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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Blog party at Aida Bistro: Best salad I have ever had

      I usually eat a light lunch so most of the time I order a soup or a salad when I have a lunch meeting.  A couple of weeks ago I was at Aida Bistro for a meeting and tried the grilled Caesar salad with romaine lettuce hearts.  It was definitely the best salad I have every had and maybe the best meal overall.  The homemade Caesar salad dressing was what made it so good.   The smoky flavor of the salad dressing went well with the perfectly grilled lettuce.  I had not been to Aida Bistro since they moved to their current location in Gateway but I will be back for dinner soon.
     Fortunately I won't have to wait for a return visit as the next Blog Party will be there next Wednesday April 1st from 5-8 pm.

    The party should be fun as we get to meet Col. Gateway shown above.  This blog is the creation of ADG Creative an advertising firm located in the Columbia Gateway Park.  They have used this blog to bring some humor and identity to all the offices located in the Park. Should be a fun party and I get a chance at having that salad again.

   Buzzfeed's 31 craziest foods.   I have to say that the glazed doughnut burger looked interesting.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Making Howard County more walkable

   Last Saturday the second public session for the updating of Howard County's Pedestrian Master Plan was held in North Laurel.  The plan called "WalkHoward"  is the County's attempt to design communities with more safe walkways.  While Columbia has an extensive walking path system many other locations in Howard County are not walk friendly.  The need for walking paths is not necessarily a high priority for housing developers, particularly in the western part of Howard County.

   The Plan is to address the pedestrian needs from a few different angles.  The meeting had poster boards that each addressed a different aspect of the need for pedestrian access.  Above is the poster showing how crosswalks can be made safer for pedestrians, especially people with special needs or even parents pushing a stroller.  The past few years has seen a number of these improvements to crossings in Columbia.

    With many people using our buses there is a need to have good pedestrian access to bus stops as shown in the poster above.

    The poster above shows the importance of sideways connecting neighborhoods with shopping and employment centers.  The design of the paths in Columbia do a good job of making these connections with some exceptions like Dobbin Road.

   Participants at Saturday's meeting were able to pinpoint locations on four maps of the County where pedestrian improvements were needed.  These locations will be examined to determine how they might be addressed in the Master Plan.   You can provide this same input online if you have been unable to attend the public meetings.  Go to the County website designed to provide this input.   The Pedestrian Master Plan will be coordinated with the Bike Master Plan since some of the improvements will provide for multipurpose use by walkers and bikers.   Listen to County Exec Kittleman address the purpose of the Master Plan.

     Trevor Noah to replace Jon Stewart on the Daily Show.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Can't "snuck" it passed me

    I am not one of those grammar and spelling snobs that look to lord their superior knowledge over everyone by correcting our grammar and spelling mistakes.  Bloggers know how this works.   But there is one grammar usage that sounds "like fingernails on a caulk board" when I hear it.  That is the use of the word "snuck" as the past tense for "sneak" instead of "sneaked."  I guess all those corrections from my elementary English teachers have stayed with me.   I know it is confusing many times with knowing the right tense for verbs in our language and "sneaked" sounds funny.   It seems that the use of the work "snuck" has become more acceptable as proper English and some dictionaries have started to list both words as being acceptable.  That seems to be the case as I see "snuck" used in books and I doubt that it was overlooked by the editors of the book.  Heaven knows that the English language is constantly changing and new words are added every day to our lexicon but somehow I don't think I will ever adapt to using "snuck."

   What is good for the goose is good for the gander!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Homebuyers and Renters to Explore Affordable Housing Options at Maryland’s Largest Housing Fair

     I recently received the following information from the Howard County Housing Department.  Of special interest is the housing lottery that provides one lucky applicant an opportunity to purchase a home at a significantly reduced price. Here is the information:

       "Come Home to Howard County, the largest housing fair in the state of Maryland, will open its doors for the 9th annual Howard County Housing Fair, on Saturday, April 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Rd, in Columbia, Maryland. Admission is free to the community.

        More than 50 real estate agents, apartment communities, mortgage lenders, housing specialists and county personnel will be on hand to offer buying, renting and Howard County living guidance to individuals and families in one-on-one meetings and group education sessions. Guided bus tours will showcase various new and existing home communities for rent and purchase in the county, for individuals and families.

       Featured at the fair will be Howard County’s popular Housing Lottery, where one lucky pre-qualified applicant will win the opportunity to purchase a newly constructed Howard County home at a significantly reduced price. Interested candidates must pre-qualify for the Housing Lottery and submit all required paperwork by Wednesday, April 6th by 5pm. Housing Lottery applications are available online at or, or at the Howard County Housing office located at 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, 3rd floor in Columbia. Applicants must pre-qualify to be entered into the lottery. A complete list of pre-qualification requirements, lottery rules and details about the home is included with the application.

       Additionally, the Come to Howard County Housing Fair offers over 30 educational seminars taught by industry experts. Seminar topics include information sessions for first time homebuyers, workshops on improving your credit rating and securing a mortgage, and other essentials for anyone looking to find affordable housing opportunities in the county.

“Anyone who wants to make their home in Howard County should come to the Housing Fair,” said Tom Carbo, Howard County Housing Director. “The Fair has everything a person or family might need to know about living in the county, all in one location. With children’s activities, prize drawings throughout the event and the Housing Lottery, there’s something for everyone.”

For more information about the Housing Fair and the Lottery visit or contact the Homeownership staff at (410) 313-6318, (menu option 4).


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Oregon lessons for Maryland

    Even though Maryland is reasonably progressive in its politics we have to look at Oregon to see where our progressive state still has to move in the future.  Oh sure, we were the first state to have voters approve gay marriage (Washington State followed us a few hours later) but on other progressive issues we seem to be taking a slower path to change than states like Oregon.  Here is where we stand in relationship to where Oregon is today.
     Oregon has approved recreational marijuana last year.  Maryland has legalized marijuana for medical purposes and decriminalized possession of small amounts.  We seem to be pursuing the incremental approach to legalizing marijuana.  While the use of marijuana is still controversial the war on this drug has not been shown to have a positive impact on our community except to increase the incarceration rate and stigmatizing many with a criminal record.  Treating marijuana like alcohol is the only non hypocritical approach to this issue.
      Possibly more controversial is the death with dignity issue.  Oregon was the leader in legalizing  the right to die for persons with terminal illnesses.  The case of Brittany Maynard has been a driving force for other states to consider this type of legislation.   The fact that Oregon is the least religious state has to account for much of this movement because most of the opposition to this legislation comes from religious groups.  Here in Maryland Howard County Del. Shane Pendergrass has introduced right to die legislation in the current legislation session.  It is not clear if this legislation will be passed by the Assembly and whether Gov. Hogan would sign the legislation.
       Finally the last area that Oregon leads the nation is in voting rights.  Many states with Republican control have been trying to find ways to prevent people from voting, Oregon has the most inclusive voter registration and voting methods.  Oregon has mail in voting and automatic registration for anyone with a drivers license.  In Oregon you have to opt out when you register to drive if you don't want to be registered to vote.  Not surprisingly the vote on this bill followed a party line vote with only Democrats voting for this bill.  Shrinking the voter pool doesn't seem like a winning path for the future of any political party.  Here in Maryland you can register to vote when you register to drive but we have an opt in rather than an opt out system.  Opt out systems always have greater participation rates than opt in systems.

    I am not sure that Ted Cruz's announcement for President and how he wants to take our Country back to what it once stood for should have been made in a town called Lynchburg. Just saying.

    Cruz gets caught!