Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's celebration at Science Center

Does the ball drop before your bedtime? Not this year! Join the Maryland Science Center in its 4th annual New Year's Eve celebration at noon for Midnight Noon on Dec. 31.

Make your own party hat and noisemaker, then get ready to dance the day away to the sounds of popular kids band–Milkshake as they take the stage at 11:30am.

Crafts will be available for you to create from 10:00am-2:00pm while supplies last. Stop in to see Now This! Improv at 10:30am and 1:00pm for an interactive musical performance. More info here.

Time: 10:00am-2:00pm
Location: Maryland Science Center
Cost: Free with paid admission, Free to members
When: Saturday, December 31, 2011

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

David Marks names "citizens of the year"

From Councilman Marks' office: County Councilman David Marks has named three residents as "Citizens of the Year" for the Fifth Councilmanic District, which stretches from Towson to Perry Hall. The honor is designed to recognize men and women who have significantly contributed to the advancement of neighborhoods in various parts of the Fifth District.

Loni Ingraham, longtime reporter for the Towson Times, has been named Towson Area Citizen of the Year. Ms. Ingraham, who has recently retired from Patuxent Publishing, faithfully reported on life in Towson for more than 24 years.

Bill Deysher, president of the Ridgeleigh Community Association, has been named Loch Raven/Parkville Citizen of the Year. Mr. Deysher has led a resurgent community association that is focusing on code enforcement, membership recruitment, and neighborhood beautification.

Dennis Hoover, outgoing citizen representative on the Baltimore County Planning Board, has been named Perry Hall/Kingsville Citizen of the Year. During his decade on the Planning Board, Mr. Hoover was a strong advocate for the construction of the Perry Hall library and successfully pushed for new traffic calming policies. Mr. Hoover hs recently served on the Perry Hall Dog Park Committee.

The three residents will receive a resolution from the County Council.

"The neighborhoods throughout the Fifth District are different, but they share men and women who steadfastly serve and care for the places where they live," Marks commented. "I am honored to recognize Loni Ingraham, Bill Deysher, and Dennis Hoover for their commitment to our communities."

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

Mt. Washington vs. Rodgers Forge

I have a Google alert set for "Rodgers Forge" and this post on City-Data was in my in-box today. I wonder if anyone would care to weigh in? 

Hello - 

My partner and I have more or less narrowed our search down to Mt. Washington and Rodgers Forge. We are struggling with city vs. county and the disparity between the schools although I understand both areas have very good schools.

The properties in Mt Washington we like are slightly more expensive and of course have the higher city tax rate, but are newer, roomier, and single family vs the older, smaller, but more affordable homes on Rodgers Forge.

We are a couple in our early 30s hoping to start a family in the next few years. We've also looked at Locust Point and while I LOVE the homes there, the schools just don't seem up to par. We're currently renting in Hampden and enjoy this area very much - Both Mt Washington and Rodgers Forge are close enough that we wouldn't feel like we're completely starting over.

Price range is no higher than ~350k.

Thank you for any advice!

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

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Latest crime report

Read it here.

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

Towson Circle III project moving forward

Read about it in Patch.

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

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Kid's College pilot program at RFES

Rodgers Forge Elementary is one of five schools in the county that will be taking part in a pilot program to try out Kid's College, an online math program. If BCPS is happy with the pilot, it will buy the program for all schools. At a meeting tonight, parents got a short tour of the program and were able to ask questions about it. Here are some highlights:

- Kids' performance on the site will not be taken into account for grading purposes.

- Students answer several math questions (always a multiple choice with four possible answers) and then are rewarded for a batch of correct answers with 20 seconds of gaming time, in which they are able to play sports-themed video games. The math itself is not sports oriented, but the games are all sports related.

- Kids' gaming scores (not their scores on the actual math problems) will be posted online and students will be able to see other students' scores. This is said to be motivational so they will answer more math questions so they get more gaming time to increase their scores. The school is able to stop having scores published if it gets to be problematic.

- Only students in grades 2 through 5 are taking part in the pilot program.

- Kids will work on the site 30 to 40 minutes per week in class, but not during group instructional time. There will be several laptops in each classroom for using Kid's College and kids will rotate doing 10-minute blocks. Students can work on it at home as much as they want.

- 48 percent of users are girls and it's said to be equally effective for boys and girls.

- The program starts at the student's grade level and then determines where he/she needs help. Each student has a unique login and the problems they have to solve are tailored to them. (If Johnny is having trouble with fractions, he will get more questions about fractions.) Students can move up as fast as is possible for them, so theoretically a 3rd grader could be doing 6th grade math or higher.

- Teachers have the option of setting it up so that the program's questions mirror those they are working on in class but that won't necessarily happen.

- Parents can receive reports via email that show their child's scores and progress.

- Kids are encouraged to use pencil and paper to work out the problems.

- If they get a question wrong, the program gives them another chance. If they get it wrong again, it shows them the correct answer and explains how to do the problem.

- Kids can also print pages to do extra work offline.

- The questions are based on nationally set standards that are part of the federal government's Race to the Top program (which is basically Obama's version of Bush's No Child Left Behind).

- Some parents expressed concern about the wisdom of promoting more screen time, and about a program tailored to sports fans when some kids aren't into video games or sports.

- There was discussion about how BCPS will be able to tell if students' math abilities were improved by the program and honestly I'm not totally clear on the answer to that. (Anyone know?)

- My third grader says it's awesome.

- Parents can see a demo of the program by clicking here.

If you attended the meeting tonight, please feel free to add a comment with anything I've neglected to mention.

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

Stolen packages

My sister in law is visiting and while we were at home today she witnessed two men stealing packages from my neighbor's doorstep. We filed a police report immediately. We live in the 400 block of Overbrook Rd. Please share this with our community. Thank you. Please let me know if you have further questions.


And this from someone on Gittings:

Hi Kris,
I just sent this out to Cedarcroft residents, but thought that RF may be interested--it appears that there may have been a thief on Gittings today targeting FedEx/UPS deliveries on porches. A police report was filed. It may be a good idea to make arrangements for someone to take in your expected delivery if you're not home.

If anyone found contents of a package intended for xmas (kid's toys/clothing) please let me know!

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

Photos from Mrs. Deise's retirement open house

Many teachers, parents and students (past and present) were on hand yesterday to say farewell and thank you to Mrs. Deise as she retires from Rodgers Forge Elementary. Speakers honoring her included PTA President Trisha Schwab; RFCA President Jennifer Helfrich (also a former PTA president); Councilman David Marks; and Delegate Steve Lafferty.

Thanks to Mrs. Fineran for the photos!

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

Police say Towson mall shooting not random

A message from Towson Police: As you may have heard on the news, we had a Homicide outside of the Towsontown Mall. The case is being actively investigated and it has been determined that the incident is not a random act of violence. Therefore, please be insured that the Baltimore County Police Department will continue to work with the Towsontown Mall Security to make your visit a safe one.


Captain Jonathon Trentzsch
Precinct Commander-Towson Precinct

Baltimore Sun is reporting that the victim has been identified.

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

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fatal shooting outside Nordstrom in Towson

Details are coming in at the Sun and Patch. Horrible news.

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

Melissa (Missy) Fanshaw named acting principal of Rodgers Forge Elementary

Per the letter sent home today from Mrs. Deise. She is assistant principal at Sparks Elementary and has 21 years' experience in education. She will serve as acting principal until the Board of Education gives its final approval next month. Mrs. Deise describes her as "enthusiastic, energetic, passionate about education, experienced and intelligent."

Can't wait to meet her!

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

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rodgers Forge board won't deny solar panels, and other meeting highlights

Briefly, here are a few of the things covered at tonight's Rodgers Forge board meeting:

Two homeowners have recently requested approval for solar panels. Board president Jennifer Helfrich could not attend tonight's meeting but said in a written report, "By law, we cannot tell homeowners they cannot install solar panels. Even if we have an inquiry by phone and not an official exterior-alterations written request. The architecture committee has updated information and has been in contact with homeowners requesting permission for solar panels to let them know it's allowed."

There was discussion about whether the fact that RF is on the National Register of Historic Places means it is exempt from the law that prohibits homeowners associations from banning the panels. But it sounded like for now the board is not telling homeowners they can't have solar panels. (Read last month's meeting recap for more details on discussion of this issue.) Being on the register doesn't prohibit altering your house or putting formstone on it or even tearing it down, but it does offer tax credits for doing pre-approved home improvements that are consistent with the area's historic nature.

The board also, after going into closed session and then re-opening the meeting, voted to oppose a homeowner's request to do a cut in to the curb to create a driveway from Dumbarton to the side of the house; the side of the house faces York. The homeowners applied to the county to allow it and were denied but they have reapplied. The board voted unanimously to write a letter to the county opposing the cut in.

The board also voted in favor of supporting the county's action in taking issue with the owner of 300 Hopkins for what they said was a code violation for a "deck" (though I'm told it is only about 3 or 4 inches off the ground; the details were not clear) in the back of her house. Board members in the past had repeatedly called county inspectors to ask them to check on the construction of her actual covered deck, which has the appropriate permits. But apparently this second structure does not have the proper permit, according to what the board said the county relayed to them. The board said in this case the county contacted the board to let them know of this new situation and that they had not been aware of it.

Very briefly, it looks like the idea of a formal dog park in RF is pretty much dead as there are many hurdles to overcome. However, people gave a shout out to Councilman David Marks who worked with volunteers to see if something might be viable. ... A new greening committee was formed and will work to get more trees planted in RF. ... The board is going to have a more formal board position for working on problem rental properties. ... The board has $12,000 in checking and $11,000 in savings. ... Eric Helfrich made a presentation about upgrades to the website, mostly technical things behind the scenes so far (aside from the complete overhaul he did a while back) and Ruth Roberts gave him kudos for spending so much time on it and making it easier for her and others to update. ... There is a court hearing January 11 about a house on the 200 block of Murdock, which is apparently vacant or in disrepair.

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

Weiskittel mansion is on the market again

I don't know the details or if the people who bought it in 2005 are the current owners. For some reason I couldn't find the house in the state's property records. It was purchased six years ago and then rehabbed. It was a rental for a while. See photos and listing details here.

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

Holiday decorating contest could mean $ for local schools is launching a nationwide contest to find the best dressed home in its Patch communities, and the winner’s school district will receive $100,000, no strings attached. Find the details here. (Have you seen that house on Gittings just west of York Road by the Rite Aid? Those people are amazing!)

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

Yard-waste collection

Ruth Roberts of the Rodgers Forge board asked me to post this to spread the word about leaf collection:

"There were a few complaints sent to the Board about yard trash (leaves) not being picked up by December 7th.  The last scheduled day of collection is actually TODAY December 14th.  However, Jeff Pulaski at Baltimore Dept of Solid Waste and Recycling called me yesterday to say that they are running behind schedule and will continue to pick up leaves until everything is gone. This will occur on regular trash days and on other unscheduled runs.  They’ve received numerous calls – apparently most of Murdock Road went uncollected – and they are doing their best to follow up.  Apparently there was construction blocking the alley on the 7th, that’s why it was skipped.  So the best I can say is “be patient.” The contractors have promised Baltimore County that everything will be gone by Christmas!"

Thanks to Ruth and other board members for checking in about this! 

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

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Art camp during winter break

WINTER BREAK ART CAMP at The Painting Workshop
Dec. 19  - Jan. 3, ages 5-10. You choose the days!

9:00 - 1:00     $40
9:00 - 3:00     $50

Painting, Crafts and FUN! Both locations: Mt. Washington and Reisterstown. Register online: or call 410-602-9799.

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

Monday, December 12, 2011

Latest crime report

It was not a good week; lots of armed robberies. None in Rodgers Forge, though there was an attempted burglary on the 300 block of Hopkins.

And here's a note from Sgt. Fink of the Towson police: This week's report. A few street robberies and burglaries this week with a couple arrests (the two on Southerly was the same suspect). Remind everyone that when they're outside take only what is necessary and always be aware of their surroundings, try and stay in well lit areas at night-know that's not always easy to do. Most of the burglaries were "forcible entry" so let's stay vigilant in keeping alert to what's going on in our neighborhoods and call 9-1-1 when seeing/hearing anything suspicious. Thanks, Sgt Fink, PC06 COT

Read the crime report here.

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

Towson University was on alert today because of bank robbery

But the suspect is now in custody and people there are told to "resume normal operations." More info as I get it.

Update: Here's what Marina Cooper, TU spokeswoman, said: "At about 10:40 a.m. Campus Police sent out campus alerts of an armed robbery in the University Union.  The campus community was directed to shelter in place—NOT lock down (which is very different). The suspect was in custody by 10:52 a.m." She said there were no injuries reported.

UpdateFROM CHIEF GERST -- On today’s date at 10:35 hrs., a robbery occurred on campus at the PNC bank located in the University Union.  Officers from Towson University Police Department, along with officers from Baltimore County Police Department, responded.  The Campus alert system was activated.  Towson University Police was made aware of a possible sighting of a suspect in the College of Liberal Arts.   Suspect was later apprehended outside of the College of Liberal Arts at 10:50 hrs.  The Campus all-clear was sounded at 10:52.

Here's an article from Patch. Sounds like it wasn't armed after all.

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

What your legislators are working on

Forge-area legislators are working on speed-camera restrictions; promoting recycling in apartments; and defining fetal homicide, according to this interesting Towson Times story.

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

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dumbarton Middle and Stoneleigh students' artwork on display in Towson

BCPS says: At the invitation of the Towson Chamber of Commerce, students from the following schools have created seasonal murals currently on display in storefronts on Pennsylvania and Chesapeake avenues: Baltimore Highlands Elementary, Chesapeake High School, Cockeysville Middle School, Deep Creek Elementary School, Dumbarton Middle School, Essex Elementary School, George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology, Hereford Middle School, Milford Mill Academy, Old Court Middle School, Parkville High School, Pine Grove Middle School, Sparrows Point Middle School, Stoneleigh Elementary School, Wellwood International Elementary School, Western School of Technology, and Woodholme Elementary School.

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

New Petco on York Road is pretty nice

I went there yesterday and honestly, that strip mall doesn't necessarily suggest the promise of pleasing atmospheres, but the Petco people did a nice job. Not that it matters that much; you're just buying pet supplies, not eating a meal or getting a facial. But it's got a good color scheme and the lighting isn't too harsh and it's super clean.

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

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

David Marks, one year in

The Towson Times takes a look at Councilman Marks one year into his term. Code enforcement and a dog park in Rodgers Forge are mentioned. Read the story here.

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

Towson Swim Club delayed

Read about it in the Towson Times.

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

Retirement party for Rodgers Forge principal Dec. 19

Susan Deise is retiring after 12 years as our hard-working principal of RFES and students, parents and the larger community are invited to a reception honoring her service. Donations are also being accepted for a gift. Details here.

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

Towson Y plans opposed by local architect

Here's a piece in Patch about the plans for the Y, including tearing down the historic Kelso building.

... According to the published site plan, it goes like this: tear down a free-standing, brick, stone, slate, concrete, 4-level Towson monument (Kelso building) that's not actually in the way of your new health club so you have room for what was to be more county parking for the park.  Now that the county has stepped away from the deal, what's the excuse? Clear the decks to carve off something to sell for more Towson condos, senior living, or will it be the medical condo refused at the Catonsville Y. ... Read full piece here.

And here's a reply from the Y disputing the claims made above. 

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

Monday, December 5, 2011

Charlie Brown jazz concert

This sounds pretty neat:

Location: Maryland Science Center
Cost: Free with paid admission
When: Friday, December 16 at 6 pm and Sunday, December 18 at 3:00 pm

Celebrate the holiday season at the Maryland Science Center with Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the Peanuts gang set to a live jazz performance of the classic Peanuts holiday songs.

In honor of our exhibit, Peanuts…Naturally, we are bringing you a unique pairing of the holiday classic film, A Charlie Brown Christmas followed by a live performance of the brilliant Vince Guaraldi score, performed by the Eric Byrd Trio. More info here. (Note: The Friday show is "Friday after 5"so admission is discounted if you go after 5:00.)

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

Latest crime report

Read it here.

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Harlem Globetrotters coming to Baltimore

They'll be at First Mariner on Dec. 30 at 2:00 and 7:00. Tickets are here.

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

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fire and Ice Night in Towson

Friday, December 9, 6-9 PM
View the ice sculptures located around Downtown Towson. There will also be street performers, displays at Towson Art Gallery and free roasted chestnuts and s’mores offered by area restaurants.
See for a map of ice sculptures.

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

Santa will visit Rodgers Forge

To set up a visit to your house, click here.

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

Friday, December 2, 2011

Merry Mart is this Sunday

Avoid the mall and support local artists at Merry Mart, a unique craft show featuring a diverse mix of art and craft from Baltimore and beyond. As always, it will be held at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson on December 4th, 2011, from 11am - 5pm.

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

Tailgating for the Towson Tigers tomorrow

Happy Friday!

As you all may know, Towson University is not only playing in its first FCS football playoff game this weekend, it is hosting the game at Unitas Stadium! The Tigers won the CAA conference, and after receiving a bye in the First Round, TU is playing Lehigh on Saturday, December 3, at 3:30pm.

Originally, Nancy Hafford and I had the idea to throw a small tailgate to show our support for the University. However, news of our tailgate spread and it is likely that we will have a huge turn out! It has even received publicity in the Towson Patch. Check out the article by clicking here.

We would like to invite all GTCCA members, Towson Chamber members, neighbors, friends and family to join us before the game in Parking Lot 21 near the Towson Center. We want to show our support for Towson University and we want you to be there!

You may park in either the Union or Glen Garage located off Cross Campus Drive in the heart of campus. Shuttles will begin taking fans to the stadium around 12:30 pm. Please feel free to stop by, grab some food and say hello anytime!

We do not have tickets for the game. However, you can still buy them by clicking here. Please note that tickets may sell quickly on game day.

If you would like to contribute to the tailgate menu, please feel free to bring drinks or a side to share. We will have meatball sandwiches, hot dogs, beer, wine and plenty of chips and dip.

We have asked the university to make its campus and athletic events more inviting to the surrounding community. This is a perfect opportunity to show your support for TU, and to continue bringing the university and community together.

Please feel free to invite friends and family! We hope to see you at tomorrow's game! Go Tigers!

David Kosak

Greater Towson Council of Community Associations ("GTCCA")

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

County re-doing sidewalks and residents are wary

There's a conversation on the Rodgers Forge listserv right now about sidewalks. Odd that the county would re-do sidewalks that were just re-done. And I remember that the issue of disconnected pipes came up before after sidewalks were completed. This might be something residents would want to bring to the attention of the community association and/or Councilman David Marks. (Update: Councilman Marks says he's looking into it. See comments.)

I noticed tonight that the sidewalks on Murdock appear to in the process of being replaced again. These sidewalks are only 2-3 years old. Does anyone know why these walks are being redone when there are older sidewalks in the forge that need replacing?
Thanks in advance for the info.
I live on Murdock and I have to say, when we redid our sewer line we realized they didn't connect any of the rain leaders on the street. Basements have been flooding ever since.

I will be really angry if we get reassessed for the sidewalk redo.

Something stinks about the whole thing.

Same thing happened to us - on Dumbarton when the curbs were replaced. They busted the pipe at the end, ruined our drainage from our rain spouts, and our basement instantly flooded - the finished side, of course. We contacted our insurance company who battled the county for us, and the county still denies that they were responsible. They tried to claim we just didn't clean our gutters. We took pictures and everything.

If anyone comes to work on your sidewalks or curbs again, watch them like a hawk.

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

Thursday, December 1, 2011

More traffic enforcement at RFES, and a grant

The Rodgers Forge Safe Routes to School committee recently won a grant for a new bike rack at RFES, and it's working with police to ticket drivers who create unsafe conditions for kids trying to walk to school. Get the details here.

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

Symphony Christmas at Cromwell Park

The Baltimore Symphony Associates will host a holiday fundraiser, Symphony Christmas at Cromwell Park, on December 9-11, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. featuring our annual Holiday Boutique, make-and-take workshops, fresh-baked Christmas treats, and Santa's Secret Shoppe.

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