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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Homeless in HoCo

     I have blogged in the past about the issue of homelessness in Howard County.  Recently the reality of being homeless was brought home with the death of a homeless woman in a flooded area near Laurel.   An effort to build temporary housing for the homeless in this area has met with opposition from local residents.  With this issue still relevant for our County a Community Forum on Ending Homelessness is planned for this Thursday.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Lakefront lunchtime concerts at Lake Kittamaqundi May 1st

   One of the signs of Spring is the return of the CA outdoor lunch concerts around Columbia. They start off with the Lakefront concerts on May 1st.  The following is info from CA about the schedule at the Lakefront this year and the concerts at the local village centers:

Lakefront Concerts
Nine weeks of music and fun begin this May 1, with the return of Columbia Association’s (CA) free Lakefront Wednesday lunchtime concert series.
These concerts are held every Wednesday from noon to 2 p.m. alongside Lake Kittamaqundi in Downtown Columbia. This year’s performers include series favorites and popular local musicians from a wide variety of musical styles, including rock, R&B, folk, jazz and blues.
In addition to great live music, guests who sign in each week at the welcome tent will receive free cold beverages and will be eligible to win a raffle.
This year’s schedule of performers includes:
  1. May 1:     Ted Garber (rock/folk)
  2. May 8:     Project Natale (jazz)
  3. May 15:   Damon Foreman (rock/funk)
  4. May 22:   Dana and Susan Robinson (folk)
  5. May 29:   Janice B (R&B/soul)
  6. June 5:    Bryan Russo (blues)
  7. June 12:  Julie Hall Trio (jazz)
  8. June 19:  Richard Walton Trio (folk/rock)
  9. June 26:  Angela Sheik (electro-acoustic)
For more information, please call 410-423-1891.

Village Concerts

Event NameCenter NameDateEvent descriptionCall for info: 
Courtyard Concert Series 2013Dorsey's Search Village CenterJun 13-Aug 22JOIN US FOR OUR DORSEY’S SEARCH VILLAGE CENTER SUMMER CONCERT SERIES 2013!
6/13 The Bay Jazz Project – Jazz
6/20 Gary and The Groove - Good Time Rock & Roll
6/27 Patsy's Honky Tonk Torch & Twang - Classic Country & Honky Tonk Music
7/11 The Richard Walton Group - Contemporary Jazz
7/18 Pan Fried Steel- Steel Drums
7/25 Ellis Woodward Trio – Summer Covers and Originals
8/1 Patty Reese Duo – Blues
8/8 Mr. Dave of D’s Magic – Magician(
8/15 Appaloosa – Classic Rock
8/22 Automatic Slim – Blues Rock
8/29 Catfish Hodge - American Folk Legend
Summer ConcertsHickory Ridge Village CenterJun 14-28Come join us for Friday Evening Concerts in June!

6/14- ALL THE BEST KIDS- Hip Hop/Progressive/Dance Rock Band
6/21- PRIME & THE SUSPECTS- Psychedelic-Jam-Rock from space
6/28 THE SENECAS- Rock n' Roll
Courtyard Concert Series 2013River Hill Village CenterJun 14-Aug 16JOIN US FOR OUR RIVER HILL VILLAGE CENTER COURTYARD CONCERT SERIES 2013!
6/14 Karen Collins & The Backroads Band – Country
6/21 Janice B and Queen Earth- R&B
6/28 Swingin’ Swamies – Jazz, Latin, R&B, Soul
7/5 BG & The Mojo Hands – Blues, Swing
7/12 Ellis Woodward KIDS - Kids Show
7/19 Mr. Dave of D’s Magic - Magician (
7/26 Naked Blue – Folk Rock
8/2 Pan Fried Steel- Steel Drums
8/9 The Sidleys – R&B, Rock
8/16 Invasion - British Rock
Courtyard Concert Series 2013Kings Contrivance Village CenterJun 14-Aug 16JOIN US FOR OUR KINGS CONTRIVANCE VILLAGE CENTER COURTYARD CONCERT SERIES 2013!
FRIDAYS 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
6/14 Dave Chappel Band – Blues Rock
6/21 BG & The Mojo Hands – Blues, Swing
6/28 The Rockin’ Reasons – Classic Rock
7/5 Kinderman – Kids Show!
7/12 Gary and the Groove – Goodtime Rock ‘n Roll
7/19 McBooze- R&B
7/26 David Bach Trio – Contemporary Jazz
8/2 Naked Blue – Folk Rock
8/9 Orlando Phillips – Caribbean & Island
8/16 Joe Carta – County Band
Courtyard Concert Series 2013Harper's Choice Village CenterJun 14-Aug 16JOIN US FOR OUR HARPER’S CHOICE VILLAGE CENTER COURTYARD CONCERT SERIES 2013!
6/14 Iris Hirsch & the Retro-Rockets – Oldies, Variety, Dance Band
6/21 Pan Fried Steel- Steel Drums
6/28 Steve Zurier Trio – Jazz
7/5 Mr. Dave of D’s Magic – Magician (
7/12 Janice B and Queen Earth- R&B
7/19 Lone Mountain – Blue Grass & Country
7/26 Ellis Woodward Duo - Summer Covers & Originals
8/2 Orlando Phillips – Caribbean & Island
8/9 Tres Amigos+ - Eclectic Mix of Latin, Brazilian & Popular Music
8/16 Misspent Youth – Classic and Pop Rock

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Howard Magazine 2013 survey of restaurants

   Like many other magazines doing surveys these days the 2013 restaurant survey for Howard Magazine is being done in Survey Monkey.  This year's survey has to be done by May 1st.  Click here to take the survey.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Vote for your favorite entry in the HoCo Library Rube Goldberg challenge


  Every year the Friends of the Howard County Library sponsor a Rube Goldberg Challenge to encourage Howard County students to learn engineering skills in a fun way.  Watch the videos on You Tube and then  until May 3rd you can vote for your favorite. 
    Awards ceremony will be Tuesday, May 7 at 7 pm at River Hill High School.

From the Columbia Association for today:

Famed cherry trees coming to Lake Kittamaqundi beginning with Arbor Day ceremony
It’s not just the District of Columbia that offers the sight of cherry trees blooming on the shores of a signature body of water — soon this sight will be a must-see springtime stop in downtown Columbia, Maryland, where people can come to see cherry trees on  Lake Kittamaqundi.
Columbia Association (CA) will be hosting a planting ceremony on National Arbor Day — Friday, April 26 — at 5 p.m. at Kennedy Gardens, which is located on the east side of Lake Kittamaqundi. Three  Yoshino cherries grown from the stock of the original Washington, D. C. cherry trees will be planted at the ceremony. These special legacy trees are a gift from Blossoms of Hope. The local organization also donated 25 additional trees to the restoration effort at Kennedy Gardens, including  Kwanzan cherry trees, dogwood trees and redbud trees. CA will plant these and dozens more trees, shrubs and perennials at Kennedy Gardens later this spring
“We expect that the blooming cherry trees will be a beautiful sight from the plaza across the lake,” said Jan Clark, landscape architect with CA’s Bureau of Community Building and Sustainability.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Image from the Hubble Space Telescope

    A friend who works with the Hubble Telescope at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore sent me this new image  and information about the Horseshoe Nebula.  We have become used to incredible photos taken by the Hubble Telescope but they are still awe inspiring.

    "This new Hubble image, captured and released to celebrate the telescope's 23rd year in orbit, shows part of the sky in the constellation of Orion (The Hunter). Rising like a giant seahorse from turbulent waves of dust and gas is the Horsehead Nebula, otherwise known as Barnard 33. This image shows the region in infrared light, which has longer wavelengths than visible light and can pierce through the dusty material that usually obscures the nebula's inner regions. The result is a rather ethereal and fragile-looking structure, made of delicate folds of gas — very different to the nebula's appearance in visible light. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI)

To celebrate its 23rd year in orbit, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has released a stunning new image of one of the most distinctive objects in our skies: the Horsehead Nebula. This image shows the nebula in a whole new light, capturing plumes of gas in the infrared and revealing a beautiful, delicate structure that is normally obscured by dust.

This year marks the 23rd year of observing for the Hubble Space Telescope. Alongside cutting-edge science, the orbiting observatory has produced countless stunning astronomical images. Some of the most striking and beautiful subjects of Hubble's images have been nebulae—vast interstellar clouds of gas and dust.

This new Hubble image, captured and released to celebrate this milestone, shows part of the sky in the constellation of Orion (The Hunter). Rising like a giant seahorse from turbulent waves of dust and gas is the Horsehead Nebula, otherwise known as Barnard 33. The nebula formed from a collapsing interstellar cloud of material, and glows as it is illuminated by a nearby hot star."

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Get involved in Columbia with "Inspire Columbia"

     The Columbia Association has launched a new method to receive input and ideas from Columbia residents.  "Inspire Columbia" allows residents to post ways to improve our community or just communicate ideas.  Topic categories are 1) Visioning Columbia Future 2) Living in Columbia 3) Tell us how we are doing at CA facilities 4) Beautiful Columbia.  Visitors to the site are allowed to vote on the idea with a love it, like it, its OK or neutral vote. Below it the announcement from CA:

"Columbia Association (CA) is pleased to announce the launch of Inspire Columbia — a new, comprehensive community engagement website that can be found at and which offers Columbia residents the opportunity to engage, communicate and collaborate with other residents on projects, issues and opportunities facing this community.
The goal of Inspire Columbia is to get residents involved in the planning process. CA understands that its residents have busy lifestyles that might keep them from being able to attend meetings. This online exchange will allow them another way to participate, providing them with opportunities to share ideas, support others' ideas, expand upon existing ideas, give feedback on initiatives and collaborate on a variety of topics online, anytime, while sitting in front of their computer.
 Inspire Columbia will not only be used to highlight specific projects, but will also be used to engage citizens on important issues such as the future vision of the community, communication planning, customer service, and environmental and transportation issues that can directly affect community members.
 “Citizens and business owners of Columbia have a vision about what this community’s future should be,” said Celeste Olinger, CA’s director of communications. “This tool is a convenient way for the community to help Columbia Association prioritize its offerings, while also generating new ideas to expand and/or improve its offerings that are driven by, and for, our community members.”
The site also measures and tracks participation, identifying the most interested residents and the most compelling topics. The website’s tools make it easy for administrators — who are CA staff members — to communicate back with the community, and to deliver measurable results and valuable insights for the future planning process.
Signing up is simple and free. Residents are invited to join in the discussions today, and to let the conversations begin, at"

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Boston bombing impacting immigration debate?

    This weekend I was surprised how quickly some Facebook friends (?) seemed to use the Boston bombing to denigrate recent immigrants.  The first posting was followed by over 30 comments with most supporting the original poster's views.  This may reflect more on the original poster's friends on Facebook than any widespread reaction in our Country to this event.  While I don't see any comparable scale to our reaction after 9/11 that gave us over a decade of war I do see how tragic events can lead us into some regrettable public policies.
     After reading these posting I was amazed to read of our very own Howard County resident, Tatyana McFadden winning the women's wheelchair division at the London Marathon.  The really amazing fact is that she had just won the same division at the Boston Marathon six days earlier.  How anyone can do that is amazing to me.  I remember reading about this remarkable athlete as she fought to race for Atholton  High School track team a few years.  She won that fight and has gone onto an international track career.   
     What ties these two stories together is that Tatyana was adopted early in her life from a Russian orphanage at a young age.  Unfortunately the fact that the Boston bombers were from a Russian republic can unfairly discredit the need for our Country and Howard County to remain a welcoming place for immigrants. The amazing athletic feats of Tatyana shows how our community and nation are made better by welcoming  immigrants.

Who knew?  Abbott and Costello knew "Hu."

Monday, April 22, 2013

17 year cicadas


   I am not sure this year's Cicadas are the biggest batch we get but this year's invasion is supposed to be a large group.  The ground temperature has to reach 65 degrees for them to come out so we have a few weeks before this year's invasion.  Just to give you an idea of how long this group has been dormant underground here is what happened 17 years ago. 
  • Bill Clinton and Al Gore win re-election for second terms as President and Vice President of the U.S.
  • The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.4 percent.
  • First-class U.S. postage stamp cost 32 cents.
  • Madeleine Albright named the first female U.S. Secretary of State.
  • NCAA collegiate football champions were the Florida Gators!
  • Average price nationally for all grades of gasoline per gallon was $1.28.
  • The World Series was won by the New York Yankees.
  • The English Patient won the Academy Award for best picture.
  • Atlanta hosts the 100th anniversary of the Olympic Games.
  • Frasier won the Emmy Award for best comedy series.
  • Call Ripkin broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive game streak
  • O.J Simpson trial began 
  • JonBenet Ramsay is found dead
     Howard County's food composting effort was described in yesterday's Sun.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tickets on sale for Columbia Home Tour

Tickets on sale for the 4th annual Columbia Home Tour
The popular Columbia Home Tour will soon be returning for its fourth year, with this year’s event featuring five distinct houses in the villages of Dorsey’s Search, Hickory Ridge, Long Reach and Wilde Lake.
The self-guided tour — which is sponsored by the villages of Columbia and Columbia Archives, will be held on Sunday, June 2, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Advance tickets will go on sale as of Monday, April 15, for $20 from any of the 10 village community associations, whose addresses can be found On the day of the tour, tickets will be $25 and will only be available at Linden Hall in Dorsey’s Search. Proceeds will benefit local charity Rebuilding Together Howard County, which provides free home repairs to low-income families in Howard County.
The Columbia Home Tour gives an interesting perspective on what facets of architecture in Columbia endure, and what facets change so as to reflect the needs and styles of today’s residents. The tour also offers a rare opportunity to view the interior layouts of many familiar Columbia home models.
With a tour guide book and map, participants will head to the five homes, where docents will welcome and guide them. People may tour as many homes as they wish and in any order they choose. This year’s featured homes include:
  1. a townhome located on the golf course in Dorsey’s Search;
  2. a traditional split-level home in Dorsey’s Search;
  3. an Arts & Crafts home on an estate lot in Hickory Ridge;
  4. a custom contemporary in Long Reach;
  5. and a mid-century modern home in Long Reach.
        Participants are also invited to visit Linden Hall for light refreshments, and to see displays provided by Columbia Archives and Rebuilding Together Howard County. In addition, tour participants can see a display about Columbia Association’s (CA) rain garden cost-sharing program. That display will be at the house in Wilde Lake, which has one of the rain gardens designed to help slow the flow of stormwater runoff, and which in turn helps the local waterways and environment. In case of rain on the day of the tour, the display will be at Linden Hall.
For more information, contact Brigitta Warren at 410-730-4610, visit the tour’s Facebook page, or go to its website at

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Any good breakfast places?

          Somehow it seems that we are eating out more for breakfast than dinner these days.  While there are a ton of good places for dinner in our area we have a very limited amount of decent breakfast places.  Eggspectation and La Madeleine are the two that we seem to gravitate back to most often.        
         Are we missing any other decent places for breakfast?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Battle of the Books

From the Howard County Library:

"Are you ready for the Battle of the Books!? Friday, April 19, 2013 at 7pm
One of the most exciting components of A+ Partners in Education, Battle of the Books gets fifth grade students excited about reading. A lively academic competition, Battle of the Books improves reading comprehension, builds vocabulary, and teaches teamwork and good sportsmanship. 

Teams of five students and one adult coach each read the same 16 pre-determined books. Selected by HCLS instructors and HCPSS media specialists, titles include a wide range of reading levels and subjects. Thanks to generous sponsors, all teams receive a set of books. In addition, copies of each year's titles are available for borrowing at Howard County Library System."

This program is supported by the Friends of the Library.  To support these types of programs join the Friends.

  What a difference a couple of weeks make.

P.S. 1
   Newspaper headline I never thought I would read "Elvis impersonator sends poison to President in the mail."

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Senators voting yesterday to continue to give felons and terrorists the right to buy a gun

  I guess they missed the part of the 2nd Amendment that mentions a "well regulated" militia

Alexander (R-TN)
Ayotte (R-NH)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Baucus (D-MT)
Begich (D-AK)
Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coats (R-IN)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
Cruz (R-TX)
Enzi (R-WY)
Fischer (R-NE)
Flake (R-AZ)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hatch (R-UT)
Heitkamp (D-ND)
Heller (R-NV)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Johnson (R-WI)
Lee (R-UT)
McConnell (R-KY)
Moran (R-KS)

Murkowski (R-AK)
Paul (R-KY)
Portman (R-OH)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reid (D-NV)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rubio (R-FL)
Scott (R-SC)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Wicker (R-MS)

Gabby Giffords Op-Ed in the NY Times today on yesterday's vote.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Too close for comfort in Boston

     A little after 3 p.m. on Monday I received a call from my daughter.  I expected her to tell me about my son-in-law's finishing time at the Boston Marathon.  Instead she said, "We are all OK but are having to evacuate our hotel."  Puzzled but before I could say why she said, "Turn on your TV Dad.  I can't talk now as they are telling us not to use our cell phones.  Will call later to talk more."  Turning on the TV filled in some of the facts of why they were evacuating their hotel but didn't answer my numerous questions until her call back yesterday.
    I knew they were staying near the finish line of the Marathon but didn't realize how close they were to the site of the first bombing until her call yesterday.  Their hotel was two doors down from the bombing site, literally next to the finish line.  My daughter and our 6 month old grandson were standing in front of their hotel watching my son-in-law finish the Marathon 40 minutes before the bombing.  Running the Marathon in 3 hours and 20 minutes meant that they were back in their hotel room when the bomb went off.  Hearing the bomb and seeing the confusion on the street from their room they started leaving their room only to be met by Boston Police and FBI agents telling them that they had to evacuate the building.  They were not allowed to go back to their room to get their luggage as the building was considered part of a crime scene.  Being escorted out of the building through the lobby they saw some of the injured being treated in the lobby.  The entrance to the hotel and lobby was blood-covered from some of the injured who were now in the lobby.
    With my son-in-law still just wearing his sweats they contacted other friends from their running club, the Golden Gate Running Club, and located a friend who told them they could stay in his hotel room.  They are   heading to New York City today (staying near Times Square!) and Columbia on Saturday. They were fortunately able to retrieve their luggage yesterday.  Seeing our 6 month old grandson for the second time since his birth will take on new meaning.

     If the experience above wasn't bad enough my daughter had a pick pocket take her phone when she and my grandson were out in front of the hotel watching for my son-in-law to come by.  She felt the person take it and turned around to look at the person and emotionally told him to give back her phone as it had pictures of her baby on the phone.  Surprisingly he gave her phone back before walking away.

P.S. 1
   Attended Jeff Yeager's talk at the Miller Library last night.  His best line was "I got a call from a person with my book publisher saying he had good news and bad news.  My book had one million readers but only 27 books sold as all the "cheapskate readers" got his book from the library."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Living frugally

     When is enough really "enough?"  What are our "needs" and what are our "wants?"  These are questions that many of us ask when we live in a "consuming" culture.  Tonight author and "ultimate cheapskate" Jeff Yeager talks at the Miller Library about these questions.  As posted on the Library website:

Learn how to slay your Enough-asaurus and decide what "enough" is for you. Author, public speaker, and media personality Jeff Yeager delivers practical and life changing advice about money, happiness, and our consumer culture. As outlined in his bestselling book, The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches: A Practical (and Fun) Guide to Enjoying Life More by Spending Less , Yeager teaches how to live a happier, healthier, and fuller life...but only if you're NOT willing to pay the price.

Yeager contends that for many Americans, the quality of their lives will increase and they'll be happier if they spend and consume less, not more, as 5,000 commercial messages a day encourage us to do. A "cheapskate," according to Yeager's philosophy of life, is the polar opposite of a "conspicuous consumer." Yeager encourages us to "value time, and the things you can do with it, more than money, and the stuff you can buy with it."
HCLS MILLER BRANCH (410.313.1950)
Tuesday, Apr 16
7 - 8:30 pm"


     Downsizing has is a goal that has many attractive appeals.  Having less clutter and less areas to clean seems so appealing.  For many this means moving from a single family home to a condo.  But I have always been fascinated with the concept of really small houses like the one shown above from the Tumbleweed Homes company.

    Now if I can just talk my wife into this concept!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Middle Patuxent Branch Connector Trail hearing this evening

    I have blogged before about a proposed Patuxent Branch Connector Trail that has been proposed to connect downtown Columbia with the Middle Patuxent Branch Trail.  The photo above was taken along the Middle Patuxent Branch Trail.
     Right now the trail is along some of the most beautiful wooded areas in the County.  The yellow Mayflowers pictured above have been blooming along the path for the past few week.
   The paved part of the trail goes down to the Kings Contrivance area and the trestle bridge.  The dirt trail from this point goes along the river to Vollmerhausen Rd.
      If this connect section from downtown is built to connect with this path the trail will connect with the path system on the west side of Columbia.  Because a gas line was built a couple of years ago along this route the area has been cleared for this path as can be seen in the photo below.
    I can envision 10 mile bike rides on this trail to downtown Columbia and then going on trails all the way to the Athletic Club and only crossing one road intersection.  If you would like to see this built you should be aware that tonight the County Council starts hearings on next year's Capital Budget of which this trail is a part.  You can even email your support to the Council. The info below is from the Columbia Association:

"The Council will be hearing testimony on the proposed county capital budget on this Monday evening, April 15. The great news is that funding for the  #1 new pathway priority in the recently completed Active Transportation Action Agenda  (Connecting Columbia) is included in the proposed budget. It is also in the draft of the county's Bike Master Plan. The project is the ~3 mile-long proposed pathway along the sewer alignment from downtown Columbia to connect to the county's Middle Patuxent Branch trail (the Downtown - Patuxent Branch Trail Connector). The proposed capital project is T-7107. It is in the Capital budget on pages x and xxx. It's a huge document you can access here I have clipped and attached the relevant page to this email for your convenience.

The suggested alignment is flat and cleared because of the completed sewer project. It is scenic, running close to the Patuxent River. It would allow pedestrians and cyclists to get easily and directly from downtown to points south and east and west. With this pathway, pedestrians and cyclists could avoid the the 29/Brokenland Parkway interchange since the pathway would go underneath.

What you can do? 
  • Use the following link to submit written comment on this project and that you support it. Select all Council Members and then you'll be asked to enter your email, etc and then you will be able to write your comment of support for T-7107 - the Downtown - Patuxent Branch Trail Connector. Short and sweet is fine.
  • Sign-up to testify and give your testimony in person. Here is the link to sign up. Please select Budget Hearing -  Capital, and then select: "DPW Trans Intersec". You will be asked for your contact information, etc and whether you suport the item. You want to select support... do this soon so you get on the list now. 
  • Ask others to testify or submit written comments. Anyone who lives in Jen Terrasa's district who supports the pathway is needed especially since the pathway is mostly in her district and she is the one hearing the angst from Allview.
The facts: the pathway alignment needs to be studied. That would be the first step in the county's process. They will hire consultants to undertake a feasibility study. This will define the alignment and make clear what mitigation steps will be needed to implement the pathway stormwater management, wetlands mitigation, etc. Engineering would follow and then construction. Issues of screening to a few nearby houses (you can count them in single digits) could be addressed at that time. The pathway alignment would use the sewer easement that the county has already."  

At the Miller Library tonight:

Understanding U.S. Census Records: 1790-1940
Census records offer an important tool for family history research and can provide information on age, residence, place of birth, and occupation, among other significant facts. Using HCLS research tools, Family History Center volunteer Dottie Aleshire guides you through the history, details, and process of locating and recording United States census information from this historical period, including population census, mortality, agriculture, and slave schedules.

*Registration is required. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

P.S. 1
   Do you know we once had "orphan trains" in the United States that took orphan children from cities in the East and shipped them to the Midwest to mostly farms.  Hear about a new novel that tells this story.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Cherry Blossom time in DC

 Seems like it has been a long time since we ventured to DC for the cherry blossoms.  The crowds always seemed large and we never seemed to get there at the peak blooming time.  But with the addition of grandchildren the allure of pictures with the grandkids drew us back yesterday.  Ideal weather, a parade and crowds that weren't too bad made for a perfect Spring day.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Greenfest at Howard Community College

 Today April 13 is the day for Greenfest at Howard Community College. The event will take place in Burrill Galleria and Quad from 10 am to 4 pm.  The following is the posted info on the Howard County Government webpage:

"NEW for 2013 - Native Plant Sale all day on the Quad with 7 vendors and denim collection for recycling into insulation. 

Bring your blue jeans, electronics, eye glasses, binoculars, bicycles and bike parts for Bikes for the World, sewing machines, and items for Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity all for recycling and reuse.

Children's activities include an outdoor nature playspace, "How-To Cowboy" workshop that includes a lesson on whistling through acorns, live reptiles and amphibians, and more.

Workshops will feature tower gardening, stormwater utility, citizen science programs, seed bombs, energy, composting, and more. A mini farmer's market will also be back this year. Plan your day with us by checking out the Schedule of Workshops and Events HERE. Vegetarian (and non-vegetarian) food will be available for sale on site as well so bring a blanket and plan to picnic on the Quad!

Shredding event from 10am - 2pm - Limit 3 bags or boxes per resident.

Rain Barrel Workshop Registration - Registration is now full. Workshops are open to the public, however free barrels are already assigned to registrants. Please visit the Schedule of Workshops and Events above for times."

The chart below shows the sources of our energy consumption over the past 211 years.

Friday, April 12, 2013

CA sponsors a "Community Cleanup" April 13th

From the Columbia Association:
Start your Spring cleaning by helping CA clean up our open spaces.  This info on the day from CA:

"This community can be even more beautiful, and the environment can be more healthy, after just three hours on what has become another spring tradition — Columbia-Wide Cleanup Day.
Columbia-Wide Cleanup Day will take place on Saturday, April 13, from 9 a.m. to noon, taking place simultaneously at locations in all 10 villages. This is the fifth year that volunteers are invited to pick up trash that has accumulated in Columbia’s open spaces.
People who would like to participate can show up at the meeting locations. Groups that are interested can call their local village office, or they can contact Columbia Association’s (CA) Open Space Management Division at 410-312-6330 to get more information or to sign up.
The meeting locations and clean-up areas are:
  • Dorsey Search: Park at Dorsey Hall Pool (4649 Columbia Road). Clean at the open space behind Dorsey Hall Pool, along Plum Tree Branch and Red Hill Branch.
  • Harper’s Choice: Park at Swansfield Neighborhood Center (5659 Cedar Lane). Clean at the open space area behind Green Dory Lane and Berrypick Lane.
  • Hickory Ridge: Park at Clemens Crossing Elementary School (10320 Quarterstaff Road). Clean at the open space and natural areas behind the school and continuing on toward Cardinal Lane.
  • Kings Contrivance: Park at Amherst House (7251 Eden Brook Drive). Clean at open space and natural areas behind the building and near Dickinson Pool.
  • Long Reach, location 1: Park at Locust Park Neighborhood Center (8995 Lambskin Lane). Clean the open space and stream valley, beginning across from the neighborhood center, continuing along the pathway toward Route 175 and then on the pathway toward Tamar Drive.
  • Long Reach, location 2: Park at the end of Tamar Drive in Jeffers Hill. Clean the open space and stream valley, moving along the pathways to the left toward Old Montgomery Road and to the right toward Sewell’s Orchard.
  • Oakland Mills: Park at Thunder Hill Neighborhood Center (5134 Thunder Hill Road). Clean from the neighborhood center to Patriot Lane Pond.
  • Owen Brown: Park at Lake Elkhorn at the Dockside Lane lot off of Cradlerock Way. Clean around Lake Elkhorn and the Forebay area.
  • River Hill: Park at Claret Hall in the River Hill Village Center (6020 Daybreak Circle). Clean from behind Gentle Call to down past Ascending Moon Path.
  • Town Center: Park at Oakland Manor (5430 Vantage Point Road). Clean the Wilde Creek stream valley from Little Patuxent Parkway to Lake Kittamaqundi.
  • Wilde Lake: Park on Hyla Brook Road. Clean around Wilde Lake."

     Children's Discovery Day at East Columbia Library Saturday April 13th at 10 am, no registration required.  This event is," A celebration for young children and their families with free hands-on activities that teach developmentally appropriate educational concepts, including interactive games, crafts, and stories. Ages 3-5 with adult; drop-in activity.

Bring a donation for the Howard County Food Bank."

P.S. 1
  See why you will never have a better friend than a dog.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Howard County Housing Fair April 13th

  This Saturday April 13th is a busy day for community events.  I will be posting information on these events the next 3 days.  Today I wanted to post on the  Howard County Housing Department hosting a housing fair Saturday at the Long Reach High School from 10 am to 2 pm.

This is the information on the housing fair from Housing's information:

"Maryland's largest housing fair returns! The 7th Annual Come Home to Howard County Housing Fair is Saturday, April 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Long Reach High School, 6101 Old Dobbin Lane, in Columbia, Maryland. Admission is free and over 1,000 participants are expected to attend.

More than 50 real estate professionals, mortgage lenders, and housing specialists will be on hand to offer buying and renting guidance to individuals and families in one-on-one meetings and group education sessions. Guided bus tours will showcase various new home communities for rent and purchase in the county, for individuals and families of all income levels.

BB&T Bank, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, and Consumer Credit Counseling Services of MD and DE, Inc. will offer free credit reports and one-on-one consumer counseling, in addition to more than 20 free educational sessions throughout the day.

For two lucky attendees, the Housing Fair will be where their homeownership dreams come true. The Fair's Housing Lottery will select two pre-qualified applicants for the opportunity to purchase one of two newly constructed Howard County homes at significantly reduced prices.

"The Come Home to Howard County Housing Fair is an ideal place for individuals and families who want to make their home in Howard County," said Tom Carbo, Howard County Housing Director. "There's no other event where you can get everything you need to know about finding a home in Howard County in one location. Combined with the Housing Lottery, it's always an exciting, educational and inspiring day."

The first lottery home is a soon-to-be constructed rancher in the Deep Run Park community in Elkridge, Md.; a community that features a playground, swimming pool and clubhouse. This three-bedroom, two-bath home will boast an inviting front porch and customization opportunities for the buyer. Constructed by Professional Building Systems the modular home offers unbeatable space and amenities for the sale price of $125,000.

The second lottery home is part of Ryan Homes' brand new Ellicott Crossing community in Ellicott City. The townhome, with three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths and a one-car garage, will be completed in August. The 1,682 square foot home will feature nine-foot ceilings, brand new GE kitchen appliances, finished recreation and powder rooms, and ENERGY STAR certification, all for a sale price of  $221,154.

Interested candidates must pre-qualify for the Housing Lottery and submit all required paperwork by 5 P.M. on Wednesday, April 10.  Each home has different income qualification requirements so applications should read both applications carefully. The drawings at the Fair will begin at 1:30 p.m. To be eligible, applicants must be pre-qualified and be present at the time of the lottery drawing. The winners may also be eligible for settlement down payment loan funds through Housing County Housing.

The Housing Lottery applications are available for download at or by visiting Howard County Housing at 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive in Columbia. The website also has a complete list of pre-qualification requirements, lottery rules and details about each home. No Housing Lottery applications will be accepted at the Fair.

Howard County Housing Executive Director Tom Carbo is available for interviews. Additionally, images of the annual Come Home to Howard County Housing Fair and the housing lottery homes are available. To request an interview or images, please contact Dan Wiznitzer at  or 410.989.2067