Spreading the word about household chemicals


April 23, 2001|By Karen Nitkin | Karen Nitkin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THOSE CHEMICALS you use to clean your house can be bad for the environment and for your health, says Madeleine Greene, who teaches family and consumer science at Maryland Cooperative Extension in Ellicott City, part of the University of Maryland system.

To spread the word, Greene helped win a grant to produce a show on the dangers of household chemicals. The show, called "Living on the Environmental Edge," first aired at 6 p.m. Saturday on Maryland Public Television.

"The fact that it's Earth Day weekend makes it all that much more exciting," Greene said.

Greene says she was inspired by a 1997 book called "Home*A* Syst," written by people from several universities. The book aims to help homeowners find ways to improve the environment and protect their health.

But Greene thought the book, at 116 pages, wasn't accessible enough. She approached Joe Wysocki, a national program leader with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"I said, `I really think we need to put this into a video format that's entertaining as well as educational,'" Greene said. "I was talking about a first-class quality, professional video that would go on public television."

Wysocki liked the idea and told Greene to apply for a USDA grant. She wrote the grant with the help of Gary Felton of Columbia, also with the extension service.

The 56-minute production was filmed with a budget of $165,000, most of which came from the USDA grant, Greene said. It's narrated by Ethan Phillips, an actor on "Star Trek: Voyager" and formerly of the sitcom "Benson."

"This guy was wonderful," Greene said of Phillips. "I had the marvelous opportunity to meet him, and he was just as regular a person as you would ever want to meet. And he was so into the topic. This was something he felt passionately about."

Greene and Felton also appear in the show, as well as many experts and specialists, Greene said. The show was filmed at the MPT studios in Owings Mills and produced and directed by Donna Quante, whose camera credits include "Spin City," "Cosby" and work for the Baltimore Orioles.

"Through this production, I had the opportunity to meet the most fascinating group of people," Greene said.

Local teachers honored

Several local teachers are included in the latest edition of Who's Who Among American Teachers, 2000. These teachers were nominated by high school and college students who appeared in Who's Who Among American High School Students and the National Dean's List. The students were asked to nominate one teacher they felt made a difference in their lives.

Teachers from Ellicott City are: Marlene Iris of Ilchester Elementary School; Ginger Mahle of Northfield Elementary School; Jeffry Brodie of Burleigh Manor Middle School; Claire Meitl of Dunloggin Middle School; Mary Lohr of Patapsco Middle School; Rodney McDaslin and Mara Goron of Centennial High School; Karen Heck, Lynne Javier, Michael Lerner, Patricia Almquist, Sullivan Brown, Patricia Davis, David Ditman, Elaine Thomas and Dan Ross of Howard High School; Vicki Clem, Carole Garrett, Shannon Milam and John Strebe of Mount Hebron High School; and Nikki Ahlbrand of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Junior Society inductees

Twelve pupils in grades seven and eight at Trinity School in Ellicott City were inducted into the National Junior Society in a ceremony April 10. Criteria for selection are scholarship, service, leadership, good citizenship and character.

The new members are Jenna Baldi, Claire Daniels, Lindsey Davis, Marissa Flaherty, Mary Kate Franchetti, Kristine Karkoska, Ross Neumann, Laura Nitzel, Fallon Page and Ashley Palaigos.

Benefiting hearts

More than 400 children and staff members at Elkridge Landing Middle School jumped, hula-hooped or played 3-on-3 basketball to raise money for the American Heart Association on April 6.

The event raised $9,400 in pledges. Congratulations to everyone who participated.

Phi Beta Kappa

Jessica DeGrandis, a senior at St. Mary's College of Maryland, became a member of the school's Phi Beta Kappa Society in a ceremony April 3.

DeGrandis, a graduate of Mount Hebron High School in Ellicott City, is a biology major and a member of St. Mary's honor society. Phi Beta Kappa Society was established in 1776. The criteria for membership are scholarly achievement, breadth of intellectual interest and strong moral character.

Remembering the Holocaust

For the ninth consecutive year, the Church of the Resurrection in Ellicott City will join Jews and Christians worldwide in remembering the Holocaust.

At each of the weekend Masses April 28 and April 29, six candles will be lighted to remember the 6 million Jewish victims of the Nazis. A program at 7 p.m. Sunday will feature the testimony of a Holocaust survivor.

The church is off North Chatham Road, behind the Chatham Mall on U.S. 40 west. Information: 410-465-1169.

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