County Councilman Paul Farragut heard from some of his western Columbia constituents last night, but some of their concerns were beyond his control.
"Paul, what are you going to do about the earthquakes?" asked Bill Amos of the Allview-Arrowhead Civic Association, prompting laughter.
Mr. Farragut, a Democrat, noted that he was one of the few people in the county who had purchased earthquake insurance before the recent series of tremors, many of them centered in Mr. Amos' neighborhoods, shook the Columbia area.
"It's amazing the phone calls I get. People think the civic association should intervene," said Mr. Amos.
He noted that while neither he, Mr. Farragut, nor any of the other 30 people assembled in Kahler Hall in the Harper's Choice village center had the authority to stop the temblors, the community has invited an earthquake expert to its semiannual meeting April 29.
Representatives from most of the neighborhoods in Mr. Farragut's 4th District told him of their concerns, but often they were things the County Council hasn't much control over.
Several people, such as Howard Feldmesser of the Wilde Lake village board, expressed concern over last month's high school redistricting, which shifted the communities that send students to Wilde Lake High School.
Mr. Farragut reminded constituents that the school board makes those decisions and cannot be overruled by the council.
Other constituents, such as Shirley Geis of the Trotter Road Civic Association, cited problems with state roads. She said her community would like the traffic light at Route 32 and Trotter Road to operate more than just at the beginning and end of the school day.
Mr. Farragut's assistant, Mary Lorsung, said she has been told by State Highway Administration officials that the light's hours would be extended to 5:30 p.m. to deal with rush-hour traffic.
Mrs. Geis and others aired concerns about county-maintained roads. On Trotter Road, she said, "speed is out of control, as people are regularly going 50, sometimes 60 miles per hour."
She said the problem is compounded by the fact that many Trotter Road residents can't see very far down the road when entering the street from their driveways.
"I do more praying at the end of my driveway than I do anywhere else," she said.
Unlike many Lisbon residents who oppose the SHA's experimental traffic circle -- called a roundabout -- Mrs. Geis said putting a traffic circle on Trotter Road at the entrance to the new Pheasant Ridge neighborhood of Columbia might help the problem.
Mrs. Geis also reminded Mr. Farragut that her community is anxious to begin working on a county scenic roads bill, which the community has sought as a way to preserve the rural character of Trotter Road. The councilman said he expected to see it on the council's agenda this summer.