Not even so much as a Piper Cub


September 21, 2005|By LAURA VOZZELLA

Run-of-the-mill water fountains usually can't count on a National Guard flyover, military color guard and governor's speech to mark their installations. To be fair, the new bubbler christened with almost that much fanfare at the head of the NCR trail in Cockeysville last week is the three-spigot variety that quenches all comers - those on foot, in wheelchairs and at the ends of dog leashes.

And the flyover didn't actually come to pass.

But it nearly did, thanks to the stick-to-it-ness of one Suzanne Amos, a Hunt Valley Rotary Club member who counts as friends both Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Maj. Gen. Bruce F. Tuxill, the Maryland Guard's commanding officer.

She captained the campaign to raise $80,000 -yes, $80,000 - for the fountain. (Funded by the sale of commemorative bricks, two of them for Amos' Bernese Mountain Dogs, the project involved digging a well, running an electrical line, and installing a small patio, landscaping and five wooden benches.)

Amos spent a whole day filling out the "unbelievable" paperwork required to request a flyover, and the Guard gave her application the thumbs-up.

But darn that Hurricane Katrina, soaring fuel costs and whatever else was behind an Aug. 1 Air Force directive to cut back on flying hours because of unspecified "budget constraints." The plane was pulled.

"It would have been a Warthog, one of those big, wonderful, heavy planes, flying real low," said Amos, sounding wistful but understanding. "The gas, the fuel for these big planes - I can't even imagine. You know what it costs to fill up your car these days."

The fountain could hardly have felt stood up, what with a coming-out party that drew Ehrlich, several state government VIPs, a national anthem soloist, National Guard color guard, bagpiper, a few horsemen and a crowd Amos counted at about 100. Not since two hydrogens first hooked up with an oxygen has there been such a splash about a little water.

Still, Amos is aiming higher for the Rotary's next trailside fountain, which they hope to install in Monkton next year. "Maybe for our next project we'll have a flyby," she said.

Help wanted: mediator; apply City Hall

As if anyone needed further proof that Mayor Martin O'Malley and State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy are on the outs, consider this: Jessamy learned about O'Malley's plan to bypass her office and give $200,000 to the feds to prosecute city gun crimes by reading the want ads. At least that's what her spokeswoman says.

Skimming through the Daily Record recently, Jessamy stumbled across an ad for two assistant U.S. attorneys. Nothing eye-popping there.

Except the ad directed aspiring prosecutors to send their resumes and writing samples to City Hall.

(The mayor's office and U.S. attorney's office contend that Jessamy's deputies had been briefed on the plan beforehand, and say she should have known.)

The real question: Why is Jessamy reading the want ads?

Hey, Oprah! Three bedrooms, two balconies, waterview

Who better to reign over banker Ed Hale's penthouse castle than a certain talk show queen who once hailed from Baltimore?

That was the thinking behind a letter Hale's real estate agent sent to Oprah Winfrey after he put his $2.275 million Canton condo up for sale six months ago.

"I know that you love Obrycki's crabs," agent Bonnie Fleck wrote. "Picture yourself eating Obrycki's crabs on this fantastic balcony. I wanted to give you first chance."

So far, Oprah hasn't bitten.

Who am I? Why am I here?

So what was that strange mix of stuff you just read? A water fountain worthy of Perrier? The latest in the OMalley-Jessamy feud? A sales pitch to Oprah?

It's the first installment of my new column, 2b. It gets its name both from the newspaper page where it appears, and from our strategic decision here at The Sun to be annoyingly vague about what it's all about.

That's because in truth, were not so sure what this thing is going to look like either.

Our best guess: a lively jumble of Maryland's politics, people and everyday oddities.

Still not clear?

I know how you feel, and I've been here at The Sun six years.

Stick around. And we'll all see what its going 2b.

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