A member of the family returns after fire tragedy

This Just In...

April 04, 2001|By DAN RODRICKS

EARLY ON THE morning of March 14, fire erupted and rolled quickly through dog-breeder Irv Keplinger's three-bedroom cottage on Jarrettsville Pike in Baltimore County, and dozens of the tiny Pomeranians with which he lived -- more than 50 of the toy dogs -- died.

A male named Sylvester managed to escape, and the first police officers on the scene saved three females -- Allie, Molly and Audrey. But most of Irv Keplinger's extended family was destroyed with the cottage. Among the missing was a 3-year-old female named Amy, who used to wake her master each morning with a lick on the face.

After the fire, Keplinger assumed the worst -- that the little dog's body was one of the many in the charred rubble of the cottage, burned beyond recognition.

So that's why the other day the 65-year-old dog-daddy reached for a great old word -- "flabbergasted" -- to describe how he felt when he learned that Amy was alive. She was infested with ticks, smelled of smoke and had lost 25 percent of her 8-pound body weight. But she was safe, discovered under the porch of an old house on Paper Mill Road near Old York Road, in Phoenix, about 2 1/2 miles from Keplinger's cottage -- and 12 days after the fire.

A woman and her son spotted Amy, smelled the smoke in her fur, remembered the fire, made a few phone calls, and hooked up with Keplinger. He and Amy were reunited last Monday. The dog hasn't resumed its routine of licking Keplinger awake each morning, but he expects that she will in time.

Sylvester is still missing. If he turns up, we'll let you know.

Park-and-wander

To: Authorities at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

From: TJI, on behalf of George Duke, Baltimore businessman who frequently makes day trips out of BWI.

If you're going to tow a guy's car from its spot in the airport parking garage because work needs to be done in said parking garage, could you please post a sign to let said guy know what happened so that he doesn't have a fit when he returns to the garage and can't find said car? This happened to Mr. Duke the other night, when he returned from a trip to Houston.

Here's an even better idea: Put up a warning sign that says: "Work expected in this area today. Cars might be towed. Have a nice day."

At the very least, please remind your garage attendants and police personnel that when a guy comes out of the terminal late at night and can't find his car -- as Mr. Duke did -- they should tell him that it was towed away and why, and not leave him wandering around the place thinking it was stolen. Please take this under advisement.

Leaving an Impressionist

From TJI reader Susan Warren:

"I was shocked and embarrassed at the sight that greeted visitors to the Manet exhibit at the Walters recently: Mounds of trash bags and rotting food on three out of four corners at Cathedral and Centre -- right where visitors to our fine city and our world-class art museum were parking their cars all day. It was disgusting."

Jazz in Ellicott City

Sax man Al Maniscalco is excited to report -- because his band is the inaugural act -- a new jazz venue in downtown Ellicott City. After renovations to its upstairs, the Milltowne Tavern will offer live music for the first time, starting Friday night with the excellent (last time we heard 'em) Maniscalco quartet. First set at 8.

Who you gonna call?

Chris Emry, the 9 a.m.-to-2 p.m. host on WOCT-FM (104.3) says: "While playing cable TV roulette recently, I watched a bit of `Ghostbusters 2.' It turns out that our baseball team is run by Vigo, the same evil Carpathian that brought New York City to its knees [in `GB2']. Drop a couple of bucks and rent the flick. The resemblance to Neat Pete is uncanny."

And talk about uncanny:

TJI reader John Hall got a jolt of familiaritis -- my word, not Webster's -- while watching "Eight Men Out," the John Sayles film about the 1919 Black Sox scandal. Says Hall: "One of the eight, pitcher Claude `Lefty' Williams, was played by an actor [James Read] who bears a striking (no pun intended) resemblance to Mayor Martin O'Malley. Check it out." We did -- at a James Read Web site: http://jamesread.homestead.com. And Hall is correct: If Read can handle a guitar and sing, he's O-Man in the movie.

Baltimore 101

Interesting course under way this spring at Cornell University: What to do with Belvedere Square. North Baltimore's once-busy, long-pathetic market center is the subject of a real estate project workshop of 14 graduate students under senior lecturer Robert Abrams and Baltimore architect Mario Schack. "The project," according to the course description, "will involve a redevelopment of Belvedere Square, in Baltimore, Maryland, which is currently configured as a community shopping center surrounded by additional land. The property has been optioned by Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse, a major Baltimore developer, with whom we will work." Watch that space.

TJIDAN@aol.com is the email address for Dan Rodricks. He can also be reached at 410-332-6166. TJI usually appears on Mondays and Fridays. The material in today's column was simply too important to hold until Friday.

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