Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Free tickets to this weekend's Home and Garden show

The Home and Garden show is this weekend and I have tickets to give away. Update: All tickets have been given away.

The promotors say: The show's theme this year is "Books in Bloom." Local landscapers will create 17 gardens on display at the show based on popular books including Harry Potter, The Hobbit and Under The Tuscan Sun. Visitors can use their smartphones to capture QR codes in each garden to see information about the featured titles from the Baltimore County Public Library website.

The show will also feature seminars by Joey Green, the guru of wacky uses for everyday products, the Maryland Orchid Society's Orchid Show & Sale, The Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland's mystery-themed flower show, free consultations with the American Society of Interior Designers, and of course, hundreds of exhibitors with every conceivable product, technique and service to transform your home and garden.

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

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Water to be shut down for some homes on Thursday night

From Councilman David Marks: "Our office contacted the Baltimore City Department of Public Works several weeks ago about the water leak at Stevenson Lane and York Road. The city will shut down a section of a water main on York Road Thursday night to investigate the source of the leak.

The main on the west side of York Road will be shut down from Stevenson Lane to Chumleigh Road. The water leak will affect five businesses and 17 homes between in this area between 10:30 p.m. Thursday and 5:30 a.m. Friday."

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

Monday, February 27, 2012

Tuesday is National Pancake Day

Since beginning its National Pancake Day celebration in 2006, IHOP has raised nearly $8 million to support charities in the communities in which it operates. On February 28, 2012, guests from around the country are invited to celebrate National Pancake Day at IHOP and enjoy a free short stack of Buttermilk pancakes. In return for the free pancakes, guests are asked to consider leaving a donation for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and other designated local charities. Details here.

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

Latest crime report

Here's the latest crime report, including the West Towson burglary-related shooting and a carjacking at Charles and Stevenson. Read more about the carjacking at Patch.

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

Police charge suspect in Towson burglary shooting

Read about it in Patch.

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

RFES book-fair parents get a shout out in the Towson Times

Also, four RFES students get to have their photography displayed at the Myerhoff, and other goings on about town in this Towson Times article.

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

Sunday, February 26, 2012

West Towson resident shot during burglary

Yikes, I just saw this story in the Towson Times and here's another in the Sun. Sending thoughts to the victim.

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

A look back at the old Towson

Hi, Kris - Here's a very cool video to post.  It's from Patch.

As a life long Towsonite, it brought back many fond memories:  Stewart's, Hutzler's and the Valley View Tea Room, Hochschild Kohn, Gino's, Finkelsteins of Towson, Yorkridge movies, Timonium movies, Little Tavern, Howard Johnson's, the Colts, Towson Plaza, Best Products (70's/80's), Eudowood Plaza, Luskins, even Maxwell's (I was too young to go disco dancing there, but I do remember it!), 4th of July Parade when it was on York Road, Korvette's, Two Guys, Hess Shoes, Towson Ice Co., Fair Lanes, Orchard Ice Rink.  I also remember having a Koontz milk box at our house and going to the Civic Center (to see Donny Osmond!)  I am sure your readers will enjoy this if they grew up in Towson in the 60's, 70's or 80's.

(Thanks for sending this in, PK! I didn't grow up here but it's even making me nostalgic for a Towson this vibrant.)

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

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Councilman Marks' newsletter for March

It includes:

- Recent legislation to create an "open space" zoning designation;
- Information about speed limit signage on Joppa Road in Perry Hall;
- An update on recent legislation;
- News about Downtown Towson revitalization;
- Information about the new appointee to the Commission on Aging;
- News about comprehensive rezoning; and
- How to add your cell phone to a Do-Not-Call Registry.

Read it here.

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

Students' artwork to be displayed at The Walters in March

BCPS: In honor of National Youth Art Month, more than 300 pieces of artwork by Baltimore County Public Schools' elementary and middle school students -- including those from RFES and DMS -- will be on display at The Walters Art Museum. Many pieces of the student art are influenced by the masterpieces on display at The Walters, and all of them showcase students' knowledge and skill in a variety of media. During the closing reception, students can participate in studio activities and will receive certificates for their participation in the exhibition. General admission to the museum is free. More info here.

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

Friday, February 24, 2012

Make-A-Wish Kids Triathlon

The Make-A-Wish Kids Triathlon at Padonia Park Club, Cockeysville, Maryland gives kids the opportunity to swim, bike and run to help grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions in their area. This fun and active event not only offers exercise through the triathlon, but athletes are also invited to a wonderful post-race picnic complete with games, prizes, special guests and delicious food. Top finishers and top fundraisers will receive awards and each participant will get a commemorative T-shirt, goodie bag and victory medal. Click here for more info.

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

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Vote on elected school board delayed

Read about it in the Towson Times.

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

Pizza and burgers to support Towson High and Girl Scouts

From the Towson High Sports Boosters: Domino's has generously offered to give us 20% of proceeds from sales every Thursday in February. So make Thursday a PIZZA NIGHT to support the Towson High athletic program. You MUST give the flier (download it here) to the delivery driver in order for us to get credit. Please print and plan to use this coupon on Thursday, Feb.23rd!

From the Girl Scouts: Girl Scouts of Central Maryland asks you to help us Share Her Annual Real Expenses through our SHARE campaign. Local residents can help our Community Service Unit -- Rogers Forge, Stoneleigh, West Towson and Timonium Lutherville -- reach their SHARE goal by supporting a fundraiser at Five Guys Burgers and Fries (936 York Rd) on Monday, Feb. 27 from 5-10pm. To lend your support, you must present the flier (view/download it here) in order for the service unit to get the 20 percent of the proceeds from the evening. One hundred percent of your SHARE gift remains local and is put directly back into the operations of our council through program, membership and volunteer activities and materials.

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

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rodgers Forge board meeting Wednesday Feb. 22

In the RFES cafeteria at 7:00 PM. Open to all residents.

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

Latest crime report

Towson police have decided to keep sending the reports. Here is the latest.

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

Towson police might stop sending out crime reports

I hope they re-think this decision. Residents deserve to know what's going on. Read about the controversy in the Sun.

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

Monday, February 20, 2012

And here's what Del. Steve Lafferty has to say about the marriage equality bill

Here's a statement Del. Lafferty's office sent out recently:

"On Friday, the House of Delegates passed HB 438, the Civil Marriage Protection Act, recognizing the right of two individuals to be married! I was proud to be a co-sponsor and thrilled to see this pass, putting Maryland on the path to legalizing same-sex marriage. It is a step towards greater justice and equality for those who love each other and wish to commit themselves to one another.

This bill and vote caused all Delegates to search our hearts and souls to do what each thought is right. Many of us, while strongly disagreeing with our colleagues, tried to be non-judgmental and respectful. And, for the seven gay legislators, the political is very personal. The passions and tensions have been high for weeks. This past week, however, there were threats and accusations hurled about, more venomous phone calls and emails to legislators and even a threat against one Delegate that led to the need for a police escort. State troopers were throughout our building on Thursday and Friday as a precaution! That was pretty shocking.

Now, the bill moves to the Senate for a vote. Since it passed the Senate last year, it is expected to pass again and then be signed into law by the Governor. That will be another remarkable day. However, it is fully expected to then be petitioned to referendum for the voters to decide in November where I hope our decision will be affirmed."

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

Del. Susan Aumann's position on gay marriage

A couple of weeks ago I posted an email that Sen. Jim Brochin's office sent out about his stand on the marriage equality bill in the General Assembly (he supports it). The following is an email that Del. Susan Aumann, who also represents Rodgers Forge, recently sent out: 

"The Governor is pushing his same sex marriage bill he knows that by passing it here in Maryland would look great on his political resume. In fact the Washington Post stated "Perhaps no other O'Malley effort is being watched as closely nationally as same-sex marriage." I find it extremely appalling that O'Malley is using and abusing our State to advance his own national political agenda to the detriment of our Maryland families.

For those who are ambivalent, thinking that "this won't affect me", the consequences of passing gay marriage will permeate many aspects of our society. The definition of marriage does not need to be redefined. I support traditional marriage, one man and one woman, and here is why:
  • Traditional marriage builds families - mom, dad, and children - and gives hope that the next generations will carry that family into the future.
  • In states where marriage has been redefined, activists have implemented a homosexual agenda in the schools to children as young as kindergarten. I am opposed to promoting gay marriage in our public schools and once it is "legal" in this state the curriculum will follow the law.
  • The people of Maryland don't need the legislature to tell them what marriage is.  Marriage is an institution of the people, not politicians, and the legislature should know better than to try and take the definition of marriage away from them.
This legislation has taken a front seat this session and it is the biggest family issue we are facing but I know it is not the ONLY issue. I know that the taxes and fees, which the Governor is proposing, are an assault on your way of life and I am in Annapolis fighting for you."

(See how all delegates voted here.)

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

Did you just score a free fire pit?

From a friend who lives near the Tot Lot: 

"Is there any chance someone took a fire pit from the alley on the south side of the Tot Lot because they thought it was trash/free? If so please return it! It was not trash/free. It was just too hot to bring in last night and I had to work this morning.

If this is not the case, please be warned - dirty old fire pits left in an alley for less than 24 hours might walk away."

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

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Kamenetz says he supports a school at Mays Chapel

Here is an email the county executive's office just sent:

Recent enrollment data indicates severe student overcrowding in our County elementary school population along the York Road corridor, as indicated below:

Over Capacity
% Over

Pot Spring
West Towson


In order to resolve this deficiency, the County has agreed to fund additions to three elementary schools.  However, the common space and land area configurations at the remaining schools are not conducive for additions, and it is more cost effective to construct a new elementary school to resolve the remaining seat deficiency.

The school system has completed a comprehensive study of potential school sites along the York Road corridor, and the Mays Chapel property is the one that works best to relieve the overcrowded elementary schools in the area.  It is also important to note that the Mays Chapel site was purchased as a school site decades ago and was always intended to be used for a new school.  As is true with most school sites, there will be athletic fields on this school property, and with Baltimore County's unique Joint Use Agreement there will be ample opportunity for recreational activities on the site. As you are probably aware, Baltimore County schools are used extensively by community members to walk, jog, and bike.

The County Executive has made a strong commitment to improve the quality and condition of our County schools.  For these reasons, the County supports the school system's recommendation to build a new elementary school on the Mays Chapel site, and we are confident that it will be a positive component to a very strong community.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this issue.

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

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

County Executive Kamenetz needs to hear from you about Mays Chapel

"County Executive Kamenetz is hearing from many people opposing a new school on the land in Mays Chapel. Please call or email him today if you support the proposal: or 410-887-2450. 

This is school system owned land. Schools are not a nuisance, they are the heart of communities. The enrollment and projection numbers in the York Road corridor indicate this school is necessary."

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

BCPS to demolish old Carver building even as enrollments swell

Forehead slap. I don't understand the logic of rushing to tear down a school that's right in the middle of a hugely overcrowded area. Why not let it stand for at least a year or two and see what happens with student numbers? Are we sure we won't need that building to serve as a middle school?

Makes you wonder if this is a BCPS decision or if it's being pushed by the county for some developer-related reason.

Here's the story in the Towson Times.

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

Shopping list for the Giant on York Road

Of all the irksome household tasks such as folding socks, hunting all over the grocery store has got to be near the top of the list. Especially doubling back when you missed something that's all the way on the other side of the store.

So here's a tip: When shopping at the York Road Giant, use this list of commonly purchased items, arranged by aisle. Customize for your family (get the full list from customer service), then print up a bunch and keep them on the fridge. Say goodbye to backtracking!

will header

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

Tech Trek planning meeting tonight; all RFES parents welcome

From the Tech Trek organizers:  "The Tech Trek Committee Initial Planning Meeting is this Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 7:30 in the Library at RFES.  Everyone interested in helping is encouraged to attend.  If you worked on Tech Trek before or would like to help out for the first time please join us at the meeting.

For 16 years, Rodgers Forge Elementary School’s annual Tech Trek has helped raise the money needed to bring new computers and other technology into our school. The day is filled with music, food, fun and a silent auction of valuable prizes — including one-of-a-kind goods and services donated by RFES families.

Lots of events lead up to the big day, including a T-shirt design contest, a pep-rally kickoff and a Summer Camps Auction. Details will be sent home with your child in coming weeks. Meantime, we need volunteers to help make this year’s event a success. We particularly need help with corporate sponsorships and the silent auction.

Tech Trek is an important tradition at Rodgers Forge but we need a lot of help to make it happen.  Bring a friend; this is one of the best events at Rodgers Forge."

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

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Take action now if you want an elected school board

Here's a message from two parents active in trying to get an elected school board in Baltimore County:

The State Senate delegation of Baltimore County held a hearing today on Senate Bill 407 that would create an elected school board for Baltimore County. Senator Jim Brochin is currently on the fence about this bill, and we do not know where Senator Kathy Klausmeier stands.

A hearing on SB 407 is scheduled for Feb. 15 at 1:00.

Please contact both of them tonight or tomorrow morning – we hope you will urge them to support an elected school board:

- About 93% of all school boards in the United States are elected.
- We need a school board that is accountable and responsive to the public they serve.

Please contact these state senators now. If we lose our momentum now for an elected board, we may very well not get this opportunity again!

Thank you,

Laurie Taylor-Mitchell
Julie Sugar

Senator Jim Brochin
(410) 841-3648, (301) 858-3648
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3648 (toll free)

Senator Kathy Klausmeier
(410) 841-3620, (301) 858-3620
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3620 (toll free)

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

Middle and high school youth gathering at Brown Memorial

What: An opportunity for youth to worship through fellowship, sharing of personal stories, music, prayer, interactive activities and service to the community. Feel free to bring friends!

Parents are invited to meet in the parlor to talk about the topic of bullying from a God-centered perspective while the youth worship.

Where: Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church, Catacombs

When: 4th Sunday of every month, 5:00-6:30 pm beginning February 26 and continuing through May

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

Monday, February 13, 2012

Councilman David Marks' position on a new school in Mays Chapel

The Councilman sent me this statement tonight regarding locating the new elementary school in Mays Chapel:

"I support the Mays Chapel site for a new elementary school, and I have communicated that to County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Superintendent Joe Hairston, and my friend and colleague County Councilman Todd Huff.  Councilman Huff has heard from many constituents who oppose the Mays Chapel site, and I can understand why they would want to preserve such a large, undeveloped area.  But I am motivated to support the Mays Chapel site for a number of reasons.

First, it offers the fastest way to provide relief to overcrowded schools along the York Road corridor.  The property is already owned by Baltimore County and there are fewer environmental constraints than the alternate location at Dulaney Springs.  I am told the school can be opened by the fall of 2014.

Second, if the school system moves forward with the proposal to move some West Towson Elementary School students to Ridge Ruxton Elementary School, I want a plan that makes this disruption as brief as possible.  I understand the concerns of parents from both schools.  The Mays Chapel location offers the fastest route to a solution.

Third, the Mays Chapel location has been "on the books" for decades.

Fourth, geographically the Mays Chapel location seems to make sense.  The September 2011 enrollment numbers demonstrate that school overcrowding affects elementary schools along the entire York Road corridor, from Towson to Hunt Valley.  Mays Chapel will help reduce overcrowding not just in Towson, but in Ruxton, Lutherville, and Cockeysville as well.

Although I know my position will be criticized by some, I will defend the Mays Chapel location because it offers the fastest relief for schoolchildren in central Baltimore County."

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

Councilman complains about plans for new school at Mays Chapel

Or put another way, Councilman Huff is upset that BCPS plans to build an elementary school on land that BCPS has owned for years. And Mays Chapel residents are, once again, upset over losing open space.

I can't speak for everyone, but it seems most people in Rodgers Forge consider Rodgers Forge Elementary to be the jewel of the neighborhood, not a nuisance that we all must somehow deal with. And by the way, there is generally tons of open space accompanying a school -- unless of course you're forced to build one (West Towson) almost on top of another existing school (Ridge Ruxton) to preserve open space in another area (Mays Chapel).

Here's a story in Patch and a story in the Towson Times.

As a refresher, here are BCPS' enrollment projections, which show a system already overcrowded and getting worse.

Here's what Towson Families United had to say about it: "BCPS wants to build a school on BCPS owned property to help alleviate the overcrowding at eight schools. Today those eight schools have a state-rated capacity of 3,477 seats combined, but have a 2011 enrollment of 4,107. Councilman Todd Huff opposes the construction and thinks redistricting will cause problems. Contact Councilman Huff and tell him what you think of his opposition: 410-887-3387 or"

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

Let lawmakers know where you stand on an elected school board and AC in schools

On February 14, there is a hearing in the Senate on the bill for the elected school board, and on another bill sponsored by Senator Bobby Zirkin, to create a Task Force to study climate control in Baltimore County public schools.

I support this bill because BCPS has failed, for years, to come up with a comprehensive plan to air condition all of the schools that do not have it (about 50%), and a prioritized list of the schools needing it the most. The fact that such a bill has been proposed at all, and that our aging school infrastructure is becoming a major political issue at the state level, points to the embarrassing failure of BCPS to commit to decent climate control (both heating and cooling) in all classrooms.

All administrative offices in schools are air conditioned. Our County jail is air conditioned. All of the Counties around us have 100% air conditioned classrooms. The lack of commitment to climate control by BCPS forces teachers and children to endure heat (classrooms in the high 80s, 90s, and even 100s) for weeks in the late spring and early fall, temperatures that BCPS administrators would not be willing to tolerate in their workplaces for a single hour. In my opinion, all cost estimates and figures released by BCPS on climate control must be independently verified by a group outside BCPS.

This is the week for you to contact any delegates or senators that you know in the Maryland legislature, as the entire Assembly will vote on these bills if they get out of committees. Contacting the ones representing you directly is the most important thing you can do, but they all need to know your views.

Contact info for lawmakers:
Del. Steve Lafferty
Del. Susan Aumann
Del. William Frank
Sen. Jim Brochin
Find other state lawmakers' info here.
laurie header

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

Love these books for beginning readers

I was at the Towson library a while back with my kindergartener, and nearby was Paula, the librarian with long pink hair, making book recommendations to another parent. Paula is widely known as a book goddess and is a frequent guest on WYPR, and seeing as how they were standing right next to me, I couldn't help but eavesdrop intently.

She was recommending some beginning reading books by Mo Willems called the "Elephant and Piggie" series, which I didn't know existed, though we are fans of the Knuffle Bunny and Pigeon books.

The books are great -- simple, repetitive (in a good way) and, being Mo Willems, funny. Same goes for his "Cat the Cat" series.

The books are located in the beginning reader section of the library, not in the picture book section. If you've got a child who's just starting to read, these are fabulous. But don't take my word for it; read what Paula has to say about them on her blog.

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

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lakeshore Learning Store is having a huge clearance sale

At the Joppa Road store; up to 90% off chairs, storage units, games, books, etc., according to a friend who was just there and sent me these photos. It's not a going-out-of-business sale, just a clearance.

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

Info about getting elected members on Baltimore County school board

There was a hearing Friday in Annapolis about the structure of the Baltimore County school board (House Bill 481). All Board of Education members are currently appointed by the governor, and are thus not directly accountable to constituents in Baltimore County. The creation of many groups in Baltimore County to address problems in schools, including Towson Families United, Friends of Ridgely Middle School, Friends of Hampton Elementary, and Citizens For An Accountable Baltimore County School Board, which have been joined by thousands of people, indicates how serious problems in BCPS have not been addressed in a timely fashion by the Board.

A vote on this issue will be held on February 14. Please let your state lawmakers know that this issue is important to you.

I gave the following statement at this hearing:

Good morning, members of the Baltimore County delegation, I’m Dr. Laurie Taylor-Mitchell, I live in Towson, and my son has attended Baltimore County public schools from kindergarten through his senior year in high school. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak about issues connected with the creation of an elected school board in Baltimore County.

At the Board of Education meeting this past Tuesday, Board members voted unanimously to oppose the bills calling for an elected school board, and voted to oppose the bill calling for a Task Force to study climate control in the County school system. Board President Larry Schmidt was understandably upset about the Senate bill calling for a Task Force on climate control, an unwelcome interference in local matters. The very fact that such a bill has been proposed, and that Dr. Hairston was recently confronted in Annapolis about the lack of climate control in 50% of our schools, points to the degree to which the appointed Board has failed to deal with the issue. The displeasure expressed by the appointed Board members on Tuesday contained no empathy for parents of children at Middleborough Elementary, so desperate for relief for their children in hot classrooms that they have taken days off work to travel to Annapolis and beg for help. Indeed, the head of Physical Facilities at BCPS recently suggested to these parents that they raise the funds themselves for central air conditioning at their school, about $1.6 million dollars.

Some of the reasons for opposing an elected school board made by appointed Board members at this meeting were interesting.
laurie header

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

Cemetery to stay when Towson Circle III is developed

Details in the Towson Times.

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

Friday, February 10, 2012

Towson Swim Club offering smaller payment plans

The Swim Club says it took to heart a comment by a Flyer reader saying that payments of $750 were too high for most families to swing. Here is the new payment plan, which is more manageable.

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

Burglary suspect sought

A message from the Ruxton-Riderwood-Lake Roland area: "Earlier this week we sent a message about two burglaries that occurred in our membership area (one on Roldrew Avenue and the other on Landrake Road).  We have since learned that Baltimore County Police are looking for a 2001-2007 model black Volkswagen Beetle, possibly with some type of ball on the antennae, in connection with area burglaries.  A witness described the burglar as a mostly bald, white or light skinned black man with a chinstrap beard, wearing a white pullover and jeans.   If you notice anything suspicious, please call 911."

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

Girl Scouts' World Thinking Day tomorrow

From the Girl Scouts: "Get out your passport and travel the world, as Girl Scouts from the Towson communities -- Rogers Forge, Stoneleigh, West Towson and Lutherville -- celebrate World Thinking Day with exhibits, performances, crafts and food at St. Pius X Church on Saturday, February 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 pm.   Girl Scouts from your community will sell food and craft from 20 countries, including Ecuador, New Zealand, the Philippines and Kazakhstan, to name a few.

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

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Coffee Cupping

coffee cup
If you’ve always thought you were cool beans because you used a French press, guess again, my friend. Apparently, there are all sorts of cooler, more esoteric ways to brew your java, involving scales, timers, super-heated water and even vacuums. (I’m picturing my Dyson sneaking off to a dark corner with a Cuisinart drip.)

I learned all this at a recent “coffee cupping” at Woodberry Kitchen. Unlike a tasting, little actual coffee is consumed. Instead, a barista leads you through a series of exercises designed to evaluate and record the aroma, fragrance (there’s a difference), break, etc., of the beans in question. There were so many categories that I felt stumped and, at one point, resorted to describing the fragrance (or was it the aroma?) of a particular bean as “warm blanket” and another as “greenhousey.” If I’d been graded, I think I’d have gotten a D. To me, cuppings are a bit precious, but I’m beginning to suspect I’m not the connoisseur I thought I was.

If you’d like to test your coffee chops, Woodberry Kitchen provides free cuppings every Friday at 10. Their barista was very knowledgeable and not at all snobby. Best of all, she was kind enough to give me a cup of coffee, to drink, afterwards.lisa b header 2

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

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Volunteers and donations sought for new play area at Robert E Lee park

Acorn Hill is the creation of a group of Nature Council volunteers working with the architectural firm Hord Coplan Macht to design an area of the park that focuses on children’s activities.

Various play stations, including structures for climbing, swinging, exploring and balancing are planned. These are designed to help children develop physical skills, using natural materials in an open environment where they can learn while having fun. The station names highlight the history of the park, including its factories, mines, railroad and reservoir. In addition to the stations, Acorn Hill will have picnic and quiet areas, a bird sanctuary and spaces for art projects.

Programs will emphasize environmental conservation and exploration of animal and plant habitats, with talks by park rangers and a theater for productions by and for children.

To make Acorn Hill a reality, the Acorn Hill Committee of Robert E Lee Park Nature Council needs contributions of time, energy and funding from volunteers and interested friends, neighbors and the business community.

Please consider supporting SB480, a bond bill submitted by State Senator Bobby Zirkin, which would provide $215,000 for construction of Acorn Hill.  To support this bill, contact Senator Zirkin at the James Senate Office Bldg. Room 301, 11 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD 21401 or email, or call 410-841-3131.

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

Tonight's Rodgers Forge board meeting might be canceled, too

Confirmed: Meeting canceled. Rescheduled for Feb. 22 at 7:00 PM.

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

After-school activities canceled because of snow

From BCPS' website: Due to inclement weather, Baltimore County Public Schools has cancelled all after-school afternoon and evening activities for Wednesday, February 8, 2012.

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

"Cafeteria Man" screening is this Friday

The Baltimore Montessori Public Charter, 1600 Guilford Avenue, is having a screening of the film Cafeteria Man which chronicles Tony Geraci's quest to change Baltimore City's school lunch program. Friday, February 10, 2012 at 6pm. Ticket are$10 in advance available at $15 at the door.

Appetizers created by BMPCS students using fresh ingredients provided by Whole Foods Inner Harbor East will be served before the show. There will also be a panel discussion with the film makers focusing on the importance of healthy foods in schools and how to make it a reality after the screening. All proceeds will go to benefit the Baltimore Montessori Seed to Table Program.

Website for trailer and film content

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

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Organizing a tiny kitchen -- really tiny

Although it may feel like it at times, your kitchen is probably not as tiny as this woman's kitchen, but I love the idea of getting rid of the excess stuff and making good use of your space. Read the homeowner's piece on maximizing space here, and be sure to scroll to the bottom if you want to see more photos.

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

Tot Lot Gets New Sand - Drivers of Small Plastic Trucks Rejoice!

(Courtesy of my friends who live on the Tot Lot.)

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

Monday, February 6, 2012

Dream Cars

Ever fantasized about a really clean car? I recently let a detailer have a go at my eight-year old Toyota and was pleasantly surprised at the results and the price — $119! This car has suffered through sippy cups and Goldfish crackers, road trips, beach trips and a dog, but now it looks and smells brand new inside. I had the exterior hand-washed rather than detailed, but even that left the tires gleaming and the windows spotless. (Who knew being able to see was key to being able to drive?)

The one caution I would add is that the seats are quite wet afterward and take a few days to dry. Plastic sheeting covered the driver’s seat, but I would ask for plastic on any seat you regularly use for passengers. (My son had a wet butt for a day.)

We used Auto Spa, and I see that its reviews online are mixed, which I found surprising. Not only were we pleased with the results, but we had a scheduling snafu and had to reclaim the car right after we’d dropped it off and reschedule for another day. They’d already vacuumed it and washed the exterior but charged us nothing. If arranging the drop-off is as challenging for you as it was for us, you might try this mobile car detailer (they come to you) and avoid the problem completely.

So if you see my red Matrix parked outside RFES, peek inside. The car’s so clean I want to have a party in it, but you’ll need to take off your shoes and use a coaster.

-- Posted by Lisa B.

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

Latest crime report

Including attempted break-in on Lanark Road. Also some assaults, an explosive device and a sword-wielding homeowner (none of which were in Rodgers Forge). Read the report here.

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Rodgers Forge artist's work on display at Ascension

Read about it in the Towson Times.

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Councilman Marks Proposes Open Space Zoning Classification

From Councilman Marks: On Monday, February 6, County Councilman Tom Quirk and I will introduce legislation to create the first open space zoning designation in Baltimore County.

Every property in Baltimore County has a development potential determined by its zoning classification. Even schools, libraries, and parks have a zoning designation. Councilman Quirk and I believe there should be a zoning designation to preserve open space, particularly within the urbanized part of Baltimore County.

Our legislation creates a “Neighborhood Commons Overlay District” that would permit only open space or minor recreational structures within the property. The overlay district could only be implemented during the Comprehensive Zoning Map Process, and would apply to a homeowners association common area or to to a property held by a nonprofit entity such as Baltimore County NeighborSpace.

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

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Home Again

You can’t go Home Again, because Home Again is no longer there. Yes, the little consignment shop on York Road has closed, seemingly overnight, which prompts me to get on my soapbox to promote the joys of consignment shopping. First, you can get some awesome bargains when shopping secondhand; and second, it’s such a green way to go! No manufacturing, no gas-hogging, long-distance shipping, and the proceeds benefit small local businesses and consignees.

Think these shops only sell junk that nobody wants? Some of my recent finds include a Nanette Lepore peacock trenchcoat (retail: $400), Kork-Ease sandals (retail: $135), and the awesome yawning Buddha pictured above. Who knows how much that baby went for new, but it made me smile for just a few bucks on a recent rainy day.

One of my new favorite clothing resellers is Uptown Cheapskate, which purchases rather than consigns women’s and men’s clothing. It skews to a young demographic, so there’s lots of trendy, low-end brands like H&M, Abercrombie and Forever 21, but it’s also a great place to score pricey jeans like True Religion and Hudson or handbags by Coach and Dooney & Burke.

Here’s a link to some, but not all, of the consignment stores in the area, where you can find everything from strollers to wedding dresses to shelves for your shot-glass collection. Poke through them and find your own favorite!

-- Posted by Lisa B.

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

Milkshake concert February 11

Join the entire Milkshake band as they celebrate one of their favorite holidays with a Valentine’s Spectacular Concert.  Along with Milkshake in concert, there’ll be chocolate kisses from Moo, a chance to buy great books for kids from Usbourne Books, fun crafts by Macaroni Kid face painting and other fun activities before the show.  As an extra incentive to attend, a portion of the proceeds from books and ticket sales will go to Arts On Stage.

WHERE:           Grace Fellowship Church, 9505 Deereco Road, Timonium, MD 21093

WHEN:             Saturday, February 11th – concert at 10:30 AM, doors open 9:30 AM for activites

TICKETS:         $12.  Under age two, free. Family four pack: $45

More details and online ordering here.

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

Overcrowding in Towson-area schools

Lots of articles about the move to annex some West Towson kids to Ridge Ruxton and more:

Patch article on Wednesday's meeting

Towson Times article on Wednesday's meeting

ABC2 News piece on Wednesday's meeting

Towson Times article on Ridge Ruxton parent's reaction to the annex

The good news out of all of this is that the county is planning to build a brand-new school ASAP to alleviate the overcrowding we face. Were that not the case, I think torches and pitchforks might have been in order.

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

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Interested in planting a tree? Contact the board ASAP.

A Rodgers Forge board member asked me to post this: 

Tree Rodgers Forge [a new committee on the RF board] is seeking property owners who are interested in planting a street tree in front of their houses sometime in the last week of April - around Earth Day and Arbor Day.  If we have sufficient interest, we will be able to obtain assistance from Blue Water Baltimore, a non-profit watershed protection organization, to obtain trees, expertise, and necessary permissions.

This program is primarily for hardwoods (oaks, maples, sycamores) that will grow to provide shade and aesthetic benefits, property value enhancement, and environmental benefits for individual properties and for the community.  There will likely be some modest owner cost (significantly less than commercial market costs) and commitment to properly maintain the new trees.  The Rodgers Forge Board and its Tree Rodgers Forge Committee have taken note of the significant numbers of mature trees that have been, and are still being, removed from our streets.  A Spring tree planting would be part of a longer term effort to address this issue.

We must act quickly to meet Blue Water Baltimore’s deadlines.  Anyone seriously interested in participating should contact Larry Fogelson as soon as possible, but no later than February 10 at or 410-377-8339.  Please provide your contact information and address. If you can provide other relevant information that would be helpful as well:  grass strip (if any) between sidewalk and curb?  sewer line connection location front or back?  slope of front yard?

This would only be an expression of serious interest and not a commitment.  If there is sufficient interest, we will contact owners with details about further steps and costs.

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