Toolbox find takes ride in Scout derby


January 27, 2000|By Diane B. Mikulis | Diane B. Mikulis,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

JIMMY MILLER, 11, winner of his Cub Scout Pack's Pinewood Derby, credits his success to "a little luck."

Then again, maybe it was because of a special part Jimmy used to build his car -- a bolt that once belonged to his grandfather, John Miller, who died in 1965. Jim Miller, Jimmy's father, was a baby at the time.

As a Scout in Pack 762, Jimmy entered his car in the Pinewood Derby on Jan. 8, held at the Howard County Fairgrounds. The event is a longtime Cub Scout tradition in which Scouts race handmade wooden cars on a 32-foot inclined track.

Awards are given for the fastest times.

The boys begin with the same materials -- a block of wood about 7-by-2 3/4 inches and a set of wheels. They customize their cars by carving, painting and adding other racing car features, such as spoilers -- wind deflectors that go on the back of the car to increase its speed.

Many add weights, up to the maximum of 5 ounces.

When Jimmy was building his car, he needed something to use as a weight. He decided to incorporate the bolt, which his uncle Jon Miller had given him from his grandfather's toolbox.

The bolt was painted black along with the rest of the car, so it wasn't highly visible in the finished product. But Jimmy knew it was there.

It was great to use something that came from "a grandfather I never got to meet," he said. The only other memento Jimmy has of his grandfather is a collection of military medals.

The bolt might have done the trick for Jimmy.

In what he estimates as "20 or 30 heats," he never lost, beating more than 50 competitors to become champion.

This was the fourth year that Jimmy participated in the derby -- and his first time to win it.

Jimmy is a fifth-grader at West Friendship Elementary School. He lives in Sykesville with his parents, Colette and Jim, and his younger sister, Christie, 8. His paternal grandmother, Norma Nall, who has remarried, lives in Fulton. She and John Miller had lived in Atholton Manor, now part of Columbia.

Scouts who also took honors in this year's Pinewood Derby were Dylan Kestel, who placed second; Mitchell Stahm, who placed third; Chris Nuznik, who won for most original design; and Shane McGrath, who won for craftsmanship.

Glenelg roundabout

Area residents are concerned about the safety of the intersection of Ten Oaks and Triadelphia roads in Glenelg.

With just two stop signs and a rise in Ten Oaks Road that limits visibility for drivers approaching the intersection and those who are crossing it, most people would welcome some improvements.

The Howard County Department of Public Works has studied the intersection for several months and has determined that a roundabout would be appropriate there.

Are you interested in knowing what it would look like? Plans and sketches of the proposed roundabout will be on display at an information meeting for the public from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 10 in the Tyson Room of the George Howard Building, 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City.

Members of the community are invited to see the plans, ask questions and offer comments to the Department of Public Works staff.

The snow date is Feb. 16 in the Ellicott Room at the George Howard Building.

Information: Betsy McMillion, 410-313-3406.


St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Poplar Springs welcomes its new rector, the Rev. John E. Wilbur, who will assume his duties Tuesday.

He replaces the Rev. Norman P. Forde, who has served as interim rector since late summer.

A native of Baltimore, Wilbur is a graduate of Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa., and Philadelphia Divinity School.

He comes to St. Paul's from the Mandala Center in Des Moines, N.M., where he served as president and chief executive officer. The Mandala Center is a nonprofit educational and retreat center for leadership development.

Wilbur was rector at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Washington for 15 years. While there, he established the St. Mary's congregational housing facility for the elderly.

Wilbur will celebrate his first Eucharistic services at St. Paul's at 8 a.m. and 10: 15 a.m. Feb. 6.

Lisbon art auction

The Lisbon Elementary School PTA will hold an art auction April 1 in the dining hall at the Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship.

The money will go to pupil programs at the school.

Art can be previewed at 7 p.m. The auction will be held from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Tickets are on sale now, according to PTA publicity chairwoman Suzanne Menner, "and they sell really fast," she said.

Tickets are $12, including hors d'oeuvres, beer, wine and other beverages. Door prizes and a silent auction are planned.

Tickets: Chris McComas, 410-442-5654.

Anyone who purchases tickets this month will automatically be entered in a raffle for a $25 gift certificate to Junior Editions bookstore in The Mall in Columbia, McComas says.

The PTA is looking for sponsors for the auction program, which will be distributed to everyone who attends.

"We encourage community businesses to become involved by advertising in our program," said PTA President Natalie Evans.

To become a sponsor: Kathy Meyers, 410-489-5056.

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