Man earns satisfaction, an award for helping seniors


August 18, 1998|By Natalie Harvey | Natalie Harvey,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

LES CHITTENDEN is of the firm belief that one voice can be heard if you speak loudly and often enough.

Some might call it the "squeaky-wheel syndrome," but Les is tangible proof that it works.

Last month, the Howard County Council presented him with an resolution honoring his efforts to help his neighbors at east Columbia's Park View Apartments, a seniors complex.

Chittenden's persistence led to the installation of an additional ramp for the disabled near the apartment entrance, and the doubling of the allotted parking spaces for the disabled.

It all began this year when he decided that his apartment building in Owen Brown village needed a more conveniently located ramp and additional parking spaces for the disabled.

He had first-hand knowledge of the problem -- his wife Mary used a wheelchair, and getting her chair to a ramp at the far end of the walkway was often difficult -- particularly in inclement weather.

Quite often, when they pulled into the building's parking lot, there were not any disabled spaces available.

Since a number of residents needed a ramp and parking, Les decided to investigate. He was tenacious.

He made numerous telephone calls and letters to the apartment owners and other authorities.

A Shelters Property Management representative came to a meeting of the Park View Residents Council. He inspected the parking lot and agreed that something needed to be done, but said that the county government would have to give its approval.

In May, in the midst of his work, Les Chittenden's wife died.

He returned to his apartment in June after a visit with his family and found that a new ramp had been installed and the number of parking spaces for the disabled had been doubled -- not only for Park View and but also for neighboring Owen Brown Apartments, also a seniors apartment complex.

Chittenden also has been active in his community in other ways. He was the first president of the Park View Residents Association and initiated a residents' newsletter.

He says he follows his own code that he dubs PICD, for perseverance, initiative, commitment and determination.

Australian exchange

Lee McClenaghan will bring an Australian accent and first-hand knowledge of her home Down Under to Oakland Mills High School this semester.

McClenaghan lives in Moe in Victoria, Australia, a few hours from Melbourne. She will be a guest of the Wilmoths -- Bob, Sarah, Martha and Carrie.

Martha and Lee will be entering their sophomore year at Oakland. Carrie is a freshman at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Lee hopes to share her experience playing netball -- a cousin of basketball played by women in most former British colonies -- in exchange for learning about American sports and studies.

The Wilmoths have opened their Owen Brown home to students from Sweden and Germany.

Lee is sponsored by the nonprofit high school student exchange program of EF Foundation. Local coordinator Lisa Solomon is always in need of host families for students from Spain, Sweden, Columbia and Denmark. Interested families should call 410-461-7362.

Open house

Talbot Springs Elementary School invites students, parents and guardians to an open house from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.

Parents and students can meet teachers and staff and become acquainted with classrooms, cafeteria and school offices.

Classroom assignments will be posted in the school's entrance, and staff members will answer questions.

A visit before the official Howard County public schools opening day Monday could be fun and informative.

Youth trips

Columbia Teen Center director Bobbie Whyte has planned a month of "Kids Day Off" trips for children 11 to 14, beginning Sept. 4 with an action day at Checkered Flag GoKarts and Miniature Golf in White Marsh.

A trip to the Newseum in Arlington, Va., is scheduled Sept. 15. A tour of Orioles Park at Camden Yards will be held Sept. 21.

On Sept. 30, there will be a trip to Ultrazone at East Point Mall for laser tag.

Registration for each trip -- $23 for residents and $30 for nonresidents -- must be prepaid in person or by mail.

The bus will leave from the teen center in Oakland Mills village at 9 a.m. and return at 4 p.m. The center is open until 6 p.m. for the convenience of parents.

Information: 410-992-3726.

Oakland Mills PTA

PTA president Suzanne Whitmore invites parents of Oakland Mills High School students to attend the meeting of the Parent-Teacher Association's executive board tomorrow at 7: 30 p.m. in the school cafeteria.

Preliminary plans will be discussed for PTA-sponsored events.

Arts classes

Program coordinator Liz Henzey reports that the Columbia Art Center's fall catalog of classes and events is available.

Offerings range from sculpture and drawing to introduction to the potter's wheel, with classes to fit any schedule. The center is in the newly remodeled Long Reach village shopping center.

Information: 410-730-0075.

Pub Date: 8/18/98

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