Friday, September 30, 2011

Fall Festival this Saturday

click image to enlarge

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

Meeting Oct. 4 about construction at Stoneleigh Elementary

From the group Stoneleigh United: 

Enrollment at Stoneleigh Elementary is currently at 677 children in a building built for 499. Enrollment is going up faster than projected. 

Come October 4th [7:00 PM in the SES cafeteria] to hear the two options being proposed by BCPS to house our children during the construction of the addition and renovation of SES. Construction may begin as early as July 2012. 

As far as we understand, the first option is for the children to remain at Stoneleigh for the 27 months of construction  (2 school years and 3 summers). 

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

Free Fall Baltimore is back

Free Fall Baltimore celebrates its sixth year by bringing wonderful free cultural activities to your doorstep. With more than 300 unique events scheduled, you'll be able to find an art activity on almost every day of October.

We encourage you to search out something new this month. Visit a cultural organization that you don't know; take a class in a new art form; attend a performance of a new group. You'll find that there's plenty going on throughout the year in Baltimore. Here's your chance to get a taste of the exciting performances, workshops, classes, exhibitions, lectures, festivals, concerts, and tours that are available in our fair city. Try them out in October and come back for more during the other 11 months.

Also, $5 admission to the Aquarium on Fridays after 5:00 p.m. Details here.

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

Walk to School Day is this Wednesday

The Rodgers Forge Safe Routes to School Committee and the PTA are organizing a RFES Walk to School Day on the morning of October 5th to encourage this fun, healthy activity for RFES kids and families. Rodgers Forge is a ready-made community for walking and virtually all Rodgers Forge households are within a short, pleasant walk of our neighborhood school.

... In order to provide the opportunity for kids who are typically driven to school to experience the benefits and joys of walking, we're organizing "walking school buses" for Walk To School Day on the morning of Wednesday, October 5th. Walking school buses are groups of school children walking together along designated routes, accompanied by parents who volunteer as chaperons - in essence, the walking school bus "drivers." Even kids and parents who already walk, but who want to join in the fun are welcome to walk with the groups!

For details and/or to volunteer, click here.

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

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Some upset about Baltimore County redistricting

Read about the issue here.

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

Ground beef recall

Read about it here:,0,7330611.story

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

Plant a tree, save $10

Homeowners can get $10 coupon for every tree planted in their yards through the Growing Home program. The $10 Growing HomeTree coupon and information about selecting, planting, and caring for trees is available at More than four-dozen area garden centers and nurseries are accepting the $10 coupon on tree purchases.
A tree planted in autumn benefits because the soil is warm (good for root growth) and is able to retain moisture better than during the hot days of summer. Plant your tree by mid-November and be ready for robust growth in the spring!
The Growing Home Campaign is an innovative public-private partnership to increase the tree canopy in our region by offering homeowners comprehensive education about planting trees and a cash incentive. Growing Home partners include Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Harford County, local retail nurseries and garden centers, and area homeowners. Growing Home is made possible in part with support from the Chesapeake Bay Program.
More info here.

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

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Spots open for kids' art classes in Mt. Washington

The Painting Workshop has openings in some of its classes, which are starting up in a few days. For details, click here.

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

Code-enforcement sweep results

The county has reported what it found in Rodgers Forge during the recent sweep looking for code violations. Read about it here.

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

Honey Harvest Festival

October 1 and 2, 2011: Bee lovers and beekeepers are headed to the Oregon Ridge Nature Center for the celebration of the Honey Harvest Festival. Members of the Central Maryland Beekeepers Association will kick off the festivities on Saturday with hive demonstrations, beeswax candle dipping, and mead (honey wine) making. Children will enjoy homemade baked delights. Other children's activities include face painting, puppet shows, and a petting zoo with chickens and sheep. Food and drink will be sold.

Special features this year include American crafts such as wool spinning and blacksmithing. The Peter Goff Archaeological Museum will be open for tours each day. A Honey of a Basket filled with honey gift items will be raffled off, Sunday afternoon. Tickets will be sold at the Nature Center for $1, six for $5. In addition, the Nature Center Gift Shop will be selling a variety of nature items. Bring family and friends and enjoy the festivities on Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm both days.

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

Thursday: Schools are closed, Baugher's is open

Baugher's, the orchard in Westminster, is going to be open on Thursday to accommodate families who want to go apple picking when schools are closed. For details, go to

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

Monday, September 26, 2011

Latest crime report

Here's the latest crime report, including a robbery of an iPad from someone standing in the vestibule of Barnes & Noble.

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

Dam Jam this weekend

Sun article on event here.

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

Craft fair and silent auction this Saturday

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

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Baby Boomer - Senior Expo

Baby Boomer/Senior Expo - Harvesting Opportunities to Enrich Your Life

This two-day event, which benefits the Fund for Needy Seniors, is filled with resources, entertainment and activities to enrich the lives of all who attend. With over 250 exhibitors, a entertainment stage full of toe-tapping music including Frankie Avalon and many other special features, Expo is a one-stop location for information and enjoyment!

Location: Timonium Fairgrounds
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Thursday, October 6, 2011 - 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Event admission is $2 or two non-perishable food items for the Maryland Food Bank. Additional information can be found

Special features of Baby Boomer Expo include the following:

  • Medicare Part D Research Assistance
  • Veterans' Muster- free admission October 6 for veterans
  • Book Signings with local Maryland authors
  • Financial Benefit Check for Eligibility
  • World of Possibilities DisAbilities Fair
  • Career Coaching Appointments
  • Free Health Screenings and Flu Shots
  • American Red Cross Blood Drive
  • Enrichment Fair for interactive displays
  • Silent Auction of treasures

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

OKTOBERFEST at Woodberry Crossing

Please join us for our first annual OKTOBERFEST!
Saturday, October 8, 2011 5:00pm - 10:00pm at Woodberry Crossing.

Join us for a beautiful autumn evening in the country,  while supporting the wonderful programs at Woodberry Crossing. Your donations will help to support our fall and spring programs:

Project LEAP (Literacy, Education, And Parenting) and Creatures with Teachers

Tickets are $35 per person and include dinner, drinks (beer, wine, soft drinks), live music, bonfire.

There will also be a silent auction. Beer tasting and beer making demonstrations.

If you wish, bring a selection of your favorite beer to taste and share!

Babysitting is available for children 0-10 years old, from 6:00-9:00.  We will provide a kid-friendly dinner, crafts, playtime and movie.  Make your reservations when you purchase your tickets. (Donations will be accepted for this service.)

Bring your friends and enjoy a wonderful evening of good food, good fun all while supporting the good work at Woodberry!

To purchase tickets and make your reservations today call or email Jean Pollitt 410-882-4791 

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

Acupuncture Day today


Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011, 1-4 pm

Three locations:

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

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Parents pushing for middle-school recess at Roland Park

When will the school systems acknowledge that all the research shows kids need more recess and do better in school when they have it? Here is the Sun article.

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

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lost cat

(click image to enlarge)

Hi Kris,

My 17-year old cat has been missing for a couple days now. In all these years, this has never happened before so I'm very worried. Could you please post her picture for me? None of my neighbors have seen her - I sure hope someone in the neighborhood has.


(Updated with flier.)

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

Baltimore County magnet school expo is tomorrow

click image to enlarge

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

Free legal advice on Oct. 22

Dear Constituent,

As you well know, the economic downturn has had and will continue to have a significant impact on the residents of Baltimore County and beyond, particularly those in low-income communities. The dramatic increase in the demand for legal assistance from civil legal services organizations statewide is a telling indicator of just how serious the situation has become for many individuals and families. Unfortunately, the demand for these services far outweighs the resources available.

In response to this need, the Baltimore County Bar Association, in partnership with Maryland Legal Aid and the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, and the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland, is hosting its first Pro Bono Day on Saturday, October 22, from 9 am to 12 pm at the Towson Armory, 307 Washington Avenue, Towson, MD 21204. Organizers of this event expect and encourage people to take advantage of the free legal assistance.

Participants can discuss their legal issues one-on-one during brief consultations with volunteer lawyers in a variety of areas, including landlord-tenant, government benefits, veterans issues, bankruptcy and consumer debt, wills, advance directives and elder law, foreclosure prevention, and divorce/custody/child support. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is not required. [Bring all relevant documentation with you.]

Very truly yours,
Delegate Susan L.M. Aumann

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

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Public hearings on BGE's response to Hurricane Irene

From Councilman David Marks:
I am forwarding information about two upcoming Public Service Commissions on BGE's response to Hurricane Irene. One hearing, I am happy to say, is right in Baltimore County.

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

Maryland school ditches homework

The Washington Post reports: ... [Principal Stephanie] Brant said backpacks full of traditional homework don’t help much. “I know we need to get away from worksheets,” she said. Research shows that although homework in high school, and to a certain extent in middle school, correlates with higher achievement, elementary school students who do homework score about the same on standardized tests as those who don’t.

Read the full article here

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

Flea market coming up on Stevenson Lane

The Rodgers Forge United Methodist Church located at 57 Stevenson Lane is having the 2nd annual Fall Flea Market on Saturday, October 22 at 10 am - 2 pm.

There will also be a AmVets pick-up afterward - at 2pm for items people would like to donate their unsold items. We will also set out a box for any non-pershiable food people would like to donate to ACTC (the Assistance Center of Towson Churches).

The fee to rent a space is $10. There is a set-up time for vendors and sellers of 9:30 am. We can also make special accommodations for people that need more set-up time.

To make a reservation for space or questions you can email:

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

Another story on the possibility of a new school

I already posted about this but wanted to point out that this Towson Times article, which came out after my original post, has some good details that readers might want to see, especially BCPS' response to the Mays Chapel issue.

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

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rodgers Forge board elects officers, does not remove newly elected members

At the meeting tonight where the newly elected board gets together to vote on who will be president and who will hold other officer positions, board president Jennifer Helfrich said that before the vote could take place they needed to discuss an issue that had arisen at the annual meeting last week.

Nine board candidates signed onto a sort of statement of beliefs that basically said the board should act in an open and transparent way; four of those candidates won board seats.

Helfrich said this statement of beliefs could be seen as an alternate ballot and that it implied the current board is not open and transparent. She also said she had obtained a copy of an email between the candidates, and that the email showed they were working to affect the outcome of the election. She added that these actions meant the board technically could remove the four newly elected members from the board.

The board then went into closed session for 35 minutes to discuss "disciplinary matters." After the meeting was re-opened, the four newly elected members had not been removed from the board. I asked Helfrich after the meeting what rule they were thought to have broken, as I can't find anything in the bylaws that prevents them from signing a statement of beliefs or that prevents them from emailing each other prior to an election. She declined to discuss specific rules but said "there was an interpretation of rule breaking." She added that, "Everything was hashed out and worked out and there was no motion or formal action. We agreed to work together in a positive way and it really cleared the air and everything is fine."

She also said she is working on a proposal to amend the bylaws to clarify that the board can not extend members' terms.

During the open session later, the following board members were elected as officers for one-year terms; all positions were held by the same people last year with the exception of the job of vice president:

Jennifer Helfrich - president
Bryan Tillman - vice president
Janice Moore - treasurer
Jay Dunn - corresponding secretary
Carol Zielke - recording secretary

The board is looking for people to help fill its committees and reiterated the fact that you do not need to be on the board to serve on a committee. Committee assignments will be one of the topics on the agenda at the October 11 meeting.

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

Saturday Morning Science - Statue of Liberty

click image to enlarge

Free and open to the public.

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

Towson Clean-Up Day

From Mike Ertel --

Hello All:

I wanted to let you know that we have planned the Fall Towson Clean Up for Saturday, October 1 from 10am -1pm. In the past, projects have included trash pick-up, graffiti removal (paint over), mulching, weed pulling, park clean-ups and tree plantings.

We are trying to ascertain which neighborhoods would like to do a project. We are also looking for volunteer leaders from the community and businesses to lead projects around Towson.

We can get you bags, gloves, paint, student volunteers, etc.

Let me know…

Mike Ertel

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

Board of Education meeting last night

Here's a recap from I wasn't able to attend the meeting. If you did, do you have anything to add? You can find the BCPS proposal for a new school here.

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

Monday, September 19, 2011

Towson U offering dance classes for adults

Towson University Community Dance is again offering classes for adults, ages 18 and up. These classes, which include ballet, jazz, modern, yogalates, improvisation, and Alexander Technique, will take place on several weekdays, as well as Saturdays. There are classes for the beginning mover as well as for the intermediate- and advanced-level dancer. For further details, please visit our adult dance page.

Please note that, with the exception of Alexander Technique, all adult classes are offered on a drop-in basis and do not require prior registration. Drop-in classes are offered at the low cost of $11 per 60-minute class or $14 per 90-minute class, with the option available of purchasing and eight-class card ($79 per 60-minute class, and $100 per 90-minute class). Our Alexander Technique class is being offered at $120 (plus $30 registration fee) for a ten-week session.

BTW, a friend of mine has taken some of these classes and says they're terrific!

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

Latest crime report

Read it here, including a robbery at Rita's.

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

Towson U names new president

This is the job former County Exec Jim Smith wanted, despite having no background in higher education. Anyway, here's the story in The Sun.

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

Variance for sunroom denied by county

As with a recent variance hearing for a Hopkins Road home, an Administrative Law judge has denied homeowners' request for a variance in order to create a sun room in the back of their home on the 300 block of Murdock Road. The Rodgers Forge board's attorney testified against the homeowners, as did their next-door neighbor, who is also a board member. You can read the judge's ruling by clicking here.

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

Rodgers Forge sweep in progress

I ran into some inspectors this morning, who were very friendly. They were with two staff members from Councilman Marks' office. One of the inspectors said they are looking at all violations, not just those that are rat related. If you get a citation you have three weeks to fix the problem before getting fined.

Update: I talked to code enforcement and they said that any citations would be left on the property and also sent through the mail. So if you saw an inspector go past your house and he didn't leave a ticket behind, you should be good.

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

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Kids' classes at Lynne Brick's

Kids will learn 20 hula hoop ‘tricks’ involving the hoop around the waist, arms, hands, and legs. Kids will unleash creativity, burn off excessive energy and most of all have fun! The hula hoop helps children develop motor skills and build critical muscular movements. Kids ages 6-10

This yoga program will enhance balance, flexibility and coordination. Yoga boosts self-confidence, improves body awareness, and develops relaxation skills in children. Class will also include dance, movement activities, & games! Kids ages 5-9

Team up with your child (and your inner child) to breathe, relax, stretch and strengthen through yoga. A special time to connect with your preschooler and initiate a lifelong consciousness of healthy living- together! Kids ages 2-4 w/ moms!

Details here:

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

Change in Rodgers Forge board election results

When the preliminary results of the election were announced at the RFCA meeting on Wednesday, the board said it would double-check the votes to make sure the preliminary tallies were correct. Turns out there were some changes. Here is the revised list of candidates that won, per the RFCA blog:

Doug Campbell 
Jay Dunn 
Jill Fisher 
Bill Grothmann 
Andrew Hazlett 
Ayfer Hoffman*
Janice Moore 
Ruth Roberts* 
Janine Schofield 
Joe Segretti
Lawrence Swoboda 
Carol Zielke 
*not on preliminary list of winning candidates 

Note: Four of the successful candidates signed a statement of beliefs that was handed out at the meeting and is shown below (click image to enlarge):

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

Toxic Fastfood Playlands

This article in the New York Times just confirms what we've always suspected about play areas in fast food restaurants. Read the article here. 

-- posted by Belinda

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

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Towson circle to be closed tomorrow

The State Highway Administration plans to close the Towson Roundabout to all traffic again Sunday, September 18 to allow crews to complete pavement marking work (final line striping and crosswalk installations) within the roundabout.  

The final paving work was completed last Sunday, September 11; however, the final pavement marking work was delayed due to inclement weather.     

The Towson Roundabout will be closed to all traffic 12:01 a.m. Sunday, September 18 and may remain closed until 5 a.m. Monday, September 19 (weather permitting).

Variable message signs and detour signs will be posted on the streets approaching the Towson Roundabout: MD 45 (York Road); MD 146 (Dulaney Valley Road), Joppa Road and Allegheny Avenue.   These streets will be open for local business access.   

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

Friday, September 16, 2011

Stoneleigh Elementary students likely to be annexed to Carver for a year

This rumor has been going around for a few days and now has an article about it. Sounds like although it will be a bit disruptive, it is probably in the best interest of moving forward.

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

Handel Children’s Choir seeks singers

Music Makers – K-1st Grade
Treble Choir – 2nd-5th Grade
Concert Choir – 6th-12th Grade
We offer choral music education that is high quality, affordable and child centered. Your child will develop musical skills to last a lifetime with a dynamic choral director; learn classical choral music, folk music and songs from around the world; and gain poise and self confidence through performances.
Choirs meet Mondays after school at First English Church, 39th & Charles, close to many Baltimore City and County neighborhoods. We do accept new students any time during the year.
Call Now: 410-435-2078 or e-mail

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

Druid Hill Park during the Civil War; lecture at Zoo

Have you ever wondered what life was like in Druid Hill Park during the Civil War? If so, we have just the lecture for you, taking place on Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 7:00 pm on the Mansion House porch.

Join local historian Wayne Schaumburg for a fascinating look at Druid Hill Park during the Civil War era. Through slides, stories and explorations of local lore, Mr. Schaumburg will trace the history of the Park’s development in the 1860s and showcase what life was like during the Civil War in the neighborhood that currently surrounds the Zoo.

Tickets for Zoo members are $15 and non-member tickets are $20. To purchase tickets visit Doors open at 6:30 pm.

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is located in Druid Hill Park. For more information, please visit the Zoo’s Web site,, or call 410-366-LION (5466).

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

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fall festival and great prizes

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

BCPS to recommend a new elementary school in Towson area

This is huge. On the agenda for the Baltimore County Board of Education meeting on September 20 is a recommendation from BCPS for a new 700-seat elementary school.

From the report that will be discussed at the meeting (which might be an interesting one to attend):

The 2010 system wide student enrollment (as of September 30, 2010) was 104,331. Student enrollment is projected to gradually increase over the next five years to 107,309 and then in ten years to 109,316. Within five years system wide available capacity as calculated by the Maryland State Department of Education State Rated Capacity (SRC) formula will be insufficient to meet projected enrollment needs at the elementary school level. There are currently 39 elementary schools that exceed 100% capacity. At the middle school level, total projected enrollment is expected to be within 80% of capacity and high schools within 92% of capacity. SRC does not include relocatable classroom units, which are utilized as part of the school system’s overall capacity relief program.

... Balancing enrollment among the elementary schools in this region is clearly not feasible because there is no sufficient capacity in any of the schools in the region to satisfy the need.

Therefore, as recommended in the FY13 Capital Improvement Plan, a 700 seat new elementary schools is proposed to meet the clear need for capacity among these schools. The Board of Education owns two school sites in the region that will be examined for suitability: Mays Chapel and Dulaney Springs.

Read the full report by clicking here. Or go here and select Exhibit D for the September 20 meeting.

This would mean massive redistricting, which could be contentious and hard on a lot of families. But at least BCPS is now on board with the idea that we can't just re-shuffle our way out of this overcrowding mess.

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

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Recap of the Rodgers Forge annual meeting and election

At the Rodgers Forge annual meeting and election tonight, the association honored Don Gerding, who has served on the board for more than 40 years. Don is one of the stalwarts of Rodgers Forge and represents the neighborhood at Greater Towson meetings, knows everyone in government, and works very hard for residents. He was honored with a formal Baltimore County Council resolution signed by Councilman David Marks and given a plaque from the board for his “40 years of tireless service to the community.” His wife, Taffy, was also honored.

Among the achievements mentioned by board member Janice Moore were the fact that Gerding led the effort to preserve the green space behind the Giant grocery store on York Road, he worked to get the stoplight installed at York and Stevenson, and he stopped a cell phone tower from being erected in the neighborhood. And the list goes on. (To read more about Don’s accomplishments, courtesy of Janice Moore, click here.)

“It’s a labor of love,” Gerding told the crowd after his standing ovation was over. “You can’t beat Rodgers Forge. Where else can you go that has our kind of transportation, food, education, and hospitals? You can not find a better area to live in and raise your families and retire.” 

There was, of course, also an election. There were 19 candidates and 12 spots open. The winners were: 

Doug Campbell 
Jay Dunn 
Jill Fisher 
Bill Grothmann 
Andrew Hazlett 
Janice Moore 
Roxanne Rinehart 
Janine Schofield 
Joe Segretti
Lawrence Swoboda
Jeff Wible  
Carol Zielke 

The board is going to re-count the votes to make sure their totals are correct but that’s where things stood at the close of the meeting. (NOTE: THE ABOVE LIST WAS CHANGED AFTER RE-COUNTING THE VOTES. SEE THE NEW RESULTS HERE.)

Candidate Art Buist and some others in the audience objected to the term extensions given to seven incumbents and their objections were noted and the board reiterated its position that the extensions were within its rights. Amid a cacophony of voices and general confusion, there was a motion from a resident to table the issue of term extensions and have the newly elected board review the issue later. Ada Montessoro, who was appointed in 2010 and whose term was extended, told those who objected that she never saw them at any meetings and that they should be attending more often if they are not happy with board actions. Other board members also encouraged greater attendance at the meetings. (Note: You don't have to be on the board to serve on a committee and get involved.)

State Senator Jim Brochin also attended the meeting and told people there will be public hearings to look at BGE’s response to Hurricane Irene and he said he thinks schools should be one of their top priorities for getting electricity back on. I will post info about the hearings soon. 

Brochin also said that Baltimore County Pubic Schools Superintendent Joe Hairston’s contract is up in June and that he thinks “it’s time for a change.” Brochin said that if he were grading Hairston’s performance over the past several years he’d give Hairston a “C minus.” Brochin also reiterated his support for a hybrid school board (half elected, half appointed.) 

Residents brought up issues such as the need for a dog park, and a desire to have the community use its collective buying power to save money on roofing materials. It was also mentioned that the annual meeting conflicted with Dumbarton Middle’s Back to School Night, and board president Jennifer Helfrich said that issue should be investigated next year and that maybe the date of the annual meeting could be changed to make sure there isn’t such a conflict in the future. 

On another note, I would like to call for an elevation of the tone of dialogue on The Forge Flyer. Things have gotten heated recently with the term-extension issue. While I tried to remain respectful, I probably could have done a better job -- and the responses I received from the board could have also been handled in a better way. The comments from readers could have been less biting. (As I said originally, I don’t think this was a good plan and I don’t think it was executed well, but I also said that I don’t believe it was done with malice or in bad faith.) I hate to censor comments unless they really cross the line, but on the other hand, perspectives could be shared in a more constructive manner. I hope people will take this to heart before hitting the “comment” button. 

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

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rodgers Forge annual meeting and election -- tonight

The Rodgers Forge Association annual meeting and election will be this Wednesday, September 14, at 7:00 PM in the Rodgers Forge Elementary cafeteria. This is when the board updates you on neighborhood news and when they also hear from you about your concerns. And, of course, when you get to vote for board members.

You must be a dues-paying resident of Rodgers Forge in order to vote, and only one vote per household. If you haven't paid your dues yet ($25 per household), you can pay them at the meeting.

This is your chance to come out and support incumbents or vote for newcomers. Either way, I hope people take the time to come and make their voices heard.

According to the Rodgers Forge newsletter, the following incumbents are up for re-election:
Doug Campbell
Jay Dunn
Bill Grothmann
Brandon Mollett
Janice Moore
Roxanne Rinehart (her husband is also running)
Janine Schofield
Lawrence Swoboda
Carol Zeilke

New candidates are:
Art Buist
Jill Fisher
Laurence Fogelson
Andrew Hazlett
Ayfer Hoffman
Kathleen Kolish
Richard Kolish
John Rinehart
Ruth Roberts
Christiane Rothbaum
Joe Segreti

See you there!

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

Stray cat?

From a Rodgers Forgian: "Would you please post a picture of this cat to see if she has owners? She followed me home from a walk and has been staying in my yard ever since. I walked her back down by RFES where I found her but she just followed me back home again. She doesn't have any tags or anything and seemed to be very thirsty so she may be a stray. She is so sweet and I would really love to keep her but I'm worried there might be a nice family missing her."

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

Superintendent Joe Hairston will be on WYPR at noon today

In case any of you have questions you might want to email or call in.
88.1 FM

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

Monday, September 12, 2011

Shred for a good cause this Saturday

click image below to enlarge

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

Local preschools have openings

Community Playschool, located in Hamilton, still has openings for this school year. A friend of mine, Courtney Gardner, runs the school and she is great.

The Community Play School is designed to provide a child-centered and individualized arts-enriched program inspired by the Reggio Emilia method.

Our philosophy is characterized by these developmental education principles:
- Children learn through play, interaction, problem solving, exploration, and discovery.

- Cooperation is more conducive to learning than competition.

- Children learn best when they can make choices and set their own goals.

- Each child is unique.
- Education is an on-going process which is enhanced when the child, teacher and family work together.
Read more about the school here.

Also, the Woodbrook Early Education Center on Stevenson Lane still has openings in all age levels for Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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

Latest crime report

Read it here.

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

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Statement by Rodgers Forge board candidate C. Rothbaum

I have lived in Rodgers Forge for nearly a quarter of a century.  I raised my daughters here; I maintained an attractive home here; I taught French to children here: Rodgers Forge is a big part of my life.

I fell in love with the place at first sight because it reminded me of my native Europe.  There are sidewalks and people walk on them - to school, to church, to shop, and to visit one another.  Holidays are participatory events in Rodgers Forge as they are in Belgium, and life here always felt safe and stable.

Too much stability, however, results in a condition known as hidebound, as evidenced by our present Board.

We currently have Board members who have been in office for several decades.  They have imposed such novelties as requiring candidates for the Board to sign what seems to be a loyalty oath.  Some have apparently sought to avoid replacement by extending their own terms in office for their own convenience.

They have turned residents away from participation in their community.  As residents feel alienated, they decide not to bother to pay dues to RFCA, which in-turn emboldens the present Board to do as it pleases, because it reduces the number of people elligible to vote.  Also, it diminishes the RFCA treasury.  The reduced revenues have been largely spent on legal fees to prevent myself and others from making improvements to our properties.

The best form of protest is to do what is necessary to vote, and to vote for candidates who will be responsive, and who want to be worthy of your vote.   With a responsible Board, people will willingly pay their dues and participate in Board activities.

I have never engaged in politics in my entire life, but I feel that someone must stand up to this.

I agree with L. Fogelson that :

·       Board activity should be open, transparent, and follow the bylaws.
·       The Board should undertake, through an open process, a reevaluation of priorities to help guide future actions to ensure that its limited human and financial resources are focused on the greatest needs.
·       The tone of RFCA, Officers, Board, and Committee members should be open, positive, helpful, and constructive.

Without enough voters coming to the meeting, I may not be elected to the Board; but I strongly believe it is important to make people aware of what the Board is doing, and to define what a responsible body such as this should do.

Christiane Rothbaum
300 Hopkins Road

Note: Other board candidates are also welcome to send in statements.

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

Task force says 'no' to allowing any elected members on the school board

With questionable timing and tactics, a legislative task force looking at whether Baltimore County should have a partially elected school board has voted against the issue. Councilman David Marks called the vote "inexcusable" (read his commentary here). Here is the article about it in the Baltimore Sun. And here's a thorough piece in

BTW, did you know that former Baltimore County Exec Jim Smith -- who made the motion that killed any chance of recommending elected members -- works for Lawrence Schmidt, the president of the Baltimore County school board? Interesting.

And here is a recap from two (very dedicated) parents:

From: Julie Sugar and Laurie Taylor-Mitchell
Re: Report on meeting today of Task Force on School Board Selection
Date: September 9, 2011

We attended the meeting of the Task Force examining the selection of the school board in Baltimore County this morning. Task Force members present were: Chairs Senator Kathy Klausmeier and Delegate Steve Lafferty, Senator Bobby Zirkin, Delegate Dana Stein, Senator Delores Kelley, James Campbell, Dunbar Brooks, and former County Executive Jim Smith. The first two hours of the meeting consisted of discussion about what to include or not include in the Task Force report with regard to the issues leading to the creation of the Task Force, and administrative support for the board.

Since the Task Force was unable to reach consensus on a selection process, Zirkin then proposed having a question on the ballot asking Baltimore County voters how the school board should be selected. Dunbar Brooks then stated that the minority voters of the county do not trust the majority voters to make good decisions. This disagreement led to a deadlock, with Jim Smith and Zirkin pointing out that if a vote were held today, 4 would be for a hybrid/elected board and 4 would oppose it.

Another Task Force member, Delegate Burns, arrived. Senator Kelley quickly made a motion that the selection process be kept as-is, and Delegate Burns seconded the motion. Zirkin said the motion should be considered “out of order” because at least three Task Force members were absent (County Council Chair John Olszewski, Delegate Wade Kach, and Senator JB Jennings). Klausmeier decided the motion was not out of order, so it came to a vote. Voting “for” the motion to keep the selection process as-is were: Senator Kelley, Dunbar Brooks, and Delegate Burns. Thus the motion did not pass.

Directly after that vote, former County Executive Jim Smith quickly introduced a motion for another vote: to eliminate consideration of either a hybrid or elected school board from the future work of the group. Unfortunately, this motion passed, 6-3, despite Senator Bobby Zirkin’s plea to delay the vote until all members were present (again, County Council Chair John Olszewski, Delegate Wade Kach, and Senator JB Jennings were absent), and also because there had apparently been no previous discussion that votes would be taken at this meeting.

The members voting in favor of eliminating future consideration of a hybrid or elected school board were: Senator Kelley, Senator Klausmeier, Delegate Burns, Dunbar Brooks, Jim Smith, and James Campbell. Those opposing the motion were Senator Zirkin, Senator Lafferty, and Delegate Stein.

In our view, Jim Smith essentially highjacked this meeting by calling for an unplanned vote without all members present. He detailed an elaborate plan to have a Nominating Commission composed of 30+ members of the community (area advisory council chairs, etc.) which would propose candidates for the School Board. In our opinion, every voter in Baltimore County who cares about direct democratic participation by the public in selecting school board members should remember Smith’s actions at this meeting, if he runs again for political office.

Lafferty then stated that he was in favor of a Nominating Commission, but with the resulting board members required to have their names on the ballot after their 4-year term expires, if they are interested in continuing on the board.

In our view, the Nominating Commission leaves the public without direct input, unless those recommended are immediately placed on the general ballot for election (not proposed).

The only items the Task Force agreed upon today in order to promote transparency and accountability were: the possibilities of giving the Board of Education a secretary, having them compile a handbook, and how they might tell the public they can’t discuss a topic because it is under litigation or related to staffing. The group took a great deal of commentary from the current Board of Education President, who discussed recent changes: (1) allowing public comment at both work sessions and regular board meetings (twice per month), and (2) taking public comment at the beginning of meetings rather than the end. In our view, these minor changes are woefully insufficient in solving the larger problems of transparency and accountability.

Although the Task Force is no longer taking “official” comments from the public after today on the selection of the school board, we strongly encourage you to contact your Baltimore County state delegate or senator, and express your opinion about school board member selection, as this issue will remain in play for the rest of this year, and into the legislative session of 2012.

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

Code enforcement sweep postponed to week of Sept. 19

Details here:

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

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Statement from Rodgers Forge board candidate L. Fogelson

Rodgers Forge Board Candidate Statement
Larry Fogelson of 401 Murdock Rd.

Voting:  Wednesday September 14, 7:00 PM
(You must be a RF member with dues paid to vote)
Rodgers Forge Elementary School Cafetorium

I know this is long, but I hope you will agree it is worth a few minutes of your time to read.  I also recommend that you look at the RF Blog discussion regarding the extension of the terms of certain Board Members.

I am both a candidate for the Board and one of the dissatisfied residents referred to in a Karls blog post who has taken a walk on membership for the reasons he stated very well.  My unscientific sense from many of my neighbors on my block, whether members or not, tends to corroborate the views of that writer.  How sad.  I don’t know if I can contribute to improving things, but as one who shares many of their gripes, with some encouragement and more trepidation, I paid my $25, signed the loyalty oath (under protest) and am running for the Board.

I have two grown married children and two terminally cute granddaughters, one in Frederick and one in Brooklyn (NY that is).  I am a big Blues music fan and serve as Secretary of the Baltimore Blues Society, combining that passion with my photography hobby.

I retired over two years ago after 38 years as a planner with the Maryland Department of Planning.  The joke on myself is:  I used to have more time, then I retired.  I do NOT have too much time on my hands.  I worked mostly on water resource, land use, and water infrastructure policy and program issues.  I love sewer and water systems and was an enthusiastic kibitzer during the recent sewer lining work in the neighborhood.  This was great stuff as are the new curbs and sidewalks, and I am anxiously waiting for the repaving that seems to be in the offing (does anyone know when?).  All of these projects are wonderful and it is wonderful to see our various taxes coming home; but I have always been puzzled why the community did not always seem to get or give really adequate notice of the impending work and schedules.

Not so thrilling is the rapid disappearance of our mature street trees for which I have yet to receive a satisfactory explanation from anyone.  This is an issue that, in my opinion, should be a priority for the Board.  This is no small matter; it dearly affects our property values and our environment.  My block has been decimated and, along with another neighbor, I am trying to encourage residents of the block to replant.  In another 70 years it will look just like it did when I moved in in 1993.  Can’t wait.

Not so thrilling, although some years ago, was the day the county showed up without any notice and started planting “No Parking” signs on every corner.  Maybe a good idea, but after 70 plus years the fire department suddenly decided that needed to be done?  Without any meaningful discussion that I was able to find out about with the Board at the time, 6 precious parking spaces disappeared on my intersection and probably on yours.

Not so thrilling is what I saw as I walked door to door as a volunteer for a political campaign.  Early signs of deterioration of paint, cement, drainage, etc.  This needs to be nipped in the bud.  Some parts of the neighborhood are more than 70 year old, and more attention needs to be focused on code enforcement, and helping people who, for whatever reason, may not have the physical or financial ability to maintain good standards.  I feel that this needs to become a higher priority.  I spent 2 years trying, and succeeding to a degree, to get the County to crack down on two of the four absentee property owners in my group to get their properties to meet codes.  I frankly became angry that the Board was almost totally unresponsive to my requests for support.

I could go on with the “not so thrilling," but enough griping.

The Board deserves great credit for finding funding for and succeeding in gaining National Historic Register designation for the community.  This is a big deal.  Much more could and should be done to publicize and educate residents about the benefits of this program (see the 9/7 Towson Times article about Anneslie‘s designation).  My latest information is that few if any RF residents have applied for the tax credits this designation enables.  It in no way restricts any exterior work that would be otherwise permitted.  It can put cash in the pockets of those who want to adhere to historic standards and incentivises retaining the historic look and feel of the community that is important to so many.

The principals I would advocate to guide the Board include:
  • Board activity should be open, transparent, and follow the bylaws.
  • The Board should undertake, through an open process, a reevaluation of priorities to help guide future actions to ensure that its limited human and financial resources are focused on the greatest needs.
  • The tone of RFCA, Officers, Board, and Committee members should be open, positive, helpful, and constructive.

I would hope other candidates and current board members would subscribe to these principals. Rodgers Forge is a wonderful place. It is the type of neighborhood design that is now called “neo-traditional” by planners. Communities all over the nation are trying to replicate what we have. We have the original.

However, I believe we also have to consider what people want and need in their homes today to enable our homes to retain their value.  I believe the design standards should be reviewed and can be updated, without sacrificing our look and feel, in ways that better meet the needs of both young families and seniors who want to age in place.

Most important of all, accomplishing these things will require more than a few Board Members making themselves crazy trying to do it all thanklessly.  It will require that the Board set a positive tone so that people with ideas and expertise in the neighborhood are made to feel welcome and needed and feel good and proud about being a member of the association.  It will require a membership drive to gain this involvement.  Everyone’s expertise and energy is needed on committees to address these and other issues of long term importance.  The brush fires will always make themselves known and will have to be dealt with, and the social events are important, but they should not detract from working to meet longer term priorities that result from an open priority setting process.

Note: Other board candidates are also welcome to send in letters for publication.

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

Puppy needs a home

We are currently fostering a PRECIOUS 8 month old pit/lab mix puppy named Hazel from BARCs and she is searching for her forever home. She is a total love bug and is great with everyone she meets - people, other dogs, kids etc. She is a quick learner and truly aims to please. She is housebroken, crate trained and walks like a dream on a leash.

She is so sweet and we just love her and want to help her find the perfect forever home. Could that be you!? I promise you won't regret it and Hazel will love you forever!!

Her forever home would be with us, but 3 dogs, 1 cat and 1 kid are a lot of bodies in our Rodgers Forge house.

If you'd like more information or to see any of the 100s of pics I've taken of sweet Hazel over the past few days, please feel free to email or call me and I'm always happy to set up an introduction.


katharinemfox(at) or 410-336-0710.

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

Friday, September 9, 2011

Kids on Bikes

I received this email tonight: 

Stopped by my parents home on Stanmore Road this evening - around 6pm - when there was still plenty of light - and 8 kids on bikes where trolling the alleys. Just riding by real slow, checking out the backyards. This was happening in the alley that backs up to Towson State.

Thursday night the neighbors in the same alley called the police when some youths came walking through a neighbors yard - around dusk.

I almost will guarantee some people will be missing stuff in the morning.

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

Rodgers Forge board wants to hear from you about term extensions for incumbents

There is a new item on the official Rodgers Forge blog asking for residents’ comments about the fact that the board is giving seven incumbents an extra year on the board without having to stand for re-election. 

There is also clarification about the way in which the board notified the community about the extensions

The board apparently posted a rationale for the term extensions on the bylaw page of its website one week prior to its vote, and then took it down a few days after the vote. Notice of the term extensions was never posted on the blog, and it was only mentioned in the newsletter in August (the vote on the extensions was in May). 

To recap: The board’s notification to the community about the term extensions consisted of posting it on an obscure page of their website for 12 days and then taking it down. Nothing on the blog, and nothing in the newsletter until August, three months after the vote that extended terms. 

The board’s post concludes by saying: “The RFCA’s goal was to make all actions open and transparent to the community. This year especially we have made changes to meet this goal. This blog, our updated website and numerous notices in the newsletter were used to bring this information to the community.”

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

A note from Rodgers Forge board candidate R. Roberts

Dear Neighbors:

This Wednesday, September 14th, at 7:00 pm, the Rodgers Forge Community Board will hold an election for new members. After many years of enjoying life in this community “for free,” I’ve decided it’s time I gave a bit of my time to help maintain the quality of life my family has experienced since moving here in 1997.

You only have to watch the evening news every day or scan the newspaper to realize that no matter how bad things might seem on any given day, we are so fortunate to live here. It’s green, it’s light, we have great schools and a very high standard of living. We are close to everything that Baltimore has to offer without many of the hassles city dwellers frequently face. In short, life is good here. Very good.

As a Board member, I believe that I will have a duty to all of my neighbors – not just the ones I know and share a fence with, but those I don’t know too. The ones who may only know me as a person who makes some of the decisions that impact their daily lives. I want to be a listener. I want to be fair and open-minded. And most of all, I want to help make the workings of the Board and the community a transparent process that everyone can access and understand. In this day of Facebook, Twitter, email, blogs and instant messaging, there is no reason that any resident should have doubts or confusion about the rules that govern our community.

In short, as a Board member, I want anyone who votes for me to understand that I work for YOU. Protecting the community is a door that swings both ways. We can preserve the rules that have governed the community since it was founded, but we can also make changes to ensure that Rodgers Forge keeps pace with the world in which we live today. There is room, and need, for both.

Please come out on September 14th and vote. Vote for me – I hope you will! – but most importantly, come out and vote. Be part of the process and let your opinion be heard.

Ruth Roberts

Note: Other board candidates are also welcome to send in letters for publication.

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

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What teachers really want to say to parents

A pretty interesting read from by a nationally recognized teacher: 

... For starters, we are educators, not nannies. We are educated professionals who work with kids every day and often see your child in a different light than you do. If we give you advice, don't fight it. Take it, and digest it in the same way you would consider advice from a doctor or lawyer. I have become used to some parents who just don't want to hear anything negative about their child, but sometimes if you're willing to take early warning advice to heart, it can help you head off an issue that could become much greater in the future.

Trust us. At times when I tell parents that their child has been a behavior problem, I can almost see the hairs rise on their backs. They are ready to fight and defend their child, and it is exhausting. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I tell a mom something her son did and she turns, looks at him and asks, "Is that true?" Well, of course it's true. I just told you. And please don't ask whether a classmate can confirm what happened or whether another teacher might have been present. It only demeans teachers and weakens the partnership between teacher and parent. ... Full article here.

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

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rodgers Forge board candidate protests term extensions for incumbents

Here is a letter that Art Buist, a candidate for the Rodgers Forge board, has asked me to post on the Flyer. He also sent a copy to the board, and it was published in the Towson Times.

Some background: He is protesting the fact that the board has decided to extend the terms of seven of its members without having them stand for re-election at the annual meeting, which is September 14. The Rodgers Forge bylaws state that all board members will serve for a term of two years and then stand for re-election if they want to continue to serve. But this extension will allow seven board members to have a third year in office without having to be re-elected to serve that additional year.

The board members whose terms are set to be extended are:
- Ginny Allen
- Scott Carlson*
- Jean Duvall, head of the architecture committee
- Pat Foretich
- Jennifer Helfrich, board president
- Bryan Tillman
- Ada Montessoro, who was appointed to the board in December 2010 (when someone is appointed to fill a vacancy, as she was, they are to then stand for election at the next Annual Meeting, per the bylaws)

Here is a portion of the letter:
I write to shine a light on what can happen in a neighborhood when the power structure is so deeply entrenched, it forgets to represent its community.

Several members of the Rodgers Forge Board of Governors have been serving on the Board for 40 years or more; their dedication is laudable. We need people who will give their time; but the coming annual election reveals a Board that is obsessed with holding onto power rather than adapting to the world as it is.

... [T]he most troubling issue is this: The Board has decided to extend the terms of many of its own members, without having them stand for re-election. The Board says this is necessary because of bylaw changes which it passed earlier this year changing the composition of Board. Previously, eleven Board positions were elected as one-year term ‘District’ representatives, and twelve positions were elected as ‘At-Large’ representatives for staggered two-year terms. The recent bylaw change means 18 of the 23 positions on the Board will expire in 2011. The current Board majority has decided to simply extend the terms of six of its members.

The bylaws do say “approximately one-half of the At-large Members are up for election each year.” But, there is no authority under the bylaws or the law for Board Members to arbitrarily extend their own terms. Those, whose terms expire in 2011, must stand for election in 2011.

There are other ways in which the Board could ensure staggered terms under the bylaws. For example, some Board members could volunteer to serve only one year, instead of two; but they can't just extend their own terms for a year! ... (Read his full letter here.)

It was not clear to me if he was concerned over the term extensions themselves, or the fact that the board didn't alert people ahead of the vote approving them, as outlined in the bylaws. (Read the procedure for amending the bylaws here.)

Here is his response: "Had they taken the time to fully follow the notice requirements of the amendment process, those amendments would have been out in the public to be fully vetted by the public, and anyone with concerns could have raised them with Board Members. This is the purpose of notice requirements. Had this been done, the Board would be in a stronger position, because they could point to a specific bylaw provision.

On the other hand, the action of extending the terms would still be under a cloud. A legitimate question could be raised as to whether, even with authority of bylaws, a board can extend its own term. Lincoln put the country under Martial Law during the Civil War, but still stood for election in 1864. Also, as you are well-aware, when ever the subject of a pay raise for government representatives comes up, the pay raise is for those elected in future terms. They don’t vote to raise their own pay, unless there is an election before the pay raise goes into effect. I hope this provides the clarification you sought."

I contacted the Maryland Homeowners' Association and asked them to comment on the situation; the RFCA is not technically a homeowners' association, but I wanted them to give some perspective to readers. Here is what they said: "MHA agrees that it is not right for members of the [board] to extend their term of office. As a temporary measure, it would seem better to have an election and have everyone run for staggered terms with the person having the most votes having the longest term, etc."

The board president declined to comment for this post. In her response to Buist she said, "The RFCA made decisions amending the by-laws in a very thorough heavily discussed meeting. Perhaps if you attended the meeting, or any subsequent ones, you would have more insight as to the motives for the changes. The RFCA in no way violated its by-laws or acted in bad faith. The intent was to be able to go forward doing board business in a simpler and more efficient way and to make board membership equal in service and duty. ...

I am sure if you made your concerns known to the RFCA board at the time the changes were published on our website, our blog and in our newsletter, or anytime after that before the month of the election, the board would have discussed your objections at a meeting. ..." (Read the full response here.)

This is a little confusing because the board actually never posted its plan for extendeding terms on its website or blog, and the only time it was mentioned publicly was in the August newsletter mentioned in the newsletter was in August. So it's not clear how he, or anyone else, would have known to contact the board with concerns prior to the vote authorizing this change (which happened in May).

[Clarification: Apparently the board posted notice of the extensions on the bylaw page of its website on May 3. The vote was May 11 and then the notice was taken down May 14. It was not posted on the blog prior to September 9 and it was not mentioned in the newsletter until August.]

*My husband, Scott Carlson, is one of the members whose terms would be extended and he was head of the bylaw committee that approved the plan. The committee member who came up with the idea of extending terms, Janice Moore, is not among those getting a bonus third year in office. So while I don’t believe this was a case of someone rigging the system in order to stay in power, it does appear that, for whatever reason, the community was not notified of this change at the proper time in the proper way. 

And there is still the question of whether this is the right thing to do at all. Board members do more than plan picnics and organize Dumpster Day (both of which are much appreciated.) They also tell residents what they can and can’t do to their homes, they occasionally sue residents, and they testify against them at variance hearings. So having a say in who is leading us is not an insignificant thing. 

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

PTA asks for immediate action on rising enrollment at Rodgers Forge Elementary

From the PTA: 

Rodgers Forge Elementary families – 

Action is needed immediately!

As you know, Principal Deise sent out a letter recently saying that Baltimore County Public Schools might put an enrollment cap on West Towson Elementary and send many of its overflow students to Rodgers Forge Elementary. 

Rodgers Forge suffered through years of severe overcrowding, with more than 700 students in a school built for 396. And while we certainly want to support our friends at West Towson, we don’t want to see our enrollment soar again. We’ve asked Mrs. Deise for details about this plan, but she doesn’t have enough information to provide us with answers. 

Parents, you need to immediately let Baltimore County Public Schools officials know that we are not going back to the days of overcrowding! What did that mean for us? It meant dividers to turn one classroom into two; nine portable classrooms on the playground; “art on a cart” instead of an art room; no computer lab; music class held on the auditorium stage; a portion of the library being turned into a classroom; after-school clubs virtually disappearing; fourth graders being annexed to Dumbarton Middle School – the list goes on.

See more info and contact details here:

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

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Saturday Morning Science is back

"Our first program this fall will be this Saturday September 10 and will feature Dr. Lori Feaga from the University of Maryland speaking about Exploring Comets. Programs begin in Smith Hall room 326 at 10:00 am and again at 12:00 noon. We hope to see you there!" Free an open to the public, for kids and adults of all ages.

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

Latest crime report

Read it here.

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

Monday, September 5, 2011

Free jazz at Cylburn

Free concert at Cylburn on September 7. Details here (scroll down at main page):

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

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Rodgers Forge PTA invites you to first meeting this Tuesday

The RFES PTA will have its first meeting this Tuesday at 7:00 PM and they'd love for you to be there. It's a great way to be involved in your community and in your child's education. There will also be volunteer training offered just prior to the meeting. (Baltimore County requires volunteers to get the training every year in order to be in the classroom or go on field trips, etc.)

Details on both are here:

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

Saturday, September 3, 2011

"Towson Then and Now" book signing today

At the Maryland State Fair, details here. This book looks interesting -- it's a collection of old photos of Towson next to current photos.

Also interesting/entertaining is the author's error page on her website where, while  discussing mistakes in the book, she explains why she is breaking conventional style rules:

* And I know of the ly- rule for compounding words. But I disapprove of it because it is stupid. It helps make it more readable, which is what I go with. All those big style guides need to get with the program. In fact, just read today that the AP decided to start using email over E-mail, website over Web site, (I've been making those arguments for years) and even cellphone over cell phone. Announced over twitter no less, they said “language evolves”. I couldn't agree more.
** And I know the rule for the punctuation inside of the quotes. That's stupid too, so I break that one. I have developed my own personal style guide over the years as a copy editor. Do you need one? Email me.

I admit, both of those grate on me.

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

Friday, September 2, 2011

Latest crime reports

There are two weeks worth of reports here because Hurricane Irene disrupted transmission of the earlier one. Isn't it nice that power has been restored in most places and we can get back to things like reading about robberies?

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

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dumbarton Middle closed tomorrow

A bunch of schools are still without power. Here's the list of schools that won't be in session tomorrow:

I feel for them and am so glad RFES finally opened. I love my kids and they're fun to be with, but it's weird to be in limbo like that.

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