Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New track at Perryville High School

When I was a teenager with a new driver's license growing up in Havre de Grace, I reached every destination via Tydings Park. It didn't matter if I was heading from home on Weber Street (aka "the project") to work downtown or to the mall in Bel Air, I was going to drive through the park on my way there. By this time in the late '80's, teenagers weren't permitted to loiter, er, congregate in the yacht basin so I'm not sure what my goal was but I still circled the park daily in my dad's El Camino or, later, my AMC Concorde.

With such a track record, it doesn't seem quite so weird that I've been cruising through the parking lot at Perryville High School during the last few months. I've tried to pass through when the parking lot was empty to keep the rumors to a minimum but I have to admit yesterday morning I was surprised to have been seen by several people as I was making a drive-through on my way to work.

Since they broke ground in May, I've been dying to see the new track at the high school. I stopped a few times and all but pressed my nose through the fence to get a better look and checked each entrance to make sure that the track wasn't accessible to the general public. It was even one of the reasons I attended graduation in June.

Tonight I had a few minutes to kill so I took another pass through the parking lot in hopes that the gates would be unlocked--and I was in luck! Four months after I took my first photos of the disintegrating track surface at Perryville High School, I was able to walk on a pristine track! Feast your eyes on these sights!

Our work as a community is far from done but for the moment, let's enjoy the results of this group effort. As one of our parents told the Cecil County Council, our schools are our homes--and our home just got quite a makeover.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Reliability of emergency communications in Cecil County

Emailed on 7/9/14 to Cecil County Executive Tari Moore, Director of Cecil County Department of Emergency Services Richard Brooks, and the Cecil County Council

I am concerned about the reliability of the emergency communications system in Cecil County. In the recent past I'd heard rumblings about problems with radio communications but several weeks ago I witnessed a failure of the communications system and it seems that communications issues continue this week. Reliable and interoperable radio communications are imperative for public safety and for the safety of our emergency responders. I encourage you to evaluate the current system and address any issues that create opportunities for system failure.

A few weeks ago, on a sunny and clear afternoon, there was an incident on our street that required an ambulance and police response. Once on scene, an emergency responder attempted to reach communications via his radio several times and eventually resorted to using my cell phone to make the call instead. While this incident turned out to be non-life threatening, it could have been--for either a civilian or a first responder.

Unfortunately, this doesn't appear to be an isolated incident. Just this week I've learned that there were county-wide outages on Monday and Tuesday. 

I'm sure you agree that there is little more important than the safety of our residents and of those aiding residents in an emergency. Communications failures have repeatedly been identified as contributing factors to casualties during emergencies and disasters, including 9/11 and Yarnell Hill, and everything possible must been done to prevent such tragedies from occurring in our county.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Revel Ovation Hall--there are better seats at a state fair than in their orchestra section

If my requirements for attending a concert included:

  • Folding chairs--packed so tightly that everyone on the entire row had to stand, fold their chair, and pick up anything they may have set on the floor in order to let anyone into the row which still didn't allow enough room for someone to pass without completely invading your personal space. And within the row we were damn near shoulder to shoulder so that I could feel the stranger next to me raise her arm to drink. Because there was no pitch to the floor and most people stand during a Rick Springfield concert, the sight lines from the orchestra section were terrible. Wait! Have I been teleported back to the late 80's where I'm standing in floor seating at a Rush concert in Baltimore? Certainly felt like it. We ended up moving up into the mezzanine section for Pat Benatar's show so that we could get a better view of the show.
  • Surly security--Dude, I will go back to my seat (you freaking-buzzkill-at-a-Rick-Springfield-concert) but I have to wait until these people get to their seats first. Yeah, I know you have to "clear the aisle" but you really need to think about a career that's not in the hospitality industry. Needless to say, I couldn't wait until Rick went into the crowd for Human Touch and security was crapping Twinkies trying to keep the aisles clear.
  • Lines for the bathrooms--both mens' and womens'--every bathroom in the place--with an unusual mix of casino guests and beach goers.
  • Destination Weirdness--from the parking garage elevators we flowed into a sea of people with small children, strollers, and beach paraphernalia who were going back to the garage with $5 parking. There was a picture window overlooking the beach but little evidence that we had arrived in a flashy new casino. We've been to the Borgata nearly every time Rick has played there and this place was tackily decorated and poorly layed out in comparison.

...then Ovation Hall at Revel Casino in Atlantic City would be the place for me.

Credit to the performers--Rick and band were great as expected. I didn't have an appreciation for the talents of Neil Geraldo until I saw him perform last night and Pat Benatar didn't disappoint.

Revel Ovation Hall, ORCH2, Row MM, Seat 28, standing with phone over my head
Revel Ovation Hall, Mezz, Section 207,  seated

See photos from Rick Springfield at the Borgata, January 2013

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Last day of early voting: Why the primary is important in Cecil County

Today (Thursday) is the last day for early voting in the Maryland Primary. Residents of Cecil County can vote at the County Administration Building between 10 AM and 8 PM. There's a map at the bottom of this page.

This Primary and General Election are Critical to the Future of Cecil County

The Cecil Whig summarizes the importance of this election:
"This year, three of the five county council seats are at stake. Primary races will shape the six individuals that could potentially make a majority voting bloc in our county. One ballot could change Cecil County’s future for four years."

The county council plays a key role in the funding of our public schools (and not the curriculum as some would have you believe) and our schools have been woefully underfunded in the last five years.

All Party Candidates are Not Created Equal

I admit it--I have usually voted the party line--but I've gotten religion in the last few months. Party affiliation alone is not a way to choose an elected official. There are only two major parties but there are wide differences in philosophy, experience, and integrity within those parties. Take a few minutes to learn about the candidates before you go to vote--whether you vote today or on Tuesday. Click here

Friday, June 13, 2014

This phase of my Rick Springfield obsession started 15 years ago today

On this date in 1999, my husband experienced the real extent of my Rick Springfield obsession. After seeing Rick at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD, four or five years in a row in the 1980's, I still remember calling home from senior week and my mom telling me that the concert scheduled for the summer of 1988 had been cancelled. In a time before the internet there wasn't the 24/7 celebrity gossip that there is today and I had no idea why he cancelled--and stopped recording new music.

In April 1999 he released "Karma" and in June he performed at Hersheypark--not in the stadium, in the amphitheater inside the park. We arrived around noon to find people already lined up for the 5 PM show so I sat down on the asphalt with the rest of the groupies, baking in the sun and listening to sound check while the Great Bear roller coaster zipped by overhead. (Wait! Is that the intro to "Souls?" Yes!)

And then the show started--and I burst into tears the minute Rick appeared on stage during the intro to "Affair of the Heart." Before that moment, I never understood why all those girls got hysterical at the sight of the Beatles. Steve asked me several times if I was OK then he took the camera from my hands and started taking photos because I couldn't cry, sing, and take photos at the same time.

There were two shows that day and Steve insisted we stay. There were no tears during that concert and I joined a small group of ladies near the stage. It was the first time a bouncer shooed me away and the only time one succeeded.

"We all need the human touch..."

Fast forward 14 years and 364 days--

Two cruises and more shows than I can count later--last night I went to the sound check at Rams' Head Center Stage. The first of three shows (so far) I'll be going to this year.

My father said, "If the boy wants to play guitar, I say we let him."