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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Ellicott City Midnight Madness this Friday Dec. 1

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    We are all familiar with the impact that the flood had on Main Street in Ellicott City.  Most businesses have reopened and now is the time to show our support for these businesses.  Midnight Madness is the night that Main Street uses to show how small merchant shopping can be satisfying in a way that shopping on Amazon will never be.  Here is the info on the night:

"Bring the family into town for our 39th annual Midnight Madness Celebration!  Visit with Santa 4-8pm at the log cabin, watch our tree lighting and sip hot treats while strolling our picturesque historic district.   All of our shops will be open late – find that unique gift for your special someone plus our restaurants will be serving festive selections late into the evening!
Strolling carolers, period actors, Winter Holiday Market and more make this an evening not to miss!
A free shuttle bus from the Howard County Courthouse parking lots and St. Peter Episcopal Church will be available 7pm – 12:30am.
Visit Santa at the Thomas Issac Log Cabin 4 – 8pm.  Parents are welcome to take pictures!"


Monday, November 27, 2017

New development plans for Crescent buildings from Howard Hughes

HoCoMDcc blog recently posted about the Howard Hughes plans for downtown Crescent development.

  Here is the info.


Friday, November 24, 2017

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Harassment reality on Capitol Hill

    The sexual assault and harassment scandals are now reaching into Capitol Hill.   It was only a matter of time after the scandals in Hollywood began to show the pattern of powerful men using their position so inappropriately.   It also brought back to my memory the mindset of 1970's on Capitol Hill.  I was a college intern in Senator Goodell and Senator Muskie's offices in 1971 and 1972.   The job differed from the younger interns and pages in that we got to do constituent work.  Much of the work involved calling Social Security and the Veterans Affairs offices trying to resolve constituent issues with those programs.  Developing good contacts within those departments was the key to successfully resolving issues. 
    Back to sexual harassment.  A truth in most organizations is that the more power you have the more opportunities you have to misuse that power.  It was no different on Capitol Hill.  You shouldn't be surprised that the greatest abuse came from the top of the office.   I should say that I never saw anything inappropriate from either Senator I interned with but that isn't to say that there were many others that fell into this behavior.  I heard many times it said that the 1950's novel Peyton Place could have taken place on Capitol Hill.  For younger readers here is the description of the novel.  One experience that I do remember is one that involved Sen. Strom Thurmond.   I was asked to take a document that needed his signature to his office and wait until he signed it.   Nothing unusual about that until I was told that only male staff and interns were used after a female staff person came back with a story about how the Senator gave her "a too friendly" greeting.  This response was typical of the 1970's approach to sexual harassment as one of protecting your own staff or family from an abuser but doing nothing to stop it or confronting the abuser.  The stories in the news today show that not much has changed in the past 40 plus years.   I don't want to be a pessimist but the reality is that these stories will continue with us into the future.  Abusers may become more discreet but it will continue.  The only solution seems to be more females in power to set a different tone in the workplace.

     Interesting story about Strom Thurmond came out after his death.  Here is the info from Wikepedia:

     "Six months after Thurmond died at the age of 100 in 2003, his mixed-race, then 78-year-old daughter Essie Mae Washington-Williams (1925–2013) revealed he was her father. Her mother Carrie Butler (1909–1948) had been 16 years old and working as his family's maid when Thurmond initiated a sexual relationship with her. He was 22. Butler died in 1948 when Washington-Williams would turn 23. Although Thurmond never publicly acknowledged Essie Mae Washington, he paid for her education at a historically black college and passed other money to her for some time. She said she kept silent out of respect for her father[9] and denied the two had agreed she would not reveal her connection to Thurmond.[10] His children by his marriage eventually acknowledged her.[9] Her name has since been added as one of his children to his memorial at the state capitol."

Monday, November 13, 2017

Amazing photos of Jupiter

       From Sci-Tech Universe magazine:

       "Traveling above Jupiter at more than 130,000 miles per hour, NASA's $1 billion Juno probe took its ninth set of stunning flyby images on October 24. 
        The spacecraft then swept within a few thousand miles of the gas giant, capturing stunning high-resolution views of its cloud tops."
Others dazzle with their detail of the planet's thick cloud bands and powerful storms.

"Then Juno flew back out into deep space, passing over Jupiter's south pole on its exit. Churning storms at the poles constantly change their appearance."

The planet's atmosphere is a turbulent mess of hydrogen and helium gases.

"Many cloud bands have features called chevrons. These atmospheric disturbances blow at several hundreds of miles per hour and sometimes zig-zag through a band, or punch through into others."

Many cloud bands have features called chevrons. These atmospheric disturbances blow at several hundreds of miles per hour and sometimes zig-zag through a band, or punch through into others.

"Many snapshots of Jupiter take on an artistic quality"

In this older view of Jupiter, from Juno's eighth perijove, two cloud bands battle for dominance — one of which contains a swirling storm many times larger than a hurricane on Earth.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Don't laugh but Energy Secretary Perry has discovered the secret to preventing sexual assaults

    Image result for rick perry

   We are all used to the craziness from our pretending president and his clown show of appointed representatives but the new craziness has recently been revealed in the bending logic to a real problem.  Recently Energy Secretary Rick "let me see how I can encourage pollution" Perry has talked about how the use of coal can decrease sexual assaults.  Even wearing glasses doesn't seem to have made him any smarter.  Here is the link to the story.

        Maybe we should all ship little bags coal to Perry's boss to see if it helps. 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

United Way Harvest of Plenty

This year United Way hopes to provide 256 Thanksgiving meals here in Howard County. Here is information on the program.

United Way of Central Maryland Launches 25th Annual
Harvest of Plenty Campaign

Individuals can provide a Thanksgiving dinner to a local family in need for only $25

 United Way of Central Maryland launches its 25th annual Harvest of Plenty campaign today, and invites area residents to help families in need have a traditional family Thanksgiving this year. In celebration of its 25th year, for just $25, individuals can provide a Thanksgiving dinner — with all the fixings — to a local family. This year’s goal is to provide 4,000 Thanksgiving dinners to area families.

“This Thanksgiving, as on every Thanksgiving, millions of Americans will gather around the table surrounded by friends and family as they enjoy a Thanksgiving meal,” said Franklyn Baker, president and CEO, United Way of Central Maryland. “But there are thousands more in central Maryland fighting to make ends meet, for whom celebrating Thanksgiving seems impossible. It is our mission to ensure that these families can gather their families together around the dinner table, and celebrate Thanksgiving. We’re asking our donors to help make this 25th anniversary year of Harvest of Plenty a success by joining the fight to lift the spirits of struggling families in our local communities.”

Earlier this year, United Ways in Maryland released the ALICE® (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) report, which revealed that nearly 750,000 cannot afford the state’s high cost of living and don’t earn enough to afford basic necessities like childcare, and groceries for a celebratory meal like Thanksgiving.

A donation of just $25 will provide a family in need the opportunity to enjoy a memorable holiday with their loved ones. That $25 donation supplies a full meal for low-income families including traditional Thanksgiving meal items like turkey, cranberries, sweet potatoes and stuffing.

“Harvest of Plenty ensured that Thanksgiving was a special time for my family last year,” said Emily*, a participant of the Harvest of Plenty 2016 initiative. Last Thanksgiving, Emily was pregnant and in need of help for the holiday. She began having contractions on the day she picked up her food, so she worked until the early hours of the morning to prepare everything.
“Although I wasn't there to actually enjoy the meal, my family was taken care of and they even saved me some when I came back home. I am so grateful to the Harvest of Plenty program for ensuring that my family was able to partake in this Thanksgiving tradition.”

  Beginning November 6, families can call the 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. to register for a Thanksgiving meal. The helpline will screen callers for eligibility and will refer eligible callers to participating sites to pick up their meal. The 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week confidential informational and referral service that connects Marylanders with resources for food, housing, health care, and other human service needs.
The meals will be distributed to pre-registered families from November 14 – 21 at 26 locations throughout central Maryland including social service agencies, faith-based providers, community action agencies and partner outreach programs. To donate a Thanksgiving meal to a family in need this season, visit

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About United Way of Central Maryland
United Way of Central Maryland fights for the education, employment, housing and health of every person in every community. For more than 90 years, United Way of Central Maryland has been improving lives in the communities it serves – Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard Counties, and Baltimore City – through programs like its 15 Family Stability sites that prevent homelessness and help families achieve self-sufficiency, and On Track 4 Success, a program in select schools throughout the region that identifies and helps young students stay on track to graduate high school

In January 2017, United Ways in Maryland released the ALICE® Report, revealing that more than a third of Maryland households – nearly 750,000 – either live in poverty, or qualify at or below the ALICE (Asset Limited, IncomeConstrained, Employed) threshold. United Way of Central Maryland fights to stabilize these ALICE residents and those that fall below the Federal Poverty Level.
In addition to the ALICE Report, United Way’s work is supported by the 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline, a 24-hour, 7-day a week service that has provided information and referrals on health and human service needs for more than 10 years.
To learn more about the United Way of Central Maryland, visit

Friday, November 3, 2017

New Sears reopens in Columbia Mall this weekend

From the Columbia Patch:

"COLUMBIA, MD — Sears will hold a grand reopening event this weekend at The Mall in Columbia. The first 100 people at the store on Saturday, Nov. 4, will receive free goodie bags with $5 gift certificates inside.

The grand reopening will mark the debut of a new service center where people can order and view things sold by Sears online that are not in store. There will also be new flooring, lighting and graphics as part of the revamp.

A ribbon cutting will take place at 10 a.m. Then the store will celebrate the grand reopening with a magician and face painting for the kids as well as a balloon raffle and drawing. Raffle items include a tool chest, and the drawing will include a $250 gift card.

The grand reopening will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4, at Sears in The Mall in Columbia, 10300 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia."