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Monday, April 27, 2015

Reinventing Long Reach Village Center

Long Reach Village Center

      When I first started blogging one of the topics I blogged on was the reinvention of our Village Centers.  Last year Howard County purchased the Long Reach Village Center which was struggling to remain a viable center.   With the closing of the Safeway grocery store as an anchor the Village Center developed a number of vacancies.   Now the County Executive and the Long Reach Village Board are holding a meeting this Thursday April 30th to get public input on how to revitalize the Village Center.  Here is the information sent out on the meeting:

   " Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman, along with the Long Reach Village Board, has scheduled meetings to seek input from residents about the revitalization of the Long Reach Village Center. The first ReImagine Long Reach Village Center meeting will be heldTthis hursday, April 30 from 7-9pm. Additional sessions will be held from 7-9pm at Stonehouse in the Village Center on May 28, June 11 and September 17. Howard County Government acquired the majority of the Village Center property in October 2014 and purchased the former Safeway site in February 2015. The county will develop a revitalization plan, then seek private developers to purchase the center and implement the plan. Each meeting will allow time for presentations as well as comments and questions from those attending."

For more information, visit the Long Reach Village Center redevelopment page on the county’s website at or contact Mark Thompson, Director of Downtown Redevelopment at 410-313-2350

     I am doing something today that I have never done before in my blog and that is to mention a GoFundMe effort for a local runner who was seriously injured by a falling tree branch. Tom Green is a legend in our local runner community. He was the first runner to finish all 4 major hundred mile runs in the same summer. I have know Tom for many years and frequently would run into him running around Lake Elkhorn. Tom was truly one of those people who have a warm and welcoming personality. We also happen to share the same birth year and have marked our 10 year major birthdays with group runs some of our fellow runners who share the same birth year. We have been doing 1K for every year of of age.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Cuban done right

     Years ago having Cuban food meant a trip to New York or Miami.   I remember traveling through a rough section of Miami to try some real Cuban food.   Now it is available with a short drive down Route 29 to Burtonsville.

Cuba de Ayer is owned and operated by a Cuban family that knows how to provide authentic Cuban dishes like the Picadillo dish of ground beef with Cuban spices pictured below.

      The fried sweet plantains and rice and beans are great also. Somehow I find myself at this restaurant every month or two.

   The Cuban sandwich is one of the best I have ever tasted.

     Pork seems to be the most popular meat in Cuban food as seen in the Pernil marinated pork dish shown below.

    Soon we may even be able to try this food in Cuba.  Visiting Cuba is on my bucket list.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Nesting cranes in Town Center

    Every Spring brings the return of the nesting cranes off of Vantage Point Rd. near one end of Lake Kittaquandi.   There are 6 crane nests in the top of the trees.

 You can see one of the cranes in the nest near the center of the picture above.  At an earlier time I saw one of the young cranes creep to the edge of the nest but looked uncertain enough that they didn't attempt flight.  You can see the nests high in the trees as you take the south bound Route 29 exit off of 175 as you travel east on 175.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Columbia storm water management

   With April being Earth Month I thought I would post a few environmental blog posts.  Today I wanted to post on stream erosion.  We have all learned how damaging this can be for our lakes with the dredging efforts that the Columbia Association has been doing with our lakes.  Efforts are now directed upstream of our lakes to prevent the soil erosion from the stream banks that ends up in our lakes.
   The pictures below show the efforts initiated by CA to mitigate the soil runoff into Lake Elkhorn.

    The use of rocks in these streams slows down the speed of the stormwater and captures some of the soil that would have gotten into the Lake.   The capture of the soil in the stream bed is easier than dredging the Lake.

  The picture below shows the stream bank erosion that occurs without these measures being taken.

   During the GreenFest this past weekend at Howard Community College their efforts to address stream soil erosion were highlighted on a nature walk.

Trees planted to hold soil.

Head water of one of the branches of the Little Patuxent River begins at Howard General Hospital.  Storm pond below provide a location for otters, beavers and other wildlife


Monday, April 20, 2015

Rainwater runoff isn't just about impervious paved pavements

     With any discussion of storm water runoff caused by development we hear much about impervious pavements of driveways and parking lots.  Want to know what else is a cause of storm water runoff with our suburban development?  Our lawns.  Think your lawn absorbs the rain water?  Not as well as you think.  That thick lush lawn that is so nice to walk on has a thick web like root system that prevents much of the water from getting through to the ground under the roots.  That is why grass drys out so quickly when we go a week or two without rain.  Fertilizing the lawn only makes this problem more pronounced.  There is a cost we pay in replacing our ground water when we have extensive lawns.
      While we in the East Coast are not experiencing the profound water shortage that is now being seen out West we should not think that we will not pay a cost down the road.  Our aquifers supply our ground water and they supply our drinking water.  Without responsible management of our storm water we will see some of the impacts that the West is presently experiencing. Storm water management is more than just the health of the Chesapeake Bay, as important as that is, but it maybe be brought home to us in our drinking water supply.

     The depletion of the aquifer has gotten so bad in some of the agricultural areas of California that the ground is sinking at an alarming rate.
      In Florida the sink holes are being caused by the same problem.