Every so often, our public education leaders down on Riva Road manage to come up with a good idea that works for the students, parents and teachers.
It was hard to top last year's idea -- offering the same food on the lunch menu every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday -- butthey have come through.
Check your school calendar. There are no classes the day after Halloween (perhaps in celebration of National Sugar Rush Day?)
Now this may not seem like a big deal, but ask any parent who has unsuccessfully attempted to put a child to bed Halloween night. You're dealing with a small person who has just consumed seven mini-Snickers bars,two handfuls of candy corn, a dozen Smarties and is developing paranoid delusions that his family wants his Milk Duds. It's tough.
On more than one occasion I've spent Oct. 31 watching the David Letterman show with a child while he metabolizes the refined sugar in his system.
Usually the morning after Halloween my children look like they are still wearing zombie makeup. In the past, they have shuffled off to school only to be seized by a delayed sugar surge sometime during social studies.
But not this year. Thanks to careful scheduling,that surge should occur in the comfort of their own home sometime between "The Price Is Right" and "All My Children."
I believe their teachers are relieved also. After all, they spend Halloween trying tomaintain order with a room full of Ninja karate guys, little mermaids and Bart Simpson look-alikes. (Maybe the teacher's union negotiatedthis particular day off in their contract.)
The only bad point isthat parents will have to search through their children's candy during the night to find the really good stuff -- Sugar Babies, Nestle's Crunch Bars and wax lips. Ah, the sacrifices we must make.
Here's a great big Glen Burnie boo to you.
It is hoped the children will still have a little energy left on Saturday for the first D.A.R.E. Officer's Bike-A-Thon.
All past and present students and their parents who participated in the county's Drug Abuse Resistance Education program are invited on a 13-mile ride along the B & A Bike Trail beginning at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Route 50 and Winchester Road and ending at the Glen Burnie Improvement Association.
No one has an attendance estimate, but almost 10,000 students are either enrolled in, or have completed, the 16-week program targeted at the fifth grade.
"Last year -- our first full year -- we had over 4,700 students in the D.A.R.E. program. This year,we're working with another 5,000," said Sgt. Ken Schlein, coordinator of the program. "The program helps to change their attitude, to show the kids that this isn't the cool thing to do.
"With this bike-a-thon, we want them to come out and ride and show that basically we're saying 'no' to drugs and we want a drug-free Anne Arundel County."
Saturday's ride is the first of its kind in the state and there are plans to make it an annualevent.
Joining Schlein and the students will be eight of the ninecounty officers in the program, who are participating on their own time: Harry Neisser, Jim Call, Owen Lowe, John Taylor, William Daywalt, Robert Moore, Jason Little and Anthony Werner.
Schlein says the ride-a-thon will help promote the D.A.R.E. program in the community.
Bikers are welcome to join the group at any point along the trail.Several county officers will be on hand to control traffic at the busier intersections.
Once the bicyclists have completed the ride, they can look at a drug education display at the improvement association. Soft drinks and hot dogs will be sold for 50 cents each.
Each student will have a chance to win a 20-inch Dyno VFR 1992 BMX bicycledonated by The Bike Peddlers. Police Chief Robert Russell will draw the winning ticket and award the bike at noon.
For additional information, call the D.A.R.E. office at 222-6894.
The B & A Trail will be the site of another fund-raising event Saturday.
A "Turkey Walk" for American Heart Association research will begin at 9 a.m.
Registration will begin at 8 a.m. in the parking area behind Harundale Mall.
Walkers will raise money through sponsors' pledges, and prizes will be awarded to participants based on amount of money raised. Walkers who raise $25 to $49.95 will receive a T-shirt, those who raise up to $99 will get a T-shirt and a water bottle and anyone raising more than $100 will get a certificate good for a turkey.
Several members of the Greater Glen Burnie Jaycees will be walking the trail.
"We're combining our sponsor to get as many turkeys as possible, which we'll use in the holiday baskets we give away each year," explained Kate Edwards, state director of the Jaycees.
Anyone wishing to sponsor a Jaycee can call Edwards at 685-1171.
Alan McGill, a popular religious music recording artist, will perform a program of song and Christian testimony at 6 p.m. Sunday at Temple Baptist Church, 15 Old Stage Road.