IT'S BEEN a busy year in Glen Burnie. Not just the big stories -- light rail extensions, Super Block plans and the opening of yet another discount department store. There were also the people and events that define what a community means to its residents. Here is a look back at a few Neighbors stories that helped make that difference.
January found community activist Lola Hand the guest of honor at a celebration of her contributions to the community. Political figures, teachers and neighbors lauded the retiring president of the Suburbia Civic Association for her work on environmental concerns, politics and social issues. State Sen. Philip C. Jimeno told the crowd, "The air is a little cleaner, the water is a little cleaner and the environment is a little better because of Lola's efforts."
More than 130 area youths gathered in the kitchen of Holy Trinity Catholic Church to prepare food for the homeless at the 14th annual Shelter-A-Thon in February. Youth organizers Sharon Morgan and Joy Wilburt oversaw the youths' efforts as they made 54 gallons of soup, nine gallons of spaghetti sauces, 20 casseroles and 98 dozen cookies. The food was distributed to Sarah's House, Oasis, My Sister's Place and My Sister's Lodge.
Glen Burnie lost a patriot when John R. McNeese passed away in March. Active in VFW Post 434 in Marley, McNeese was a career soldier who spent his retirement reminding us that freedom comes with a price tag and that we should never forget those who fought to defend our freedoms.
Youth Art Month was celebrated in March as Glen Burnie Mall showcased the work of 50 county students. A banner designed by Laura Horne, then a senior at Glen Burnie High School, was selected to represent Maryland and fly over the Old Post Office Pavilion in Washington.
April brought a story of personal triumph, as Glen Burnie resident Robert Pearson earned his black belt in karate -- an achievement made all the more impressive because he has no arms, a result of a hereditary disease.
The brightest and best of Glen Burnie High School's Class of 1997 were honored at a ceremony in May. Asa Edward Johnson Jr. could have saved a lot of time by staying on stage to receive his eight awards. Kristy Pence was honored for perfect attendance in ninth through 12th grade.
June arrived and classes were out for the summer, but that didn't stop Richard and Harriet Cavey from going to school. The Glen Burnie couple spent the summer tending to gardens at Corkran Middle School. The gardens were part of a science project started by the Caveys.
It only took a few hundred volunteers and a few thousand guests to make July's Big Glen Burnie Carnival an overwhelming success. Once again the Glen Burnie Improvement Association reminded the rest of the county that Glen Burnie knows how to party. It was an event Glen Burnie resident Donna Rauser won't forget soon. She drove away with the big prize of the carnival, a 1997 Jeep Cherokee. I won a beer mug.
Complicating their "what do I wear the first day of school" laments, Glen Burnie High's Class of 2001 started high school in August with a new dress code: no hats, no bare midriffs, no tasteless slogans on clothing. Parents applauded.
Vintage automobiles cruised the streets of Glen Burnie in September on their way to a car show sponsored by the Lost in the '50s Custom Car Club. Golden oldies music set the tone for the afternoon. Proceeds benefited Boy Scout Troop 216, a local troop for young men with special needs.
Myrl Hartman, retired sales representative and Glen Burnie's resident actor, earned rave reviews from the neighbors for his work as an extra on an October episode of the Baltimore-based television drama "Homicide." Whether it was pushing a doughnut cart or portraying a bar patron, Hartman added to the series' trademark realism.
Charlene Pierpont, Kevin Templeton and April McElwain were three of the many Glen Burnie High students who participated in a drunken-driving simulation in November. Using a specially equipped Dodge Neon, the drivers were able to experience how seriously alcohol diminished their reactions when driving. Several pop-up model pedestrians were sacrificed.
It was "A Very Special Christmas" for shoppers at Marley Station Mall when Glen Burnie High School's dance company presented its annual holiday show. With wonderful performances by the entire troupe, there was a special "wow" for two solo performances by Katie Knight. It was magic.
Happy New Year, Glen Burnie. I can't wait to see what 1998 brings.
Pub Date: 12/31/97