Horseshoe landmarks disappear just when city needs them

THIS JUST IN...

November 03, 1993|By DAN RODRICKS

Has it been noted anywhere that the big old sheet-metal horseshoes that stood outside three Baltimore-area Fair Lanes (nee Colt Lanes) have been dismantled?

"They were landmarks," says Ted Hill, longtime bowler and lane inspector who remembers when the giant horseshoes first went up. The horseshoes arched over the entrances to three bowling alleys -- in Woodlawn, Towson and Dundalk -- and they stood for more than 35 years. They were some of the last visible symbols of the Baltimore Colts.

"They were going to topple," says Robin Lecky, senior vice president for marketing for Fair Lanes, which bought Colt Lanes, Johnny Unitas' first business venture, in 1964. "They were peeling, the rivets were coming out, so we took them down as part of a face lift. Planters went in their place."

I wonder if it wasn't bad luck to dismantle the horseshoes like that -- especially during the last two weeks when Baltimore was trying to get the ball from the NFL.

Dan O deleted

When they looked up at the electronic message sign on the ramp from southbound I-97 to Route 100 last Friday morning, commuters saw this: "Happy Birthday Dan O."

Looked like some manly-man construction worker-types having a little fun; boys will be boys, right? The thing is, folks over at the State Highway Administration didn't care for a personal message appearing on a board that's supposed to warn commuters about delays. So, after some troublemaker in Anne Arundel County called the SHA, the state project manager contacted construction workers and soon the message was deleted.

Wait! There's more!

The state says it won't pay the construction company for any work done while the birthday wish was displayed.

"We have certainly talked to the company," says Valerie Burnette, a spokeswoman for the SHA. "We do not believe this was an appropriate use for a VMS [Variable Message Sign]. I don't believe it will happen again."

The work being done on the ramp is part of the Route 100 extension into Howard County. But Burnette says the contractor, a Carroll County firm, was not doing any work at the site Friday, and the sign should have been blank. Burnette says she doesn't know the identity of "Dan O" but doesn't think he was connected to the SHA or the construction company. (Don't look at me. I'm a Pisces.)

The Dog House spirit

The other night, a guy gave me a story for this column and said: "You can use that as filler."

Filler? We don't use filler in these columns. We try as hard as we can to use nothing but prime parts. As a matter of fact, I take my inspiration from The Dog House, a nice little luncheonette/carryout near The Big House, at Monument and Fallsway. The Dog House's motto: "Our Meatloaf Is Made, Not Accumulated." I use the same approach when fixing up the column. This makes me a kindred spirit with Dog House proprietor John Sakellarakos. I called him yesterday because I thought I spotted his restaurant in a funny new TV commercial for Keno. "Yes, that's right," John says. "They were here to make the commercial Oct. 14 for 15 hours, and it started on television last week." The commercial does not identify the setting as The Dog House, however. There's a reason for that, John says. "We don't have Keno."

It's Reporter Man!

So who's the guy in the film noir combination fedora-and-trench coat, doing the live shot at dusk on Channel 13? Does he look the part, or what? He seems to know what he's talking about. He's pronouncing street names correctly. He's focused on facts. And he's speaking in an authoritative voice -- no quips, no silliness, not the slightest hint of being tickled by an off-camera producer.

For all these reasons, he stands out. He's Ron Matz, Reporter Man! The longtime Baltimore radio reporter has been full-time at WJZ since August, after a part-time stint over the last year or so. A good thing Eyewitness News picked him up. Matz was a solid reporter -- he was also Harry Horn-Eye in the old Johnny Walker days on WFBR -- who found himself looking for work after WCAO-AM, his last radio employer, went gospel. Monday night we caught Matz doing a live tag to an excellent story following up on the weekend shooting of Baltimore County police officer James Beck. Glad to see the Matz Man on the scene.

Family in Atomic Age

A student at Dundalk Community College turned in a paper that discussed American domesticity, referring to the classic structure of mother, father and children as the "neutron family."

A pal heard this and quipped: "Neutron family. That's when

everyone dies but the house remains standing."

If you've got an item for This Just In, give me a call on 332-6166, or drop me a line at The Sun, 501 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, Md. 21278-0001. Let's hear from you.

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