Damage mars `little oasis' in Harbor East

WATCH DOG

April 08, 2008|By Liz F. Kay

THE PROBLEM -- Two explanatory panels at the National Katyn Memorial have been damaged for months.

THE BACKSTORY -- Vicky Schetelich and her husband, who have lived in Harbor East for nearly three years, take daily strolls along Aliceanna and President streets.

They walk past the National Katyn Memorial, a soaring golden statue and fountain that commemorates the 1940 massacre of Polish soldiers by Soviet troops during World War II.

Schetelich called the memorial "a little oasis in the middle" of construction that's taken place over the past several years.

But for more than six months, two panels near the statue have been damaged.

The pair suspected vandalism. "We thought that there was something written offensive on there, but how could anybody be offended by this?" Schetelich said. "With all the tourists that go through there, it just looks sloppy."

The Schetelichs won't have to wait too much longer for repairs.

Richard P. Poremski, chairman of the National Katyn Memorial Foundation, said replacements should be installed this weekend.

The problem was a combination of weathering and wear and tear, he said.

Originally the thin aluminum panels were attached to their granite bases with an epoxy cement. "For about the first year, it was OK," Poremski said.

Then he got a call from someone from a Harbor East management company, telling him the panels were lying on the ground. "Wind, sun, temperature - it weakened the glue," Poremski said. He said visitors sometimes try to pry the edges of the signs off the bases.

This time, the foundation is working with a Hagerstown manufacturer of historical signs. The new plan involves framing the panels with black aircraft framing aluminum - "almost indestructible," Poremski said.

The manufacturer is going to put base plates on the bases' concrete cores and then attach the panels to the base plates. "You'll never get that off of there unless you blow it off with dynamite," Poremski said.

The refurbished memorial will be the site of the foundation's eighth annual Katyn remembrance ceremonies at 1 p.m. April 27.

WHO CAN FIX THIS -- Richard P. Poremski, chairman of the National Katyn Memorial Foundation, 410-960-6890

UPDATE

The Maryland Transit Administration has finally updated the schedule for the No. 22 bus at the stop on 40th Street at Roland Avenue, said Alma Homrighausen of Hampden.

Last fall, Homrighausen had seen a note in the information box that promised a new timetable - in June 2007. Homrighausen checked from time to time to see if it had been updated, but it wasn't until last week that a source tipped her off that the change had been made.

"I've gotten so many notes and letters about being a good citizen" since her query appeared here, she said. "Other people had noticed it but hadn't done anything about it."

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