We Might Have to Thank BGE

I never thought the day would come that we would praise BGE for lowering their rates, but it is about to happen.
BGE explained that as a result of President Donald Trump’s new tax plan (that lowers the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent) they have the ability to lower rates up to five percent for customers.
Much like a rate hike, BGE still has to meet with the Maryland Public Service Commission before rates can be lowered. Although I don’t think anyone is going to oppose this request.
We always fairly criticize BGE for increases but we should give them kudos if our BGE bill does decrease.
This also shows that maybe corporations are not so evil and they can actually give back to their employees/the public if their taxes are reduced.

Avenue News Profiles Local Train Gardens

Wise Avenue Train Garden -courtesy of Wise Avenue Volunteer Fire Company.

In this week’s Avenue News, Lisa Harlow wrote an article On Track for Christmas about the local train gardens in the area. As someone who loves trains, I  enjoy learning about all the local train gardens in the area. There are actually five in the region.

The granddaddy of train gardens in Baltimore County is the Wise Ave Volunteer Fire Company Train Garden in Dundalk. It is now in its 37th year and it is located at the fire house on 214 Wise Ave. I remember writing an article about that train garden when I was in college in the early 2000s. It was amazing that the garden was around 20 years old at that time. It is still going strong on its way to 40 years.

The Dundalk Patapsco Neck Historical Society and Museum Train Garden, located at 4 Center Place in Old Dundalk, always gets overlooked with the Wise Avenue garden, but it is still worth a trip inside the museum. It is not as big as the other trains but the garden has more historical landmarks.

I knew about the two trains in Dundalk, but I was not aware of the Martinville  Train Garden at Martin State Airport, the Highlandtown Train Garden in eastern Baltimore City or the Fire Museum of Maryland Holiday Train Garden in Lutherville. I enjoyed learning about those spots in Lisa’s article.

I do remember that a Perry Hall resident had a train garden in his basement and he opened it up to the public. It was a nice in home train garden, but it has been over five years since he has publicized the event.

It is always fun to find train gardens for the kids. One great website that I love for finding train gardens is Grandpa’s Holiday Train Garden.

St. Joseph School Named Top Workplace by Sun

The East County Times reported that St. Joseph School in Fullerton was named by the Baltimore Sun as one of the 2017 Top Workplaces in the area. This was a pleasant surprise because I do not think a local private school would be considered for a list such by the Baltimore Sun.

According the release, employees at the school filled out a survey that was conducted by Energage LLD., a research firm. Apparently, St. Joseph’s employees must enjoy their school and gave high remarks.

There was no quote from school officials or employees (just a geneatic quote from Energage’s CEO) but I’m sure the St. Joes administration is happy with this news. I’m sure even parents of St. Joes students are pleased too. If you have happy teachers it usually results in happier students too.

 

 

BCPS Profiles Perry Hall High Senior

I know this is a week late, but I just noticed that BCPS wrote a feature article about a Perry Hall High School student on their website.

Perry Hall High School senior Hailey Fink was part of the school system’s “Face of the Week” on Nov. 27.

Hailey Fink -photo courtesy of BCPS –

BCPS likes to profile a student with an unique talent or someone that has had a major accomplishment in their young life.

Hailey was profiled because of her interest in engineering.

The article talks about how Hailey was the only female on a team that designed an electric car and explains how Hailey later started her own electric car club that was only for females at the school.

BCPS has tried over the last decade to get more females into the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and Hailey’s interest in engineering makes her the perfect student to profile.

Go to the BCPS website to read more about Hailey Fink.

Honeygo Run or Honeygo Elementary?

Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) announced back in October, that the public can submit name ideas for the new northeast elementary school in Perry Hall.

The new northeast elementary school will have the word “Honeygo” in its name.

After 1,871 name submissions were sent in from the public, the name nominating contest has been closed and now BCPS is down to two names: Honeygo Elementary and Honeygo Run Elementary.

The public is invited to vote online  from Monday, Dec. 4 through Friday, Dec. 22 at 4:45 p.m. between the two names. All BCPS stakeholders, including BCPS staff, students, parents and community members, are permitted to vote, but only one ballot can be casted per person.

I really don’t have a preference. I am just glad that the name Honeygo is being used for both final entries.

With the completion of Honeygo Boulevard from Ebenezer Road to Belair Road in the mid to late 2000s, the name “Honeygo” has been used for Honeygo Run Regional Park, Honeygo Village Center and  a few small businesses. It is only appropriate to have “Honeygo” in the new school’s name.

BCPS stated that the results will be reported to the Board of Education during its meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 20 for a first reading, on Tuesday, March 6, for a second reading with public comment, and on April 17 for a third reading and vote.

Loch Raven HS Principal (and my first journalism teacher) to Retire

Loch Raven High School principal Bonnie Lambert is retiring on Friday, Dec. 1 after 15 years at the school. It is always a big story when a long-term high school principal announces his/her retirement since there are only 24 high schools in Baltimore County.

Ms. Lambert’s retirement is significant to me because she was my first journalism teacher at Patapsco High School. (Yes, it was just Patapsco High School and not Center for the Arts in 1993).

Bonnie Lambert, pictured here at Loch Raven High School’s graduation in the spring, is retiring on Dec. 1.
-photo courtesy of Twitter-

Her class was my first taste of journalism in my junior year. She must have done something right as I went on to work for The East County Times and Dundalk Eagle newspapers.

I was disappointed that Ms. Lambert did not return to teach journalism at Patapsco in my senior year. Little did I know that she was preparing for a successful career as an administrator.

As a reporter for ECT and DE, I had to follow all the principals in eastern Baltimore County and I saw that she became principal at Loch Raven HS.

I was hoping that our paths would have crossed one day as I interviewed many teachers and principals throughout eastern Baltimore County but Loch Raven was just out of our coverage area with ECT.

Apparently, I was not the only student that Ms. Lambert inspired as reports on social media about her retirement resulted in high praises from parents and former students at Loch Raven.

I want to wish Ms. Lambert the best of luck in her retirement.

BCPS Breaks Ground for New Northeast Elementary School

Baltimore County Public Schools broke ground to their new northeast elementary school on Monday, Nov. 20. The new school is being built to relieve overcrowding at Perry Hall, Joppaview, Chapel Hill and many other elementary schools in the area.

While most groundbreakings are ceremonial, this groundbreaking was extremely ceremonial as both structures of the new school are near completion and it appears workers are close to focusing on the exterior and interior of the two buildings. The new school is scheduled to open on Sept. 4, 2018.

As a parent of students in Perry Hall Elementary, I can tell the public firsthand that this new school is necessary. Overcrowding at our elementary schools (middle and high schools too) is a huge problem and this school is much needed.

 

 

Councilman Marks to Hold Public Safety Town Hall Meeting

Councilman David Marks announced that he will host a town hall meeting on public safety on Monday, Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the Perry Hall Library.

The Councilman announced a five-step plan on social media that he will detail more during the Town Hall.

First, he plans to continue to remain in contact with local police precincts in the area. Next, he will invite members of the Towson Area Citizens on Patrol (COP) to the meeting on Monday to help other communities set up COP programs in their neighborhoods.

Marks also wants to work with his fellow council members on a plan to incentivize Baltimore County police officers to live in Baltimore County neighborhoods. It would not be a requirement, but a possible property tax-credit for those officers.

In addition, the councilman explained that the county council does not determine the budget and hopes to encourage the County Executive (and the next County Executive) to fund the hiring of more police officers.

Finally, he calls to improve and strengthen the relationship with law enforcement in surrounding jurisdictions, the state and federal governments.

Sadly, crime appears to have increased over the past few years and I commend Councilman Marks for taking a proactive approach.

His plan has some good ideas and I look forward to hearing more details on Monday.

Two Eastside Art Teachers to be Honored

Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) announced a list of art teachers that will be honored this Saturday, Nov. 18 at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore by the Maryland Art Education Association (MAEA) at their annual awards ceremony.

According to a BCPS news release, six BCPS art teachers will be honored with district recognition and two teachers have been nominated for statewide awards.

One of those teachers is Perry Hall Middle School’s Michele Momenzadeh. She has been nominated for Maryland Middle School Art Teacher of the Year. Momenzadeh was not the only eastside art teacher to receive high honors.

Michele Momenzadeh -BCPS file photo-

Tess Stoner of Halstead Academy in Parkville was one of the six art teachers to be honored with district recognition. Stoner was nominated for Baltimore County Career Elementary Art Teacher of the Year.

“The individuals being honored exemplify not only outstanding teaching in the arts, but also the power of community building within and outside of our schools,” Sherri Fisher, BCPS coordinator of visual arts said of all the nominees in the BCPS new release. “I am proud that our students are able to benefit from their professionalism, dedication, and expertise.”

Congratulations to Ms. Stoner and Ms. Momenzadeh on their awards.

Kamenetz Publicizes Code Violations from Jared Kusher’s Company

Politics is a game that most elected officials play. It comes with the territory, but Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz does not try to disguise it.

On the Baltimore County Government website, there is a big headline “Jared Kushner-Owned Company Fined as Negligent Property Owner in Baltimore County.”

The article (written by Baltimore County) explains that there are more than 200 code violations in apartments owned by the Kushner Cos. Of course, Kamenetz mentioned that the company is owned by President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Some of the allegations include more than 200 code violations that were observed by County inspectors within the past year.

Fontana Village and Commons at White Marsh are among the 13 apartments that Kushner Cos. Owns in Baltimore County. The article did not mention that which apartments were in violation of Baltimore County Code Enforcement.

I am sure the county’s allegations of Kushner Cos. are true , but I’m confident that Kushner Cos. is no better or no worse than any of the other apartment complexes in the county. I’m sure the county has investigated and found issues with other apartments (at least I hope they are not singling out Kushner Cos.) so why is there only an article written about Kushner Cos? We know why because it is Jared Kushner’s company.

I’m sure there are some community leaders that are hopefully that Baltimore County Code Enforcement is spending the same amount of time investigating all the property owners of vacant or rundown properties throughout Baltimore County as they are spending on Jared Kushner’s company.