Between The Lines


October 06, 2003

Resting her paws

Politicians come and go, but there is only one Precious, the bipartisan skateboarding canine who has been in more than 600 parades from Western Maryland to Ocean City. With an admitted note of regret, Precious will soon be leaving public life.

Precious, a mixed cocker spaniel-Pekingese, is 18 years old, and owner Donald Crockett of Essex said she has earned the right to put up her paws on the ottoman.

"She's the oldest living skateboarder in the world, when you figure dog years," Crockett said of Precious, who, while standing on a skateboard pulled by her master, has appeared among senators, governors, mayors and county executives.

Her extensive wardrobe -- 18 pairs of sunglasses and 37 custom-made costumes -- won't go to waste. Crockett said that after two final parades this year, Precious will help train an awaiting ingenue, Amber.

-- Joe Nawrozki

Wedded to helping

Nurse Laurie Beth Reynolds, 25, and her fiance, law student Alex Humphries, 27, had planned for months to hold their wedding reception Sept. 27 atop the World Trade Center at the Inner Harbor. But after Tropical Storm Isabel flooded the center's basement, Reynolds had to find another site.

With her wedding days away, Reynolds panicked, naturally. But her anxiety was almost immediately relieved by the amount of support she and her groom received from friends, family and intrepid florist Marty Baikaukas.

Baikaukas, of Cedar Hill Florist in Brooklyn Park, says he did "just what I would do for any of my brides" -- he called all over the city. With his help, the Federal Hill couple found a new venue, the Walters Art Museum, at a discount. They also received reductions on the cost of supplies and food from Martin's Catering and Patisserie Poupon. And the florist threw in complimentary roses.

"It is amazing how supportive people can be in your time of need," says the new Mrs. Laurie Humphries.

-- Aron Davidowitz

Quiet revolution

From the political hyperbole department:

In announcing "Baltimore UnWired," the city's new program providing free wireless Internet access along much of the Inner Harbor, Mayor Martin O'Malley suggested that the "wi-fi" service will be akin to the economic and social revolution of the railroads. But an informal survey by The Sun as the program got under way indicated that people were more interested in enjoying the weather than tapping into the Web last week.

At midday, when the pilot program was introduced Tuesday and again the next day, not a single person was found using the free service.

"I spend enough time at computers. I don't need to during my lunch hour," Karen Platt said. "Look, it's a beautiful day. What choice would you make? To go on the Internet or enjoy the weather?"

-- Gerald P. Merrell

Political race

It seems that politically motivated gerrymandering insinuated itself into the selection of a course of the third annual Baltimore Marathon.

During a news conference last week to announce details about the race Oct. 18, Mayor Martin O'Malley noted that the racecourse has been changed this year to run past the 1020 Hull St. headquarters of the race's sponsor, Under Armour sports clothing.

"This is like a redistricting map," O'Malley said, pointing to a map of the 26-mile racecourse, which includes an odd little bend reaching out to the Under Armour headquarters in Locust Point.

-- Tom Pelton

School rivals

Calvert Hall College High School officials might have had reason for worry last week when their request for Baltimore County to authorize revenue bonds for construction of their academic building came before the County Council.

These kinds of requests are usually no big deal: They don't cost the county anything or put the credit rating at risk. But although most council members are private school grads, only one, Councilman Joseph Bartenfelder, went to Calvert Hall.

Not to worry, said Councilman Stephen G. Samuel Moxley, a graduate of Mount St. Joseph High School.

"As a St. Joe's grad," Moxley said, "I don't doubt they need the academic help."

-- Andrew A. Green

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