It's Habitat, but will it be inhabited?


November 16, 2005|By LAURA VOZZELLA

She goes by a single name, one shared by a flowering herb.

And when she isn't working as a spokeswoman for Arundel Habitat for Humanity, she is a feng shui consultant.

So Yarrow, of all people, knows the value of natural beauty and good chi in a house. That's why, on some level, she understands why Habitat is having trouble giving away the four houses it's building in Curtis Bay and Brooklyn.

"It is boarded-up houses, it is burned-out houses, it is bricks through windows, a lot of dogs. It's that kind of environment. High drug trafficking," Yarrow said. "It really does look like a war zone."

FOR THE RECORD - An item in Laura Vozzella's 2B column yesterday did not fully explain the requirements for acquiring a Habitat for Humanity house. The organization requires families to purchase the houses by volunteering time toward construction and paying a no-interest mortgage.

At the same time, Yarrow figured that there would be some needy people out there who would want the houses, which are being completely rehabbed. But so far, Habitat's building them, and no one will come.

Not the folks from Anne Arundel County, where the Habitat chapter is based. (The group has turned to the city because it has been priced out of the county's sizzling real estate market). Not the people on the waiting list for Baltimore Habitat homes, since the city chapter is building at more up-and-coming addresses, around the site of Memorial Stadium.

Arundel Habitat is hoping to have better luck with people already in Curtis Bay and Brooklyn. So they've started distributing fliers in churches and will place signs on the houses to let people know they're available

"We're just kind of at a loss," Yarrow said. "A lot of the people are coming out of really awful conditions but they are turning them down. On our end, it's perplexing."

Just like your grandfather's scoreboard

Coming soon to 1st Mariner Arena - but not soon enough for Ed Hale - a giant, four-sided plasma scoreboard.

It was supposed to be up Friday, when the Blast kicked off its season before the arena's first sellout crowd in more than 15 years. But Hale and the other 11,518 fans there found themselves looking instead at the same old scoreboard that has been up since the Blast owner was a school kid.

"I was not a happy boy," says Hale, who has been assured that the new one will arrive from ANC Sports by Dec. 3.

Until then, Hale will have to make do with what he calls the "Fred Flintstone model."

"I think it's the original one from 1963," he said. "When a ball's kicked up there, bulbs break, parts fly off. It's just like going to school in your grandfather's car or something. It's old. It's beat-up."

Hale isn't saying how much he's spending on the plasma screens. Probably wouldn't hurt if before he takes delivery, he can sell that penthouse condo of his. It's still up for sale, now at a low, low asking price of $1.95 million - down from $2.275 million.

A diller, a dollar, a minimal donor

One lousy buck.

That's how state Sen. Paula Hollinger could have looked at the $1 contribution to her 3rd District congressional campaign.

Forget that it was small potatoes. The donation seemed downright odd because it was made online, with a credit card - not the usual payment method for such a modest gift.

Could the donor have dropped a zero? Several zeros? Campaign manager Luke Clippinger called the donor to make a tactful inquiry.

And yes, the guy really did just give a dollar.

"He liked her stance on mental health issues, and he couldn't do much," Clippinger said. "He was basically just scraping together whatever he could to get by, and those were his words, and he wanted to give her a dollar. We appreciate everyone who gives to Paula, but that contribution really did mean a lot to Paula and all of us here."

Better-heeled supporters of Hollinger - named public policymaker of the year by the Washington Psychiatric Society last week - can join her at 6:30 tonight for her first big fundraiser of the campaign. It's at Martin's West and costs $250 per person, or $1,000 for the VIP reception.

If you've only got a few bucks, you'll have to go to the Web instead.

Secondhand fame

Here are some different movie extras, the kind that don't go on to become Hollywood stars:

Leftover living room furniture, desks, bookcases and other items used on the set of Music High, the tentative title of a movie that wrapped up filming this week in Baltimore.

The stuff will be sold at a tag sale Dec. 3 and 4, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the auditorium of Holy Rosary School, 420 S. Chester St.

Even less glamorous, but still useful, are window air-conditioning units, fans and some office equipment used on the production side. The movie folks are promising "steeply discounted prices."

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