Kevin Earl Dayhoff Art One-half Banana Stems

Kevin Earl Dayhoff Art One-half Banana Stems - www.kevindayhoff.com Runner, writer, artist, fire and police chaplain Mindless ramblings of a runner, journalist & artist: Travel, art, artists, authors, books, newspapers, media, writers and writing, journalists and journalism, reporters and reporting, technology, music, culture, opera... National and International politics www.kevindayhoff.net For community see www.kevindayhoff.org For art, technology, writing, and travel see www.kevindayhoff.com

Sunday, March 25, 2007

20070321 This week in the Westminster Eagle

This week in the Westminster Eagle

Posted March 25th, 2007

Local News


Alleged thief nets early retirement
Police say no one really took notice of the woman who walked with a cane when she visited Carroll Lutheran Village in January.

But no one really forgot her, either.

It wasn't until a rash of robberies were reported that people really remembered seeing her.

"When we started interviewing and tal...
[Read full story]


Panel to review Westminster economic goals
Concerned about the state of economic development of Westminster, the Greater Westminster Development Corporation is reaching out to the city, county, McDaniel College and businesses around Westminster to form a new review committee.

Scheduled to begin meeting next week, the GWDC "Blue Ribbon Comm...
[Read full story]

Recreation


For Flynn's sake, seniors take one final shot


Annual exhibition game benefits Flynn family

High school basketball

The final score didn't matter. The chance to play one more basketball game, especially for a good cause, was all the reason seniors from each Carroll County high school needed to get together at Century High School last Thursday...
[Read full story]

Wolf at the Door


No matter the source, hot air keeps this ol' world spinning


Nothing in life is static, there is always change. Sometimes change is obvious, other times so finite it can't be detected.

The hullabaloo about "global warming" falls in both categories.

Subtle because it has been happening for centuries undetected; and promoted now because many liberals have a...
[Read full story]

Doug... A Little Deeper


'Remember the Maps!' ... or maybe, 'Keep 5 Alive!'
Some students of history may recall that the great rallying cry for the Spanish-American War in the late 1890s was "Remember the Maine!"

For those of us who weren't around back then, here's a brief history lesson: The USS Maine was an American battleship in 1898. President William McKinley sent th...
[Read full story]

Kevin E. Dayhoff


History of education, minus beheadings, in our state
In researching the history of education in Carroll County, an historian finds many references to the "first school" or the "first" beginnings of a system of education.

Perhaps the "first" reference to schools in Maryland occurred Thursday April 13, 1671, when the "Upper House" of the Maryland Gene...
[Read full story]

Community Calendar


Community Calendar


ARTS

> Artwork by members of the Maryland Printmakers are featured in a non-juried show on display through March 23 in the Great Hall at Carroll Community College, 1601 Washington Road, Westminster. The Great Hall is open Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Fridays, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p...
[Read full story]


Community Rallies behind Bowling Brook
On March 2, Bowling Brook Preparatory Academy in Keymar announced that after 50 years in operation, it would close on March 9.

The closing comes in the wake of the death of one of the students on January 23.

Since the closing was announced, many Carroll Countians have rallied in sup...
[Read full story]


A sordid saga of communists, reservoirs, congressman, and pumpkins
Contrary to what is being circulated; the Union Mills reservoir project in Carroll County will add another layer of protection to the site of the “pumpkin papers,” and this national treasure is not threatened.

Recently the old Whittaker Chambers “pumpkin patch&...
[Read full story]

People Forms


Engagement Announcement

Share the big news! Engagement announcements run free of charge in The Westminster Eagle.

Just print out the following form, or cut and paste it into either a word document or an e-mail. Remember – you are NOT bound to follow this form, it is simply designed to give you an idea of the type of information that might be included. Feel free to include more, or less, information.

When you’re done, you can send this in the mail to The Westminster Eagle, 121 E. Main St., Westminster, MD 21157. Or, you may fax to 410-386-0340, or e-mail to thewestminstereagle@patuxent.com.


[Read full story]


News Briefs
Land preservation on the agenda for FPACC

The Finksburg Planning and Citizens' Council will host a general meeting this Thursday, March 22, at 7 p.m. at Sandymount United Methodist Church.

The focus of the meeting is land preservation, and speakers will include Nick Williams of the Maryland Envi...
[Read full story]


Girl Scouts' drive supports troops
Two Westminster West Middle School eighth-graders are bringing relief efforts for the War in Iraq closer to home by collecting items for wounded soldiers who have returned to the states.

The collection is part of a Girl Scout Silver Award project for Ashlyn Cox and Sarah Patterson. Both say they i...
[Read full story]


Education Notes
North Carroll raises $9,000 in Math-a-Thon

North Carroll Middle School recently completed its annual St. Jude's Math-a-Thon -- an event in which students collect sponsorships for completing a Math-a-Thon Funbook.

This year, the school Mathematics Department, including the fifth-grade teams which...
[Read full story]


Country roads bring local singer Bryna back to familiar territory


Tragedy brought country music into Maryland singer Laura Bryna's life. Bryna, who is the opening act for Emmylou Harris at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall Saturday, March 24, discovered country music as a kid when her brother suffered a brain aneurism that left him in a six-month coma.

During the daily dr...
[Read full story]

[Local news archives]

Saturday, March 24, 2007

20070324 More questions than answers persist about Bowling Brook



“There are more questions than answers remaining about Maryland’s Juvenile Services”

March 24, 2007 by Kevin Dayhoff (693 words)

Thursday March 8, Bowling Brook Preparatory School in Carroll County closed in the wake of the death of Isaiah Simmons at the elite private juvenile services facility on January 23. Almost two months after his death, there remain more questions than answers.

It was an ignoble end for a storied highly touted facility of fifty years in an otherwise discredited juvenile services system in Maryland. Since it closed, many have rallied for it to reopen.

Mr. Simmons died while being physically restrained after it is alleged that he threatened another student. In a January 27 Bowling Brook press release it was revealed, “When Isaiah became threatening, our staff responded for his safety and the safety of others… (H)e was restrained humanely consistent with state-approved discipline policies and counseled throughout to de-escalate the crisis.”

A transcript of the 911 tape reveals a Bowling Brook employee saying, “It was the same thing we do all the time when we have an aggressive kid. I don't know what happened. He was in a restraint, and then he stopped responding.”

This tragic death is horrible but nevertheless situational – not systemic. Carroll County deputy state's attorney, David Daggett, has been quoted in published accounts to say “… it seems that clear(ly) no one intended to kill Simmons…”

As the number of juvenile offenders has exploded in recent years, Maryland has struggled to address the challenges of how to rehabilitate the young men into productive citizens.

In the face of a federal lawsuit and the outcry of juvenile advocates, facilities such as the widely discredited Charles H. Hickey Jr. School were closed as recently as June 30, 2005.

However this only exacerbated the Maryland juvenile services capacity problems. One answer was to put increasing numbers of the juveniles in Bowling Brook – a “highly touted private residential treatment facility for aggressively adjudicated young men” according to the 2004 – 2005 annual report of the Office of the Independent Juvenile Justice Monitor. The state poured $737,000 into capital improvements for the facility which housed 170 students.

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s answer to the crisis in juvenile services was to close Bowling Brook and announce in his supplemental budget, $6.8 million to re-open Victor Cullen just several miles from Bowling Brook; for only 48 students. That discredited facility has remained “temporarily” closed since April 2002 due to budget constraints. Where did Governor O’Malley suddenly find $6.8M?

At a time when Maryland continues to face a structural deficit, it has been reported, “The cost of the nonprofit (Bowling Brook) school is $41,000 a year per student – less than the $65,000 a year the state spends to keep a youth at Hickey.”

Why have folks, who once praised the facility, quickly change their tune and sing that Bowling Brook was a victim of its own success and had grown too large?

If the “successful” Bowling Brook School grew too large, then doesn’t it seem more effective public policy to reduce the number of students at Bowling Brook rather than close it?

Why did the Maryland General Assembly overwhelmingly pass House Bill 1148 and Senate Bill 503 in 2005 exempting Bowling Brook from 2004 legislation mandating a capacity limit of 48 for juvenile facilities?

Governor O’Malley’s “Transition Committee for Juvenile Services Report,” issued on February 21, 2007 “strongly recommend(ed) that the new administration proceed quickly with making strategic, evidence-based reforms … addressing problems proactively.”

Is closing the highly acclaimed Bowling Brook, within days of the issuance of the report, “addressing problems proactively” with “strategic, evidence-based reforms?” Exactly why did Mr. Simmons die while being “restrained humanely consistent with state-approved discipline policies?” Why not address that problem proactively?

How are juvenile facilities to appropriately restrain a juvenile offender who is physically threatening other students? Do the state-approved discipline policies for restraint need to be changed with “evidence-based reform” to avoid another tragedy? Why not spend some of the newly minted $6.8M for additional study to change the standards and provide additional training.

How often does a community rally to have a juvenile facility in their own back yard? Many hope that Governor O’Malley will address the challenges of Maryland’s juvenile services with evidence-based reform by re-opening Bowling Brook.

Kevin Dayhoff

The writer is the former mayor of Westminster 2001-2005.

His e-mail address is kdayhoff@carr.org

####

Sunday, March 25th, 2007 UPDATE: I’m certainly encouraged by the thoughtful and responsible feedback I have received on this post in “comments.”

(For more posts and information on “Soundtrack” please click on Bowling Brook.)

Please keep in mind that letters to editor are also very important in addition to letters to Governor O’Malley and Secretary DeVore.

Letters to the editor can be e-mailed to: jjoyner@patuxent.com

Mr. Jim Joyner, Editor

The Westminster Eagle

121 East Main Street

Westminster, MD 21157

(410) 386-0334 ext. 5004

jjoyner@patuxent.com

I would love for The Westminster Eagle to have a page or several pages of letters to the editor …

Please pass the word. We need as many thoughtful, respectful, and polite letters as possible to go to Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Maryland Juvenile Services Secretary Donald W. DeVore.

I have assured many folks that the letters need not to be long or over-thought. Push comes to shove, a hand written note with several sentences expressing support is really all that is needed.

Whispers in the hallways of Annapolis are that the O’Malley administration is counting on the short attention span of folks and the Bowling Brook matter will blow away with the March winds. Obviously such is not the case. Perhaps folks have misjudged the positive impact of this facility - for fifty years - in our community.

The addresses once again:

The Honorable Governor Martin O’Malley

Office of the Governor

100 State Circle

Annapolis, MD 21401-1925


The Honorable Secretary Donald W. DeVore

Maryland Juvenile Services

One Center Plaza, 120 W. Fayette Street

Baltimore, MD 21201.

Thank you. There are many young adults that face an uncertain future as a result of being relocated from Bowling Brook to one of the failed state-run facilities. The quicker Bowling Brook is back in operation, the quicker hope may be restored to the lives of many young men.

####

Friday, March 23, 2007

20070321 The secret life of baby spiders

Photo caption: “Fired spiders and gum” from the web site, “Photography by Ewen Bell.” Neat site – check it out.

March 21, 2007

This post is for my wife. Read it quickly before it is prevailed upon me to amend it or take the post down.

Me: spiders gotta live somewhere. I just Zen them. As long as they don’t change the settings on my computer or eat my ice cream – I’m good. Whatever.

My wife: Spiders seem to make my normally unfazed, calm, and sedate wife go from zero to animated in a nanosecond. I know of nothing else that bothers my wife (except liberals… fortunately she doesn’t feel the need to squish them… .)

It is somewhat the source of amusement with me. Trust me, my amusement is not shared by my wife, and I have long since learned to adjust my approach. [Soccer Dad doesn’t wear paisley (My goodness that was an ugly tie.) - - I take spiders seriously – when they are the source of my wife’s undivided attention…]

Me to wife: Wife, I just saw on Nancy Grace that Anna Nicole Smith is still dead and the world is going to come to an end. Could ya please help me grab my computer before we go to the bomb shelter?

Wife: I don’t care - - There’s a spider in the house! Get it.

Over the years we have come to a sorta agreement. Found spiders in the house are not to be killed. They are to be invited to go outside… This seems to work as long as the spider is cooperative.

For the safety of spiders, I have posted a sign at the back door that our house is not safe for spiders. It seems to have worked.

Sooo, it was with some amusement that I saw that “Spiders Love to Snuggle.”

Perhaps Jeremy Bruno up at Voltage Gate (Besides, Mr. Bruno has not one article about spiders on his blog. What gives”) may have to interpret some of this for us, but according to Jeanna Bryner LiveScience Staff Writer LiveScience.com Wed Mar 21, 8:45 AM ET :

While not usually considered paragons of tender, familial love, some spiders do have a touchy-feely side. Scientists have discovered two arachnids that caress their young and snuggle together.

Social behavior is extremely rare in arachnids, a group of critters typically defined by their aggression, clever hunting methods and even predatory cannibalism.

"This was the best example I had ever seen of friendly behavior in an arachnid," said lead study author Linda Rayor, a Cornell University entomologist.

[…]

Video: Spider Baby Rub

Video: Spider Tickle

For (Phrynus) marginemaculatus, the stroking was mutual, with the three-week-olds also whip-caressing their moms and one another.

Video: Spider Siblings

[…]

Video: Spiders' Psychedelic Courtship Dance

Images: Creepy Spiders

Original Story: Creepy: Spiders Love to Snuggle

Since this is a family blog – we may wanna have Attila pick up the story here and here… . He goes places I can’t.

Read the rest of the article here: “Spiders Love to Snuggle.”

####

Saturday, March 17, 2007

20070317 Shades of Britney

Shades of Britney

March 17, 2007

I picked up new glasses the other day. I did not choose a Britney Spears eyewear frame. I did not have time to get a tattoo and my head shaved on the way home.

Already go that t-shirt in July 1972 in USMC Reserve boot camp…

####

20070317 Presidential limo okay after motorcade mishap in snow


Presidential limo okay after motorcade mishap in snow

Fortunately the mishap did not involve the presidential limo – pictured above.

Spring can some anytime now

March 17th, 2007

True to form for Maryland weather, after a couple of mild days in which I actually saw some folks gallivanting-about in their short sleeves; Friday’s weather sure was a wake up call that winter is not quite over and we live in Maryland.

In Maryland, if you don’t happen to like the weather one day – just wait 24 hours, it is sure to change.

I really did not have to go out in the frozen mess on Friday. I was just a happy to enjoy a snow day and do some much needed and overdue research for some upcoming columns.

Pictured above are some images I captured late Friday evening of the snow monsters that dutifully prowl the Westminster streets during a snow event.

It looks like one of the vehicles in the presidential motorcade heading up to Camp David had a bit of a mishap: “President OK after vehicle in motorcade crashes.”

Fortunately the mishap did not involve the presidential limo – pictured at the top of this story.

####

Thursday, March 15, 2007

20070314 This week in the Westminster Eagle

This week in the Westminster Eagle
March 14th, 2007
Westminster Eagle

The high cost of twin tragedies at Bowling Brook
Last Thursday must have been another long and difficult day for Bowling Brook Preparatory Academy.
It was on that day that the academy's last remaining eight students boarded a van and left. Then the prep school's license was turned over to an official from the Maryland Department of Juvenile Serv...[Read full story]

Education Notes County opens enrollment for prekindergarten
The Carroll County Pubic Schools prekindergarten program is accepting applications for the 2007-08 school year. Children must be age 4 by Sept. 1, 2007. Students will attend classes five days a week for two-and-a-half hours at no cost to parents.
Appli...[Read full story]

Competition is sweet at Mid-Atlantic cake show
The sweet smell of butter cream frosting and cake filled the Carroll County Agriculture Center over the weekend as the Mid-Atlantic Cake Show and Wedding Cake Competition brought cakes of all sizes and shapes from states as far as Texas, Ohio and New Jersey together.
"It has been a very good show,...[Read full story]



Pillows for soldiers are one mom's mission
There's nothing like resting your head on a comfortable pillow at the end of a long day.
But that luxury isn't always available to many American soldiers currently serving overseas.
Staffers and families at TriStar Martial Arts in both Eldersburg and Westminster recently held a collection to try...[Read full story]



News Briefs Mudgett's Finksburg center faces review
The proposal for a new shopping center at Dede Road and Route 140 in Finksburg will face the county's Planning and Zoning Commission next week.
The Mudgett family, which owns and operates the existing Mudgett Auto Body on Dede Road, is seeking approval for...[Read full story]



Local Scout traveled globally, acted locally on path to Eagle
All work and no play may make Jack a dull boy, but it helped make Westminster's Ian Ellett an Eagle Scout
At a Scouting "Court of Honor" this past Sunday, Ellett, 17, was recognized for more than 12 years of hard work as a Scout with Troop 2040, and most notably for the past two years, when he com...[Read full story]

A little kick in the Irish
At a glance, it looks like a game of soccer. When you watch a little longer, though, one starts to notice elements of football, too. And volleyball.
And even basketball?
Gaelic football, the national sport of Ireland, has found a following here in Carroll County, and Westminster resident J...[Read full story]



A foundation for Habitat, Westminster
The details are still being ironed out and the contracts haven't been signed, but the city of Westminster and the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity are already hoping their deal to build a home on a vacant tract on Union Street will set an example for providing housing for low- to moderate...[Read full story]



Recreation
Balanced effort helps North Carroll girls win 3A-2A title
Track and Field
The North Carroll girls' team got a big lift from a newcomer to the indoor circuit, while the Liberty boys relied on a wildly successful veteran at the indoor track and field state championship meet.
North Carroll utilized title performances from senior Katie Hursey and junior Je...[Read full story]



Focus on People
Group efforts Legion Riders' efforts benefit Carroll Hospice
The Legion Riders of Westminster, based at Carroll American Legion Post 31, recently donated $500 to Carroll Hospice. The riders had decided to make Carroll Hospice the group's primary charity.
Gina Stanley, legion rider charity liaison officer, is ...[Read full story]



Business Briefs
Main Street Minute Smiling faces remind us: Don't worry, be happy
Last week we had another cold, snowy day -- another of those days when the children go from being happy about no homework to being crabby about being bored.
With the cloudy days overshadowing the sunny ones lately, it's easy to share their bad moods...[Read full story]



Opinion
No matter who counts it, traffic will remain a point of dispute Editorial
Who's better at counting cars? The county or developers?
Speakers at a hearing last week said it doesn't matter, because both parties have to work with the same rules and standards when conducting traffic studies.
County officials are considering a change in the way Carroll considers...[Read full story]



The Passing Parade
Worth the price of a ticket
Wouldn't you know it, after all the meetings I attended over the years open to the public, I missed the one recently -- a county "roundtable" meeting where the proposed bond bill was discussed -- that had a true element of excitement to it.
Fortunately, I saw a video of it, confirming what I'd hea...[Read full story]



For Better or Worse
If it can't take the heat, it's not likely under warranty
"What's wrong?" Doug asked, walking into the kitchen to see me standing over a cold oven holding a tray of seasoned Cornish hens stuffed with wild rice.
Sitting on the countertop were four porcelain ramekins filled with creme bržlŽe mixture. ...
OK, who am I kidding?
I was trying to heat up th...[Read full story]



Community Calendar
Community Calendar ARTS
> The Carroll Community College Campus Activities Board Spring Film Series continues this week. Films begin at 7 p.m. and are shown at the theater in the Scott Center, 1601 Washington Road. The movies are free and open to the community, but children must be accompanied by a parent or guardia...[Read full story]





Community Rallies behind Bowling Brook On March 2, Bowling Brook Preparatory Academy in Keymar announced that after 50 years in operation, it would close on March 9.
The closing comes in the wake of the death of one of the students on January 23.
Since the closing was announced, many Carroll Countians have rallied in sup...[Read full story]
[Local news archives]


####

20070314 The Journalist


The journalist – on deadline. Daily Photoblog

March 14th, 2007

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

20070314 Grocery Store check out line literature


Grocery Store check out line literature

March 14, 2007 Daily Photoblog

I was minding my own business in the grocery store check out when I noticed a couple of folks ahead of me getting all animated and gesturing towards the grocery store check out line literature.

Amused and curious; when I got to that place in line I looked to the shelf and just cracked-up.

Hey, whatever floats your boat?

Who knows – maybe the articles are true?

It was first time I have ever seen folks actually purchase these papers. Except when I was younger I would purchase them from time to time for collage materials.

I could go on – but I guess I’ll stop while I’m behind.

What a hoot.

####

20070313 Community Rallies behind Bowling Brook


Community Rallies behind Bowling Brook


March 13th, 2007

Cross-posted from the Winchester Report

www.thewestminstereagle.com

http://news.mywebpal.com/news_tool_v2.cfm?pnpID=978&NewsID=789755&CategoryID=18298&show=localnews&om=1





03/13/07
by Kevin Dayhoff
Respond to the Westminster Eagle about this story
Email this story to a friend

On March 2, Bowling Brook Preparatory Academy in Keymar announced that after 50 years in operation, it would close on March 9.

The closing comes in the wake of the death of one of the students on January 23.

Since the closing was announced, many Carroll Countians have rallied in support of the academy suggesting that it would be better to meaningfully address and correct what precipitated the tragedy than close the academy.

Delegate Donald Elliott said the day Bowling Brook closed “was a sad day and it is my hope that it will again be restored to a place in the juvenile services system.

“Over the years we have all had contact with the young men from Bowling Brook, it was always a very positive experience,” he said. “In fact, where other places have difficulty hosting a juvenile services facility, Bowling Brook has enjoyed the affection of the community.”

Delegate Nancy Stocksdale recounted many experiences in which the young men of Bowling Brook had left a positive impression upon her and the community. (She has circulating a letter about Bowling Brook. Please find it below.)

She said that she has been “grieving just as if it was my school.”

Delegate Stocksdale added that if this terrible incident had happened in another facility… she doubted that the state would’ve closed down the whole place. “You take care of the problem. You fix it. Instead of isolating a tragic instant from the rest of the good work of the institution (the state) choose to convict the entire school.”

Tom Welliver said, “I have worked closely with these young men on numerous occasions. They were well mannered, respectful - and assisted with tremendously positive attitudes.”

For many years, the Bowling Brook students helped with the Union Bridge town hall funding breakfasts. Perry Jones, former County Commissioner and former Union Bridge mayor said, “Union Bridge had a very positive experience with Bowling Brook and I share everyone’s hope that it is able to re-open in the future and its good work continues.”

Larry Collins, Carroll County Agriculture Center General Manager said, “The young men from Bowling Brook have been to the Ag Center many times and served in many different capacities… They have been excellent across the board. It would be a shame to lose such an important resource in our community.”

The Junior Woman’s Club of Westminster is circulating a letter which cites that Bowling Brook had “an 86 percent success rate. (Please find a copy of the letter below.)

Only 14 percent of the youth were arrested or referred back to the state agency within a year of their release. … The state average for group homes is 50 percent, but we have heard as low as 10 percent success rates. … We hate to see the success of the program overrun by this one failure.”

It is rare that a community rallies to have a juvenile facility in their own back yard. But all of us have a stake in saving young men for a productive future and in those efforts; Bowling Brook is part of the answer.

What is now necessary is for Maryland Juvenile Services Secretary Donald W. DeVore and Gov. Martin O’Malley to hear from Carroll County citizens who care about Bowling Brook and the future of the young men this facility worked so hard to help. Encourage them to take fresh look at re-opening Bowling Brook.

Please review the letters from the Delegate Nancy Stocksdale and the Junior Woman’s Club of Westminster and then find a moment of your time to write to: Governor Martin O’Malley, Office of the Governor, 100 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401-1925, and Maryland Juvenile Services Secretary Donald W. DeVore, One Center Plaza, 120 W. Fayette Street, Baltimore, MD 21201.

####

From: Delegate Nancy Stocksdale

Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2007 3:30 PM

Subject: Bowling Brook Preparatory School

Dear Friends:

I am writing concerning the Bowling Brook Preparatory School which is located in Keymar, a rural area of Carroll County.

I am saddened by the loss of a student there, and I offer my sincerest sympathy to his mother. I do not know all the circumstances, but I have always believed in the school and its program. Unfortunately, the Public Defender, Nancy Forster, made a statement on the day of this tragic event that she was “closing this school down because it is not safe.” She then proceeded to remove all the Maryland students.

I have attended awards luncheons at Bowling Brook where I witnessed the tears of the mothers who were so proud of the positive changes they saw as they watched their sons receive awards for their accomplishments in the program. I have seen the many trophy cases displaying the trophies earned from the achievements of the sports teams, and I have seen the pride in the faces of the students as they moved up through the ranks and accepted greater responsibility as “thoroughbreds,” a designation for seniors.

I have had an interest in that school since I first went there in 1993 on a tour with Congressman Bartlett. As a retired teacher, I have a special interest in the educational program at Bowling Brook, and I learned that approximately 80% of the students there pass the GED test. I think this is a great accomplishment considering the fact that some students come there with a 3rd grade reading level. Professors from Carroll Community College teach on the Bowling Brook campus, and students have earned as many as 21 college credits. Other students take vocational classes at Frederick Community College learning trades such as bricklaying and landscaping.

You may have seen the students competing in sports at our local schools or working for one of the many non-profit organizations in our communities. I know they have helped the Elmer Wolfe Elementary School, Westminster Fallfest, Union Bridge town breakfasts, Carroll Lutheran School consignment sale, and I am sure there are others. The students are always polite, well groomed, well mannered, and hard working.

They have been there for us and now I am asking that you help troubled youth who may benefit from Bowling Brook’s program by writing letters of support for the Bowling Brook Preparatory School to Governor Martin O’Malley at http://www.governor.maryland.gov/mail (telephone: 410-974-3901), and Donald DeVore, the Secretary of Juvenile Services at devored@djs.state.md.us (telephone: 410-230-3101).

I would appreciate it if you would ask as many people as you know, who are familiar with the school or who have attended functions where the Bowling Brook boys helped, to write letters or make phone calls. Although it may already be too late, Governor O’Malley will realize how we feel about the successful program. While many communities fight to keep juvenile facilities out of their neighborhoods, we need to fight to keep these good neighbors.

Thank you. I am grateful for your support.

Sincerely,

/s/

Nancy R. Stocksdale

####

Governor Martin O’Malley

Office of the Governor

100 State Circle

Annapolis, MD 21401-1925

March 8, 2007

Dear Governor,

The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the importance of the Bowling Brook Preparatory School in our county. I am a resident of Carroll County and a member of the GFWC Junior Woman’s Club of Westminster. We are a part of an international non-profit volunteer organization called the General Federation of Women’s Clubs that serves the needs of our community.

Through our group’s events, we have had the experience to work on volunteer projects with the Bowling Brook students. It has always been a very positive experience working with these students. Every single one of them seemed eager to help, was extremely polite and greatly added to the efficiency of our event. Without their help – our work and time would be doubled. In our interactions with the students, they have shared their thoughts on the Bowling Brook program and how it has improved their lives.

In light of the serious issue that has occurred over the past few weeks at the school, our organization still strongly supports keeping this program open. There have been so many successes that have kept hundreds of young adults from returning to the penal system or a life of criminal behavior. On Oct 5, 2005, the Baltimore Sun quoted an 86 percent success rate. Only 14 percent of the youth were arrested or referred back to the state agency within a year of their release. They also said that the state average for group homes is 50 percent, but we have heard as low as 10 percent success rates. 80 percent of these boys are graduating from High School. We hate to see the success of the program overrun by this one failure.

Our hope is that you will see the positive impact Bowling Brook School has had on our community and reopen it with appropriate guidelines to protect the students in the program

Sincerely,

A member of GFWC Junior Woman’s Club of Westminster

Westminster, MD 21158

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20070314 Bowling Brook, a sad tale of several tragedies


Bowling Brook, a sad tale of several tragedies

Bowling Brook: A Sad Tale

http://www.thetentacle.com/author.cfm?MyAuthor=41

The Tentacle[1] - March 14, 2007 by Kevin Dayhoff (1335 words)



Last January 23 one of the very young men that Bowling Brook Preparatory Academy had tried so hard to mold into a lifetime of hope and future, Isaiah Simmons III, 17, died at the academy.

The death of the young man is tragic and our hearts and prayers go out to the young man’s family. The tragedy is exacerbated in that the young man who had expressed anger over an absent father now leaves behind a daughter who was 22 months old at the time of his death.

In published accounts, the mother of his child, a 10th grade student, “was having a hard time accepting Simmons' death.”

Mr. Simmons, who had only arrived at the academy two weeks earlier, ran afoul of the law after committing an armed robbery. Published accounts report that he had “used a box cutter to rob another juvenile of a cell phone.”

He died while being physically restrained after it is alleged that he threatened to shoot another student. In a January 27 Bowling Brook press release it was revealed, “When Isaiah became threatening, our staff responded for his safety and the safety of others. Isaiah's aggressive behavior continued over a period of time during which he was restrained humanely consistent with state-approved discipline policies and counseled throughout to de-escalate the crisis.”

A transcript of the 911 tape reveals a Bowling Brook employee saying, “It was the same thing we do all the time when we have an aggressive kid. I don't know what happened. He was in a restraint, and then he stopped responding.”

For many years Bowling Brook, which was founded in 1957, has accepted juvenile offenders into the academy. On January 23 there were 170 young men at the academy. 74 were guests of the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services.

Bowling Brook had developed a reputation, not as much as a juvenile services facility but more like an elite private school that became a nationwide model for everything that could be done right in an effort to truly give young men a second chance and mold them into productive futures from an uncertain past.

In recent years, as the state has poured $737,000 into capital improvements for the facility, Bowling Brook Academy had come to be considered “a highly touted private residential treatment facility for aggressively adjudicated young men” according to the 2004 – 2005 annual report of the Office of the Independent Juvenile Justice Monitor.

As other state-run juvenile facilities were being closed, Bowling Brook, with the encouragement, aid, and support of the state, had grown to fill a needed gap as to where to treat juvenile offenders as their numbers exploded.

The numbers are mind-numbingly. Governor Martin O’Malley’s “Transition Committee for Juvenile Services Report,” issued on February 21, 2007 cites: “In 2005, the agency served 4,888 youth on probation, 1,681 in community-based aftercare, and over 2,400 in committed placements. The Department received over 53,000 intake referrals in 2005, but many youth were referred multiple times. The Committee strongly recommends that the new administration proceed quickly with making strategic, evidence-based reforms and that it avoid repeating the mistakes of past administrations by addressing problems proactively.”

These numbers have been increasing for many years. The Maryland General Assembly’s response, even after legislation was enacted in 2004 mandating regional facilities of no more than 48 juvenile offenders, was to overwhelmingly pass House Bill 1148 and Senate Bill 503 in 2005 exempting Bowling Brook from the 48 juvenile capacity limit.

The state’s reliance on Bowling Brook had become increasingly desperate after Maryland closed the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School on June 30, 2005 after a federal lawsuit accused the state of failing to protect juvenile offenders from physical violence. Over and over again, Bowling Brook stepped up to the plate to fill in the gaps.

After investigating the Hickey School and the Cheltenham Youth Facility in Prince George's County for two years, the U. S. Justice Department had issued a scathing report in 2004. The report revealed that there was a “deeply disturbing degree of physical abuse" by staff and examples “in which staff members did not intervene in fights…” according to the Washington Post.

For many years and several administrations, Maryland has grappled with how to respond to what some consider an epidemic of youthful offenders. There has been legislation, reports, outside independent committees, joint legislative committees, public outcry, lawsuits, and an enormous amount of money spent.

However the governor’s transition committee which had examined the Department of Juvenile Services said in the second sentence of their report, “We discovered an agency that is dangerously dysfunctional, trapped in a cycle of reacting to scandals and deferring proactive reforms.”

But throughout all the years of hand wringing and the gnashing of teeth over what to do about an adequate and appropriate approach to saving youthful offenders and restoring them to productive lives; one institution was being heaped with praise – Bowling Brook.

In an October 5, 2005 Baltimore Sun article, “Susan B. Leviton, who heads the juvenile law clinic at the University of Maryland,” was quoted to say, “It's a fantastic program.”

The article noted that Stacey Gurian-Sherman, who heads an advocacy group for families of delinquents, calls Bowling Brook “a model residential facility, and it's right in our own backyard… The one drawback to Bowling Brook is there is only one of them… We need to be building more Bowling Brooks.”

At a time when Maryland continues to face a structural deficit, the article recited, “The cost of the nonprofit school is $41,000 a year per student – less than the $65,000 a year the state spends to keep a youth at Hickey.”

Yet, on March 2 another tragedy occurred when it was announced that the Bowling Brook would close. For many the decision to close the school is illogical at best. Why not meaningfully address and correct the factors that precipitated the tragedy but otherwise support the one very juvenile services facility in the state that is making a positive difference. The tragic death of this young man is situational problem – not systemic. Fix the problem.

This tragedy shocks everyone, but the reaction to a problem must never exacerbate the problem or exceed prudence. Ironically, the closure of Bowling Brook is now part of the problem. Closing Bowling Brook is certainly not “addressing problems proactively” with “strategic, evidence-based reforms.”

Within days of the announcement to close the academy, the governor announced the need to spend $6.8 million dollars to re-open the Victor Cullen juvenile facility – for 48 students. Spending $6.8M on Victor Cullen is not the answer. The answer is Bowling Brook.

Since the announcement that Bowling Brook was closing, public officials and private citizens alike have publicly touted Bowling Brook for the good work they have accomplished with hundreds – if not thousands - of young men over the last fifty years and how the academy has positively interwoven itself into the Carroll County community fabric.

A letter being circulated by the Junior Woman’s Club of Westminster says, “On Oct 5, 2005, the Baltimore Sun quoted an 86% success rate. Only 14% of the youth were arrested or referred back to the state agency within a year of their release… The state average for group homes is 50%, but we have heard as low as 10% success rates. 80% of these boys are graduating from High School. We hate to see the success of the program overrun by this one failure.”

It is rare that a community rallies to have a juvenile facility in our own back yard. But Bowling Brook is one of the rare examples of leadership and excellence in our world today.

This is the third Maryland administration in a row to get handed this mess. The solution is to not duplicate past mistakes, but build upon what has been done well. Bowling Brook has done it well and is part of the solution.

In a clearer light and with a fresh look, many hope that Governor O’Malley will reassess the decision to close the facility.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster Maryland USA.
E-mail him at: kdayhoff AT carr AT org


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Friday, March 09, 2007

20070308 Winchester Report: “A Sordid Saga.”



Winchester Report: “A Sordid Saga.”

“Union Mills reservoir and the pumpkin patch”

As appeared in my “Winchester Report” blog on the Westminster Eagle web site:

A sordid saga of communists, reservoirs, congressman, and pumpkins

Note: see also, “20070307 A sordid saga of communists, reservoirs, congressman, and pumpkins ” on “Soundtrack.”

By Kevin Dayhoff March 8th, 2007

Contrary to what is being circulated; the Union Mills reservoir project in Carroll County will add another layer of protection to the site of the “pumpkin papers,” and this national treasure is not threatened.

Recently the old Whittaker Chambers “pumpkin patch&...[Read full story]

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A sordid saga of communists, reservoirs, congressman, and pumpkins

03/08/07

By Kevin Dayhoff

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Contrary to what is being circulated; the Union Mills reservoir project in Carroll County will add another layer of protection to the site of the “pumpkin papers,” and this national treasure is not threatened.

Recently the old Whittaker Chambers “pumpkin patch” farm just north of Westminster, in Carroll County Maryland has resurfaced in the news.

The Chambers’ Pipe Creek Farm was the scene of the “pumpkin papers” incident in which a former communist spy; Whittaker Chambers, defected to become a champion of the anti-communist cause at the beginnings of the cold war in 1948.

Mr. Chambers hid U.S. State Department documents in hollowed-out pumpkins on his Carroll County farm. Once he gave the documents to then- Congressman Richard Nixon, the entire issue of communists and communism in the United States gripped the nation for many years in what has become known as the “McCarthy era.”

The “pumpkin papers” named a local Baltimorean and Baltimore City High School and Johns Hopkins University graduate, Alger Hiss, as a communist spy.

The national, if not international story of intrigue, spies, and the beginnings of the cold war all took place in Carroll County with roles played by Carroll County and Baltimore citizens.

It is now almost 60 years later and intrigue and conspiracy continue to abound.

Since January, Carroll County officials have been plagued with persistent rumors and conspiracy theories, some of which have been published in local newspapers, that Carroll County wants to “seize” the old Chambers “pumpkin patch” farm. Good folks, good journalists and conspiratorialists alike have been “had” by this misinformation.

The misinformation seems to continue to grow legs and is about as far from the position of Carroll County officials as one could get. Carroll County is not trying to take the farm.

I attended what appears to be the genesis of the misinformation; the December 14th, 2006 “Public Hearing ~ Carroll County Water & Sewerage Master Plan.”

The public hearing was poorly attended except for a couple of gentleman who politely and eloquently expressed concern for their property which seemed to be involved in the proposed reservoir. Anyone can understand that. However, assurances were made by county officials that they were sensitive to the concerns of the citizens.

Somehow, from there, the alarm was quickly spread that the county was about to begin “seizing” land for the project even though that has not been the practice and policy of past commissioners and there seems to be no indication by the present Carroll County Board of Commissioners to go in that direction.

But, the casual reader and any person seriously interested in this aspect of our national history could read certain news accounts and walk away with the impression that the pumpkin patch will cease to exist as a result of the reservoir project. This is not true.

In the Internet age, where news is 24/seven, there is an epidemic of misinformation getting legs and if it is repeated often enough “it becomes true.”

Folks who have been “had” by the great “seizing” conspiracy are in good company - with ah, count them, 12 members of Congress who wrote to the Carroll County Board of Commissioners on January 12th, 2007.

They wrote, in part;

“We are writing to express our support for continued preservation of an important National Historic Landmark located within Carroll County, known as Pipe Creek Farm. All steps must be taken to preserve the integrity of this property, having served as the home of a great patriot and noted author, Whittaker Chambers.”

So far – so good. From what I am aware of the attitude of Carroll County officials, they are also interested in “preserve(ing) the integrity of this property.”

So what is the problem?

It’s in the next paragraph:

“We understand that the Carroll County Commissioners are considering a water plan that includes the creation of a Union Mills reservoir which, if completed, would destroy a significant portion of this national treasure…”

The letter is signed by Members of Congress, Ros-Lehtine, Bartlett, Gilchrest, Mario Diaz-Balart, Wolf, Wilson, King, Bordallo (from Guam,) Feeney, Boozman, McCotter and Lincoln Diaz-Balart.

Well, it is true that the Commissioners are considering the creation of a Union Mills Reservoir. As has been considered since the mid 1970s when the City of Westminster first proposed the reservoir.

As I wrote on February 28th, 2007 in my Westminster Eagle column titled, “Recalling when B's Coffee Shoppe was all abuzz:”

In line with expanding the city's water supplies, in the mid-1970s, plans were made for Westminster to build another reservoir, this one to be located on Big Pipe Creek in Union Mills.

When the $5 million dollar reservoir was presented to the public, the public rose up in arms saying the city did not need the water and that the project was a waste of ratepayer money.

By September 1976, the project was shelved.

History, of course, has proven that the council was correct in pursuing the project and we would be in a lot different position today if it had been allowed to go forward.

However, fast forwarding to today, the waters of the proposed reservoir will hardly come within a mile of the present day unmarked location of the “pumpkin patch” which now rests in an otherwise nondescript field.

The Carroll County officials who are in a decision making role in this matter are keenly, and personally, interested in preserving the integrity of the site of the “pumpkin papers” – so it is simply baffling as to how this matter got all wound around the axles of misinformation.

Why didn’t the gang of 12 Congressmen contact Carroll County officials before they sent the letter? Every member of Congress who did contact Carroll County officials did NOT send a letter.

Unfortunately another one of the Congressman who has been “had” in this saga was Congressman Roscoe Bartlett who wrote to the Carroll County Board of Commissioners on January 3rd, 2007.

Congressman Bartlett wrote in part:

“It is my hope that the Commissioners of Carroll County will value, even treasure, this very special farm, that you will do all in your power to keep it whole, and protect its integrity for this and future generations to study and know.”

And here lies the really bizarre part of the story. Contrary to what is being circulated, the Union Mills reservoir project will add another layer of historic protection to the site of the “pumpkin papers,” which is already in agricultural preservation -- and preserve the site in perpetuity.

This is a good thing. The county wants a watershed protection easement which will concurrently give the site addition historic protection.

Click Here to See a PDF of a County Map Depicting the Historic Chambers Farm in Relation to the Proposed Union Mills Reservoir

The “lake” area of the Union Mills reservoir will only encompass approximately 325 acres. The balance of the 2,200 acres needed by the County that surround the “lake” are for the purposes of watershed protection. The county commissioners have reported that the county already owns 1500 acres of the needed watershed protection area – to be preserved in perpetuity.

Nevertheless, in situations like the Chambers Pipe Creek Farm, where the county can get a watershed protection easement on the property, rather than purchasing it, this is a good thing.

This watershed protection will add an additional layer of protection for the historic “pumpkin papers” site, which again, is almost a mile from the waterline.

In a response to Congressman Bartlett’s January 3rd, 2007 letter, which he penned in addition to the gang of twelve Congressmen’s January 12, 2007 letter, the Carroll County Board of Commissioners wrote on January 18th, 2007:

“With regard to the Pipe Creek Farm specifically, Carroll County has no intention of negatively impacting the field identified as the location of the famed “pumpkin patch” and has designed the reservoir in a way that minimizes impacts on the balance of the farm. Indeed, the impact anticipated by the planned reservoir… is limited to the northeastern edge of the farm where the Pipe Creek stream crosses the property.

The Pipe Creek farm is already protected from future residential development by easement sold to the Maryland Agricultural land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) in 2001. Carroll County has no interest in acquiring Pipe Creek Farm land for the purpose of constructing the reservoir beyond… the ‘normal pool level.’ We estimate this direct impact on the Pipe Creek farm to equal roughly 15.5 acres. The balance of the farm, approximately 346.5 acres, remains undisturbed and under the full control and ownership of its present owner…”

On a final note, the Union Mills reservoir was needed and should have been built in the 1970s. The need for water in Carroll County has been a basic health, safety, and welfare concern for public officials in Carroll County since the terrible drought of 2002.

To not go forward with the Union Mills reservoir would be an abrogation of one of the basic responsibilities of elected officials to Carroll County’s citizens. NIMBYism and misinformation cannot prevail.

In their January 18th, 2007 letter, the Carroll County Board of commissioners wrote:

“The need for a surface water supply for communities in northern Carroll County is real. We also believe that protecting and preserving nationally recognized sites of historic significance and irreplaceable farmland is equally important to our local, state and national well being.

Our reservoir concept, with minimal impact to the Pipe Creek Farm, satisfies both of these fundamental principles of government: protecting our past while planning for our future.”

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