Longtime UUCC member, Karen Johnson, recently published Little Bunny Bed, a children’s book that reinforces the importance of sleep. It was illustrated by Vanessa Kelley and follows a fantasy journey into the heart and mind of a child who wonders what a bunny might do all day.
“Children are imaginative, which Vanessa captured beautifully in her colorful, earthy, humorous and inspired illustrations,” said Johnson.
Little Bunny Bed is both a story and a song. You will find a song sheet in the back of the book and you can access a recording of Karen singing the tune.
“Reading or singing this gentle story will hopefully bring a smile to your face, and a peaceful night’s sleep to your little one,” said Johnson.
“You have a charming style of writing. Your song writing and singing are the cat’s pajamas.”
“My great nephews are here and keep hitting the arrow to replay your song! They love it.”
“I got my five copies yesterday!! It’s wonderful – the illustrations are lovely – altogether beautiful! Congratulations on a fantastic job! My copies are going to make five little girls very happy this Christmas!”
UUCC member John Harris explains, "In late May 2015, UUs for Social Justice requested that I write a short article/testimonial on Universalism Universalism, Black Lives Matter, UUCC and me in 500 words or less. I failed; I could not do it in 500 words or less. UUSJ decided to go with my article with only minor editing. The conversation and action must go on, in peace, love, understanding and civility."
I have been an UU for more than 25 years and being a Black person in a predominantly white denomination isn’t always easy. From time to time I do ask myself, “Why are you a UU?” Each time I come up with the same answer: Unitarian Universalist is the religion that most closely aligns with my beliefs and philosophy of life, and I feel valued as an individual.
As a Unitarian Universalist who takes the seven principles to heart, I do believe that “All Lives Matter”. So, why do I wear a button that reads “Black Lives Matter”? First let me clear up a misconception; “Black Lives Matter” does not say that other lives don’t matter. There are sections of our society that are saying (overtly or covertly) that black lives matter less.
Black Lives Matter banner "brings out conversation"
by Kenny Wiley
The banner that greets John Harris as he walks into the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, Maryland, carries a simple message: “Black Lives Matter.” It’s a message he played only “a complementary role” in erecting, but that nonetheless “feels very good” to see.
A UU for 25 years and one of the few black members of the 450-person congregation, Harris says the banner helps him stay hopeful, despite frustrations about racial injustice. “To have that support, to have the church honoring and respecting me and others specifically, saying a black life really is as important as any other life, is important to me.”
"Saving the Places We Love: Patapsco Valley State Park"
The Maryland Natural Resource
by Max Buffington
The Patapsco River rises from small springs in Maryland's Piedmont region and flows eastward through a lush valley into Baltimore's Inner Harbor. For much of its length, it lies within Patapsco Valley State Park, where its clear water is bound by forested ridges so steep that it is often labeled a gorge.
The Park We Love
This Park became a special place for me gradually over a lifetime. Many of my fondest memories were made there: tubing with my kids at Avalon, bicycling the Old Main Line Trail, paddling from Sykesville to the Harbor with buddies, relaxing with coworkers at office picnics at McKeldin and Pickall, celebrating my
wife's retirement at Hollofield, and taking my grandchildren for an adventure at the Orange Grove Swinging Bridge.
Great news just in from the UU Musicians Network! Carla Gates' new hymn, Rivers of Grace, has just won First Prize in its category (Reverence and Spirituality) in the 2014 Vincent Silliman Competition, a composition contest sponsored every other year by the UUMN. Over the last few decades, many new anthems have been written for the contest, several of which we have sung at UUCC, and this is the first year that the contest was limited to hymns (several of which we feel sure will find their way into the next UU hymnal); three of Tom's anthems have won the Silliman over the years, and many more of our talented UUCC composers will, we hope, be entering the competition in the near future, and providing exciting new music for UU congregations nationally. This is a signal honor for Carla, and UUCC. The Music Ministry is overjoyed for and proud of her.
Editor's note: UUCC member, Karen Wood, is quoted in a story about the SUUSI published in the latest edition of UU World.
The other General Assembly
Unitarian Universalists get hooked on SUUSI, a high-energy, thinking-person's family camp.
By Diane Daniel
UU World Magazine
After morning worship and a hand-holding, body-swaying "Let It Be a Dance" group sing, I headed to the pop-up bookstore. Bypassing the books, T-shirts, bumper stickers, and neon-colored hair spray, I picked up a copy of singer-songwriter-rocker Ned Durrett's CD. His performance the night before had kept me up past my bedtime.
I left in search of the auditorium, to watch some teenagers rehearsing a play they would perform that night. Along the way, I was approached by 10-year-old Genevieve Van Camp of Boynton Beach, Florida, pen in hand, on a break from a water-balloon game her group was playing. "I'm taking a survey. Do you like apple pie or pumpkin pie?"
Cradlerock Children's Center president wins regional honor
The Baltimore Sun
October 25, 2013
Richard Dean calls it the "golden hour," when 3- to 4-year-old children take in literacy and social skills like a favorite snack.
Harnessing the golden hour for underprivileged children in Columbia's Owen Brown community, Dean said, was among the reasons he and other members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia launched a day care center eight years ago.
Dean is president of the Cradlerock Children's Center, a nonprofit facility that offers a Maryland State Department of Education-accredited program for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years, many of them from families that could not otherwise afford quality child care.
Fixing Some Holes Leaves Group Forever Changed
Columbia Life Magazine
After a week spent rehabilitating houses in West Virginia's poorest county, a band of upper-middle-class suburbanites say they are forever changed.
In late June, 15 high school kids and nine adults from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia set out on a week-long mission trip to the southern tip of West Virginia. Their destination was McDowell County where they would immerse themselves in the local culture, work on crumbling houses and gain new perspectives on our nation's disparity of income.
I was eager to join the other members of my church partly because I wanted to help recreate for the next generation my experiences of 30 years earlier when I went to Appalachia as a teen and was shocked by what I saw and fulfilled by what I did, but also because I wanted to see for myself how Appalachia had fared since then.
The last hour of driving took us along Route 16, a ribbon of highway that might be best described as an asphalt Slinky. As we neared the town of War, we noticed more and more evidence of poverty. War itself appeared blighted and half vacant. We continued along Route 16 for a few more miles to the hamlet of Caretta where Big Creek People in Action, a community-based organization dedicated to lessening suffering in America's fifth-poorest county, was headquartered in a depression-era former school that would serve as our domicile for the week. The teens were more surprised by the lack of cell service than the Spartan accommodations.
We were greeted warmly by "Miss Marsha" Timpson, the center's executive director, who explained that we would be working on five projects including replacing two rotten floors, constructing a front porch, repairing a roof, and painting a home.
Timpson is a remarkable woman. She has dedicated her life to making things better for her neighbors in the community where she was born and raised. We found her to be refreshingly practical, unassuming, inspiring and eternally optimistic. Her way isn't to ponder and debate. Instead, she drives an old, tired minivan hundreds of miles in a week. She delivers supplies. She picks up a hammer. She speaks the truth. She cuts red tape. Rallies the dejected. Wills the hopeless back from the edge. Feeds the hungry. Chooses to dwell on the positive. Rather than longing for what she doesn't have, she leverages what she does for the greatest effect. She puts little kids likely to never fly in an airplane in metal folding chairs set in rows of six with "A" through "F" signs, feeds them peanuts and helps them imagine what it would be like. We soon wondered how she fits her spirit in her body. We honestly don't know what the people of McDowell would do without her.
Our first day in the community exposed many in the group to the realities of abject poverty for the first time in their lives. Many of the houses were in deplorable condition. Some had holes in their floors, roofs and walls. Most had little or no insulation. We learned that straight pipes are used to dump raw sewage into nearby creeks. The truth was that teens with minimal construction skills could actually make things better. Almost anyone can nail a board over a hole in a wall.
"We're not building Taj Mahals," said Timpson. "We're simply trying to make houses safe, dry and warm."
The trip wasn't only about construction. It was just as important that we learned about people from a much different background. One evening we were entertained by a bluegrass band that Miss Marsha persuaded to play for us. We learned flat-footing, a dance similar to clogging that has been passed down from generation to generation. We saw first-hand that food deserts don't only exist in urban areas. We heard from people who left the hills for opportunities elsewhere and came back for reasons that they had trouble expressing.
The week passed quickly. On our last day we posed for photos with the families we had helped. For many it was a painful goodbye.
As we drove south on Route 16 through the several hollers that comprise southern McDowell County, it appeared different to us. It wasn't, of course. The houses and buildings, save five, were no less dilapidated. The people we passed looked the same. No curves in the road had been straightened out. It was our gazes that had changed. We looked up. Above the imperfections in the foreground to the natural beauty that the hills of Appalachia offer. We were seeing what they see. We were starting to understand why although 80 percent of the population left, 20 percent couldn't.
We came back knowing that people are basically the same everywhere. We have more in common with them than not. They may be dirty, shirtless, bearded and tattered, but their human emotions are universal to our species. And our humanity binds us in ways that we will never be able to shrug off. They are our proud, loving, joyful, humble, gracious, grateful, talented neighbors. They need our help, but not our pity.
As we approached Columbia, located pretty close to the center of America's fifth-richest county, we said things like "it's so clean and pretty here." "I know how to hang joists and build a floor." "It's not my fault I was born rich." "We have to keep helping them." "I went from not knowing what Appalachia was, to thinking it was a place, to knowing it's a people."
The shock of utter poverty will never wear off. It is all-consuming. It gnaws at their minds, stomachs and souls. We came home with a completely new perspective of how fortunate we are. How privileged. And, unfortunately, how little has changed in Appalachia in 30 years.
You can read about Appalachia. And thanks to YouTube you can see video. But if you don't touch it, smell it, feel it and live it, you can't know. We know.
And we are forever changed.
McDowell County, WV
• Fifth-poorest county in America
• Poorest county in West Virginia
• Male life expectancy is shortest in the nation (63.9 years)
• 100% of school children are eligible for free or reduced lunches
• 37% of adults are illiterate
• 11.0% unemployment (Jan. 2013)
• 40% high school dropout rate
• Population in 1930: 100,000
• Population today: 21,000
Starting Over but Keeping the Memories Close
The Baltimore Sun
August 8, 2013
When her husband of 30 years died in 2004, Rosalie Lijinsky decided she no longer wanted to live in the 3,000-square-foot home they had shared with their daughter in the Columbia neighborhood of Hickory Ridge.
She sold the house the same year for $720,000, more than double the purchase price, and rented a townhouse in Columbia with a view of Lake Elkhorn. Five years later, she purchased a townhouse in the same community overlooking the lake for $370,000.
Her new home, built in 1986, has four stories, but it's about half the size of her previous residence, she said. It is large enough for Lijinsky and her two cats, Buddy Sam and Tootsie, but the challenge has been finding space to display all the artwork, quilts and mementos from a life filled with travel around the world.
Editor's Note: UUCC member John Boyle was recently featured in the Baltimore Sun for his work with the Immune Deficiency Foundaiton.
Howard mother, son advocate for those with immune disorders
by Karen Nitkin
The Baltimore Sun
June 21, 2013
Every three weeks, a nurse arrives at the Columbia home of John Boyle, 35, for his infusion of intravenous immunoglobulin, or IVIG.
"My son [John Stephen Boyle, 3] and I sit on the couch and watch a Disney movie." Boyle said. "I'm hooked up to an IV pole and a pump, and my nurse is monitoring me."
It's an inconvenience, but one that is well worth the hassle for Boyle. The infusion delivers the antibodies his body lacks, helping him fight potentially deadly infections.
Boyle now works as a fundraiser for the Immune Deficiency Foundation, a national advocacy and support organization founded by his mother, Marcia Boyle, who lives in Ellicott City. The organization holds a national conference at a different location each year, and the 2013 conference will take place in Baltimore June 27-29. It is expected to attract more than 1,000 participants from all over the country and world.
UUCC well represented at Earth Forum Awards
By Sally Ann Cooper
May 6, 2013
UUCC and two of its members received recognition for environmental conservation efforts at the inaugural Earth Forum Awards, held at First Presbyterian Church (Columbia) on April 21. The event included a luncheon hosted by First Presbyterian (the Earth Forum founder and major sponsor). There is a plan to make this an annual event.
Delegate Liz Bobo
Earth Care Legislative Leader
Delegate Elizabeth Bobo, Maryland House of Delegates, began representing District 128, Howard County, in 1995. where she has been a leader in developing and supporting environmental policy. She is a member of the Environmental Matters Committee and chairs the Sub-committee on Land Use and Ethics. She is co-chair of the Clean Cars Task Force. Delegate Bobo is a dedicated and inspiring leader who encourages environmental organizations and policies and generously gives of her time and talents to deepen community understanding of the importance of earth care. Liz is always willing to take on the controversial issues and exemplifies personal commitment to sustainable living.
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia
Faith Community Earth Care UUCC
The UUCC Environmental Action Committee (EAC) practices the UU principle "We promote and affirm the interdependent web of all existence." The committee inspires the congregation to be active in environmental issues through education, advocacy, and service at the local, national and international levels. Committee members have developed a large and diverse program of adult environmental education movies, forums, study circles, and book clubs. UUCC encourages outdoor recreation and service activities including kayaking, biking and camping trips. Currently UUCC is working to attain Green Sanctuary certification of its existing building and a planned new sanctuary, set to be built in fall 2013.
Pillar of Earth Care Recognition
Author and lecturer, Ned Tillman, has enjoyed a long career in the environmental industry and now advises organizations on how to become more sustainable. He currently serves as chair of the Howard County Environmental Sustainability Board and has chaired the Howard County Conservancy. A lifelong resident of the Chesapeake Bay area, he and his wife now live in Columbia.
Editor's note: A Howard County Golden Apple award was recently presented to longtime Howard County Public School System volunteer and UUCC member Lisa Schlossnagle. She was honored for her work aiding teachers in the classroom, providing tutoring for students and serving as a PTA leader at Fulton Elementary School.
Fulton volunteer receives inaugural Golden Apple Award
By Sara Toth
The Baltimore Sun
March 21, 2013
In Howard County schools, there are good apples, and then there are golden apples.
A local mother and volunteer Thursday, March 21 received one of the first-ever Golden Apple Awards from State Comptroller Peter Franchot for her longtime volunteer work in the community and at Fulton Elementary School.
Lisa Schlossnagle, 34, of Fulton, is a mother of three at the school, and has been volunteering for three years at Fulton, in addition to serving on the PTA and tutoring students.
"The state wants to recognize and appreciate people who have given all sorts of time to teachers and students," Franchot said.
Schlossnagle, or "Miss Lisa" as students call her, started volunteering because she said her passion is working with kids and supporting public education. She volunteers in the gifted-and-talented classes two or three times a week, she said, and twice a month gives computer science lessons to young girls in her neighborhood.
Editor's note: UUCC college senior, Hannah Miller, who attends Muhlenberg College, was interviewed following a spring break service trip to Memphis.
Pennsylvania students skip beach, spend alternative spring break in Memphis
By Timberly Moore
The Commercial Appeal
March 7, 2013
Instead of posting photos to their social network pages about a great time at the beach, some Muhlenberg College students opted to work on social justice issues.
Hannah Miller, 21, a senior theatre major, said her group left their campus in Allentown, Penn., to visit Memphis because all it has to offer.
"I came because I was interested in the historical context for social justice and the current applications of it," Miller said.
For three days, the students volunteered at the Hope House, a nonprofit organization that provides day care and social services for those affected by HIV who would not otherwise be able to afford care. They also visited the National Civil Rights Museum and other historical sights as part of their learning experience.
"I think that stigma of people associated with HIV/AIDS takes away some of their humanity," said Miller. "I think that's why we're here and why the Hope House exists, to give back their humanity."
Note from the Rev. Paige Getty: Maybe you'll enjoy reading this UU World article, which tells a bit not only about the Institute that Kären, Debbie, and I attended a couple weeks ago, but also about how our professional association serves our needs - and, in turn, yours!
In Florida, ministers gather for learning and leisure - second UU Ministers Association Institute draws 440 clergy for worship, courses, and collegiality.
By Michelle Bates Deakin
February 11, 2013
Did you notice a sunny glow on your minister this week? An air of relaxation and rejuvenation?
If so, it was probably because your minister attended the Institute for Excellence in Ministry held by the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA) in St. Pete Beach, Fla. The five-day gathering, January 28–February 1, drew 440 ministers together for a week of learning, socializing, and worship.
Editor's note: UUCC members Lynne D'Autrechy and Chris Crandell were featured in a recent article in Her Mind Magazine about middle-aged women furthering their education and returning to the workforce.
Women Go Back to School for Career Tweaks, Advancement, Enrichment, and Well, Because They Want To
Story by Marina Sarris
Photography by André Chung
October 18, 2012
It was the first week of a new semester, and I was fumbling with my backpack while I surveyed my college computer class. A lanky teenager sauntered up to me and began apologizing for missing the first day of class. "My ride didn't come," he said, "but now that's worked out." He stopped, apparently confused by the puzzled look on my face.
Then it hit me. "Oh," I said a little too loudly, "I'm not the professor. I'm just a student who's ... older." It wouldn't be the first time I was mistaken for a professor. After all, I am what is politely called a "nontraditional student."
Editor's Note: UUCC member Skip McAfee was honored as the long-time commissioner of the Cindy La Rue Co-Rec Softball League.
McAfee ran the community-oriented Sunday afternoon softball league
By Carol Gralia
September 25, 2012
Skip McAfee is a man who cares.
He cares that the rules are followed and the dates are right.
In 1991, he cared enough to take over the task of breathing life back into the Columbia Inter-Village Co-Rec Softball League.
The league, founded by Pat Ordovensky in 1980, was originally sponsored by the Long Reach Village Association. Games were played Sunday afternoons on the fields now occupied by Long Reach High School.
Unitarian Universalist Congregation to Welcome Rev. Mark Kiyimba, A Civil Rights Leader Who Fled Uganda
August 12, 2012
by Frank Hazzard
UUCC will host the Rev. Mark Kiyimba, founder of the only religious congregation in Uganda that openly welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Rev. Kiyimba will preach during morning worship on Sunday, Aug. 19.
In addition to founding the Unitarian Universalist Church of Uganda, Rev. Kiyimba operates a primary school for 550 students, many of whom have been affected by HIV/AIDS, and a children's home for AIDS orphans near Masaka, Uganda.
He is an outspoken critic of Uganda's proposed anti-LGBT legislation, which would mandate harsh penalties such as life imprisonment or death for homosexuals. The bill has moved on and off Parliament's agenda without a vote on multiple occasions; it could still be voted on in the future.
Rev. Kiyimba has been accused by police in Uganda of using the church and school to recruit homosexuals. He was compelled to leave Uganda last year due to concerns for his own safety.
In July, in Washington, D.C., Rev. Kiyimba was awarded the National Education Association's Virginia Uribe Award for Creative Leadership in Human Rights for "significantly impacting education and the achievement of equal opportunity for those facing discrimination due to their sexual orientation."
Kiyimba will preach at the 10 a.m. service at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia (UUCC) in the Owen Brown Interfaith Center, 7246 Cradlerock Way, Columbia, Maryland. His sermon, "Love in the Face of Fear," will focus on his vision for civil rights in his home country and throughout the world.
"We are honored to have Rev. Kiyimba as our guest," said UUCC Senior Minister the Rev. Paige Getty.
UUCC member and proud art teacher Carol Zika will be featured along with her colleagues in this creative show in conjunction with the Columbia Festival of the Arts. The show will be held June 7-July 1 at the Columbia Art Center. Go to www.columbiaartcenter.org for more information.
Sunday Service: The Chesapeake Experience-Adopting A Transcendental Environmental Ethic
UUCC member, Ned Tillman, has been invited as a guest speaker by the Washington Ethical Society and will address the questions of individual responsibility, impacts of how we live our lives, and how we treat the environment of which we are a significant part. Ned serves as the chair of the Howard County Sustainability Board, the General Plan Task Force, and is on the national board of the Izaak Walton Conservation League. He speaks widely on the keys to a sustainable future and blogs at www.GreenBusinessMatters.com. Ned will be available to sign copies of his book, The Chesapeake Watershed: A sense of place and a call to action following the service. Music by Jennifer Cutting.
WES Main Hall
7750 16th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20012
Two UUCC Youth Face Off at High School Film Festival
March 23, 2012
Two UUCC teens, Julia Miller and Ian Lyness, helped represent two of the five teams picked as finalists in this year's Howard County Film Fest. Julia's team placed first and Ian's team placed third. Congratulations! We will post information about film viewings as it becomes available.
Created in 2004, the Howard County Film Fest is an annual film festival dedicated to encouraging the development of film makers in Howard County. Film entries are open to any student in Howard County. All submissions must be student directed, produced and edited, should be three to 10 minutes in length, and must feature original concepts or ideas.
Click here to read a Baltimore Sun article read about Julia Miller's first place film, "How to be a Cool Mom" and Ian Lyness' third place film, "High School and Such."
Editor's Note: UUCC middle schooler, Jack Nolan, recently won the Howard County spelling bee.
After Two-Year Absence, Nolan Returns as Spelling Bee Champion
By Sara Toth
The Baltimore Sun
March 12, 2012
After 233 words, 62 spellers, nine rounds and 3 1/2 hours, Howard County has a new spelling bee champion.
Jack Nolan, an eighth-grader at Mayfield Woods Middle School, was crowned the victor of the eighth annual Howard County Library System Spelling Bee Friday night at Reservoir High School. The winning word was "kudize" — a verb that means, appropriately, "to praise or give honors to."
Editor's Note: The Rev. Paige Getty, who attended the signing of the Civil Marriage Protection Act with several other UUCC members, was quoted in the following article in the Annapolis Capital.
O'Malley signs bill legalizing gay marriage
By Earl Ryan
March 1, 2012
With the stroke of a pen, Gov. Martin O'Malley signed into law the same-sex marriage bill Thursday.
The ceremony, held in the marble lobby of Maryland's State House, attracted a large crowd of supporters. Dozens of same-sex marriage advocates and their families stood on the marble steps behind the stage where O'Malley sat with House Speaker Michael Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr.
The Rev. Peter Morales, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA), preached a sermon entitled "Crossing Borders" at the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday morning services on February 19th at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia (UUCC).
Morales asserted that crossing geographical and spiritual borders changes us in profound ways. He believes that in order to be a relevant and thriving movement, Unitarian Universalism must cross the borders of culture and social class. The Unitarian Universalist faith itself will help transcend these borders, as it has in places as far-flung and varied as the Khasi Hills of India and the rural Philippines. In the journey to cross these and many other borders, Morales declared, "Love is the one sure guide."
The UUA President's message that we must be forward-looking and adaptable instead of resting on past success resonated with UUCC Board of Trustees member Laurie Alderman. "We need to build leaders now to help us focus on the future," added Suzanne Henig.
Morales spent a portion of his time in Columbia meeting with leaders of the capital campaign to fund UUCC's building expansion at the Owen Brown Interfaith Center. "You might want to consider building a bigger sanctuary," quipped Morales to the crowd that overflowed into the lobby." At the conclusion of his sermon, Morales addressed UUCC's impending expansion, "I encourage and applaud you in what you are about to do . . . . Grab your spiritual passport and let's be on our way!"
Editor's Note: UUCC youth Ben Evans was featured in the UU-United Nations Office (UU-UNO) monthly newsletter.
This month we would like to highlight Ben Evans! Ben reached out to Kamila in September and is one of our newest Envoys. Ben has already had a fundraising bakesale and is currently planning new fundraisers with his team so they can attend Spring Seminar!
Where are you from and what congregation do you attend?
I am from Howard County, Maryland and I attend UUCC- Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia.
Why did you want to become a Youth Envoy? Is there a particular global issue that you feel passionately about?
I saw becoming an envoy as a chance to get my word out. I am also currently a member on the church LGL board, but with UU-UNO I can work with a wider range than just my church. The issues in Sudan are close to my heart. The church I was with before UUCC adopted a family from the Sudan, and brought them to the US. The family is super sweet and even though I do not attend that church anymore, we still try to see them as much as possible.
Have you been to Spring Seminar yet?
I have not attended the Spring Seminar, but I plan on bringing my YRUU group up with me this Spring!
Do you have any advice for other Youth Envoys?
Really take the time to get to know your congregation. They will be the ones helping with fundraising and listening to you in church. See them as a family, not just people you see on Sundays.
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
If I could have a super power I would be able to shape shift. Turning into anything you choose would be awesome!
Editor's note: Many UUCC members would not be a bit surprised to hear that our Inge Hyder celebrated her 80th birthday by jumping out of a perfectly good airplane in spite of a fear of heights. And true to her gregarious personality, she took her daughter and two friends with her!
Birthday leap out of a plane was once-in-a-lifetime experience
By Diane Brown
May 20, 2010
Sunday, three hours past high noon, four Howard County women piled into a small plane in Delaware, to jump out of it. I, the fifth woman, went as an observer. I sat strapped in the cockpit with a radio headset on my ears and a camera in my hands.
Outfitted in the latest chutist garb from Skydive Delmarva, Inge Hyder was celebrating her 80th birthday on cloud nine, so to speak. Reaching for the turquoise-colored sky and about to free-fall from the plane were her daughter Alison and her friends Pat Alexander and Barbara Albert, each of whom was hooked up to someone who knew what they were doing. Thank heavens for people who don't mind being touched by an angel, or, at least, an experienced tandem jumper.
Men Making a Difference: Dana Sohr
by David Greisman
December 12, 2011
Fatherhood had kept Dana Sohr from service work. It also brought him back to it.
Sohr's youngest son had come home from his first religious education class at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia in September 2006 and told his father about a service project the students wanted to do in New Orleans.
Congratulations to the Rev. Paige Getty, who was voted Best Clergyperson of Howard County 2011!
Editor's note: UUCC member, Ned Tillman, is the chair of the Howard County Environmental Sustainability Board. The ESB was tasked with monitoring the environmental effects of a intermodal shipping depot that has been proposed for Howard County. The below story includes quotes from Tillman taken during a recent ESB meeting.
Environmentalists, Transportation Officials Discuss Terms of Arrangement
By Elizabeth Janney
December 9, 2011
An environmental board that advises Howard County legislators met with transportation officials Thursday to discuss the state of a train-truck project under consideration for Howard County.
It was the second time that the Environmental Sustainability Board met with officials from Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and CSX since Howard County passed a resolution outlining the partnership in June.
According to the resolution, the board is tasked with "monitoring and reviewing the environmental assessment or impact statement..." generated as MDOT and CSX study sites on Race Road and Montevideo Road for a potential train-truck facility.
Editor’s note: Our own April Lee is one of six local personal chefs featured in an article published in Woman to Woman Magazine.
COOKING at Home
By Martha Thomas
Woman to Woman Magazine
After interviewing a handful of personal chefs I couldn’t decide if I wanted to hire a personal chef or become one.
The women I encountered are passionate about cooking and have found a way to do what they love – preparing food for appreciative eaters – while making a pretty good living. They do it on their own time, as their own bosses.
Up until about 10 years ago, Beth Andresini worked as a paralegal at a large law firm. “Every time someone had a baby, I’d give them a week’s worth of food,” she says. Until one January day when, stranded at home watching the Food Channel during a blizzard, she saw a segment about personal chefs. “That was it,” she said.
Editor's Note: UUCC's Frank Hazzard is Battalion Chief at Steadman Fire Station in Baltimore which was recently rated the busiest fire station in the country.
Baltimore's Steadman station is busiest in nation
by Luke Broadwater
The Baltimore Sun
November 30, 2011
Paramedic Kevin Hook's vehicle speeds up Lombard Street, weaving through traffic. His 7 a.m. shift as acting lieutenant at Baltimore's John F. Steadman Fire Station has just begun and Hook is monitoring dozens of calls scrolling down a monitor mounted on the dashboard of his SUV.
There's an oil spill requiring a hazardous materials team to the east, a car crash to the west and a victim suffering from a stroke ahead on West Baltimore Street. Hook decides to respond to the stroke victim, radios in, turns on his siren and takes off. When he starts a shift, he never knows what kind of calls will come through — he's delivered babies twice, including a set of twins in Hampden — but he knows they won't stop.
"Once you start running, you probably won't be back at the station again that day," says Hook, 37, a 10-year veteran of the department.
This is just an average day at Baltimore's John F. Steadman station, located at the base of downtown's Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower and named the nation's busiest firehouse.
Editor's Note: Several UUCC members, including Anne Gould, were among dozens of People Acting Together in Howard (PATH) members who campaigned for female-only swim sessions at Columbia pools so that Muslim women could swim without violating their religious traditions.
Columbia Association to hold woman-only swim times
By Jessica Anderson
The Baltimore Sun
November 14, 2011
When Shehlla Khan's husband became ill, it fell on her to take their three children to the pool. But for Khan, who is Muslim, the task was difficult.
The Columbia resident said she was concerned about people watching her swim in the conservative, cover-all dress required by Islamic dress codes, and thinking: "What's wrong? Why can't you take it off?"
So Khan, 39, brought the issue up with members of her Dar Al-Taqwa mosque in Ellicott City.
Rev. Getty participates in prestigious Minns Lecture in Boston
November 6, 2011
UUCC's Rev. Paige Getty participated in the Minns Lecture Series at King's Chapel in Boston on Saturday, Nov. 5. This annual series on religious topics is conducted under the auspices of the Minns Lectureship Committee, which is comprised of ministers and members of King's Chapel and First Church of Boston. The Minns 2011-2012 series is titled "What Was and Is Required: Three Forums on the Renewal of Unitarian Universalism in the 21st Century." The Nov. 5 forum addressed the topic "To be an Effective, Justice-Seeking People."
The format of the lectures and number of participants varies from year to year. This year, the theme speaker for each of the three forums is the Rev. John Buehrens, parish minister and former president of the UUA. Buehrens personally invited two younger colleagues to respond to each of his three main lectures, including Getty.
(Rev. Getty's response is in the second half of Part 3, or near the end of the full-length video)
Editor's note: Congratulations to UUCC 10th grader, Chas Parr, who helped Wilde Lake High School win It's Academic. Here is an Altman Productions, Inc., press release:
Wilde Lake High School triumphs on It's Academic
A team of outstanding students from Wilde Lake High School defeated teams from Catoctin High School of Thurmont, and River Hill High School of Clarksville, on It's Academic, the nation's foremost high school quiz program. The match will be aired Saturday, December 17, at 10:00 am on WJZ, Channel 13.
The Wilde Lake team consists of Jack Lewis, Elliot Frank, and Chas Parr. Their faculty coach is Jennie Moser. The team will return later this season for a playoff match with two other first round winners.
It's Academic, which has been recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as "the world's longest-running television quiz program," is now celebrating its 51st year on the air. The program is sponsored by Giant Food and Morgan State University. The host of the program is David Zahren.
Editor's note: UUCC's Minister of Music, Tom Benjamin, was profiled in a recent news story on the Columbia Pro Cantare. Congratulations, Tom!
Tom Benjamin adds a new 'Brick' to his reputation
By Mike Giuliano
October 11, 2011
The Old Brick Church has earned that name during its 200-year history. That anniversary is being observed by Christ Episcopal Church in Columbia, whose present building was constructed in 1993 and hence qualifies as an architectural newcomer.
Such an event calls for music, which will be supplied by the Columbia Pro Cantare performing the world premiere of Howard County composer Tom Benjamin's "Old Brick Oratorio" Saturday, Oct. 15 at 8 p.m.
UUCC child wins art contest
Congratulations to UUCC third grader, Elly Stephen, who recently won Bridges to Housing Stability's "Every Family Should Have a Home" Children's Art Contest. Elly's winning entry depicts a family of five who are happy because they have a home. The drawing was used on postcards that BHS encouraged Howard County citizens to send to County Executive Ken Ulman and members of the Howard County Council.
Our Steve Jamar advocates for social justice in his scholarly writing
October 15, 2011
UUCC member Steven D. Jamar, a professor at Howard University School of Law, and the associate director of the Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice, recently saw two articles that he wrote published. One, Religious Use of Copyrighted Works after Smith, RFRA, and Eldred, was on limitations on the use of copyrighted works by religious organizations – especially textual works (music has a special provision in the copyright act). In the paper, Jamar argued that the religious nature of the use should affect the infringement analysis, and that religious use should be given more latitude than other use. He presented the article at a University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law symposium in March.
The second article, A Social Justice Perspective on the Role of Copyright in Realizing International Human Rights, was also in the area of copyright. This time Jamar examined the relationship of copyright and the international human right to access to information, arguing that copyright law should be written and interpreted to give maximum effect to access to information. Jamar was recognized for his accomplishments in the Sept. 2011 edition of Howard Law School's Faculty Highlights newsletter.
Editor's note: Congratulations to UUCC member, Max Buffington, who was honored on a Maryland Department of Natural Resources website as the "October Featured Volunteer" for his service at Patapsco Valley State Park where he is a volunteer ranger.
October Featured Volunteer - Max Buffington
By Maegan Cooper, volunteer coordinator
Patapsco Valley State Park
October 1, 2011
Max Buffington spent 35 years working an indoor desk job as a Principal Business Analyst for an information technology firm. As rewarding as that was, when Max retired in the spring of 2010, he rolled up his sleeves for some outdoor volunteer work at Patapsco Valley State Park.
"I began as a volunteer host at both the Avalon History Center and the Soldier's Delight Visitor Center," Max explains. "I enjoyed it so much that I rapidly accumulated the minimum 40 hours of volunteer service necessary to start training as a Volunteer Ranger."
A year later, Max is now involved in all types of park work like helping park guests, managing the campgrounds and shelters, designing and conducting park programs, maintaining trails, helping with the managed deer hunt and even helping with hurricane preparation. He's also enjoyed the fringe benefits the Volunteer Ranger training provides such as programs in CPR , First Aid, Trail Maintenance and Design, Responding to Wildlife Issues, and Defensive Tactics for Civilian Employees.
Max and his family have lived in Howard County for more than 30 years and during that time spent a lot of time tubing, biking and hiking in the park . "I have also kayaked all but one short stretch of the Patapsco from Sykesville to the Inner Harbor," says Max. The park's beauty and interesting history first drew him here and now he enjoys sharing his experiences with park visitors.
"My favorite memory of my volunteer work so far is chowing down on Badger's egg and sausage sandwiches on a frosty morning around the campfire at the Soldiers Delight managed hunt." Besides the meals, Max says the volunteering keeps him mentally and physically sharp. "Plus sometimes it just down-right feels good to get hot, sweaty and dirty."
UUCC member wrote the book on alternative dispute resolution
Laurie Coltri, an adjunct professor of legal studies at University of Maryland, University College, authored Alternative Dispute Resolution: A Conflict Diagnosis Approach, now in its second edition. The textbook takes an interdisciplinary approach to explaining the processes of alternative dispute resolution, why the processes are not one-size-fits all, and what people need to know to make decisions about which processes would be most effective in which situations. "The book also explains a skill, conflict diagnosis, that I have found to be very helpful in taking a strategic approach to conflict management," said Coltri.
Coltri's book addresses the rapidly evolving field of alternative dispute resolution in a manner ahead of its time. Taking a cross-disciplinary approach, it explains the cognitive, social, organizational and developmental psychology theories that influence ADR and its approaches. From mediation to arbitration to hybrid processes, it helps students understand the strengths and weaknesses of the many varieties of ADR, and why various approaches succeed or fail. The second edition includes streamlined coverage of conflict diagnosis, increased treatment of non-adversarial, facilitative forms of dispute resolution, and the latest legal and ethical trends impacting the field.
Editor's note: UUCC members Bob and Suszane Henig own a BMW motorcycle dealership that keeps them connected with local motorcycle enthusiasts. Over the past two decades, they promoted a fund raising ride that raised nearly $3M to help find cures for brain tumors that strike children.
Ride for Kids aims to raise research funds for brain cancer
Howard County event draws about 400 cyclists
By Mary Gail Hare
The Baltimore Sun
September 23, 2011
A story in a motorcycle trade paper started Bob Henig on his 20-year crusade to help children overcome a deadly disease that attacks 11 of them in the U.S. daily. The children's stories of coping, surviving and sometimes succumbing have kept him riding to raise money to battle pediatric brain cancer.
He will be on the road Sunday, leading a charity drive of about 400 motorcyclists that will likely surpass the $3 million milestone in local funds raised for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.
"I don't know anyone in my own extended family who is fighting this disease, but from the first ride, I knew it was the right organization for me to give back," said Henig, owner of Bob's BMW Motorcycles in Jessup.
He will guide fellow motorcyclists on a rambling tour of scenic country roads during Howard County's 20th annual Ride for Kids, an event that raised more than $251,000 last year.
"In 19 years, we have raised $2.9 million from this one ride," he said. "I know this year will put us over $3 million."
Editor's note: Long-time UUCC member, Inge Hyder, was one of 25 artists who painted scenes of Historic Ellicott City that were displayed at the Howard County Arts Council in July.
These artists win awards for painting the town
By Mike Giuliano
The Baltimore Sun
July 21, 2011
Let painters loose in historic Ellicott City and they'll quickly create enough pretty pictures to fill an art gallery. The pictorial proof is hanging on the walls of the Howard County Arts Council, located just a short drive away from the depicted scenes.
"Paint It! Ellicott City" contains work by 25 painters who participated in an en-plein-air paint-out that was juried by artist Terry Shovlin, who teaches at the Carver Center for Arts and Technology, in Towson.
Editor's note: Long-time UUCC member, Glennor Shirley, is retiring from her job as Maryland's prison librarian. Her contributions to prisoners' lives was documented in a recent The Washington Post story. Congratulations, Glennor!
Maryland's beloved prison librarian retires
By Michael S. Rosenwald
The Washington Post
September 30, 2011
For more than two decades as Maryland's prison librarian, Glennor Shirley has connected inmates to the world beyond bars using books. She stocked their tiny libraries with biographies of great Americans, redemptive novels about street life, math textbooks, encyclopedias, illustrated books about snakes, and even Jackie Collins romance novels.
Her motivation for helping convicted murderers, rapists and armed robbers has always been simple: She believes reading is a fundamental right that can soften and enlighten the hardest of souls.
"I am basically a person who believes in justice and what is right," she told me earlier this year, for a profile that generated hundreds of supportive e-mails and several thousand donated books.
Today is her last day on the job.
Editor's note: A UUCC family and their Wilde Lake home were featured in this week's press. John Hannay is pictured with the family dog, Paxton, on the cover of the October 2011 edition of Howard magazine as part of a story titled 'This Old Columbia House.' John and his spouse, John Palen, and their children, Roberto and Stefan, are one of four families whose homes are featured in article.
This old Columbia house
Giving new life to New Town homes
By Lisa Kawata
September 29, 2011
They had names like Banner, Roanoke, Revere and Grenoble, traditional-sounding names that belied the avant-garde designs of the early architects of Columbia. Ryland, Ryan, Page, Jett, Techbuilt, Artery, Amberley, Alcan and Lifestyle Homes were just a handful of the dozens of builders that made their mark on Columbia's first villages with the blessing of its chief architect, developer James Rouse. Their contemporary designs embraced efficient, simple design, large, unadorned windows, niche courtyards, decks and vertical wood siding. They had detached carports with slanted roofs.
Ella's First Album?
UUCC teen, Ella Joklik, composed, arranged, and performed a collection seven songs that she recently recorded on Garageband and published online with the title She's Just Me. She is hesitant to call it an album, but semantics aside, it is a notable collection of music.
To listen, visit https://soundcloud.com/ellajmusic
UUCC member interviewed on the Howard County Show
September 6, 2011
UUCC member, Ned Tillman, was one of three local experts interviewed on The Howard County Show, a 30-minute cable TV program airing now on the GTV and HCC-TV channels.
The show's host, Valerie Lash, asked Tillman what people could do to reduce the runoff of polluted stormwater from their lawns and driveways – water that ends up in our lakes, streams and Chesapeake Bay. Tillman explained that stormwater runoff is one of the biggest environmental challenges communities across America face today – one that will require personal action by individuals to solve.
"Our water bodies are stressed and it's no longer principally because of industry," said Tillman. "The real culprits in our modern suburbs are motor oils and nitrogen from vehicle exhaust and fertilizer that we put on our lawns. The problems we're experiencing with our local lakes are directly related to our personal actions."
Lash, division chair of Arts & Humanities at Howard Community College, interviewed Tillman, a sustainability consultant and author, because he is known for giving practical, easy-to-implement advice to ordinary citizens.
"I think Ned's book is a great read for folks who want to go more in depth on this issue," said Ray Hoffmann, senior producer/director of television services for HCC.
Joshua Feldmark, director of environmental sustainability for Howard County, and Bob Marietta, sustainability, safety and facility renovations manager for HCC, were also interviewed, one at a time, for the show. Feldmark handled questions about how Howard County's government is handling new regulations related to stormwater management and Marietta covered some newly implemented stormwater solutions on the HCC campus.
The interviews took place at HCC's TV studio in August.
The Howard County Show highlights the important people, institutions and issues of the local community and airs on Comcast channel 96 and Verizon 41 each Thurs. at 11 a.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sat. at noon.
At 50, Unitarian Universalists examine mission
The Washington Post
July 9, 2011
A recent Sunday service at the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore ended with an apology.
Laurel Mendes, a neo-pagan lay member who led the service, feared that a reference to God in the hymn "Once to Every Soul and Nation" might have upset the humanists in the pews. So, Mendes explained to the congregation that religious doctrine had been duly scrubbed from hymns in the Sunday program.
"I didn't want to make anyone uncomfortable by reciting something that might be considered a profession of faith," Mendes, 52, said after the service. "We did say 'God,' which you don't often hear in our most politically correct hymns."
At the UU General Assembly in Charlotte, North Carolina, Unitarian Universalists rallied in support of LGBT and immigrant rights.
Prison Library Offers a Place to Escape
NPR Weekend Edition Sunday
May 29, 2011
Some 1,700 residents of the Jessup Correctional Institution in Maryland make very good use of their library. Most inmates will never win early release, so the library becomes a place to improve reading skills, write a letter home, watch an instructional video on auto mechanics, or just escape, mentally. Host Liane Hansen visits the prison to talk with longtime prison librarian Glennor Shirley. Shirley runs the libraries for the entire Maryland prison system.
Click here to listen.
In Howard, Ulman advocates push for summer environment jobs
by Larry Carson
The Baltimore Sun
Pollution of the Chesapeake Bay can't be eliminated in one summer, and there's no apparent way to find a job for every unemployed youth in Howard County, but a faith-based county group says it has a plan to make a dent in both problems.
People Acting Together in Howard, or PATH, is combining efforts with County Executive Ken Ulman to create summer youth jobs by training and paying students to build dozens of small rain gardens to help reduce polluting stormwater runoff.
PATH is asking for county government funding for summer 2012. The delay is intended to give themselves, Ulman and the County Council time to see if they can work out the details of a program — part of a much larger effort to reduce algae-producing nitrogen and sediment in local streams, lakes and eventually the bay.
Editor's note: UUCC's own Hannah Miller, a sophomore at Muhlenberg College, was among several students who recently volunteered to paint murals on the walls of the pediatric unit at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Mural creates sea change in young patients' lives
By Steve Esack
THE MORNING CALL
It wasn't the type of thing children should see every day, especially children in wheelchairs or hooked to electronic monitors.
Nothing but whiteness, blandness and sterility.
"When you have blank walls, it doesn't feel like you're coming into a pediatric unit," Michele Shara, a certified therapeutic recreation specialist, said Sunday while bouncing an infant on her left knee and using her right hand to play Yahtzee with a teenager at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Pediatric Unit in Bethlehem.
That has changed thanks to Muhlenberg College students who have spent the past three Sundays adding a colorful mural of beach and sea life to the main foyer leading to pediatric area of the 11/2-year-old hospital on Schoenersville Road. The mural is being completed by students in the Allentown college's RJ Fellows Honors program that takes humanities, science, and social science majors out of the classroom and into communities to create positive change and then write about their experience in research papers.
Editor's note: This is a Howard County Government press release
Ulman picks Ned Tillman to chair General Plan Task Force
April 12, 2011, ELLICOTT CITY, MARYLAND
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman announced today his appointments to the General Plan Task Force. Approximately every 10 years, Howard County updates its General Plan, establishing a Task Force to provide guidance to the County as it plans for the opportunities and challenges of the future.
"We have selected a diverse group of residents representing a broad range of backgrounds, experiences and interests to serve as members of the Task Force," said County Executive Ulman. "We believe this is the best way to represent Howard County residents' rich and varied perspectives as we craft a vision for our County for the next 20 years."
The Department of Planning and Zoning is tasked with overseeing the General Plan update, and over the last several months, staff have been researching and preparing background information for this project. At this point, a task force that reflects various community perspectives is needed to help develop the guiding principles and framework for the General Plan. Although the task force members have many different professional and community affiliations, each is being asked to serve as an individual resident, not as a representative of any group or organization.
The 36 Task Force members are: Ned Tillman (Chairman); Tudy Adler; Nina Basu; Kal Bhatti; Steve Breeden; Martha Clark Crist; Phil Engelke; Doug Erdmann; Anwar Hasan; Karol Hess; Sarah Husain; Andrea Ingram; Darius Irani; Barbara Kellner; Grace Kubofcik; Joan Lancos; Ted Mariani; Val McGuire; Joe Mezzanotte; Maria Miller; Chris Murn; Sang Oh; Jay Parekh; Elizabeth Rendon; Steven Rice; Dwayne Robinson; Brent Rutley; Bill Santos; Peter Scheidt; Maurice Simpkins; Felícita Solá-Carter; Sue Song; David Steele; Robert Turner; Sharonlee Vogel; and Cathy Ward.
Ned Tillman, Task Force Chairman added, "It will be the Task Force's job to help guide the Department of Planning and Zoning in balancing our economic, environmental and community needs to ensure that we create a sustainable future for all of us here in Howard County."
The first meeting of the General Plan Task Force is open to the public and will be held on Wednesday, April 13 at 7:00 p.m. in Room 6 of the Gateway Building, 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive in Columbia.
Editor's note: UUCC member and freelance writer, Frank Hazzard, recently contributed the below story to www.elkridge.patch.com. Another UUCC member, Max Buffington, serves as the secretary for the organization featured in the story, Friends of Patapsco Valley and Heritage Greenway (FPVHG).
Patapsco River Steward Named 'Volunteer of the Year' by His Peers
Members of a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and protecting the Patapsco River Valley reviewed their group's annual accomplishments, which included participation from more than 1,000 volunteers.
By Frank Hazzard
April 11, 2011
Before an audience of 250-plus in Ellicott City, Friends of Patapsco Valley and Heritage Greenway (FPVHG) announced its volunteer of the year—Tim Titus—who brings unique expertise to the nonprofit group after a career with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
"I spent 30 years as an administrative executive at EPA telling others to go forth and do good work; now that I'm retired, I finally get to get my hands dirty," said Titus.
As part of the award presentation, FPVHG Executive Director Betsy McMillion read a few glowing excerpts from papers written by Howard Community College students who were trained in stream maintenance by Titus.
"He is the one that probably taught me the most stuff. He seemed to know how to connect and talk with the younger kids .... Even after weeks at a time in between jobs, he would still remember my name," wrote one student.
According to McMillion, Titus donated more than 200 hours of his time in 2010 to help improve programs like Stream Watch. "He is the first one to volunteer for any job," said McMillion. "In fact, he participated in a river clean-up project in Elkridge [April 3]. He is a great role model."
Following a short annual meeting that included elections of new board members, Dr. Henry "Hal" Sharp, an architectural historian and author of The Patapsco River Valley: Cradle of the Industrial Revolution in Maryland, gave a 45-minute lecture on the history of numerous mills and factories that were operated along the Patapsco over several centuries, including those in Ellicott Mills (Ellicott City) and Elkridge Landing (Elkridge).
After the meeting, Sharp stayed and signed copies of his book.
During the meeting, several board members reviewed the group's 2010 accomplishments.
•More than 1,140 volunteers participated in FPVHG-sponsored events in Howard, Anne Arundel and Baltimore Counties, said McMillion.
•During 35 river/stream cleanups, volunteers removed more than 60 tons of debris from the Patapsco Valley, according to McMillion.
•More than 200 new trees were planted and 1,125 pounds of invasive garlic mustard were removed, McMillion said.
•The group added 37 new members in 2010, bringing its membership rolls up to 266, according to McMillion.
•There have been some recent improvements to the Patapsco River, according to Kit Valentine, president of FPVHG. Chief among them were the removal of Union and Simpkins dams (two of four dams that existed between Daniels, west of Ellicott City and Elkridge) and a successful petition to get the Thomas Viaduct (a curved, stone railroad bridge built in 1835 in Elkridge) added to Howard County's 10 Most Endangered Historic Sites.
"In July, a plaque will be dedicated in a ceremony at the Thomas Viaduct designating it as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark as approved by the American Society of Civil Engineers," said John Slater, FPVHG vice president.
Designation as an endangered site will enable preservationists to get funding for repairs to the viaduct's railings and other aesthetic improvements, said Slater.
The dams were removed by American Rivers under a $4 million economic stimulus grant administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It was one of Maryland's largest river restoration projects to date, according to a statement released by American Rivers.
"Removing the dams was environmentally important because it allows the river to flow freely and, more importantly, allows anatropous fish to pass up stream so they can spawn," said Titus.
"Removal of the other two dams, Daniels and Bloede, is controversial because Daniels is a popular recreation area and Bloede is historically significant because it was the world's first submerged electrical generating plant," said McMillion.
The Patapsco River stretches for approximately 50 miles, from near Mount Airy where Carroll, Frederick and Montgomery Counties meet, to east of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, where it empties into Chesapeake Bay. The river forms Howard County's northern boundary, separating it from Carroll and Baltimore Counties before exiting Howard County in Elkridge. A branch of the Patapsco forms Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Much of the river's valley is part of Patapsco Valley State Park, according to McMillion.
Editor's note: Longtime UUCC member and opinion editor for Columbia Flier and Howard County Times (Patuxent Publishing Company), Doug Miller, recently received a Suburban Newspapers of America (SNA) first place award for Best Opinion Column. This was one of nine SNA awards that Patuxent Publishing staff won, giving Patuxent the second most received by any publisher in the country.
SNA represents more than 2,000 daily and weekly newspapers in both suburban and urban community markets across the country. The contest was judged by the American Press Institute, according to the SNA's website.
Glennor Shirley, head librarian for Md. prisons, believes in books behind bars
The Washington Post
March 25, 2011
Michael S. Rosenwald
The library is quiet. At the front counter, workers shuffle papers, sort books and peck at computers. A woman walks in. "Oh, Miss Shirley is here," says the man behind the reference desk, peeking over the top of his reading glasses. He is a convicted murderer.
Miss Shirley is Glennor Shirley, head librarian for Maryland prisons, responsible for the rows of books behind the barbed-wire fences here at Western Correctional Institution and 16 other state prison libraries. The inmate behind the desk and the librarian’s relationship dates back to a Commodore 64.
Editor's Note: Rev. Paige Getty was interviewed by Duane St. Clair about UUCC's participation in Grassroots' cold weather shelter. Read the resulting blog on HoCo Connect below:
Living Your Sense of Social Justice
March 24, 2011
Grassroots has involved religious congregations in the county in providing shelter in the past few winters to a large number of homeless individuals and families. By using existing community space that congregations use at other times during the week and using the members of that congregation to staff an overnight shelter, Grassroots has been able to serve homeless individuals that would have had no other resource for a warm place to spend a cold winter night. This past winter was fortunately more of a typical Maryland winter but could you imagine being homeless last winter during our historic snowstorms?
I had a chance yesterday to talk with Rev. Paige Getty from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia about their experience being a site for one week this past December as a cold weather shelter. I was interested in learning what motivated them to participate and how it had impacted their congregation.
Editor's Note: UUCC member, Ned Tillman wrote a letter to the editor of Columbia Patch encouraging environmental activism that will help preserve Chesapeake Bay.
Contact Your Delegates, Senators about Wind Power, Storm Water
February 7, 2011
Although Maryland's budget is likely to be the biggest challenge facing legislators this session, some important and thorny energy and environmental issues will garner attention as well.
Chief among them is a proposed offshore wind power complex, the future of which is predicated on securing commitments from local utilities to buy the power it will generate.
Editor's note: UUCC member, Ned Tillman, recently spoke on Chesapeake Bay conservation before 100 members of a Rotary Club in Frederick, Maryland.
Author: Efforts to save Chesapeake Bay can begin at home, work
January 20, 2011
By Karen Gardner
Frederick News-Post Staff
Ned Tillman wants people to go outside.
The author of "Chesapeake Watershed: A Sense of Place and a Call to Action" spoke to the Rotary Club of Carroll Creek on Wednesday morning. "The current generation of kids don't get outside," he said. "They don't have a sense of place."
Therefore, they're less likely to want to protect those outdoor spaces that define an area, Tillman maintains.
The Chesapeake Bay was once a major food source for the Mid-Atlantic states. People in this region ate more oysters than beef, Tillman said.
Businesses 'give back' in 2010
by Steven Pearlstein
The Washington Post
December 21, 2010
Companies have different ways of "giving back." Some divert a share of profits to fund foundations or charitable giving offices. Others set aside days for their employees to volunteer their time at company expense to a favorite nonprofit. Many develop long-standing partnerships with a cause or a nonprofit.
I doubt there's any business, however, that more thoroughly hard-wires its charitable work into its everyday operations than Bob's BMW, a motorcycle sales and parts dealership in Jessup, Md. Bob Henig and his crew have made it their business never to let a customer or supplier slip out the door, or complete a transaction, without hitting them up on behalf of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.
The Grassroots Cold Weather Shelter, which will be hosted by the Owen Brown Interfaith Center and organized by UUCC the week of December 6-12, appeared in a November 17 Baltimore Sun article. Click here to read the full article.
The special film follows the plight of men trapped underground and investigates the many challenges faced by the miners and by those working tirelessly around the clock in a desperate bid to bring them safely to the surface.
In the documentary, A NOVA film crew, on site at the San José mine in Chile since September 5, interviews engineers, NASA experts, medical personnel and key figures from the companies providing drills and crucial rescue equipment. Actual footage from the scene and special animation will be used to demonstrate the extraordinary feats of engineering, along with the biological and geological factors involved in the rescue. The film will also examine the psychological and physiological impact of this kind of prolonged ordeal on the miners, their families and those involved in the rescue efforts.
Editor's note: UUCC member Pete Wetzel published last week Twilight's Ashes—as Heaven Fades, a futuristic novel that he authored under the pen name Auler Ivis. Pete intends to donate half of the royalties he receives to the UUA/UUCC. See below for an overview of the book. Click here for a preview and author's biography.
The year is 635,039 A.D., and the world has descended into an ice age. Human beings no longer rule the Earth. Instead, a post-human race of creatures has emerged from the chaos, and they are hell-bent on destroying "prehistoric man" in order to take control of the planet. Against them stands nothing but a prophecy, foretelling the victorious arrival of the Seventh Shepherd. Jebden Gale is an unlikely hero. Living in an isolated village deep within the new ice sheet, he has a special ability to connect with a higher power. Although he despises his relationship with the gods, Jebden appears to be chosen by them for greatness. Could he possibly be the Seventh Shepherd? Time is short. The godless post-human hordes sweep the world, destroying surviving human enclaves one by one while their dying race waits for a sign. In order to strengthen Jebden, the gods must forge a partnership among the few remaining humans with the ability to guide their chosen one. But will Jebden realize his destiny in time, or will his weakness mean the end of the human race?
Editor's note: Phyllis Wise served as President of UUCC when she and her family lived in Howard County before moving to Kentucky in 1993. She was the subject of a recent The Seattle Times article. She was also the subject of a Parade Magazine cover story in 2004.
Phyllis Wise takes over as interim president at the UW
By Katherine Long
Seattle Times higher education reporter
One of the university's deans was on the phone. A rising star in her department was being heavily recruited by another school. Could she count on Phyllis Wise to do whatever it took to get this faculty member to remain at the University of Washington — a bump in salary, better equipment, more funding for graduate-student assistance?
"Absolutely," Wise recounted later. "We cannot lose our best people."
Phyllis Wise becomes interim president of the UW on Friday, a time when the school, and higher education in general, faces tectonic shifts in the way it is funded and mounting pressure to change.
Editor's note: UUCC member and freelance writer, Frank Hazzard, recently contributed a story to the Quantico Sentry on the federal government's efforts to comply with President Obama's executive order on cleaning up Chesapeake Bay.
Wastewater treatment upgrades near end
By Frank Hazzard
Special to Quantico Sentry
September 23, 2010
Several initiatives undertaken aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico in response to an 11-part executive order signed by President Barack Obama to improve the environmental health of Chesapeake Bay and its watershed are nearing completion. The order, titled "Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration" and signed by the president May 12, 2009, committed new federal and Department of Defense resources to attaining existing state water quality standards and the "fishable and swimmable" goals of the Clean Water Act.
The order emphasized ''controlling water pollution from all sources as well as protecting and restoring habitat and living resources, conserving lands, and improving management of natural resources," and attributed Chesapeake Bay pollution to ''nutrients, in the form of nitrogen and phosphorus, and sediment."
One hundred federal facilities, including MCB Quantico, discharge storm water and treated wastewater into Chesapeake Bay or its tributaries.
Religious, community groups seek promises from county executive candidates
By Larry Carson, The Baltimore Sun
September 23, 2010
A group of over 200 Howard County residents pushing a new fall agenda to benefit unemployed youth and the aging got quick promises of support from Democratic County Executive Ken Ulman but not from Trent Kittleman, his Republican challenger.
Meeting at the Owen Brown Interfaith Center Tuesday night, the group first celebrated their summer-long efforts to find and enroll more people in Healthy Howard, Ulman's health access program for the uninsured.
UUCC member is renowned computational biologist
Many of us know him as "Granger," a gentle, unassuming husband and father of two who has been attending UUCC for many years. Fewer of us know him as Dr. Granger Sutton, a distinguished scientist and senior director of informatics at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland.
Sutton and his colleagues are best known for sequencing the human genome in 2001 and other groundbreaking research since then that earned him a place in the University of Maryland Alumni Hall of Fame, Department of Computer Science.
Granger has numerous publications in whole genome shotgun assembly, sequence alignment, comparative genomics and annotation. He also holds multiple patents involving gene discovery and shotgun assembly algorithms. Sutton's accomplishments were mentioned quite a bit in a book by James Shreeve titled The Genome War: How Craig Venter Tried to Capture the Code of Life and Save the World.
"Granger is far too modest to tell you any of this himself but he's quite an accomplished scientist who has done some really groundbreaking and interesting work," said Lynne D'Autrechy, Granger's wife. "He is widely published in his field."
Editor's note: UUCC member Elaine Pardoe, a long-time environmental advocate, founded the Community for Lake Elkhorn's Eventual Restoration (CLEER) and was quoted in a The Baltimore Sun article written about John McCoy, Columbia's first water shed manager.
New advocate for Columbia's ailing watershed
John McCoy starts work on town's lakes, streams
By Larry CarsonThe Baltimore Sun
July 18, 2010
After 25 years working often literally in Maryland's trenches trying to help restore waterways that feed into the Chesapeake Bay, 53-year-old John L. McCoy came back to Columbia for a very special job.
"I've come home," said the beefy, crew-cut and mustached new Columbia Association watershed manager. Five years short of a full state pension, McCoy, of Clarksville, resigned his Department of Natural Resources job to return to Columbia, where he had worked part-time for CA as a college student. He's taken the new watershed position, pleased by the commitment of residents who pushed hard for the homeowner association's officials to create it.
Editor's Note: UUCC member Glennor Shirley was recently elected president of the Maryland Library Association. The below column was published in the organization's Summer 2010 newsletter, The Crab.
By Glennor Shirley
The library is a lifeline for many of Maryland's residents, especially those individuals who are affected by the economic downturn, and those who are transitioning from institutions of confinement back to their communities.
Thanks to the work of MLA's legislative panel and library advocates, our legislators continue to be supportive of libraries. In order to maintain this level of support, it is crucial that the library community and friends continue to work collaboratively to highlight our successes and to encourage citizens and our membership to become library advocates.
Our joint efforts must help to remind legislators of the important role libraries play in the educational development of children, to job seekers, and to those Maryland residents who cannot afford technology, but visit our libraries to explore and use our resources.
My goal is to follow and expand on the lead of past presidents by working collaboratively and strengthening our linkages with groups such as public library administrators, Citizens for Maryland Libraries, the iSchool, academic and school libraries, Friends, and Trustees, and to keep our members interested and active in MLA.
I hope to extend our use of technology by increasing our presence on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook and marketing our services to our membership, legislators, and to Maryland residents.
Our Leadership Institute is a great training ground for younger library leaders. I will work with MLA staff, the Executive Board, and the Division of Library Development
Services to provide mentorship opportunities for graduates of the Institute, encourage them to be active in the association, and to identify funding sources to keep the institute viable.
I am confident that despite the budget challenges that confront all of us, our commitment to the profession and to the services we provide, will motivate us to work to keep Maryland Library Association healthy. I am looking forward to working with the dynamic leaders that our membership elected this year.
Editor's note: UUCC member Carol Zika was featured in the May 2010 edition of WOMAN TO WOMAN magazine. The same article quoted UUCC friend Betty Myers.
Story by Dan Collins
Photo by Doug Kapustin
Carol Zika clearly loves to produce art. "Give me a brush and then try to get it away from me," she says.
And if not a paintbrush, perhaps stained glass, sculpture, murals, computer graphics, even theater sets. Zika has tried it all, even silversmithing.
"I have experience with all of these, but teaching is my medium. I want to help people who are interested to 'get it.' I am rewarded by hearing, 'I see it now!' and other 'A-ha!' moments," she says.
Teaching a variety of classes including portraiture, ceramics and all manner of painting and drawing, Zika demonstrates "ways to decorate the page: splatter, splash, swipe, rub, sprinkle salt on paint, distress the paper, burn the edges, make our own stamps, stitch on it, crumple it, weave on it, make a collage," she says. But really, she's prospecting, panning for gold of a different type.
"I tap creativity," she says. "There's a standing joke that I give an assignment and nobody follows the directions, and the results are far more wonderful than I originally imagined."
Liz Henzey, director of the Columbia Art Center for nearly 16 years, agrees.
"Carol's very attuned to people, cultures and new trends, and it is a passion of hers to unleash creativity in people. She can tap into all ages and navigate you to find your creative side," Henzey says.
"A lot of people get scared away from doing art as young people, when you're told, 'Leaves on trees aren't purple!' " says Betty Myers, 61, of Oakland Mills, an artist and colleague of Zika's who teaches at Johns Hopkins University. "Carol has an amazing gracefulness that brings you in and allows you to expand your artistic talents, whether you're learning as a young or a more mature person."
Self-employed since 1991 after a 23-year career in public school and university-level teaching ("Now I don't work anywhere where I have to give grades anymore," she jokes), Zika encourages students to "find the balance" between writing and drawing in her extremely popular Artful Journaling class at the Columbia Art Center.
Sara Jones, 66, of Scaggsville, has been taking Zika's class since the fall of 2007.
"There's a group of 15 or 16 of us who have really bonded as a group with Carol. We all keep signing up, and the last two sessions there have been no openings because nobody drops out," Jones says.
"I think Carol has managed to create an accepting atmosphere, where whatever you do is right; there is no wrong way to do decorating," Jones continues. "I was in management for 30 years, so the only thing I created was budget reports. Now I'm working with crayons and paints."
Zika, 63, notes that many of her students come to her "directly from retirement. They feel burned out, but that it's 'my turn' now, and they want to explore something about themselves. I don't teach writing, but I give them topics to journal about.
"For example, we did a project on civility," Zika continues. "I remember one person wrote about e-mail and cell-phone etiquette in the language of George Washington having found online Washington's own rules of civility."
Other topics have included "living green," writing a graduation speech, a project based on Peter, Paul and Mary's "If I Had a Hammer," the works of Jackson Pollock, and even "The History of My Hair."
Believing she didn't have any art talent at all, Jones says she signed up for Zika's Artful Journaling class in hopes of improving her writing skills.
"I traveled for years and always kept a journal of my trips, but it was boring: 'I left today and the plane ride was fine, blah blah blah.' I thought if I learned to write better, it would be more interesting for my children to read.
"When we are in class, a subject will come up and we'll write about it, but rather than in a story form, perhaps as poetry or silly songs. She encourages your mind to open in different ways — all the barriers are gone," Jones says.
Breaking down barriers is the essence of Zika's Right Brain Drawing class, which is based on Dr. Betty Edwards' book, "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain."
"Most people are left-brain dominant: The left side controls logic, language and analytical thinking. The right brain is our intuitive side. We have to learn ways to open it and get it to work with our perceptual side. It's a chore, it's a mental discipline because you have to find ways to quiet your left brain," says Zika.
"The course teaches people to see deeply and clearly. One exercise I like is called 'blind contour drawing.' You can't look at your paper, only at your subject, drawing in one continuous line. Your eye traces along the edges and sends signals to your hand to draw. One of my quotes I always give is, 'What I have not drawn I have not truly seen,' " Zika says.
Sherry Pollack, 60, of Orchard Hill, who has taken Zika's courses for more than three years, enjoys the variety Zika's classes offer. "We might do watercolor, charcoal, pencil, cut and paste, collage. You get a wide range of artistic techniques that you can delve in as deeply or as shallow as you want," she says.
"In Artful Journaling, it's looser. There aren't supposed to be any real rules. Carol's pretty forthright. She is looking with a very practiced eye – almost like a computer running through her artistic brain – and then she gives the points she thinks are important to make," Pollack explains.
For colleague Carol Myers, it's Zika's ability "to help you correct things that could be better without making you feel small" that makes her stand out as an art instructor.
"She engages you, guides you," Myers says. "She teaches you from where you are, rather than from some perfect artist's notion of where you should be."
Editor's note: John Baniszewski, a licensed Gettysburg tour guide, UUCC member, and project engineer with NASA, was featured in an article that appeared in Defense AT&L Magazine, a publication of the Defense Acquisition University.
Learning Program Management on the Battlefield at Gettysburg
By Owen Gadeken
What's the best way to learn key program management concepts and skills? The Defense Acquisition University, like many institutions, employs both online and classroom instruction. There is also something to be said for experience as the best teacher, but that experience does not have to come from traditional acquisition programs.
In a recent Program Management Office Course (PMT-352B), the learning-from-experience concept was applied in a class field trip to the Gettysburg Civil War Battlefield. Using the Project Management Institute (PMI) definition of a project as "a temporary undertaking which produces a unique product or service," the Battle of Gettysburg can be considered a project—or to be more precise, two projects: the Union (Army of the Potomac) project and the Confederate (Army of Northern Virginia) project.
UUCC Member is Renowned Baseball Authority
By Frank Hazzard
Who knew UUCC's Skip McAfee was an international authority on myriad things Baseball? Last year, W.W. Norton published the 3rd edition of The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, which McAfee edited and augmented, and The Wall Street Journal selected as among the "five best baseball books" ever published.
Paul Dickson authored the first two editions, but Skip did the majority of the work for the 3rd edition. "It was a 10-year effort, resulting in a 974-page tome with 10,687 entries," said McAfee. "It weighs 4.2 pounds—makes a good doorstop!"
The book covers all aspects of baseball, from its origins in Europe to the slang used on the field; from business terminology to signs and signals; from statistical theories to Spanish equivalents; and from broadcasters' lingo to rule book definitions. The book is authoritative, giving sources and citations for terms, including their earliest usages and extended uses in non-baseball vernacular.
The dictionary was favorably reviewed by Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes, Bill Safire in The New York Times, Rachel Madow on MSNBC, David Broder and Mark Shields in their syndicated columns, and reporters for The Nation and The Christian Science Monitor. The book was chosen "best reference resource" for 2010 by the New York Public Library.
Editor's note: UUCC member John Baniszewski authored an article that was published in NASA's Ask Magazine, which serves to help program/project managers and engineers share expertise and lessons learned with fellow practitioners across the Agency.
The Project Manager Who Saved His Country
By John Baniszewski
George graduated with a degree from one of the finest engineering colleges in America and immediately went to work for the government. For several years, he worked staff jobs. His career took off when his organization put him to work on projects.
The projects George worked on were for state-of-the-art communication systems, which had to operate dependably in harsh environments. The primary payloads for these projects were expensive and complex optical systems that had to be integrated with support structures that provided for energy, command, and control. The success of these projects sometimes depended upon unproven manufacturing processes. When the manager of his first project unexpectedly died, George succeeded him and completed the project on time and within budget, meeting all technical requirements. George's bosses recognized his talents. During the next decade, he managed another nine similar projects, consistently meeting his technical, schedule, and budget goals.
Unitarian fellowship connects solar power to grid
Published: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 10:29 AM CDT
An Ames [Iowa] congregation is guiding the community in a green way.
Ten 210-watt solar panels installed last week at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ames, 1015 N. Hyland Ave., are the first to be connected to the Ames Electrical Services power grid.
"We hope by leading the way and breaking the ground that now many other people will be able to do it much more easily now that all the restrictions and agreements have been developed by the city," said Janet McKee, 63, a member of the congregation's Green Sanctuary Committee.
The fellowship worked with Ames city officials for more than three years to develop the electrical interconnection and zoning regulations to permit solar panel installations within the city, McKee said.
UUCC Member-Author Wins 2nd National Book Award
By Frank Hazzard
The Chesapeake Watershed: A sense of place and a call to action, written by UUCC member, Ned Tillman, was recently selected as the 2010 winner of the Excellence in Journalism Award by the Renewable Natural Resource Foundation (RNRF) of Bethesda, Maryland.
"I am glad so many readers are enjoying the book. I wanted to inspire others to take the time to get outside and re-establish a love for the outdoors. We tend to take care of the places we love. It's up to each and every one of us to get involved today and take care of this area for our own health and the health of future generations," said Tillman.
A first printing sold out quickly and the book is now in its second printing.
According to RNRF's website, the "Excellence in Journalism Award, established in 2001, honors and encourages excellence in print journalism about natural resources."
RNRF seeks to advance public education and understanding of important natural resource issues through the dissemination of accurate and scientifically-based information about the environment.
Written for the layman, the Tillman's book promotes the importance of individual action in restoring our environment by using stories from the Chesapeake Bay as a metaphor for all watersheds. It weaves together vignettes of the natural wonders found in our own backyards with science-based discussions of natural processes and helps develop a greater sense of place as a basis for encouraging the reader to become a better steward of the land and all our natural resources.
Ned Tillman has devoted chapters to the Bay, rivers, wetlands, forests, fisheries, birds, and mammals, and describes the impacts of farms, backyards, and developed parts of the watershed. All are tied together by the rain that falls on parts of six states, draining the residue of society into what was once one of the most productive estuaries in the world.
The book analyzes successes and failures, and stresses how many species have been lost or are in collapse today.
Earlier in the year, Ned's book was selected as the 2010 winner of the Best Book on Environmental and Natural Resources selected by The American Society for Public Administration.
The RNRF award will be presented at an annual meeting of the organization's board of directors on November 3, 2010, in Potomac, Maryland.
Ned is the Chair of the Howard County Sustainability Board, past chair of the Howard County Conservancy, and a Sustainability Advisor to local businesses, colleges, and non-profit organizations. His firm, Growth Adventures, LLC helps these organizations assess opportunities, and develop plans for embedding good sustainability practices into everything they do. He is currently on a book tour presenting motivational talks and key-note addresses. For further information, visit www.TheChesapeakeWatershed.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Arizona Boycott's Effect on Meetings
By Cheryl-Anne Sturken
July 1, 2010
On April 23 this year, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law a controversial immigration measure, Senate Bill 1070, setting off a firestorm of national and international criticism, strident political sparring, and a call by civil rights leaders to boycott meetings and conventions in the state. Seemingly overnight, Arizona became, for many, a national symbol of racial intolerance. In the first two weeks following the bill's enactment, the fallout in cities such as Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tucson was immediate and harsh, as some 23 groups quickly relocated upcoming meetings to neighboring states or wiped scheduled future events from their calendars, costing those destinations millions of dollars in potential delegate spend. Read full story
Group Goes Door-to-Door to Discuss Health Care
Watch this great news clip about the PATH (People Acting Together in Howard) Doorknocking Campaign, in which UUCC is participating! Click here to watch
Grass-roots group mobilizes for Healthy Howard
Organization also wants lower bank interest on borrowing
By Larry Carson, The Baltimore Sun
April 30, 2010
A grass-roots, faith-based Howard County coalition is mobilizing supporters for a door-knocking campaign to find more people who are eligible for health care under the county's Healthy Howard plan.
The group, called People Acting Together in Howard, or PATH, has also won a promise from County Executive Ken Ulman to push for lower-interest borrowing rates for consumers by moving public monies out of banks that charge high rates.
Maryland's ceiling for credit card interest is 24 percent, Ulman said, but the group said banks often raise interest to 30 percent, even on people who have never been late with a payment. PATH is aiming for a 10 percent maximum rate in a campaign called "10 percent is enough." The non-partisan group, made up of 16 congregations, is an affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation, the nation's oldest community organizing group founded by the late Saul Alinsky, and has been operating in the county for several years.
About 150 members from a series of county churches, the Dar-al Taqua Mosque in Ellicott City, and several mobile home park residents met Wednesday night at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Highland to sing and push their agenda. Ulman attended, along with Del. Elizabeth Bobo, who is chairwoman of the Howard delegation to the House of Delegates, and county health officer Dr. Peter Beilenson. Del. Guy Guzzone also attended.
"It's not right that anyone does not have health care," said the Rev. Carletta Allen of Locust United Methodist Church in Simpsonville. "We can help with that. We can knock on doors."
Guy Moody of St. John United Methodist Presbyterian Church in Columbia said Beilenson helped arrange a $50,000 Annie E. Casey Foundation grant. The money is paying for the door-knocking campaign, including coordinator Jessica Jones, who is working toward a goal of knocking on 4,000 doors by Labor Day to find more people who may be eligible for Healthy Howard, but who don't know about the program.
Healthy Howard is not insurance, but offers comprehensive health care at low monthly rates, plus preventive care through the use of health coaches to county residents earning too much money for Medicaid but not enough to afford commercial insurance. Beilenson has said many people eligible for help work two or three jobs and don't read newspapers. They don't know about the program despite publicity, which is where PATH's volunteers come in.
"I want to thank you, thank you, thank you, for reaching out to our neighbors to tell them about Healthy Howard," Ulman said.
Moody said a group of 39 volunteers went door knocking in Wilde Lake on one Saturday in April, and found 47 eligible people. "There's no substitute for meeting people face to face," he said. Ken Crandell of the Universalist Unitarian Congregation in Columbia said the group knocked on 1,000 doors and spoke to 245 people that day. "Everyone was very friendly," he said.
Beilenson told the group that "your door-knockings are absolutely imperative and crucial to keep the program going." Enrollment in Healthy Howard has been much slower than was expected before the program began in October 2008, though an unusual electronic application system has turned up more than 3,000 people who qualified for existing insurance programs for those with limited income.
"We serve as a portal for the uninsured who don't know where to turn," he said.
Trish Vogel, a divorced day care worker, told the group she used that portal after struggling with health care costs for a decade. "The beauty of Health Howard is they are telling me it's OK to stop and take care of myself," she said.
Father Gerry Bowen of St. Augustine's Roman Catholic Church in Elkridge said helping to connect to people face to face to offer them the chance for health care is "authentic to who we are."
Each church group and residents of Deep Run Mobile Home Park then pledged to bring volunteers for more door-knocking throughout the county through the spring and summer.
Mobile home residents are involved because PATH helped organize support for a law that was approved by the General Assembly this year after three years of effort, which would offer some protection for residents living in parks that close for redevelopment.
The bill allows residents to keep 10 months of rent payments on the land their homes occupy to use for moving costs in any park with 39 homes or more. Many mobile homes are too old to move and residents often have little savings. Current law requires one year's notice of closing, but no payment of moving expenses. Path's support for the bill was important, Bobo told the group.
"They showed up, and showed up, and showed up," she said.
The consumer interest issue is the newest IAF cause. The group feels it is unfair and immoral for banks to offer savings depositors less than 1 percent interest, while constantly increasing interest charges on credit card borrowers to 30 percent or more.
PATH wants Ulman to remove county taxpayers' dollars from banks that won't at least stay under Maryland's legal limit for interest, Ulman said he will cooperate, and said the county coincidentally is in the process of rebidding for banking services and should be issuing a request for proposals very soon.
Copyright © 2010, The Baltimore Sun
UUCC Member to be Interviewed on NPR Affiliate
By Frank Hazzard
April 26, 2010
UUCC member Glennor Shirley will be interviewed by radio personality Dan Rodricks on Tuesday, April 27, from 1-2 PM. Rodricks hosts the Midday Show on Baltimore’s National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate, WYPR, 88.1 FM. He intends to ask Glennor about her career as a prison librarian and her efforts to bring books, reading, information and knowledge to those behind bars.
In her job as the Library Coordinator for the Maryland State Department of Education, Correctional Education Libraries, Glennor has created innovative programs, now used nationwide, to help inmates and at-risk youths use the internet.
According to WYPR’s website, Midday is WYPR's daily public affairs program airing from noon to 2 PM, Monday through Thursday. Hosted by longtime Baltimore Sun columnist Dan Rodricks, the program covers a wide range of topics selected to engage, inform, and entertain the listening audience.
Click here to listen to the program.
UUCC members Pam and Guy Guzzone recently received the Greenfield Compassionate Leadership Award from the Arc of Howard County. Click here to read more.
UUCC member Ned Tillman was the subject of a recent The Baltimore Sun article on going green.
The green life
By Janene Holzberg
Special to The Baltimore Sun
April 11, 2010
The Chesapeake Watershed has a split personality.
The book draws readers close with charming snapshots of life on the bay, like a father and son going crabbing in its shallow waters with basket-stuffed inner tubes tied to their swimsuits to hold the day's catch.
But it also shakes off its nostalgic mood and grabs readers with astonishing facts that serve as a warning, such as this startling tidbit: Nearby Norfolk, Va., is second only to hurricane-battered New Orleans as the U.S. city most vulnerable to flooding. Who knew?
The 2009 paperback's subtitle, "A Sense of Place and a Call to Action," explains Ned Tillman's two-pronged writing approach, as well as his overlapping perspectives as a lifelong nature lover and an environmental scientist.
And nowadays, the interests of the Columbia author are converging more than ever.
Tillman is first up on the schedule Saturday at Howard County GreenFest, where he will give an 11 a.m. talk about his book at the daylong event at Howard Community College.
Technology and the Religious Congregation
By Kojo Nnamdi, WAMU, 88.5 FM
March 23, 2010
Radio personality Kojo Nnamdi, of District of Columbia National Public Radio affiliate, WAMU, aired a segment titled Technology and the Religious Congregation on March 23. Much of what he discussed focused on ways that faith communities are adapting to the digital age. Guests included Martin Davis, Director, The Alban Institute; Dudley Rose, Associate Dean for Ministry Studies, Harvard Divinity School; and Anthony Evans, President of the National Black Church Initiative. Listen to a podcast.
UUCC member Glennor Shirley was the subject of a recent The Baltimore Sun article.
For prisoners, the library as lifeline
By Dan Rodricks
The Baltimore Sun
February 7, 2010
A couple of weeks ago, Glennor Shirley, Maryland's prison librarian, visited the Jessup Correctional Institution. In the eyes of many, and certainly in the red eyes of the state budget masters, prison libraries are not perceived as essential to the commonweal. Funds are more limited than ever, and the most recent budget snips ended evening hours in all prison libraries.
Unitarian Universalist Association President Rev. Peter Morales to Visit UUCC
February 1, 2010
by Frank Hazzard
The recently-elected president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), Rev. Peter Morales, will be preaching at the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday morning services on February 7th at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia (UUCC) in the Owen Brown Interfaith Center at 7246 Cradlerock Way. The theme of his sermon will be “Religion Beyond Belief.”
“We are honored and thrilled to have Rev. Morales as our guest,” said UUCC Minister Rev. Paige Getty. “I love his vision that Unitarian Universalism is the religion of our time.”
The Rev. Morales, 62, was elected in June 2009 to a four-year term as president of the UUA, the coordinating body for more than 1,000 member congregations throughout North America. He also acts as principal spokesperson and minister-at-large for the UUA.
Morales, the first Latino president of the UUA, was elected on a platform of growth and multiculturalism. Public witness is central to Morales’s presidency; he is especially passionate about immigration reform and environmental justice.
“I am encouraging visitors to arrive early for our worship services with Rev. Morales,” said Getty. “I’m sure we’ll be at capacity.”
Prior to his election, Morales served as the senior minister at Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden, Colorado, one the UUA’s largest and fastest growing congregations. Before entering the ministry, Morales was a Fulbright lecturer in Spain, a newspaper editor and publisher in Oregon, a Knight International Press Fellow in Peru, and a regional manager in California state government.
For More Information Contact:
Maureen Harris, Executive Director
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia
Sabbatical Minister Change
January 3, 2010
by the Rev. Paige Getty and Maureen Harris, UUCC Executive Team
Unfortunately, the Rev. Louise Green cannot fulfill the duties of sabbatical minister due to a serious illness. She is heartbroken to have to resign from her commitment to UUCC, as she was very, very excited about working with us.
With the support of the Sabbatical Committee and the Board of Trustees, we have hired the Rev. Bill Murry as sabbatical minister. Bill is Minister Emeritus of River Road UU Congregation as well as past president of Meadville Lombard Theological School. He is now retired and lives in Annapolis. He serves on the Board of Directors of the UU Legislative Ministry of Maryland as Treasurer.
From February 1 through the end of June, Bill will fulfill most of the primary and routine duties that Louise had agreed to perform - two services per month, availability for serious pastoral needs and consultations with staff and committees, etc (including a few meetings in January).
Louise is still very interested in helping with the congregational development project, and we feel that UUCC could greatly benefit from her participation. She expects to be well enough by then to attend the February 20 workshop (to be conducted by Becky Reese and other volunteers) and to lead a workshop planned for March 13. She also would like to attend the Searching for the Future events and do a wrap-up she has planned for late May or early June. We should know better by the end of January whether she will be able to fulfill these commitments.
In the meantime, we are excited about the wisdom and experience that Bill will bring to UUCC. We are confident that we will all benefit from his leadership and support during the sabbatical.
"Taking Our Message Out to the Burbs"
December 18, 2009
The Mall in Columbia has been displaying an ad promoting PFLAG, with the message
"Someone You Love Is Gay."
The Howard County PFLAG chapter is a longtime resident at the Owen Brown Interfaith Center. Click on the article's title above to read more.
DC’s Gay Marriage Bill Signed into Law at a Unitarian Universalist Church
December 18, 2009
Washington, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty chose All Souls Church, Unitarian as the site for signing the gay marriage bill. Read the full story in the Washington Post…
Rev. Louise Green Named UUCC Sabbatical Minister
December 6, 2009
by the Rev. Paige Getty and Frank Hazzard
Following the recommendation of the UUCC’s Sabbatical Committee with concurrence by its Executive Team, the congregation’s Board of Trustees today announced it has hired the Rev. Louise Green to serve as its 1/4-time sabbatical minister from February through June 2010. Rev. Green currently serves as the Minister of Social Justice at All Souls Church in DC, and will continue serving in that position (3/4-time) during the sabbatical period. In addition to being an ordained minister and working in parish and community settings, Louise has worked as an IAF lead organizer.
“You'll begin seeing Louise occasionally in January, and she'll be your minister,” explained Rev. Getty. “We've decided that UUCC will be fully lay-led for the month of July, since that's the usual routine; I will return August 1,” she added.
During her time at UUCC, Rev. Green plans to participate in UUCC’s congregational development project. “She is enthusiastic about the possibilities for growth and transformation within UUCC and she brings creativity and skills to contribute to that effort,” said Getty.
In addition to participating actively in the congregational development project, Green plans to be present for worship services two Sundays each month, although she won't necessarily preach each time; be available to attend occasional meetings with staff, committees and councils; and be available remotely for significant pastoral needs and other consultation.
For more details about the sabbatical, click here.
Good without God
December 4, 2009
Rev. David Carl Olson
The Baltimore Coalition of Reason has received significant press recently because of its "Good without God" billboard campaign, which was launched on December 1 and based on a book by the same title written by Greg M. Epstein, a Humanist Chaplain of Harvard University.
Epstein will speak at The First Unitarian Church of Baltimore this Sunday, December 6, 2009, at 4 pm, about his book Good Without God. In the book, Epstein makes a bold claim for what nonbelievers do share and believe. He offers a world view for nonbelievers that dispenses with the hostility and intolerance of religion prevalent in national bestsellers like God is Not Great and The God Delusion. In stead, Good Without God provides a constructive, challenging response to these manifestos by getting to the heart of Humanism and its positive belief in tolerance, community, morality, and good without having to rely on the guidance of a higher being.
Location: 1 W. Franklin Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. At 3 pm, prior to the talk, there will be a reception and book signing in Enoch Pratt Parish Hall.
For more information, read this Baltimore Sun article
Best Clergyperson in Howard County goes to UUCC’s Paige Getty
November 19, 2009
by Frank Hazzard
Reverend Paige Getty of UUCC was named the best clergyperson of Howard County in the December 2009 edition of Howard Magazine, published today. Paige was picked by the magazine’s readers as part of an annual “Best of Howard” poll.
“I am flattered and touched to receive this recognition,” said Reverend Getty after hearing about the award. “It helps me remember some very important things about ministry... that no person is a good minister in isolation—rather, ministry happens in relationship; the relationships we share within UUCC are at the heart of our "best;” and I'm delighted to serve a congregation that cares enough to vote in this and other elections!” she added.
Voting began on August 10, 2009, when ballots containing more than 50 categories including “best caterer,” “best place to buy books,” “best police officer” and “best yoga center” were distributed to readers. “Honorable mention” in the “best clergyperson” category went to Rev. Richard H. Tillman, St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church; Cantor Jan Morrison, Columbia Jewish Congregation; Rev. Dr. Lisa Bandel-Sparks, Lisbon United Methodist Church; and Rev. Matthew Buening, St. Paul’s Catholic Church.
Howard Magazine is published bimonthly by The Baltimore Sun Media Group, parent company of the Columbia Flier, Howard County Times, Laurel Leader and other Howard County-base community newspapers.
YRUU Receives Award
October 25, 2009
John Harris and Frank Hazzard
UUCC’s Young Religious Unitarian Universalists (YRUU) class received the UUSJ Youth Award for Social Justice at the annual Unitarian Universalist Social Justice (UUSJ) Gala held today in Bethesda. Accepting the award on behalf of the class were Dana Sohr, Alex Sohr, Alexa Clay and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Also attending from UUCC to cheer them on were Therese Sohr, John Clay, Bob and Jennie Fitzpatrick and John Harris (UUJS Board member).
According to a statement posted on the UUSJ website, UUCC’s youth were “recognized for their service work both within and far beyond their community, their efforts to institutionalize youth social action trips in their congregation [and] the lasting impact on those they have aided in New Orleans, Appalachia, and New York City as well as the congregation itself and its local community.”
Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice of the Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Northern Virginia region is a partnership of 22 member congregations and other organizations and individuals deeply committed to the religious principles of human dignity, justice and compassion for all people that helps UU activists carryout their social and economic justice agendas.
Read about PATH (People Acting Together in Howard), an IAF (Industrial Areas Foundation)-affliate that UUCC supports.
Spring Poems: Selected Poems
by Lary Lewman
Lary Lewman wrote the poems in this collection over the last 50 years. He came to Maryland from his native Indiana in 1959 and is now a retired voiceover announcer. For five years in the early 80’s, he performed classic poetry on the streets of Baltimore as “Poetryman."
Raising Good Kids in Tough Times
by Roger McIntire
In his book Raising Good Kids in Tough Times, Roger McIntire, longtime UUCC member, father of three, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Maryland and award-winning columnist, details the seven crucial habits that help parents raise good kids, maintain a loving relationship, and counter the dangerous examples, attitudes and temptations children face in today's world. Practical guidelines are illustrated with over 200 examples and more than 60 parent-child dialogues. This book covers the basics from toilet training, sleeping habits, and listening skills to sibling rivalry, sex, drugs, and social skills. It also addresses single-parent problems and strategies and parent activism in the school and community. Dr. McIntire also blogs on parenting topics on his website, www.parentsuccess.com.
by longtime UUCC member Ned Tillman
Extensive and fragile, the Chesapeake Bay watershed is one of the fastest growing and most endangered regions in the country. Here accomplished environmental scientist and lifelong outdoorsman Ned Tillman issues his own call for a general public awakening. Combining literary skills with informed science and a love for the environment, he explains how the Chesapeake watershed formed, what it has given us, and what it can continue to provide if we will only take action. He also provides an extensive list of practical things each of us can do which, taken in serious numbers, can preserve and restore this national treasure.
August 23, 2010