As I strolled through beautiful woods, over a babbling brook and prepared to be entertained by Elvis Costello at Merriweather Post Pavilion, I noticed a sign hanging near the concert hall's main gate.
Itread: "Please. For your own protection. All beverages, glass or metal containers, cameras and recording devices are prohibited. All patrons and parcels are subject to visual inspection; if inspection is refused, management may refuse admittance and a refund may be issued. Sound performance may result in hearing loss. Earplugs available."
After listening to two hours of fine music from Elvis, and takingin management's indelible impression on the affair, I concluded the sign should be amended to read as follows:
Please, for your own protection:
* No smoking allowed in the pavilion. No cigarette buttsallowed on the lawn.
* No beer or wine will be sold without proper identification. This includes a driver's license, two major credit cards and a Social Security card. A voter's card can be substituted in lieu of Social Security card. There will be no exceptions.
* No littering.
* No loitering.
* Please restrict trips to the restroom to five minutes.
* Remain seated at all times. No dancing allowed.
* Those seated in the pavilion must display ticket stubs at all times. Failure to comply could lead to ejection.
* All events conclude no later than 10 p.m.
* Deadheads not allowed.
* Keep off the grass.
* Do not verbally abuse security personnel.
* Allviolators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
"Management's performance may result in a desire to eschew Merriweatherin the future. Refunds on already purchased tickets available. Enjoythe show."
TEDDY TRAUMA TONIC
For those unfortunate children who are involved in a car accident or a fire in Howard County, police andrescue workers have a small surprise -- a teddy bear.
Through thenewly created Howard County Child Safety Fund, a non-profit citizensorganization, children ages 1 to 10 will get teddy bears from policeofficers or rescue workers if they are involved in trauma situations.
So far, the fund committee -- made up of about 12 area residents-- has gathered 150 teddy bears "and our hope is that we'll be able to have a bear in every emergency vehicle in the county," said Bob Scarburgh, one of the committee organizers.
At any fire, accident orsimilar emergency involving a child, the safety officer on the scenewill be able to hand over a teddy. At least that's the aim of organizers.
But even 150 bears isn't enough to equip the more than 300 emergency vehicles in Howard County. Participating in the teddy bear program are county police, firefighters and rescue workers, as well asstate police from the Waterloo barracks.
"Our ultimate aim is to put them in the shock trauma unit of the hospital," Scarburgh said. "In order to do that and have one in each vehicle, we need a lot of help."
Citizens and businesses are encouraged to donate money to thefund, which will be used for buying more teddy bears. Although some people have opted to donate teddy bears, a cash donation is preferred, Scarburgh said.
"We use a special 'child-proof' bear to cut downon the danger to children," he said. "You have to be careful with certain types of bears, like the ones with buttons for eyes. If the eyes fall out, the child could swallow them and choke."
Sgt. Gary L. Gardner, a county police spokesman, said the program is a good way for children at a young and impressionable age to appreciate police officers. But he also expressed the need for the bears to be safety-approved.
"It's better if we buy our own bears," he said. "There are liability questions we have to worry about as a police department. We don't know where some of the used bears have been."
Scarburgh saidhe is hoping that many of the bears will remain in police cars and fire trucks and will never have to be given away.
"The more demand you have, the more it means that kids are having trouble," he said.