection of Christmas trees, residents must have the trees out at the curb no later than Saturday, January 15.

Residents must follow these simple rules when placing their Christmas trees at the curb to be recycled:
• Set out the tree only (no decorations, bags, tree stands, etc.)
• Only set out trees at the front curb/street; trees will not be collected from alleys

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

Residents who want to drop off Christmas trees themselves may do so starting Monday, December 27, 2010.

More info here.

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

Monday, January 4, 2010

Meeting this Wednesday about boundary changes to Rodgers Forge Elementary

Reminder: Come provide input on the proposed boundary for the new West Towson Elementary School. New boundary lines may include boundary changes at Hampton, Riderwood, and Rodgers Forge elementary schools. January 6 at 7:00 pm at Loch Raven High School, 1212 Cowpens Avenue, Towson 21286. Read details here.

The redistricting committee is considering making Stevenson Lane a boundary line, meaning the kids on Stanmore, Brandon, etc. would take a bus to the new school. I know a majority of you are opposed to that, and it would fly in the face of BCPS' own redistricting guidelines, which state:

Develop boundary adjustment proposals that allow students to be transported in the most efficient and feasible manner.

A. Maximize the number of students who can walk to school [kids in RF should go to RFES]

B. Minimize travel time and maximize safety for students who must be transported [kids in RF should go to RFES]

C. Avoid bussing students past a school which has the same grade levels [kids in RF should go to RFES]

D. Avoid duplicate bus runs on the same streets for schools with the same grade levels [I'm not sure what this means...]

E. Transport toward town centers rather than toward countryside to minimize special trips to school for parents and guardians. [kids in RF should go to RFES]
Read the full boundary policy here.

This is definitely an area in which you'll want your voice heard. I hope everyone can attend the meeting so the planners realize Rodgers Forge is not just the geographic name of a vague area of the county, but a cohesive community that wants to stay that way.

Also, I think the Rodgers Forge board is thinking of taking a position on this. Let them know what you think so they have a clear idea of how best to represent the community. All board members may be contacted by emailing

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

Latest crime report

Again nothing in RF, but some armed robberies and a home invasion in other Towson areas. Here's the report.

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

RFCOP seeking info on hit-and-run

From COP's Rob Williams "I was patrolling this morning around 2:30 when I heard blaring horns and the sound of a car crash in the 100 block of Dumbarton. I came upon a parked vehicle on Dumbarton near the Regester Avenue entrance that had been hit from behind. Residents along that stretch also heard the commotion. A Sedan type car was spotted speeding up the odd side alley of Regester. A white pick up truck was also spotted near the scene around the same time by someone who was on his way home.
If anyone has any information on this hit and run accident, other than the neighbors that I have
already spoken with, please email: Any and all information is appreciated and will be forwarded to Towson Precinct 6."

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

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Poll: New boundary lines for Rodgers Forge Elementary?

As you probably know, there is a meeting Wednesday night about the new boundaries for Rodgers Forge Elementary. (The districts will have to be redrawn so some kids can go to West Towson Elementary school. There is a rumor that Stevenson Lane could be a dividing line and not all RF kids would go to RFES.)

For those of you who live in Rodgers Forge, what do you think should happen?

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

How great is this?

I open my inbox and there's an email from a Rodgers Forgian with a photo of a cat she's taken in because it's been meowing outside her door for hours. There's also an email from another Rodgers Forgian with a photo of her lost cat. Looks like the same cat. Make a couple of calls and - yay - Iggy's back home. Aren't those new internets neat?

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

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Recycle Your Christmas Tree on January 9

Boy Scout Troop 792 will recycle Christmas trees at Stoneleigh Elementary from noon - 3 p.m. If you'd like the mulch from your tree, bring your tree and bag for the mulch. There is no cost to participate in this event. If you have questions or need additional information, please call 443-465-9606 or e-mail cscjobs(at)

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