A cold, hard and un-nostalgic -- look at winter woes

NEIGHBORS

February 16, 1994|By LARRY STRURGILL

Winter rolls on, and there seems to be no end to the relentless onslaught of nasty stuff falling from the sky.

None of us minds a little snow every now and then, and if you have lived in this area for any length of time, you've come to expect it. The "old-timers" living in Howard County will remember winters when snow seemed to cover the ground from Thanksgiving to Easter and years when bitter cold refused to release its grip and the Chesapeake Bay froze solid.

At times this winter, we've had short periods of bitter, record-setting cold. But instead of the expected snow, we have been besieged with freezing rain and sleet. A sheet of ice has covered the ground for almost a month.

Capping it off was last week's sleet storm. The granular ice pellets simply put a white covering on the icecap below.

I have lived in Howard since 1951, and in all that time I have never witnessed a storm that produced 4 inches of sleet.

No doubt the weather is testing our patience and our resolve, not to mention our driving skills. I'd like to think that the worst is behind us. Wishful thinking perhaps, but one thing is certain -- this year we'll all appreciate springtime just a little bit more.

*

The excessive number of school days lost this winter is causing concern for some parents, but maybe not for the obvious reason.

I have talked to several parents who are worried that makeup days added at the end of the school year will interfere with long-standing vacation plans. Most seem to think the extra days will be a waste of time anyway.

One parent said that if necessary, he would take his children out of school for a family vacation to Disney World.

"We've had this trip planned for months now," he said. "My wife and I have scheduled vacation time from our jobs, and the reservations at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort are already made. It's too late to make changes now. Besides, I wouldn't disappoint the kids."

Unfortunately, the lost time must be made up. State law requires that students attend school for no less than 180 days. Let us hope there will be no more missed days; otherwise, we might be talking about school in July.

*

An event affected by the weather is the "Fireside Chat with Chuck Ecker," scheduled for 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday.

Damage caused by frozen water pipes at Linden Hall has forced the meeting to be moved to the Dorsey Hall Meeting Room at 4649 Columbia Road.

This informal Saturday morning discussion with Mr. Ecker presents an excellent opportunity for residents to go one-on-one with the county executive.

For information, call 730-4005.

*

Members of Cub Scout Pack 615 in Wilde Lake were disappointed when Saturday's Scout Mall Show, and most of the Scout Week program at Chatham Mall, were canceled because of the weather.

The mall show, which will feature displays of Scouting activities and crafts, has been rescheduled for Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

One of the events will be the Pinewood Derby, a race among model derby cars crafted by area Scouts from soft pine.

*

An underground caving adventure is being offered by Howard County Recreation and Parks on March 5.

Here's your chance to explore the wonders beneath the surface of Western Maryland and West Virginia.

Many people who decide to try it end up as "hodags," "glawackus" and "supertrogs," all endearing terms for people who love the sport of caving.

To join the adventure, you must be age 16 or older and in reasonably good physical condition.

The $32 fee covers instruction, equipment and transportation. A change of clothing (coveralls are great) and a pair of sturdy boots or shoes will be necessary.

The cave van leaves Cedar Lane Park at 8 a.m. and returns at 5 p.m.

For additional information or to register for the trip, call 313-2762.

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