Wednesday, May 31, 2023

The Good News


Today’s unexpected wisdom comes from NextDoor, of all places.

Question: Why are there so many people complaining on this forum, if it’s not about kids, it’s about who’s riding bicycles down lanes, geez people lighten up.  Life is good.

Response: I discovered long ago that some people aren't happy unless they have something to be upset about.  I feel sorry for those people.

If you have ever spent more than five minutes on NextDoor you will know how rare a sentiment this is. 

I’m not saying there aren’t reasons to be concerned about local issues or that we should all strive to be Pollyannas at all times. And, to be honest, sometimes it can be a relief - - or even fun! - - to give oneself permission to carp or whine a bit. 

But NextDoor is truly the home of every small and unimportant complaint. Some days there is nothing else to see there. Apparently their original slogan was “When neighbors get talking, good things happen.”

Au contraire. When neighbors get talking, they are criticizing the length of your grass, your noisy kids who are up to no good, the (Black) man who walked down the street looking around, people who feed the birds, dogs who pee on flower pots, and how nothing in Columbia/HoCo is as good as it used to be.

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

So, in honor of the brave poster who suggested that people lighten up and realize life is good, I have a few observations.

Yesterday afternoon our power went out. I was not so keen on this, as you might imagine. It certainly gave me time to reflect on how dependent I am on electricity. I also marveled at the quiet. At this time of year the inside of my house is filled with the sounds of a dehumidifier, an air purifier, and air conditioning. They are all necessary but it’s a continual blowing sound. 

The house was so still. I didn’t realize how loud the blowing was until it went away. 

Of course in all that stillness I began to worry about things like the house gradually getting hotter, whether the food in the refrigerator would spoil, or whether I’d be able to cook dinner. What if the power on my phone ran down? Just when my stress was kicking up to the next level my husband arrived home from work and asked if I was up for a trip to Rita’s for ice cream.

I was.

This may sound like an odd thing to be happy about, but:  yesterday our power went out and it came back on again.

It was out for about two hours and then - - poof! - - it came back on again. BGE had estimated a return of service by 6:30 or 7 pm. They were well ahead of that. It was back in time for me to cook dinner! (Not sure how grateful I was about that in real time.)

I don’t often think about what has to happen on the other end during a power outage. There are real human beings whose job it is to troubleshoot, assess damage, organize work crews, make repairs. When was the last time anyone went on NextDoor and made a big deal out of the people who make that happen? Perhaps after a major storm event when folks are talking of little else. Not for an everyday outage.

We’re just irked that the power is out. 

There are places in the world where electricity is unreliable and the power grid is fragile. Here in Columbia/HoCo we don’t think much about that. We don’t have to.

Yesterday my power went out and it came back on. That’s my good news for the day. How about you?

Village Green/Town² Comments

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Dinner at the Clarksville Beach


Tuesday is our Monday this week, which may mean that some of you will be rising, bleary-eyed, just in time to throw on some clothes and leave the house. I salute those who can spring from their beds, bright-eyed, no matter what the day. I was in the middle of a dream about a children’s birthday party which involved holding a scavenger hunt at the grocery.

When the alarm went off on my iPad I might as well have been on Mars.

Did you manage to get away for the holiday weekend? I did, in a way.

Sunday evening my family had a hankering to get out of the house and we all piled in the car and headed to Pepperjacks in Scaggsville. Visions of a root beer float danced in my head.

There’s something about the food and the atmosphere of Pepperjacks that makes you feel like you are eating out at the beach - - especially if you are sitting outside with a root beer float on a warm day. I haven’t been to the beach since the Before Times. I was up for a little first-class pretending. 

Alas, the sign at the door informed us that Pepperjacks is closed on Sundays. That hadn’t even occurred to us. (We should have checked before we left.)

Now what?

There was some discussion of Dairy Queen. We always visit the Dairy Queen in Lewes when we’re at the beach. But there’s no Dairy Queen in Howard County where you can eat outside (and pretend you are at the beach.) 

This was how we ended up at Clarksville Commons on Sunday night. The three of us split up at the entrance to seek sustenance and regrouped at a table outside with tacos, steamed dumplings, and a barbecued pork banh mi. Not an overstuffed American sub with a cup overflowing with fries. Not a root beer float. There was a mango lassi and a Fanta orange soda in a glass bottle, though.

It wasn’t at all what we had in mind and yet it was truly wonderful, nonetheless. The evening was mild. The food was good. We were surrounded by the visually interesting plaza at Clarksville Commons, ringed by public art and filled with a steady stream of subjects for benign people-watching. (Oh, please don’t let your kid climb that pole!)

We discussed the changes at Clarksville Commons and in the Common Kitchen itself. The Szechuan Chinese Restaurant is now a Thai restaurant. You Pizza is transforming into something else related called Genova. Koshary has moved to R. House in Baltimore, there’s a new stall: GuiGui’s Kreyol Flavors, which is Haitian food, and I don’t know what happened to Scoop and Paddle.

Oh no! Ice cream! 

There would be no ice cream to top off my dinner “at the beach.” I tried to put on a brave face. There would be other evenings. The world did not owe me ice cream for dessert.

It turns out that a Mochi Mochi donut made a perfectly good dessert for one of us, while my husband emerged with two frozen, fruity, creamy confections-on-a-stick: one melon, one mango. Again, not what I expected, and also: delicious.

We all have certain foods we associate with trips to the beach. A friend once told me that the only time her mother would buy Tasty Cakes was when they went to the Jersey Shore. My nephews recalled the joy of being able to buy Lucky Charms Cereal for the long car rides of family vacations - - a food otherwise shunned by health conscious parents. For me there’s the delicious memory of eating vacation food outside - - chili dogs, maybe, or pizza, fries, soft-serve ice cream…with the sound of the water not too far away and with the scent of the ocean, sun tan lotion, and caramel corn wafting through the air. 

More than anything, there’s a particular way that the air feels on your skin and a sense that everything is unwound and you have nothing that must be done, nothing that needs to be accomplished. Is it any wonder that I was out on a gently warm Sunday evening yearning to recreate that feeling?

Thank goodness we were all flexible enough to have that experience in a new way. And I learned that there’s another reason to appreciate Clarksville Commons and the Common Kitchen. All of those possibilities gave me the wiggle room to indulge in some imaginary travel.

I wonder if they could replace the parking lot with a pool with a wave machine?

Monday, May 29, 2023

A Seat at the Table on Memorial Day


A local restaurant posted this photo.

This weekend we wanted to honor the true reason behind Memorial Day. As you enter our restaurant, you will notice a Missing Man table, also known as a Fallen Comrade table. This memorial that is set up in military dining facilities in honor of fallen, missing, or imprisoned military service members serves as the focal point of ceremonial remembrance. We wanted to honor these service members and say Thank You for their ultimate sacrifice.

A member of the community posted a response, pointing out gently that those who gave their lives for our country held many different faiths, and so a copy of a Christian New Testament was not representative of who they were and what they believed. She respectfully asked that they remove it.

The restaurant owner responded in a way that showed they understood the request.

That’s where I thought the story would end. It gave me a good feeling about Howard County.

Then the comments came. The posters attacked the request, the person who made the request, and any who agreed with her. Words that were used: 
  • nitpicking
  • whining
  • negative crap
  • bitch and whine
  • professional haters
Yet the original comment was none of these things. It was a gentle request to honor the fallen for who they were. They were not all Christian. A Christian Holy Book is not a default Book of Faith for All. This thought is neither an attack on religious faith nor a desecration of the memory of those who died in service to our country. It is an affirmation of the principles upon which our country was founded. 

Did you know that 7,000 American Jews died in combat in World War II? Is their memory honored by a Christian Bible? Why would we have a right to demand to put one in a memorial to the fallen? 

If a Book of Faith is deemed to be so necessary by some, how about a Koran? Certainly American Muslims have died in service to their country.

Photo credit Platon Antoniu 

Elsheba Khan at the grave of her son, Spc. Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, 2008. Spurred by the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Khan, a Muslim, enlisted immediately after graduating from high school in 2005 and was sent to Iraq in July 2006. He was killed a year later.

How do you think the people who attacked the commenter would respond to encountering every Missing Man table set with a Quran? Or a Torah? Do you think they would defend it as a “symbol of religious faith”?

I wonder.

I did some research on this last night and I learned something that might be helpful. The Bible you often see on a Missing Man table has not always been there.

“Actually, the original tradition of the table was started by the River Rats, the group of Vietnam combat pilots who began this tradition in 1967, did NOT include a Bible, and neither does the American Legion’s version, which sticks to the original tradition. The Bible wasn’t added until over three decades later, when the VFW Ladies Auxiliary published a new version in a 1999 issue of their magazine that added a Bible. So, if you want to honor the original tradition, it would NOT have a Bible.” - - Chris Rodda, Research Director, Military Religious Freedom Foundation

If you wanted to honor the original tradition, it would NOT have a Bible.

The United States Military recognizes over 100 religious faiths but it promotes none of them. It is not a faith-based organization. This is because our country was founded on principles of religious freedom.  That means you have the freedom to practice and honor your faith privately, in your home, and publicly, such as in places of worship. It means you have the freedom to discuss and defend your faith with others. It also means you have the right to choose no religion at all. 

It does NOT mean the freedom of members of the dominant religious culture to impose their Holy Book as the default in public places.

That, my friends, is actually un-American. And it is not the way to honor those who gave their lives to protect our peace.

I’ve since heard that the restaurant owner took that gentle request to heart. It made them stop and think. Just imagine a Howard County where others were that thoughtful and caring.

I wish I could.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Proud and Prepared

Apparently there are some folks in Carroll County who think that a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon in May is to drive to Howard County and disturb Target shoppers. 

Image credit Moms 4 Liberty Carroll County

If you are wondering why they are coming all the way to Howard County, I can’t explain that. There is a Target in Westminster and it looks like they may have been there already. Their visit appears to have been covered with great interest by the Carroll County Observer website, which is what the former HoCo social media maven ScottEBlog is doing in his retirement.

No comment.

I guess those Carroll County Moms are just not finished harassing Target yet. Who knows where they will be next weekend? Their “outrage du jour” is claiming that selling Pride apparel is a blatant attempt to “groom” children to be LGBTQ+. Of course, that’s not what grooming means and there’s no scientific evidence of any sort that shirts or signs or rainbows can influence gender or sexuality.

Truth? Who cares about that?

I can’t say that their Howard County “event” was very successful, though. When I drove into the parking lot in front of Target yesterday afternoon they were nowhere to be seen. I did spy some brightly colored counter-protestors assembled just off of Target property with rainbow flags and signs affirming LGBTQ+ Pride and rejecting hate in HoCo. It was a respectable sized group - - a dozen or more? - - and I went over to say hi before doing my shopping.

They were a friendly group, mostly women, it seemed to me. I explained my unaccountable urge to buy a new Pride shirt at that particular time and in that particular location and it was agreed all around that spending some money on Pride apparel and merch seemed like a very good idea under the circumstances. And so off I went.

It looked like there might have been a few extra Target employees by the door keeping an eye on the situation, just in case. But they could have been the usual greeters for a busy Saturday afternoon, Memorial Day weekend shopping. I was going to ask them where the Pride section was located but I didn’t need to. It was right there near the entrance. 

I did manage to find something in my size that I liked and it was on sale. I was disappointed that there wasn’t more to choose from but I think this may be because you all have been out there shopping before me. If so, good for you. This would reaffirm my concept of Columbia/HoCo as a welcoming community. (More or less. YMMV)

When I went back to show my purchase to the group on the sidewalk I learned that there had been a small contingent present from the Moms 4 Liberty of Carroll County.  But, when Target management asked the protesters to move off Target property, they retreated to the parking lot and then went to lunch at McDonald’s. 

I don’t know what occurred after I left but I have seen no indication that their hateful messages gained any traction at the Target in Ellicott City. A tip of the hat to the counter protestors who turned up without a good deal of notice to bear witness to love and acceptance in Howard County.

So, with that introduction, let’s talk about this year’s Pride observances and celebrations in Columbia/HoCo. The County Executive will mark the beginning of Pride on June 1st at 9:30 am with a flag raising ceremony at the George Howard Building, beginning at 9:30 am.

Old Ellicott City will be celebrating Pride with a festival weekend on June 3rd and 4th. You can learn more about what will be happening at the Visit Old Ellicott City website.

Howard County Pride is hosting an Open Mic Night at Busboys and Poets in Columbia on June 2nd from 8-10 pm. Tickets are ten dollars in advance, fifteen at the door. This is a fundraiser for Howard County’s official Pride Festival which will take place in October in Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods. Get tickets here.

HCPSS Pride is holding its first ever Pride Prom for high school students on June 10th at The Harriet Tubman Center. Tickets and more information are available at HCPSS Pride. This event is specifically for students but you can participate by making a donation to fund the event. Details at the website.

The Howard County Library System with be celebrating Pride throughout the month of June with age-appropriate events at their locations throughout the County. They are also running a Rainbow Pride Scavenger Hunt for Kids at the Central Branch all month. 

Drop in event. Allow 20 minutes. Celebrate Pride Month with a LGBTQ-themed scavenger hunt in the Central Branch Children's Area. Complete the checklist and receive a sticker prize!

Trek Ellicott City is hosting a free Pride Ride on June 25th. Click here for a description of the event on how to let them know you will be participating.

That’s all I have for now. Keep me posted if you know of more that I can share here.

I caught this episode of Call To Mind as I was out and about this week. Highly recommended.

Call To Mind: Queer Youth Resilience & Mental Health

I hate to end on this note, but Howard County now has its very own chapter of Moms 4 Liberty and we need to be ready to stand up for the rights of LGBTQ+ children, youth, and families in our community. 

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Have You Seen This Man?

I fear nothing so much as a man who is witty all day long.

- - Madame de Sevigne

Of all the things I was supposed to memorize in school, it was often tiny unrelated snippets that stuck instead. Oh, how I loved this quote from the first time I read it!

Today I offer a corollary:

There is nothing so dangerous as as a white man who knows everything. 

No, let me clarify that. It isn’t that the man actually knows everything, but that he makes himself a brand. He is The White Man Who Knows Everything.

(This fellow most likely wouldn’t include the word “white” because for him white is the default state. But trust me, he is white.)

I feel certain you have met him.

He is the man who grinds a public meeting to a halt during the question and answer period because what he has to say “isn’t really a question, but more of a statement.”

He belittles women on social media - - gaslights, manipulates, mansplains, just plain talks over them. 

In intimate relationships he is the same. The White Man Who Knows Everything can be intelligent and charming. But he is an abuser.

He equates his own personal needs with the pressing needs of everyone. If he wants it, that’s what is needed. Keep in mind that for him the end always justifies the means.

He must be in charge, or he will make his whole personality about how others have denied him unfairly.

He uses his privilege and his whiteness to trample on others while denying that he has any. 

It is a great blessing to the rest of us that there are not more of these fellows in the world. They wreak havoc wherever they go. He may not destroy worlds, mind you - -  perhaps merely relationships, groups of friends or coworkers, or a night at the bar. 

But it’s important to remember that when he slips through your defenses there will always be a price to pay. And he often seem to escape unscathed from the consequences of his actions.

Yes, this is about Howard County. No, I am not going to name any names. (Sadly, it would be more of a list than a one-and-done.)  I’d rather raise a larger issue: do you know how to recognize someone like this? Do you understand how he operates? Do you know how to protect yourself or how to walk away if necessary?

There’s a certain tingle of danger I feel when I recognize this in someone. I have learned to trust it. In general I am the kind of person who wants to believe the best in everyone and give them a fair chance. But, when I bump into this fellow, the boundaries come up.

This is not an unfair prejudice. It is self-preservation.

The White Man Who Knows Everything can be found on both sides of the political spectrum, in your workplace, or married to a friend. Very few (if any) read this blog and they are responsible for 100 per cent of the comments that read, “You can’t say that!”

Have you seen This Man?

Friday, May 26, 2023

No More Funny Names


Let’s say your child is in their early elementary school years. They come home from school and say, “There’s a girl in my class with a funny name!” 

What do you do?

Do you ignore it? Do you laugh along at the sound of the funny name? Do you go the educational route and research together where that funny name comes from, how it evolved? 

Do you try to explain to your young child that saying someone has a funny name is singling them out in a mocking way? That nobody feels good about being told they have a funny name? 

  • Or clothes
  • Or lunch
  • Or accent

It starts early. Young children notice differences, and that is completely natural. But there is a distinction between thinking “that name sounds different from my name” and “that’s a funny name!” One is an observation, the other is a value judgement. And, as innocent as it may seem, it can grow over time into a way to “other” people who are different and reinforce a mindset that some people are “normal” while others are not.

This can be hurtful and exclusionary whether it’s in a school lunch room or in a business board room. In the US it continually underscores the belief that white people are the norm, so much so that it feels perfectly acceptable to single out those who are different in jokes, unwelcome questioning, and narrow value judgments. 

How easy this is to do in majority white environments. How easy it is to want to maintain majority white environments that feel “normal” to you so you are comfortable.

Yesterday my family attended the graduation ceremony at UMBC. We’ve known all along how committed the school is to diversity, equity, and inclusion and that means a lot to us. President Emeritus Freeman Hrabowski’s commitment to recruiting and supporting first-generation students and those who have traditionally been underserved by higher education has always been a huge plus to us. That is the future we want for our kids:

Education should be for everyone. Narrowing the gates creates losers all around. Having a chosen few sacrifices the talents and potential of those who are excluded.

The success of UMBC’s commitment to these goals was apparent at graduation. I could give you a list of ways I observed this, but I’m going to focus on just one.

There were no funny names. 

I believe there were over six hundred graduates in this particular ceremony and the names and nationalities and ethnic origin and skin color  hair styles and body type and gender expression were so varied and diverse that what was “normal” was, essentially, the overwhelming diversity of the whole. 

It was powerful. 

No one stood out. No one was “different” in that “ha-ha, funny” kind of way. 

I am not saying, “I don’t see differences” in a way that erases. I am saying that all of the differences are so fully encouraged, accepted, and celebrated that there’s just no traction for the notion that there are the “normal” students and the “other” ones.

That’s what I saw, anyway. And I know that the presence of all the graduates in that room is a testament not only to their hard work and their family’s support but also to UMBC’s continuing mission to make higher education accessible and inclusive. That environment elevates the educational experience for all students. It’s an investment in a better future for all of us.


This post is dedicated, in gratitude, to Candace Dodson Reed. While our recent graduate was matriculating, she was serving as as the Chief of Staff to Freeman Hrabowski and Executive Director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion. Her work, along with that of many others at UMBC, has made the future a more inclusive place.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

On a Big Day, Thanks to an Elementary School Principal

Nancy Thompson came to Talbott Springs Elementary School to be the Principal when my child was entering First Grade. Yesterday I learned that she will be retiring. Today my child is graduating from college.

Naturally it all feels connected to me.

Mrs. Thompson has been a fierce and persistent advocate for Talbott Springs during her tenure. It is not an “easy” school according to the conventional wisdom of such things. Children and their families often come to the school doors with many needs. While the outside world often looks at such schools as “bad schools” according to test scores, Ms. Thompson has always seen the kids and their potential first.

In 2013 Mrs. Thompson helped the school to celebrate its 40th anniversary. In 2017, she cut the ribbon, along with Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano, to open the new playground. In 2020, she was named by the Howard County Schools as the Principal of the Year.

Here she is speaking to gathered guests at the opening of the NEW Talbott Springs Elementary School in September of 2022.

Photo credit Howard County Schools 

The physical plant at Talbott Springs was, shall we say, “lacking” for many, many years. I can’t imagine how much joy it brought Ms.Thompson to share a new Talbott Springs with students, teachers, staff, and families.  So many people in our community worked hard to make that school happen. I imagine Ms. Thompson was first on the list.

I can see the red roof of the new school rising over the trees accross from our house. It makes me happy just to look at it. 

Back in the day, older elementary students had a field trip to UMBC to get a taste of college life. (Perhaps they still do.) I knew that, while many of us envisioned college as a natural part of our children’s futures, this trip to UMBC was an opportunity to plant and grow that dream for many other students. You have to see and know what you want to work for. You have to have someone affirm to you that it is possible and worth having.

Some kids came back awed by a college basketball game. Mine was fascinated by getting to pick tasty food items in the cafeteria. Go figure. 

That small and uncertain first grader that met Mrs. Thompson for the first time in 2007 is now a poised and confident college senior with plans in the works for grad school. In education.

Naturally it all feels connected to me.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

The Science of Expanding and Contracting

 Exciting news!

Youth Climate Institute Announces Nationwide Expansion, Accesswire

Today the Youth Climate Institute, founded by the Howard County Conservancy, announced their innovative certification program has expanded to include chapters in two states and metropolitan DC. This pioneering program for 10th and 11th graders provides foundational climate education and engages students in meaningful community action projects. (May 23rd, 2023)

The article (probably a press release) includes quotes from Howard County Conservancy Director Meg Boyd and Youth Climate Institute Director Jessica Kohout. From the latter, this statement made me think about yesterday’s blog post:

At a pivotal time for their college and career goals, YCI supports students and provides important recognition of their achievements, including certification, digital badges and compostable graduation cords to wear with their cap and gown. "Many people are familiar with recognitions that come with honor societies, scouting and varsity sports, but environmental achievements are largely unrecognized. The Youth Climate Institute is changing this," said Jessica Kohout, YCI Manager.

It’s a short piece and gives a glimpse into the program and its goals. Take a look. It’s definitely something Howard County can be proud of.

Not exciting news! 

The Howard County Board of Education has proposed cutting the Full-Time Environmental Educator position at the Howard County Conservancy. Ann Strozyk, the teacher currently serving in this role, has been with the school system for 23 years. Thirteen of them have been in residence at the Howard County Conservancy, running programs that serve 20,000 students per year. One of those programs? The Youth Climate Institute.

Why does this feel like two steps forward, three steps back?

If you would like to go to bat for these programs, take a look at this letter from Conservancy President Meg Boyd. You’ll notice that one of the deadlines was last night, but you still have time to reach out to the HCPSS Board of Education before this evening if you’d like to send an email. Ms. Boyd includes a helpful template if you are pressed for time.

Advocacy Letter from Howard County Conservancy , Meg Boyd

Right now the Board of Education is examining various scenarios of budget cuts to enable the school system to operate within current budget constraints. This particular cut to the Environmental Science programs must be part of a larger scenario of cuts. These scenarios are researched and prepared by Central Office Staff. I don’t want you to think that the Board of Education woke up one morning and decided they have it in for Ms. Strozyk and the Conservancy. It’s not like that.

In fact, all schools in Maryland are required to teach environmental science. It’s a part of the State curriculum. Many school systems maintain their own environmental education centers.We don’t, largely because of the collaborative relationship between the school system and the Conservancy. What happens when that disappears?

Recently I jokingly suggested a “scenario” in which HCPSS balanced its budget by reducing Central Office staff and doing away with high stakes standardized testing. I want to be absolutely clear that there is no such scenario in real life, nor am I advocating for one. I’m not ashamed to say that I think standardized testing is a waste of money and bad for kids. It doesn’t truly provide useful information for teachers, either.

But the point of the joke was merely that I wish we could keep cuts as far away from what benefits students as is humanly possible. I’m sure everyone involved probably feels the same way. These are difficult decisions.

As you know, I’m an arts education person and have often urged my readers to advocate for music programs in the school budget. But, over the years, I have become more and more aware of how places like the Howard County Conservancy, The Robinson Nature Center, and The Community Ecology Institute are working with children from a very young age to engage with the natural environment and advocate for a healthy future for all of us.

As hokey as it sounds, our future on this planet depends on that work, wherever it is happening.

This feels like a terrible time to be cutting the Environmental Educator and putting the educational programs at the Conservancy in jeopardy. If you agree, send the BOE an email before tonight.

Village Green/Town² Comments

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

And the Winner Is…

Awards assemblies. Yay or nay?

As I’ve mentioned before, school was a struggle for me.  I received positive feedback for writing and for singing but I never won any awards. I “lettered” in Drama in high school through sheer participation over the course of my high school years. I looked longingly at the cool kids who were named to the National Honor Society, but I also knew full well that I was unwilling/unable to do the persistent academic work that resulted in the grades they had. 

They were in my classes, and I spent a lot of my high school years with them. But I was never going to be them. This was not the end of the world. There was far more angst in my teenage life that took precedence over the twinge that I would not be receiving academic honors.

This is the time of year when schools hold awards assemblies/awards nights and I am pondering what it feels like for all the kids who are never recognized. Schools are (or should be) communities first - - communities of learning - - but communities most of all. Do awards assemblies foster community?

Of course, if you look at schools as deliverers of content then it may make sense to award those who are the best at absorbing and regurgitating content. Some say the the American educational system was built on the factory model. If so, rewarding the producer of the most widgets or the best widgets makes sense, I guess. On the other hand, if you look at it that way, the teachers should get the awards. The students are just…widgets.

Some awards are given based on a contest or competition. In my opinion, the younger the student, the less healthy that experience is likely to be. Contests, by their nature, are about winnowing out the unacceptable. You are proud to be selected but your joy is predicated on the necessity that others are rejected.

That’s just the way life is, you say. Kids had better get used to it. If you want something you have to work for it. “Reward merit.”

Here’s the thing. Students have needs and challenges and disabilities that may interfere with their ability to achieve in the traditional sense. How are they valued in the school community? The best principals and teachers create communities where students learn that they are valued wherever they are right in that moment - - not because of their report cards or test scores or award-winning status - - but for who they are.

This concept is sometimes viewed as a wish-washy “everyone’s a winner” mindset.  I often see it derided on social media as the Participation Trophy Syndrome. But students who are seen and known and valued are more likely to work harder and take on new challenges and learn more. Funny thing: the same is true for adults in the workplace. “Real life.”

If your kids or grandkids (or students in the classes you teach) are winning awards this Spring I am sure you are proud. You wouldn’t want anyone to take that joy away. I get that. 

Just a thought: the majority of young people who graduate from the Howard County Schools will have spent hours and hours of their lives sitting through awards assemblies where their names were never spoken. It’s like waiting for a bus that you know is never going to come. 

A life lesson? Or a poor use of instructional time? 

What do you think?

Village Green/Town² Comments

Monday, May 22, 2023

Planting, Growing, Feeding


The return of warmer weather each Spring puts many of us in the mood for outdoor festivals. It’s such a relief to be outside and having fun after the gray and gloomy months of winter. This year in particular, with no appreciable snow to play in, winter was just long, boring, and inhospitable. 

Home gardeners and/or those who till the soil in community gardens use those long, boring months to plan the next season. I am not one of them. But I read a lot, and have learned that this is so. I honestly don’t think much about our little front garden bed until warm weather hits me in the face. Even then, the decisions I need to make are small: to mulch, or not to mulch?

One of the local stories I have neglected over the years is Howard County agriculture. There are several reasons for this, the largest of which is my lack of knowledge and experience. Howard County’s farms are not in my neck of the woods and I have no real personal connection that would open a door of understanding for me. 

When I was in elementary school I read the Laura Ingalls Wilder series and other similar books that described farm life. It appealed to me. I suggested to my father that our environment would be better if we got rid of cars and went back to riding horses. My father (in his inimitable way) told me that I was romanticizing farm life in “the olden days.”

“If you had been born back then, with your allergies and asthma? You’d have been sickly, and then you’d have died.”

Thanks, Dad. 

But he was right. And, for good or ill, it put rather a wedge between me and the world of farms and agriculture. 

Over the years I have visited many of the sorts of farms that welcome preschoolers on field trips. (Fortified with plenty of medication.) I’ve always loved those trips but those experiences are to real farm life in the same way that Doc McStuffin is to a real medical practice. They give you a glimpse. They remind you that farms still exist. Real people do this work.

Back to Spring in Howard County. Aside from outdoor festivals, Spring means the return of Farmer’s Markets. Howard County has a bunch of them. 


12250 Clarksville Pike, Clarksville

May 13 - November 11

Saturdays | 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM



6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia, MD

May 4 - November 16

Thursdays | 12:00 - 6:00 PM



9421 Frederick Road, Ellicott City

May 10 - November 8

Wednesdays | 2:00 - 6:00 PM


7405 Maple Lawn Blvd., Fulton

May 13 - November 4

Saturdays | 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM


5851 Robert Oliver Place, Columbia, MD

May 14 - November 12

Sundays |  9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Wasn’t there a Saturday morning market in Old Ellicott City at one point?

Not all the farms participating in these markets are from Howard County, but, many of them are. I remember one vendor complaining that another (from Virginia) had strawberries early on account of the warmer weather there. The more strawberries, the better - - in my opinion - - but I found his annoyance educational. I hadn’t ever really thought about competition between producers before. Clearly there must be some. 

The Visit Howard County website has an entire section devoted to farms that you can visit.

Pick Your Own Adventure in Howard County, Maryland

I took a quick look and noticed that they include the Roving Radish program. Roving Radish is not a farm but is an ingenious way to bring the fruits of local farmers to the community in convenient and affordable ways. On the other hand, they don’t include Freetown Farm, which is a farm that you can visit. It’s not a commercial farm in the traditional sense, but, they do hold plant sales throughout the Spring as well as farm stand sales later in the season with produce grown at the farm.

All of this is to say: I know there is an entire world in Howard County that revolves around agriculture but I don’t know all that much about it. What’s important or interesting? What do I need to know?

It seems as though I’m asking you a lot of questions lately. Ah, well. It’s Monday. You can always put it off until tomorrow.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

What Is It??? Ellicott City and a Sense of Place


Have you very clicked through all the channels on television and lamented that “there’s nothing on!”? That’s my brain this morning. There’s absolutely no local story that is speaking to me today.

I’m going to bring something back from the past instead. It’s a question I’ve never completely resolved for myself and I think my readers can help.

What is Ellicott City?

In my mind it is Main Street. No, Route 40. (Stop, stop! They’re both right.) It doesn’t make sense to me. Is it the old and carefully preserved? Is it the endless parade of shopping centers and chain restaurants? This is not criticism. This is my way of explaining that I haven’t been able to wrap my brain around it. 

Columbia, where I live, may be a wacky and artificial concept but, after some twenty-plus years I understand the lay of the land. I understand where the center of town is and how the community spreads out from that point. There’s no question that it may be easier to grasp precisely because it was a planned community.

Most places evolve over time. There may be city or town planners but things may happen in fits and starts and in ways unexpected by the original founders. And that may be why I have a hard time understanding Ellicott City. I want it to be either one way or the other: all Main Street, or all Route 40.

It isn’t. And I guess that makes it more interesting and offers more possibilities, even if I don’t “get it.”

So I’m throwing it out there to my readers. What is Ellicott City? What is its essence, its heartbeat, the key to its personality?

It occurs to me that in focusing on Main Street and Route 40 I may be missing other places that are equally important to understanding Ellicott City as a whole. I am open to new information.

On the WETA show “If You Lived Here” each episode includes clips with residents saying, “If you lived here, you’d know that…” and relating interesting things about their neighborhood that they felt made it special. 

So, tell me about Ellicott City. If I lived there, what would I know that I don’t know now?

Village Green/Town² Comments

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Just a Bill

Finally! This was a long time in coming:

The skies will be safer for birds and buildings will be more energy-efficient thanks to a new state law signed this month. The Sustainable Buildings Act of 2023 requires new and renovated buildings with 51% of funding from the state to protect birds from window collisions and to conserve energy. Read how to make your windows safer:

- - The Howard County Conservancy

In 2020, Howard County became the first jurisdiction in Maryland to pass legislation for bird-friendly design standards. I remember writing at the time:

Similar legislation was brought up in the Maryland State legislature in 2019, I believe, although it didn’t get any traction. I remember a discussion about this on Episode 54 of Elevate Maryland with Roughly Speaking’s Mileah Kromer and Luke Broadwater. I seem to remember that some legislators didn’t take this topic at all seriously.

Episode 54 was taped in front of a live audience at Clarksville Commons. Although plagued by issues with ambient noise, the Clarksville Commons shows were always my favorites. This particular episode was a recap of the Maryland Legislative session and featured journalist LukeBroadwater and Mileah Kromer of Goucher Polls. I went back through old blog posts to see what I had said.

Here it is: only a cryptic, one-line mention, alas.

I’d be interested in what you think about the window bill they discuss near the end.

I went to Apple Podcasts to see if I could relisten to that section of the episode but it only goes back to episode 56. Sheesh. 

I guess the reason I’m writing about this today is that I formed a kind of attachment to this legislation after  learning about it during the podcast-taping in 2019. It felt like the underdog that no one seemed to take seriously. I’m all about the underdog. I have a soft spot in my heart for birds, as well. 

Maryland Legislature Considers Bird Friendly Building Design, American Bird Conservancy, February, 2018

The legislation was championed by a group called Safe Skies Maryland. The timeline I am seeing shows that it was first introduced in 2018. This year, in 2023, it finally became law in the state of Maryland. The wheels of government can turn mighty slowly, especially if you’re a bird who can’t vote or make political donations. 

Collisions with windows and other structures claim one billion birds per year. - - Safe Skies Maryland 

The new Maryland law applies to new buildings, and only some new buildings. It doesn’t require retrofitting older structures to be bird safe. It makes no requirements of individual homeowners but that won’t stop you from taking action yourself if you are so moved. For example, here’s a photo of bird-safe decals in use at the Howard County Conservancy. 

Photo from Howard County Conservancy  

A few lessons to take away from this story:

  • When it comes to state legislation, you really have to keep at it.
  • It’s possible that the Big Money in Maryland State politics is not to be found in backing the birds.
  • My ongoing interest in this issue was sparked by listening to/attending one podcast. 
When we talk about community issues we often discuss the struggle to make sure that people and informed and want to engage. How to reach people? Local print media is limited and quickly disappearing. We have no Columbia/HoCo radio or television stations. Locally we are dependent on social media, word of mouth, and real-life experiences.

I had a real-life experience in 2019, eating dinner and drinking a beer at Clarksville Commons, that sparked my interest in an issue I had never even heard about. It’s 2023 and I’m still following it.

Never underestimate those real-life experiences.

Friday, May 19, 2023

F ³: Petiquette


Oh, my goodness. Without NextDoor I would not have known this crucial etiquette rule. 

PSA Neighbors!!!!!!!

When you see someone walking THEIR dog it is rude and dismissive to ONLY acknowledge the dog attached to the Human. We are all human beings and neighbors in this community you should greet the human first then ask to greet and or pet the dog (with permission) You wouldn't do this with a child. Please and thank you!

This rather emphatic post, from a resident of Columbia Town Center, floored me. I always talk to the dog first. I smile at dogs. I chat with dogs. I practically flirt with dogs. I had no idea there was an Emily Post protocol for these things. 

Now, when it comes to petting, I completely agree that this should be done only with the owner’s prior consent. And the dog’s, for that matter. If you pay attention, it’s usually pretty clear whether or not a dog wants to be touched. That’s why I used to worry as a teacher when young children wanted to run up and immediately pat dogs. They haven’t yet developed that sense of observing and respecting an animal’s boundaries. 

But, for the moment, lets get back to talking to dogs. You do talk to dogs, don’t you?

I suspect my interactions with furry, four-footed creatures who are out and about with their people probably stems from my innate shyness. I rarely look at or talk to people I don’t know. In fact, I think I may have been raised to think that wasn’t polite. In specific social interactions it was acceptable to speak - - to thank the person who opened the door for you, to ask a very tall person to reach something on the top shelf at the grocery, or the person at the bus stop if they had seen the Number 3 come along yet. 

But just walking down the street? Nope. You kept your eyes down and went about your business. 

On the other hand, some folks are raised that it is polite to make eye contact and greet people in those circumstances. They find the lack of interaction odd and, frankly, rude. This occasionally leads to some uncomfortable moments when both parties involved are simply doing what their parents raised them to do.

Oh, but dogs…it’s always polite to talk to dogs. They are the ice-breakers, the bridge over the stiffness and stand-offishness of human existence. Even when you have been admonished a thousand times not to talk to strangers, you will look at a dog and melt.

“Oh…you’re beautiful. You know you are, don’t you?” 

That’s when it becomes permissible (in my mind) to raise one’s eyes and address the human.

“What a lovely dog. What breed is it?” (Or a similar polite and not-too-personal question.)

For those of us who were raised that it wasn’t polite to start a conversation with a stranger “for no good reason”, dogs are the reason. If it were necessary to greet the person first, I would never have been able to talk to a dog. 

That’s just me. It may be different for you. 

The down side of all this is that there are those unscrupulous types who will use a dog precisely to overcome people’s social boundaries, especially those of children. And that’s why it is so important to teach children the safest ways to behave around dogs and strangers. Sad, but true.

Our NextDoor poster clearly has had some bad experiences.  (Or is an etiquette expert wannabe.) What do you think? Is greeting the dog first rude to the human? Are there rules about this that I don’t know about? 

Fill me in.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Annual School Budget Brinkmanship

Photo credit Baltimore Sun.

Here we go again.

Howard schools superintendent recommends staff reduction, class size increase to close $67.3M budget gap, Ethan Ehrenhaft, Howard County Times 

There often seems to be a bit of brinkmanship involved with the annual school budget. The choice of the photo used to accompany the article adds a heightened sense of tension to the situation. 

Dr. Martinaro gives the grim news while County Executive Calvin Ball looks on.

Of course, this is a staff photo they have on hand which has nothing to do with this situation. It simply conveys the idea that there is a conflict of budgets between the Superintendent and the County Executive.

Have you ever noticed that the first things that get mentioned for cuts are teachers and class sizes? It seems to me that those are the last things you would ever want to cut. They are the most painful cuts and the ones that would upset the most number of people. Maybe that’s why.

You are truly going to get the public’s attention when you put teachers and class sizes on the chopping block. 

Now maybe this is purely a financial decision. Maybe it has absolutely nothing to do with brinkmanship. But, just once, I’d like the Superintendent to step out and offer another possible sacrifice. Imagine if you will…

Superintendent recommends staff reduction and salary cuts at Central Office, places indefinite hold on standardized testing.

No, it’s not likely. It’s hard to imagine people getting up in arms about that. Perhaps the numbers wouldn’t add up. Who knows?

It’s like having your parents sit you down at a family meeting to say they’re going to have to cut back on the food budget and the first thing that has to go is your favorite thing. It’s never the canned green beans or the boiled lamb shanks. 

I believe that both the Superintendent and the County Executive care very deeply about education. They will find a way to work this out somehow. Dr. Martirano’s first responsibility is to the school system. Dr. Ball must balance the needs of the entire county. 

But I wonder what would happen if the situation were reversed? Let’s pretend, shall we?

Photo credit WJZ, CBS News Baltimore. Used out of context.

County Executive recommends cuts to Police and Fire Department in order to meet education budget requests in full.

It would have to be police and fire to get people’s attention, right? 

Friends, I am tired of this. Cutting teachers and increasing class sizes is like cutting off the oxygen for learning. It should be the very last thing offered up. We have long needed a better way to look at funding our schools. All this posturing year in and year out benefits no one.

Oh, look. From County Executive Calvin Ball’s Facebook page:

We are fully committed to implementing the Blueprint for Maryland’s future to enhance the excellence of our public education system. While doing so, we must establish responsible and transparent fiscal priorities. 

This workgroup will help dismantle silos, improve collaboration among educational entities, and establish a coordinated strategy to successfully achieve the goals set forth in the Blueprint, while respecting the use of taxpayer dollars. 


This looks promising. 

Village Green/Town² Comments

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

HCC, Past and Present

Rep Stage, the professional theatre company located at Howard Community College, will be closing this year. I have heard nothing but good things about it and yet I never managed to get there, largely because I couldn’t convince myself that I could afford it. Needs vs. wants. You know how that goes.

Way back when I had an opportunity to tour the inside of the Columbia Flier building, I was amazed to see how much space was occupied by costumes, props, and other equipment belonging to HCC. I can’t remember if it was the property of Rep Stage or the College’s own theatre department. Maybe both? Anyway, it’s an impressive amount of stuff. 

If it belongs to Rep Stage, I wonder where it will go? I am envisioning the yard sale of the century.

Over the past decade HCC has made a few unpopular choices to end some of the programming that endeared it to the community at large, notably:

At the same time, they have been forging ahead to expand the ways they can meet the the needs of students:
During the height of the pandemic the college allocated resources to assist students whose financial situations were negatively impacted. In addition, they forgave the outstanding debt of 2,050 students, enabling them to move forward in their academic programs.

It is hard, if not downright painful, to lose things in your community that you love. Columbia/HoCo has had plenty to say about the end of the childcare center, the swimming pool, and Rep Stage. It seems to me that all three of these decisions have to be viewed in the context of HCC becoming more and more focused in its mission. This began while long-time HCC President Katherine Hetherington was at the helm and continues under current President Daria Willis. 

As the old adverts used to say, “this is not your father’s Oldsmobile.” As we mourn the things that used to be, thank goodness there’s plenty to learn about what’s happening right now. 

FYI: Today I learned that HCC has a student newspaper, the HCC Times.


Tuesday, May 16, 2023

A Real Whodunnit in HoCo


Tell me the truth. If you read this tweet, wouldn’t you click on the link?

In today's Baltimore Banner, Abby Zimmardi investigates the alleged theft of koi fish (!) in Howard County. "How did that happen? They just don't get out and walk:" - - Dylan Segelbaum 

The mystery of Howard County's disappearing koi fish, Abby Zimmardi, Baltimore Banner

Photo credit Julia Reihs for the Baltimore Banner

If you know me, you know I had a moment of imagining koi with legs departing from their suburban pond captivity: yes, with legs, also suitcases, plane tickets, and cell phones. 

But that would be fiction. 

There appears to be a rash of koi disappearances in Howard County and the surrounding area. Is it theft? Hungry predators? (Plane tickets?) Zimmardi’s piece lays it all out with lovely photos by Julia Reihs. It’s an ongoing investigation, so you’ll find no definitive answers here. I came away with a few questions. 

  • Why do people have koi ponds? 
  • How many folks in Columbia/HoCo have ponds on their property?
  • How much disposable income is needed to support a koi pond?
  • Are koi an invasive species?
  • How did this mystery come to the Baltimore Banner’s attention?
If you have the answers to any of these questions, help me out.

I did spot what might be a clue to one particular disappearance right in the text itself.

In 2013 in Fairfax County, Virginia, The Washington Post reported that police responded to a report of 400 stolen koi fish at a pond that was part of the landscaping outside of a business building. The koi fish were enjoyed by employees who frequently ate lunch by the pond.*


I ran this by a journalist friend who responded: 

Tasty! A rather convenient lunch spot. And economical too!

But, seriously folks…

While tiny Koi or goldfish in a pond might not sound like cause for alarm, they can turn into a big problem if they’re released in the wild. “Koi and goldfish are invasive species. If someone dumps them into our water – it could be catastrophic.” - - What happens if you release koi or goldfish into a pond?  Water Resource Manager Jesse Carlson, Savage, Minnesota 

Read the story in the Banner and see what you think. It’s a real whodunnit. 

Learn more about Abby Zimmardi here.
Photographer Julia Reihs appears to be a freelancer. Learn more at her website.

*Italics mine - - jam

Monday, May 15, 2023

A Monday Morning Tell-All

 Three things.

1. Congratulations to local journalist Ethan Ehrenhaft for winning the MDCC Rookieof the Year Award. 

Ethan Ehrenhaft wins the MDDC Rookie of the Year 2022 prize for new journalists for his sharp, clean writing across a variety of disciplines, from breaking news to election coverage to community features and obituaries.  He has become an “indispensable” member of the team covering the Howard County community.

Of course he is indispensable. He writes the entire paper these days, and we are lucky to have him. Make sure to paste his photograph in your local journalism scrapbook before he gets away.

2. A warm welcome back to the written page goes out to Jenny Solpietro of Howard County Progress Report. I’m a little late on this, but, I highly recommend her come-back post:

Moms for the First Amendment , Jenny Solpietro, Howard County Progress Report

3. The most recent write-up of the CA Board’s activities by Michael Golibersuch on The Merriweather Post made me laugh. I probably shouldn’t, I know, but I couldn’t help myself.

Columbia Association Board of Directors Unable to Agree on a Single Chair, Michael Golibersuch for The Merriweather Post

Here we are, concerned about whether the heretofore dysfunctional CA Board can make any progress whatsoever, and they can’t even agree on a dang chair at the first meeting. The image of Eric Greenberg and Andy Stack circling the last chair in a game of Musical Chairs came quickly to my imagination.

Several completely non-serious solutions come to mind here. In the case of an impasse the winner should be decided through:

  • Feats of strength (perhaps arm wrestling?)
  • A written test 
  • A spelling bee
  • An epic quest
  • A coin toss
Then something else came to mind. The only reason we have this predicament is that we have an even number of villages. This will never do! We must either add one new village or vote one off the island. That will solve all problems rooted in inconvenient tie votes. 

So - - any suggestions for a new village? Or is any one village so large that it could be reasonably divided in two? I heard long ago that Emerson had wanted to be a Columbia Village but was rejected. If the powers that be had realized how troublesome tie votes could be, they might have let them in.

On the other hand, if it became necessary to boot one out…if it were a matter of last-hired, first-fired…that would take out River Hill. (And Mr. Greenberg as well, now that I think of it.) Then there is the troublesome matter of that Village that can’t decide if it’s Columbia or Ellicott City. Hmm…

It’s not at all nice to consider breaking up the family. Please rest assured that this line of thinking is purely for a bit of comic relief. After all, the members of the CA Board are adults who are there to serve the community. They should be able to work together, collaborate, and engage in the necessary compromises that come with the job.

Perhaps Mr. Greenberg can be chair on the even days and Mr. Stack on the odd days. Then they can do and undo each other’s work from meeting to meeting all year long.

And the long-suffering Mr. Golibersuch will tell us all about it at The Merriweather Post. Perhaps it will merit a journalistic mention from Mr. Ehrenhaft in the Columbia Flier, too.

The CA Board: truly committed to doing the work of Sisyphus.

Sunday, May 14, 2023

To Lane or Not to Lane: Adventures on Complete Streets


Over in my neck of the woods, a section of Oakland Mills road was transformed in a Complete Streets project. It was completed relatively recently - - within the last year or so? One of the features of the transformation is a protected two-way bike lane on one side of the street. I believe the dividers are flexible traffic bollards.

The County made a short video explaining how to use the new road features safely.

Oakland Mills Road Complete Streets Project

Every time I have driven on that section of road since it’s completion, I have looked for bicyclists. After all, the project was meant to facilitate safe bike riding. I’m a cheery, well-meaning sort, so I’ve hoped it would be a success.

No bicycles. Not a one. Until the other day. I finally spotted the elusive Oakkand Mills Road two-way bicycle lane cyclist. They were wearing a brightly colored reflective vest and a helmet. Official business? Just good sense?

When I reported this sighting on Facebook I was surprised to learn that my friends and neighbors have been seeing bicycles there quite frequently. So, either bicylists go into hiding when I leave my house or, I don’t get out as much as I think I do.

One thing this exchange reminded me was that extrapolating from one’s personal observations is by nature limited. Turning “I’ve never seen people using the bike lanes” into “no one uses the bike lanes” is every bit as inaccurate as “l never see anyone in the library, therefore no one uses the library.”

It’s easy to slip into that way of thinking. Don’t do it.

One of the comments made was that a substantial number of bicylists has been observed traversing that section of road outside of the designated bike lanes. In particular, there was some concern about those riding right down the center of the road. Sheesh. Does that suggest that the lanes are not biker friendly? Or that some bicyclists just don’t like to follow rules? I just don’t know.

Another concern was that the designated bicycle lanes seems to be attracting yard waste and other debris which languishes there. That is something I have seen. And I’m not sure that traditional street sweepers will fit in that space. I wonder what a good solution could be?

On another bicycle front, I caught this exchange recently on Twitter:

@AmericanFiester: Four visual reasons I moved to Carlmel Indiana and why our car sits in the garage 90% of the time.

The responses:

@strangetimespdx: These paths are beautiful! Are you able to get most places on them or do you also have to ride on the road?

@AmericanFietser: We don't have on-street bike lanes. Its all separated MUPs or at worst, a sidewalk.

@benyaminsmol: Looks like Columbia Maryland, which has lots of bike trails to nowhere, & very little safe bike roadway.

Interesting - - from Carmel, Indiana to Columbia, Maryland in four tweets. But what are MUP’s? I looked it up. The short answer: multi-use pathways. The longer answer from a cyclist on a biking forum I found:

MUPs can have bikes, pedestrians, joggers, dog walkers, ladies with baby carriages, and other things I've forgotten. Conditions vary widely on MUPs for cyclists. Sometimes they are heaven on earth; sometimes the opposite.

I think it’s fair to say that not everyone likes the end product over on Oakland Mills Road. I like it because people used to speed pretty routinely on that stretch and it felt that pressure every time I adhered to the speed limit. The new configuration has slowed down the road a bit. I’m not out there being tailed by wildly frustrated speed demons anymore. But I’d love to see more cyclists enjoying those dedicated lanes.

Not everyone supports the introduction of bike lanes. Just for fun, I Googled “bike lane controversies”. Here’s the first page of results:

Are there controversies? Yes, there are. If you click on the image above to enlarge it, you will see what I mean. While people to continue to debate the desirability of bike lanes, fatalities of bicyclists in Maryland are rising. Here’s a chart from lawyers Gilman & Bennigan:

What do you think? Do you ride your bicycle frequently in Columbia/HoCo? Do projects like the one on Oakland Mills Road make you feel safer? If you don’t ride, how do you feel about sharing the road with bicyclists? 

For my own part, I am keenly aware of how much damage my car could do to a cyclist and that makes me terrified of driving near them. In any confrontation the cyclist is always going to be the underdog and I’m rooting for them.

Village Green/Town² Comments