Severna Park gets Neall's ear in visit Success, problems presented in tour

December 10, 1992|By Angela Gambill | Angela Gambill,Staff Writer

For three county children, the most entertaining part o County Executive Robert P. Neall's Severna Park tour yesterday was Mr. Neall's rendition of "There's an Alligator Under My Bed."

Stopping at the library to hear about a reading program for home-care providers, Mr. Neall promptly grabbed a book and read it to the assembled children, making asides for the benefit of an entourage of officials that followed him.

"Never found an alligator [under the bed], but maybe some Democrats," he joked.

The reading program, funded through a state education department grant, provides kits to parents and home-care providers aimed at encouraging reading.

"We're trying to bring story time into their homes," said Betty Morganstern, the information programming and outreach librarian.

The kits contain books, cassettes and puppets packed in bags and coordinated along 15 themes, such as "Backyard Adventures," she said. The grant extends from this fall to fall of 1993.

"If you have a lot of kids in your care, it's hard to get to a regular library story time," Ms. Morganstern said. "It's an important age to read aloud to children. It helps them understand books and improves their vocabulary."

During his day-long tour of Severna Park highlights and trouble spots, Mr. Neall also visited the intersection of Ritchie Highway and Robinson Road, nicknamed "Malfunction Junction" because of its traffic congestion, Folger McKinsey Elementary School and the Park Plaza Shopping Center.

At Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church, the county executive toured the child-care program and the church's almost completed addition.

The Rev. Terry Schoener, pastor of the 2,000-member church, introduced staff members and workers in the church's five children's programs to Mr. Neall and gave him a church sweat shirt.

The minister also took the opportunity to air grievances about county health and fire officials, who he said have caused Woods Memorial much difficulty by enforcing obscure and sometimes conflicting regulations.

"We're glad to comply with sensible regulations," Mr. Schoener told Mr. Neall, "but when they tell you to put the doors on one way and you do it, and then they tell you to put them on the other way -- all that comes out of the offering plate."

The day's visit, which also included stops at Kinder Park, the Jones Road Fire Station and Chesapeake Academy, was part of the "County Comes to You" series, in which the county executive and the heads of the departments of county government visit communities to gain better understanding of local issues and problems.

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