Hello? Is anyone out there besides the crickets?


August 19, 1996|By Jean Leslie | Jean Leslie,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

HOW DO YOU KNOW it's August, here in Howard County? By the echo of your footsteps.

For the past few weeks, the shopping centers have been deserted.

Two cars, not 20, stop at the normally frenetic U.S. 40 traffic lights, and the barbershops are unusually empty.

Even the video rental places, mainstays for parents in June, are quiet. Even the crickets don't have much of an audience. Everyone is away on vacation, and it seems as though you and I are the only ones in town.

Excited about exercise

Howard High School Principal Mary Day and the women's exercise club Synergy got together over the summer and developed a plan to get school staff and students moving.

It's a multifaceted program of exercise designed to put the emphasis on being fit in the 1996-1997 school year.

Tomorrow is the first day of school for teachers. Female teachers will spend much of theday at Synergy Fitness Club a couple of blocks from school. Male teachers will spend the day at the Ellicott City YMCA.

This is part of an effort to reach the teachers and students, says Synergy owner Charmaine Gordon.

The initiative follows the recent U.S. surgeon general's report that inactivity is a health risk.

First, Synergy will review Howard High's exercise conditions and equipment before school starts.

Then, Oct. 14-18 will be designated Fitness Week, when teachers and students will focus on individual fitness.

Fitness Week will kick off the exercise classes for students.

Two student classes regularly will be offered after school Tuesday and Thursdays this fall.

Hip Hop Funk will be based on the latest dances, and Boxercise is a class based on boxing.

It will be a lot of fun, says Gordon.

If you don't have fun exercising, you're not going to do it. Gordon is a lawyer who began teaching exercise while working at the Labor Department.

Howard High is the first school to place a yearlong emphasis on exercise and to join with an exercise facility.

Where do clippings go?

Residents of eastern Howard County have been allowed to place unlimited yard waste out with their recyclable trash since April. As one who has used the service liberally, I've been curious about where the twigs and rose clippings went.

In talking with Linda Fields, composting expert at the Bureau of Waste Management, I learned that the yard waste is composted in Dorsey. By late fall, the first compost will be ready for sale to a commercial dealer or to the public as Leafgro, a rich soil additive.

At any rate, I'm always delighted when a truck whisks off my property what would be an eyesore.

Thanks to the PTAs

Some PTA jobs allow a great deal of creativity, some give you plenty of public exposure, and some you can put on your resume. Other PTA jobs are none of the above but are important details needing attention.

I'd postulate that although other jobs are vitally important to the organization and the fiscal health of the school, none is more important to the public's perception of the schools than that of publicity chairman, who sits quietly in board meetings, taking notes and receiving little attention.

But at the end of each year, I know which schools have had a functioning publicity chairman or chairwoman, because they have become my phone buddies and mailbox stuffers.

Last year, I worked with some wonderful people: Jan Carberry of Burleigh Manor Middle; Kelly Moe of Centennial High; Lou Reinthaler, Jackie Harrell and Jackie McAfee of Dunloggin Middle; Pat Elza and Dr. Mary Jane Mitchell of Elkridge Elementary; Ginny Stickles of Elkridge Landing Middle and Elkridge Elementary; Cathy Higgins of Ellicott Mills Middle; Pat Stackhouse and Nancy Yee of Howard High; Mary Catherine Cox of Manor Woods Elementary; Sue Plummer and Maureen Yost of Mount Hebron High; Sandra Zettersten of Northfield Elementary; Robin Aaron of Patapsco Middle and Waverly Elementary; Kathy Tomazsewski of Rockburn Elementary; Jeff Clary of St. John's Lane Elementary; Eleanor Logue of Trinity School; Cathy Bevan and Angela Liuso of Waverly Elementary; and Lisa Emmerling of Worthington Elementary.

These were my school folks last year, with whom I enjoyed great conversations. I appreciate all their hard work. And I apologize if I missed anyone.

If you'll be in charge of publicity this year, give me a call and I'll send you a packet of information I've put together. And introduce yourself -- we'll get to know each other.

If your PTA has not designated someone to handle publicity, put out a call for someone whose job is to be a vocal advocate of your child's school.

Dawg Days in Ellicott

Historic Ellicott City merchants invite you to visit Dawg Days, an old-fashioned sidewalk sale Friday through Sunday. And unlike other shopping centers, Main Street has a real sidewalk.

Dawg Days will be from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Pub Date: 8/19/96

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