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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What's going on with the Sheriff's Department??

     In Howard County we expect civility and competence in our elected officials and for the most part that is what we get.   We watch other counties deal with political scandal and incompetence and wonder if an elected official in Howard County could ever get away with that here.  The past couple of weeks we may have had that question answered.  In a report by the Office of Human Rights  the behavior of the Howard County Sheriff Jim Fitzgerald has been described as one of intimidation and discrimination to some of the Office employees.  This has lead to a call from the present and former County Executives and the County Council asking the Sheriff to resign.
      This situation caused me to remember an experience I had as a County employee many years ago.  Starting in the 1980's and 1990's many companies and organizations started holding trainings on sexual harassment.   As sexual harassment cases became more numerous insurance companies started charging higher rates or denying coverage to companies unless they did these trainings and having written policies for handling claims of harassment.  I attended one of these trainings held by the County Government.  At this training there were employees from many of the different County departments.  The employees attending took the topic seriously and the questions asked were directed in the typical directions you would expect.  There was one exception to this behavior and that was from a supervisor from the Sheriff's Department.   His comments showed that he didn't take the issue seriously and his attempts to make humorous remarks fell flat with the trainer and the others attending the training.   During a break in the training many of the people attending the training couldn't help but comment on inappropriate attitude of the Sheriff Department supervisor.  During the past week it seems to me that not much has changed in the Sheriff Department in the 20 plus years since that training.  Howard County deserves much better.

    Sheriff says that he will not resign.

     Interestingly in doing Google searches for this blog post I found out that we are not the only Howard County who has had a problem with their sheriff


Monday, September 26, 2016

A blog worth checking out

     Howard County has a rich diverse community of bloggers.  Today I wanted to mention one that I have been following a blog from a person you may already know.

My Photo

      Heather Kirk-Davidoff, Enabling Minister of the Kittamaqundi Community is someone who many of us have met in numerous community meetings addressing the needs of our community.  The Kittamaqundi Community is a congregation that is one of those diverse congregations encompassing people of many religious backgrounds.  The congregation has partnered with other congregations to purchase a condo to provide housing to a family who were homeless.
     The name of Heather's blog is Grounded and Rooted.  Check it out.


Monday, September 19, 2016

Columbia bumps Eden Prairie from top spot in Money Magazine's "Best Community in America"


    A couple of years ago when Money Magazine did this ranking Columbia ranked right behind Eden Prairie for Best Small City.  Now their new ranking has us bumping Eden Prairie from the top spot.  I never could figure out why they had been ranking number 1 in the past.  Having just returned from a trip that took me through Minnesota I must say I didn't see much about that state that would make me move there.  And this wasn't even in Winter which can be brutal there.

      We all take the vitality and beauty of Columbia and Howard County for granted.  It is only when we travel do we see how much we have to love about our community and its people.

                                We really do live in a very special place.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Help for a young Mother who has aged out of Howard County foster care

  I don't often blog on the personal needs of people in our County but today I received an email from Erica Byrne with the local Foster Futures program that helps you who have aged out of Howard County foster care.  If you can help or have a group that would like to help hear is the information on the need:

   " I have the pleasure of working with a 20 year old young woman who is expecting her first baby in early November. She has experienced many challenges in the past year, including a move to a new apartment, an injury that restricted her ability to work, and the relocation of her family to another state. In spite of these major events, she has remained positive and excited for the future. I'd like to help her receive the support that she needs to achieve the goals that she has set forth for herself and her child. One of the things that would be of tremendous value to her would be assistance with the purchase of baby supplies and gear. She would like to return to work and resume her studies at the local college after her baby arrives, and she will need some essential items in order to make her plans a reality."

Available at Babies R Us:

1) Evenflo Embrace LX Car Seat-Penelope-99.99

2) Graco Travel Lite Crib with Stages - Spin (pack & play) *109.99

3) Baby Trend Snap N Go Stroller base 99.99

4) Medela BPA Free Feeding Gift Set (bottles & accessories to go with pump)29.99

5) Pampers Swaddlers Newborn Diapers Super Pack - 88 Count *-24.99

6) Pampers Swaddlers Size 1 Diapers Super Pack - 100 Count *-24.99

7) Pampers Sensitive Baby Wipes - 800 Count-23.99

8) Crib sheets (pink preferred)

9) Playtex Diaper Genie Refill Set - Multiple Packs appreciated-16.99 a piece

*most needed

Available at Target:

1) Boppy Bare Naked Pillow with Slipcover - Pink Owl-35.99

2) Munchkin Contour Foam Changing Pad-34.99

3) Safety 1st Deluxe Healthcare & Grooming Kit -19.69

4) Safety 1st Ultrasonic 360 Degree Humidifier - Blue-25.99

5) Girls' 3 Pack Hooded Bath Towels Multi Color OSFM - Circo-12.99

6) Similac® for Supplementation Ready-to-Feed - 2 fl oz bottles (8 pack-7.19)

7) Sealy SecureStay Crib Mattress Pad-15.99

8) Sabrina Soto™ Lola Changing Pad Cover - Tile (cover for changing pad)-12.99

She is also in need of smaller items, including: newborn socks, newborn hats, washcloths, bottles, pacifiers, onesies, shampoo, bottle cleaners/drying rack, and toys.

Please respond if you are able to provide any of the above items, either new or very gently used. Items may be dropped off to our office between September 26-30. Please call first, so we can be certain that someone is here to accept your donation."

Thank you again!
Erica B. Byrne, LCSW-C
Executive Director
Voices for Children, Inc.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Columbia BikeAbout

  This year's Bike About is Saturday, Sept. 17.  Here is the information from the Columbia Archives:

There is still time to sign up for Columbia BikeAbout. It’s free and fun for cyclists of all ages.

The 10.6-mile route starts at the Downtown Columbia Lakefront and follows the new multi-use pathway to Howard County General Hospital before picking up pathways and sidewalks through parts of Town Center, Hickory Ridge, Harper’s Choice and Wilde Lake.

This self-paced ride along the very well-marked route features sites of interest that include the origin of Hickory Ridge place names, the construction of Wilde Lake, the history of the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area, and the discovery of 19th century graves. There is even a chance to take in the Wilde Lake Community Picnic that is taking place at Wilde Lake from 11am to 3pm

Registration is not required but encouraged.


Monday, September 5, 2016

Orioles are better at trading than drafting

  Recently the blog 528 had a chart that compared how each Major League team would have done if they only had players they drafted.  The Orioles would be 16 games behind in last place using this model.  The fact they are only 4 games behind shows they are better at trading than drafting.

1Boston Red Sox7954.5942.0
2New York Yankees6765.50811.56.5
3Tampa Bay Rays6666.50012.519.5
4Toronto Blue Jays6469.48115
5Baltimore Orioles6370.474164.0
   The Washington Nationals would be in last place instead of first.

1New York Mets6964.5199.5
2Atlanta Braves6766.504227.5
3Miami Marlins6667.496310.5
4Philadelphia Phillies6469.481518.0
5Washington Nationals6370.4746

Friday, September 2, 2016

New school start date misses the correct educational change

Capitol Gazette

      With the Governor proposing an after Labor Day school start next year the discussion of how to schedule school is once again being examined. The later school date seems unrelated to any educational benefit but is tied more to businesses, especially at the shore, hanging onto their high school students longer.  Attendance at the Maryland State Fair should also go up with the later start date.  Additionally the reduced need for school closings for non air conditioned class rooms has also been mentioned.  This year that has been a problem for some schools in Baltimore County.
     When you factor in the requirement of a school closing date of no later than June 15th the number of teacher days and other school breaks seem to be the only other way to still get in the mandatory 180 school days.  These have been sacrosanct to school personnel and families.  You can be sure that any change in the school calendar will not be supported by teachers or school personnel.
     I have to say that the later start date has always made sense to me.  I always looked at how the beach rental rates would start dropping as much as 2 weeks before Labor Day as families could not rent those weeks.  I bet the owners of beach rentals will love the new start date and keep their rates up longer.
     So now that the start and closing dates for schools is being changed isn't it time to take a more comprehensive look at how school scheduling impacts educational achievement?  Isn't this really more important than some economic benefit?  This gets back to examining year around school calendars rather than continuing to follow the outdated summer break calendar.   The calendar was designed back in a different time of our Country that may no longer be relevant today.  What is still relevant is that the longer the time of school breaks the more learning that is lost and has to be retaught.  This is particularly true for students from low income families who can't afford programs that provide some educational enrichment activities.
     Here is the case for year around school.

      I bet the teachers union will try to get the legislature to over rule this change in the upcoming session.  There is already some questioning by those opposed to this order that the Governor doesn't have the authority to make this change.