Teen on Dorsey Search board savors first victory

August 10, 1994|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,Sun Staff Writer

Karyn Entrop thought her family escaped the hazards of big city traffic when they moved to Columbia from Pittsburgh two years ago. But the youngest member of the Dorsey Search Village board found her community has traffic problems of its own.

Shortly after joining the village board last May, Karyn, 16, staked out the intersection at Route 108 and Columbia Road and found a pedestrian nightmare.

"It's really hard to cross Route 108 [on foot]. You have to try to run across both ways without trying to get hit," said Karyn, a junior at Wilde Lake High School. "I see some people with strollers and little children trying to cross."

Karyn, who is one of two nonvoting, teen board members, presented her observations to the village board and proposed that its members petition the county to install crosswalks at the intersection.

Shortly after she began her second term on the board in May, the county agreed to install three handicapped-accessible crosswalks at the intersection.

"I'm being an active participant," she said. "I like saying, 'I did that. I actually made a difference.' "

Ronald Lepson, an engineering chief in the county's Department of Public Works, said construction of crosswalks at the north and south sides of Columbia Road and on the west side of Route 108 will begin in October.

"We only want them to cross 108 at one location," he said.

Mr. Lepson said there will also be ramps for the handicapped at all four corners of the intersection. The county will spend an estimated $9,500 on the project, he said.

"The residents need it and they should have it," said Anne Darrin, the Dorsey Search Village manager.

The crosswalks were Karyn's first project as the board's teen representative last year. Now she's working to develop a safety committee for teen-agers and a neighborhood crime watch for adults to combat a string of vandalism in the community this summer.

She also looks forward to working with Suzan Song, the other Dorsey Search Village board teen representative, and teen representatives from Harper's Choice, Oakland Mills and Owen Brown Villages to organize a music festival.

The festival, she said, was discussed last year during her tenure but never pursued. She envisions an outdoor gathering of local bands from different county high schools.

"I liked working on the board last year, but it wasn't very productive," Karyn said. "I had ideas but I didn't follow up on them. Sometimes I didn't know how."

Mrs. Darrin, the village manager, said Karyn has been outspoken and energetic. All teen-age board members are voted onto the board by other members.

"It's very difficult for teens to come into a board meeting with adults and not feel overlooked. The teens have to really speak up and let themselves be known," she said.

"She definitely has ideas and she made them known. I know it's difficult, especially with schoolwork and extracurricular activities."

In addition to her service on the village board, Karyn does summer office duties at Linden Hall and works part time at an restaurant in Columbia Mall.

During the school year, she balances her job with schoolwork, playing for Wilde Lake High's softball and volleyball teams, school choir and piano lessons.

Regardless of her busy schedule, Karyn said she will be just as active on the village board.

"I don't like to just say something and leave it there," she said.

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