County officials take nasty weather right in stride


January 03, 1996|By Liz Lean | Liz Lean,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Winter weather makes parents of schoolchildren grumble.

We're indignant when school is closed or delayed. ("We walked to school in four feet of snow when I was a kid!")

Then we cluck and fuss when school is open. ("There's no way the bus can get up this hill!")

Glenn Johnson, director of transportation for Howard County public schools, takes it all in stride, knowing that he and his staff base their recommendations on reams of data from weather services, county and state police, and their own observations while driving "the trouble spots" from 4 a.m. to 4:45 a.m.

Frank Dawson is the transportation supervisor assigned to travel West Columbia roads on nasty mornings. His route includes typically slippery areas such as Pindell School Road near Route 32, Trotter Road, Harper's Farm Road and Route 108.

In our area, a weather station on the roof of Wilde Lake High School at River Hill feeds data on air temperature, wind, barometric pressure and precipitation to a control box in the school's media center. Mr. Johnson gains access through a computer at his home in Clarksville or in his office on Route 108.

At 5 a.m. sharp on days when weather is a concern, Mr. Johnson makes his recommendation to superintendent Michael Hickey.

Does Dr. Hickey take the advice?

"Just about 100 percent of the time," Mr. Johnson said.

Celebrity servers

One week from tonight is Wilde Lake Middle School Night at McDonald's Restaurant in the Harper's Choice Village Center.

Principal Albertha Caldwell, assistant principal Beverly Koren and other staff members will work the counter and bus tables from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Jan. 10.

The restaurant will donate 20 percent of its revenue from those hours to the school's PTA, said fund-raising chairperson Cheryl Schroder.

Students also can bring register receipts from Giant Food stores to McDonald's that night, write their name on the back of each one and enter the receipts for a drawing to be held during the school's "Eye Opener" morning newscast, Ms. Schroder said.

Prizes will include a pizza party for four and movie passes.

New deacons

The deacons of St. John the Evangelist Baptist Church share responsibility with pastor Dr. Robert A.F. Turner for the congregation's spiritual life.

Deacons plan the annual revival, serve communion, secure guest speakers when Dr. Turner is away and are called upon frequently to lead prayers.

Five new deacons will be ordained at 4 p.m. on Jan. 14 at the Interfaith Center in Wilde Lake village. Horace Dickerson, William Harris, Earl Johnson, Francelia McKendre and Ostein Truitt have trained for months to assume their new duties.

Head deacons Ernest Robb and Harold Williams have schooled these men and women on worship procedures, Christian life and the Bible.

The public is invited to the ordination service.

Fight graffiti

Are you annoyed by the graffiti that seems to show up on every utility box in West Columbia?

The Columbia Association has agreements with Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. and Bell Atlantic to paint utility boxes marred by graffiti.

Call your village office to report a problem.

A staff member will contact BGE or the phone company.

Students recycle

Barbara Bien's kindergarten students at Longfellow Elementary School are passionate about recycling.

Mrs. Bien's morning and afternoon classes enlisted the student council's help on a school-wide recycling effort.

This included a special project to recycle Christmas trees and other holiday greenery.

Student council officers Mal Grantham, Antwan Davis, Amber Garrity and David Goodwin helped the kindergarten students distribute pamphlets, hang posters and make presentations to each class about the "Merry Mulch Your Tree" program of the county's Bureau of Waste Management.

Cedar Lane Park and Metzler's Nursery are the West Columbia sites accepting Christmas trees, wreaths and garlands for recycling through Jan. 15.

Teachers Priscilla Shaver and Wendy Parrot advise the Longfellow student council.

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