Salon's 'cut-a-thon' will benefit survivors of domestic violence Today's event was started after client's death in double homicide

August 09, 1998|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

The staff at a Hampstead beauty salon can't forget that victims of domestic violence -- and their survivors -- need help.

The name of former client Sharon Mechalske remains in the computer at Ultimate Image Hair Fantasy, and no one wants to remove it, said Fran Geiwitz, the salon's owner.

Mechalske and a friend, Arcadia letter carrier Kent L. Cullison, were killed in Hampstead in June 1997. Her former boyfriend has been charged in their deaths.

Shortly after the shotgun slayings stunned the Carroll town of 4,200, the salon staff wanted to help Mechalske's two sons. They held a "haircut-a-thon" on a Sunday and put the proceeds, $2,000, into a trust fund for the boys.

"We all felt really good about helping out and decided then to do a cut-a-thon every year for victims of domestic violence in Carroll County," Geiwitz said.

The owner and her daughter-in-law, shop manager Donna Geiwitz, will join stylists Cathy Bumstead, Shannon Devilbiss, Wendy Sparks and Erin Leonard today, cutting hair from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Half of the proceeds from the $10 haircuts will go to domestic-violence victims through the Family and Children's Service of Central Maryland in Westminster.

"We'll also have door prizes, refreshments and raffles," Geiwitz said. "For $1 a ticket, you can win a full body massage or a pedicure and manicure, and all of that money will go to the victims of domestic violence."

Geiwitz and her staff have sought little publicity. They have placed fliers in windows of town businesses and asked customers to spread the word about today's cut-a-thon.

Still, she recently received a call from a woman in Hereford, in northern Baltimore County, who sent a large floral arrangement to be raffled.

Smith Harper "Skip" Dean III, a Hampstead pit-beef entrepreneur and former customer at Ultimate Image, is accused of murder in the deaths of Mechalske and Cullison. His trial has been scheduled for Sept. 21 in Howard County, where it was moved to avoid pretrial publicity.

"We all knew both of them, and Sharon's death was such a sad, sad shock," Geiwitz said. "We just wanted to do something. After [the first cut-a-thon] was so successful, we decided to keep doing it, but for all victims of domestic violence."

Tish Mayne, family-violence case coordinator for the state's attorney's domestic-violence unit, sent pamphlets to the salon to give to anyone who needs assistance, Geiwitz said.

Ultimate Image Hair Fantasy is in Clearview Plaza, across from Black & Decker, at 695 S. Main St. Customers will be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Pub Date: 8/09/98

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