No Election Is Too Insignificant For The Candidates

The Scene -- County currents and undercurrents

December 15, 1991|By James M. Coram, Donna E. Boller, and Michael James

When Cecil Bray, the deputy county administrator, was told last week that the candidates for the county employee slot on the county personnel board were ripping down each other's campaign signs, he decided to do nothing.

But if it continues, Bray says he will tell the candidates to act like adults.

For most employees, the election next week is of passing interest. But for the candidates themselves, it is big doings. And very serious doings at that.

"The election of myself . . . promises to be a wonderful experience for the employees of Howard County," Deborah J. Galinsky writes in a pre-election flier sent to all county personnel.And she's only running for alternate.

The main race is between incumbent Dennis W. Vittetoe, a county police officer, and challenger Ron Tilkins, a maintenance supervisor in the Department of General Services.

Vittetoe's campaign signs effervesce with the power and prestige of incumbency. Professionally printed on white poster board, they tell employees to "Vote, vote, vote" to re-elect Vittetoe as the "classified service member" on the county personnel board Dec. 17 and 18. The posters also include his campaign slogan, "I will continue torepresent your interests" and gives his office phone number. (Electioneering is allowed before and after work and during lunch, Bray says.)

Tilkins' signs illustrate the obscurity of being outside the establishment. His blurred message, "Vote for Ron Tilkins. Personnel board. Vote!" appears with his office phone number on what looks like acomputer printout that has been enlarged numerous times on a copyingmachine.

Where one candidate's sign appears, the other's follows above, below or right next to it in hallways, on doors, on windows, in the restrooms.

The efforts could be for naught. The winner does not automatically get the personnel board slot. The charter assumes there may be a slate of many candidates and allows the county executive to choose from among the three leading vote-getters. Years ago, an executive chose someone other than the winner, but it is not likely to happen this time, Bray said.


Nothing should go nameless in this world, so one of the first orders of business for students at the new Pointers Run Elementary School in Clarksville this fall was to name the school mascot.

And the winner is . .. Hunter, the entry of fifth-grader Michael Kopp and the top choice of the approximately 350 student voters for the pointer who represents their school.

The school's name and the mascot are derived from the nearby River Hill Farm Shooting Preserve on Route 32. The school lies in River Hill, which will be Columbia's 10th and last village.

Other entries on the ballot for school mascot were Spot, Pointer, Tracker, Scholar and Presic.

Presic? It's an acronym, explained Principal Andrew T. Barshinger: Pointers Run Elementary School In Clarksville.

Michael was one of about 12 students who submitted the nameHunter for the school mascot. When the entry won, Barshinger put thestudents' names in a hat for a prize drawing.

The winner will receive a $25 savings bond from First American Bank, the school's business partner.


When you're doing your Christmas shopping this year, remember that Howard County is no different than anyplace else as far as crime is concerned -- after all, thieves have families, too.

Police are quick to point out that the stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas is not only a busy time for shoppers, but it's also one of the busiest times for burglars and pickpockets.

"People think that because it's the holidays, they have nothing to worry about," said county police officer Leslie J. Stickles.

"But we always warn them that burglars, thieves and con artists have families, and they're out there working extra hard so that they can put presents under the tree," he said.

On Saturday, county police kicked off their annual stepped-up holiday patrols, which includean increase in foot patrols in Columbia village centers and the MainStreet area in Ellicott City.

But even with increased police presence, there's nothing better than common sense when it comes to thwarting a holiday thief.

So county police have issued the following tips and precautions for the holiday season:

* Use drive-in automatic teller machines whenever possible. Several robberies each season are committed by criminals who sit and wait by the myriad of Howard County ATM machines.

* Park in a well-lighted area. Auto thefts are Howard County's biggest crime problem.

* Have your keys in hand toavoid any unnecessary delays in entering your car and re-lock your doors after entering. You are more likely to be victimized when you are in a dark area.

* Before you return to your car, check the parking lot for suspicious people. If you see one, don't go outside; if possible, contact a security guard or an employee of the business you're in.

* Don't drink and drive. Holiday traffic will be heavy and you will subject yourself to arrest. Police expect to step up their drunken-driving patrols and have planned two roadblocks for the month of December.

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