Monday was a miserable day, but the rain didn't dampen the spirits of nearly 2,000 supporters of Roger Hayden, the new Baltimore County Executive. Thanks to the lousy weather, the inaugural ceremonies had to be moved into a large courtroom, which was still too small to accommodate everyone.
By the time members of the judiciary, friends and family of the new executive and council members and the rest of the inner circle squeezed in, there was little room left. And there is nothing like having all of the Baltimore County Circuit Court judges lined up in one courtroom to make an event seem official, which, of course this occasion was. Among the judicial lineup were several old friends, Leonard Jacobson, Eddie DeWaters, Johnny Turnbull and Bucky Buchanan.
Hayden and his wife, Nancy, led the procession into the room, followed by the gracious outgoing executive Dennis Rasmussen and his wife, Joan. Former Baltimore County executive Ted Venetoulis was also in attendance. (Several people wondered why former Baltimore County executive Don Hutchinson wasn't there when his name had been on Hayden's original transition committee. Rumor has it that Hutchinson was taken off the committee because his democratic presence made a high-ranking Republican unhappy.)
Baltimore City Mayor Kurt Schmoke and State Attorney General Joe Curran were also front and center for the ceremonies, which included the swearing in of council members. I was amused watching new council members Vince Gardina and William Howard, two young men who seemed to be in shock about the fact that they were really being sworn in. Council chairman Dutch Ruppersberger was asked to say a few words and he capped his speech with a poem entitled "Geese," which carried an important message about people helping each other. "Geese" was written by Baltimore county educator Robert McNish.
Thanks to old friends, I was able to get inside the courtroom for the ceremonies, which made it much easier to spot people like Carol Hirschberg, Hayden's press secretary; State Sen. Vernon Boozer; newly elected State Sen. Janice Piccinini and the man who lost to her, State Sen. Frank Kelly; Towson attorneys John B. Howard, Bruce Alderman and Charlotte Pine; attorney Sam Cook, a member of Hayden's transition committee; Baltimore County school superintendent Robert Dubell; Dick Bennett, chair the Republican State Central Committee; Carl Julio, the builder who, it is said, raised lots of money for Hayden; George Abersheen, who ran a good but losing race for the county council; Peter Marudas, from the Mayor's office; and delegates Lou DiPazzo, Leslie Hutchinson, John Bishop and Joe Bartenfelder.
Jim Hackman did a great job emceeing and everyone enjoyed the story about his days in English class with Hayden at Sparrows Point High School -- Hackman, the teacher and Hayden, the student. "I'd like to tell you he was my best student," Hackman teased.
Finally, it was the new executive's turn to speak, and despite a raspy throat, he thanked Rasmussen and the council before speaking of building connections and the voters' mandate.
I chatted with Joan Rasmussen as I was leaving for Hayden's open house gathering at the Towson Armory and she said she and her husband are fine. Dennis plans to do some consulting work until he decides what he will do. And their daughters are happy because Dad will be able to spend more time with them.
Why not have a treat and do some Christmas shopping at the same time? Today and tomorrow, that lovely old Taneytown mansion, Antrim 1844, has all kinds of neat things going on. You can shop in an enchanting Charles Dickens setting and find unique gifts in the Smoke House Gift and Greens Shop. Tonight, there's a candlelight tour of the mansion from 6-8 p.m. and tomorrow, besides tours, there will be carolers and hay/sleigh rides. Times for these events vary, so call (301) 756-6812 for more information.
The Junior League's Holiday Pops Concerts have become a Christmas tradition in Baltimore. This year, the concerts will be held Dec. 15 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 16 at 3 p.m. at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Edward Polochick will conduct the Baltimore Symphony orchestra. Joining in will be soloist Alice Mack, The Children's Chorus of Maryland and the Baltimore Symphony Chorus.
Mayor Schmoke and Channel 2 newscaster Beverly Burke will join the hundreds of Leaguers and their families for this important fund-raising event. Tickets are still available. Call 783-8000 for prices and reservations. It's a wonderful way to get into the Christmas spirit.
Sylvia Badger's column also appears Tuesday in the Accent : section of The Evening Sun.