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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Howard County's Roving Radish

From the Health Department's Roving Radish program:


The Roving Radish is a Howard County program dedicated to promoting healthy farm to table eating habits to our community, while creating sustainable markets for our local and regional farms. We achieve this by selling healthy meal kits, sourced from local and regional farms, to our community. The meal kits are made available to all Howard County residents, and are offered at a discounted price to those in need.

We have two different meal kits, standard and premium. Our standard meal kit includes ingredients to make two dinners for a family of four. Our premium meal kit is offered at different times through out the year and includes one dinner for a family of four. Our premium meal kits have a more expensive protein that we could not afford to offer in our standard meal kits. All of our meal kits include ingredients source from local farms whenever possible. We make preparing our meal kits easy by processing the produce (dicing, slicing, cubing etc.) and measuring vegetable and spices needed for the recipes. Household staples like milk, sugar, pepper, oil etc. may not be included in our meal kit but will be specified recipe card. Roving Radish recipes have been selected using Healthy Howard guidelines and have no more than 750 calories, less than 30% of calories coming from fat and no more than 1050 mg of sodium.


Standard Meal Price - $28.00 for a meal kit with two meals for a family of four.

Premium Meal Kit Price - $28.00 for a meal kit with one meals for a family of four.

Subsidized Price* - $12.00 for standard or premium meal kit.

Roving Radish Volunteers Needed

Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays

The Roving Radish promotes local farms and healthy eating. Each week from spring to fall, the Roving Radish program buys regionally grown food straight from the farm and prepares meal kits that are easy to cook since most of the prep work has been done. The meal kits include the ingredients needed to make two dinners, each feeding four people. The meal kits are available for purchase to all Howard County residents and are offered at a discounted price to those in need.

Orders can be placed now - meal kit pickups will start the week of May 30th. For more details and pickup locations visit

Volunteers are needed to help prepare the meal kits. Volunteers wash and prepare vegetables and assemble kits. Volunteering with Roving Radish is best for adults, but minors age 16 and up can participate with a parent's permission. Younger children are only allowed if accompanied by a volunteering adult.

The Roving Radish meal kit prep is done in Glenwood, MD at the Old Bushy Park school. To sign up, visit and click on the Roving Radish box on the front page. All volunteers must fill out the on-line application and make an account on the website. The on-line application is short, we promise. You can then sign up directly for a shift.

The Roving Radish is a partnership between Howard County government, the Horizon Foundation, the United Way, and Howard County General Hospital. If you have questions, please email James Zoller at "

   Trash and recycling pickups slide one day this week. 


Friday, May 27, 2016

Howard County Recreation and Parks 2016 Concert Dates


     With the Memorial Day holiday finally near we can look forward to warmer weather and the free concerts hosted by our Recreation and Parks.  Here are the concerts and dates"

2016 Concert Dates
Sunset Serenades Wednesdays, 7 PM Centennial Park South

10000 Rt 108, Ellicott City

June 29 Midnight Run -- Classic Rock
July 6 Joey D Cares -- Rock Orchestra
July 13 Rainbow Rock -- Children's Music
July 20 Jenee' -- R&B, Soul
July 27 Gaelic Mishap -- Celtic Rock
August 3 Mama's Black Sheep -- Rock, Blues, Country

Traveling Bands

Various days/locations, 7 PM.

Fri., June 24- East Columbia Library Park, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia Rhythm Method -- Classic R&B
Fri., July 29- Schooley Mill Park, 12975 Hall Shop Road, Highland Sons of Pirates -- Buffett Tribute
Tues., Aug. 2- North Laurel Community Center* 9411 Whiskey Bottom Road Ocho de Bastos -- Latin Rock
Fri., Aug. 12- Rockburn Branch Park West 6105 Rockburn Branch Park Road, Elkridge Big Fancy Car -- Funk, Blues
*In partnership with the Howard County Police Department for “National Night Out.”


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Blue Angels in Annapolis

     Yesterday I had a chance to take in the Blue Angels airshow in Annapolis.  Always amazed at how the pilots can do these formations.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Climate change on an epic scale


  While we still have a few (fortunately a very few) climate change deniers this video is one that blew my mind when I watched it.  I think it will do the same for you.  Here is the video.

   Here is the NPR story on the film.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Summer reads from Bill Gates

   I have always posted a blog on good Summer reads.  This year I am linking you to Bill Gates' summer reads.  Read like a billionaire!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Capital to Capital Bike Trail

   Virginia has given us one of the nicest bike trails witj its 53 mile Capital to Capital trail from Jamestown to Richmond.   The entire trail is now complete.

This trail is paved the entire way and mostly follows Route 5 the John Tyler Highway.

It is shaded a great deal of the way which makes for a comfortable Summer ride.

The route occasionally passes from one side of the road to the other. 

     One of the interesting places to see along the trail is the Shirley Plantation which is the oldest continuously working plantation in the US.

 They family runs a vineyard on the property with a tasting room and restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch.

     I wonder if Maryland could ever do a St. Mary's to Annapolis bike trail?  Right of ways are the biggest problem with doing a trail.  Following a state road makes this more doable as the State usually controls the land on either side of the road.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Wine in the Woods 2016

   Once again this weekend is one of the biggest events of the year in Howard County with Wine in the Woods.  The weather once again is a factor on when people will go.  With the rain outlook for Saturday I would bet the crowds will hold off till Sunday.  Here is a map of the vendors and a list of the vineyards at this year's event. 

Basignani Winery
Big Cork Vineyards
Boordy Vineyards
Bordeleau Vineyards & Winery
Cove Point Winery
Cygnus Wine Cellars
DeJon Vineyard
Dragonfly Winery/LoveHappinessSangria
Elk Run Vineyards & Winery
Far Eastern Shore Winery
Fiore Winery
Fridays Creek Winery
Great Frogs Winery
Great Shoals Winery
Harford Vineyards
Knob Hall Winery
Layton’s Chance Vineyard & Winery
Linganore Winecellars
Olney Winery
Orchid Cellar Meadery & Winery
Port of Leonardtown Winery
Red Heifer Winery
Royal Rabbit Vineyards
Running Hare Vineyard
Solomons Island Winery
St. Michaels Winery
The Urban Winery*
Turkey Point
Winecream - Crossroad Company*

*New in 2016


    If Sonny would have only had an EZ Pass!


Thursday, May 19, 2016

The original reality show--Survivor

     Another season of Survivor wrapped up last night and I have to admit that I have watched every season of this show. Anyone who is interested in human dynamics can't help but get caught up in a show like Survivor. It may not be surprising that Survivor reminds me of my favorite book as a youth--"Lord of the Flies." Even with the heavy editing to build characters and story lines the dynamics of human interaction gets played out in ways that we can all see parallels to our own lives. The very first season with Richard Hatch showed that the key to winning the game was forming alliances with the right people. Who hasn't experienced work alignments that shape office culture and getting promotions? How do you select your life alignments that bond you to certain groups? Are you a leader of groups or a follower who just wants to keep their head down and out of the line of fire? Have you ever "blindsided" someone to gain a personal advantage?

    I know that some younger folks might dispute the fact of Survivor being the original reality show by pointing out MTV's "Real World" predates Survivor but Survivor was the first prime time reality show.

    Here is one person's take on how to win (or avoid losing) on Survivor.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

One way to speed up airport security lines

     It is hard not to be concerned about flying this Summer when nightly we hear about the long lines causing people to miss flights. It seems that getting to the airport 2 hours before your flight is not necessarily enough time at some of our busier airports.  For all of us using BWI the problems with the security lines have not been this problematic.  One tip that experienced fliers from BWI know is that there is a second security screening area downstairs from the first floor security area that has far fewer passengers waiting in line.
     Gone are the old days before security screening and you could arrive 30 minutes before you flight.  I remember once getting stuck in traffic getting to the Manchester, New Hampshire airport to catch a Southwest flight (remember when Southwest didn't fly to Boston?) and getting to the airport 10 minutes before my flight.  Dropping off the rental car in the parking area next to the airport and running through the airport I got to my gate just as they were about to close the door.  Today that would have been a missed flight.
    I know that the delays are caused by a few different causes such as too few TSA agents and the enhanced security measures but I have one suggestion to speed up the lines.  Remember when you routinely checked all your luggage?  Then the airlines started charging $25 or $50 to check a piece of luggage and everyone started bringing their luggage on to the plane.  Saving money and not having to wait for luggage became the new norm.  Having to screen luggage through security is what takes up the most time.  If airlines allowed every passenger to check one piece of luggage free and only allowed small personal items to be carried onto planes the long wait times at security check points could be greatly reduced.  I know that won't ever happen because the airlines are profiting too much from those check luggage fees that were originally designed to help the airlines cover the high cost of fuel when the cost was over $4.00 a gallon.  Now that the price has come down greatly the airlines are not going to eliminate that surcharge.  So expect the long lines this Summer.

     Additionally, boarding and de-boarding could be greatly enhanced without everyone having to deal with carry on luggage.  How often do we see someone with a too large piece of luggage holding everyone up by having trouble getting the luggage in the overhead compartment.  Turning around planes quicker could save airlines money to make up for the loss of the luggage charges.

   New security checkpoint connecting Concourse D and E to open later this year.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

When it rains and pours--where does it go?

    Last week we again read in the local newspaper about the efforts to control the storm runoff from commercial parking lots.  About 70% of storm runoff projects on on commercial lots but the County has limited means to force the commercial property owners to develop new more effective means to control the runoff.    The new rules for commercial development of parking areas is more comprehensive and expensive.  Below shows what is in place in many of our older parking areas to control storm water runoff.  A storm grate and a pipe to channel the water so that it creates a great deal of soil erosion. 

And creates deep channels like this below the parking lots.

Below shows what happens as the soil carried by the storm water clogs our drains that flow into our lakes.

   Contrast this with the new requirements to control runoff.  An example of this is next to the CVS in Wilde Lake with a rain garden and permeable pavers.

You see the same thing in the parking lot at the Whole Foods store in Town Center.

    Last week I had a chance to take a group on a tour with John McCoy from the Columbia Association to look at their efforts to control the runoff from residents and areas they manage.

Below is a rain garden they installed near the Hopewell pool.

And another one near Lake Elkhorn

The rain gardens are only one part of their effort to slow the flow of storm water into our lakes.  Below shows how the use of rocks and trees are used to slow the flow and allow more of the water to soak into the ground.

We next saw some of the efforts that residents are using to control the runoff from their properties. Below is are a few of the rain gardens put in by CA.

Additionally the homeowner has put some rocks in an area where storm water runs off to slow the flow.

    Retaining walls like those below can also be a nice landscaping feature to prevent runoff.

   Application for Columbia Association rain garden.

P.S. 1
    From the Howard County Watershed Academy program:

"Howard County's Watershed Stewards Academy is holding a series of informational sessions to highlight its Master Watershed Steward program.
The Challenge:

WSA is looking for innovative problem-solvers, interested in serving the community by preserving and improving water quality at the local level.
The Program:

WSA is an affiliate of the University of Maryland Extension in Howard County. It is a training program that empowers residents to improve the water quality of local streams and rivers. Through a series of classes and community-based activities, you can learn how to spearhead individual and community efforts aimed at reducing the harmful effects of polluted storm water runoff into local streams, rivers, and eventually the Chesapeake Bay.

Training will commence on at 6:30 PM on Sept 6, 2016 and we require your attendance at one of the following information sessions for enrollment.

Information sessions:

• Wednesday, 7 PM, May 18 Savage Branch Library

• Tuesday, 7 PM, June 14 Glenwood Branch Library

• Wednesday, 7 PM, June 29 Miller Branch Library

• Tentative - 7 PM, July 19 East Columbia Library

For more information contact Terry R. Matthews at (410) 313-2711 or "


Monday, May 16, 2016

Faces of homelessness in Howard County

      If you have been a follower of this blog you know that I frequently return to topics that I feel are important to our community.  Homelessness is one of those topics.  In defining homelessness in Howard County our image of single adults living on the street or in the woods is often unrepresentative of homeless in our County.  While we certainly have individuals living in the woods in our County we have many more that are what I would call "unstably housed."  This would include people living in their cars, with friends or relatives or in a motel.
     In the title of this blog I deliberately used the word "faces" because there is no one single face for homeless persons in Howard County.  Some are working poor making minimum wages in our service industry.  The person delivering your pizza or waiting on you at a local restaurant might fit this profile. They might be one illness, one job loss or one car breaking down from being homeless.  They might be a single mother who struggles to provide for her family juggling jobs and the costs of raising a family in Howard County.  They might be a person who lived a middle class life who had a health problem, lost their job and health insurance and then lost their housing.  They might be a young person who aged out of foster care or was kicked out of their home.  It is not unusual that homeless persons come from families that have been homeless for more than one generation.  This is common with those who have grown up in foster care.
    For many of these unstably housed individuals and families a housing voucher would be a good solution to being able to live in Howard County.  Unfortunately the funding for housing vouchers from the federal government has been dramatically declining since the 1980's.   A Republican led Congress has more recently targeted affordable housing vouchers for significant cuts.  Republican Presidential candidates this year have frequently listed HUD as a federal department for elimination (even as some can't remember all the departments they want to eliminate!).  All of this has been occurring during the last few years as a major recession and the resulting unemployment has pushed more families toward being homeless.
     Today we hear about affordable housing being developed for persons making 30-80% of median income.  For Howard County that would translate into an annual income of $32,000 to $86,000.  A minimum wage worker in Howard County would have to hold two full time jobs to make $32,000. When we hear our local discussions of building affordable housing it is primarily for those residents making closer to the $86,000 than to the $32,000.  Very few of these units will go to those minimum wage workers in our County.  Without a recognition and commitment to low income affordable housing at all levels of government the persons experiencing housing instability will continue to experience homelessness.
     The development of homeless housing in Jessup that has the support of the County Council and County Executive is a valuable resource for chronically homeless persons in our County, many living in the Route 1 corridor.  However temporarily homeless families in our County are not the targeted group for this resource and we will still need more vouchers for those experiencing temporary homelessness. The County has a County funded voucher program that has recently added 12 vouchers to its program but the waiting list for County vouchers is eight years long and is presently closed to new applicants.
    Last week I blogged on an effort by the Kittamaqundi Community Church and other churches to address this need for affordable housing.  This effort is a good example how the development of affordable housing has to be addressed by a combined commitment from the public sector, private development and the general community.  It would be unfair and simplistic to just say that low income workers shouldn't expect to be able to live in Howard County.  I would point out, as was recently pointed out to me, if all the minimum wage workers in Howard County were to go on strike our community would shut down!  To enjoy the services provided to all of us every day by these workers and not care about whether they can live here seems exploitative to me.

   Howard County has a "Plan to End Homelessness."


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Still Life Gallery shows works of Alison Menke today

NEW WORKS BY ALISON MENKE- Opening reception for the artist Sunday, May 15, 5:00-8:00pm at Still Life Gallery, Ellicott City, Maryland


Still Life Gallery Fine Art & Custom Framing
8173 Main St, Ellicott City MD 21043
(410) 461-1616

Please join us for a

Wine and Cheese Reception With The Artist

Sunday, May 15th, 5:00-8:00pm

Gallery Hours: Open Wed - Sun 11:00-6:00

Show runs April 29- Sept 17th, 2016. Maryland artist Alison Menke is a rising star in the world of Plein Air painting (“in the open air”). A superbly talented, dedicated and prolific young painter, she has captured the attention of collectors and art show judges around the country. In the past year alone she has won Best in Show and 1st Place four times at regional plein air painting competitions.

 A Modern Impressionist working in oils, Alison is known for her dynamic compositions, luscious colors, facile brushwork, and attention to detail. As Still Life Gallery's best-selling artist, we are excited to present our 3rd solo show since 2014 of her new works.

See more images: artist-alison-menke/


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Is it all about how you market a product

  This political season we have all watched as politicians recast themselves it fit the best political position.  Re-marketing a product as something new is an old marketing technique and I was reminded of this in BJ's Wholesale market this week.

   I have never known any man who uses Dove soap.  Somehow the pitch for this product has always been aimed at women. The marketing department at Dove soap must have realized that they were missing half of the population and decided to re-package their soap with a new scent and market the product to men.  When I looked at the ingredients of the soap for men it was the same as their regular soap. Are men gullible enough to be taken in by this marketing ploy with its "invigorating formula"?  Uh, I think I just answered that question!

Friday, May 13, 2016

HomeSlyce Pizza

   My tour of new pizza restaurants continues with trying HomeSlyce Pizza on Snowden River Parkway.  This Baltimore based pizza company has recently ventured into Howard County.  I tried the Margarita pizza pictured above with a Groupon I had purchased.  When purchasing the Groupon I checked to see if it listed the Howard County site as I have been stuck in the past with a Groupon that only applied to a location not close to me.  However when I tried to use the Groupon at the Columbia site they said it only applied at the Baltimore site.  After I told the manager that I had made sure that the Columbia store was listed when I purchased the Groupon he did honor the coupon.
    Now my rating of the pizza.  Average crust, good sauce and good toppings.  B- but worth a visit.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Howard County Bike to Work Day

  This year's Bike to Work Day will start next Friday May20th from the Whole Foods parking lot in Town Center 10275 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia, MD 21044 .  Ride from this point starts at 7 am to 9 am.  Registration is not required by encouraged at this link.  
Follow the Howard County Office of Transportation on Facebook for up-to-date info.

    If you are retired, as some folks I know, you can just show up and ride in circles around the Whole Foods parking lots and smile at everyone else going to work! #hocoblogs

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Columbia flower mystery

      Watching the Columbia Association planting pansies around our town a couple of months ago I was told that in a couple of months they would be digging them up and planting summer flowers.  This past week I saw the thriving flowers being dug up and thrown into a dump truck to be hauled away.  Soon I expect the new summer flowers to go into these areas.  Years ago I remember getting some information about flowers being offered to people who wanted to dig them up before they were to be replaced.  I can't remember if it was CA or somebody else that made this offer.  I certainly would have been willing to dig up some of the pansies that seem to be thrown away and plant them in my yard rather than buying them at Home Depot.  I would even be willing to buy them cheaply if they were offered in some way.


Monday, May 9, 2016

May 16th Elkridge Library Groundbreaking

rendering of HCLS Elkridge Branch
    Next week is the time that Elkridge moves closer to having its new expanded library and senior center with the groundbreaking.  Soon you might be able to borrow that seldom used tool from this DIY library.  Howard County has come a long way from the first library building pictured below.

Nowhere is this progress in library buildings than the Miller Library below.

    Word is that the new Elkridge Library/Senior Center complex will be named for a past County official.  Come out to the groundbreaking to find out who.