It looks as if Elkridge is going to have to share the talents of longtime resident Mary Ann Evangelista with the state, now.

Mary Ann wowed a crowd of more that 600 on April 4 at the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts and won the title of 2012 Maryland Senior Idol, a contest hosted by the Prince George's County Department of Parks and Recreation.

Already crowned as the Howard County Senior Idol, Mary Ann and county runner-up Mary Ratcliffe represented the county at the state competition as two of 15 contestants eager to showcase their savvy vocal skills. Mary Ann impressed the audience with "You Raise Me Up" while playing the piano; Mary wooed them with "Stay Well" accompanied by the piano.

At the state finals in Bowie, each performer did an outstanding job and thrilled the audience with talent and charm. Vince Chapman, Cathy Johnson and Russ Margo, all local talented musicians, served as judges for the program. Contestants were judged on song selection, voice quality and tone, stage presence, ability to project and perform the lyrics and connection with the audience.


Submit a Letter to the Editor for the Laurel Leader, Columbia Flier and Howard County Times

Mary Ann was born and raised in Washington state and has lived in Elkridge for more than 20 years. She is an active member of both the Ellicott City and Elkridge senior centers. Second place in the state competition was awarded to Barbara Washington from Prince George's County.

Congratulations, Ladies!

Elkridge resident Christopher Vale has a nagging concern to share with his neighbors and friends. According to Vale, Elkridge (like many once rural areas) is under attack by overdevelopment with building sites, which are then sometimes given such inappropriate names as "Something (scenic, forest, sunset meadow, etc.) Overlook."

Of course, it is only a sales hype — a marketing ploy, if you will — for the sites don't overlook anything at all. The only true reference to any kind "overlook" would be the neglect of saving green space and the ruination of many county-designated "scenic country roads." These developments usually only "overlook" a plethora of cookie-cutter buildings, as the developers cram as many houses onto a piece of land as they possibly can with little regard for Mother Nature, save the County guidelines.

One such local "scenic overlook" has recently threatened an ancient cemetery. The Methodist Conference once had a chapel on Ilchester Road. It was known as Locust Chapel, thus named for either its building boards or the surrounding grove of locust trees.

There are about six graves located on this patch of Earth; two with prominent, readable headstones and some with footstones as well. One is the resting place of the great grandfather of a once prominent family of Landing Road — the Igleharts. The headstone bears the epitaph: To My Husband, William Iglehart. Born February 21, 1826. Died March 21, 1857.

Howard County is to be commended for recognizing and respecting burial sites such as this one. Furthermore, the County takes position by alerting builders and construction crews to avoid desecrating such areas by mandating their activity be kept at a respectful distance from the site(s). Such is the case with Locust Chapel.

The Iglehart family is working on a plan to preserve and beautify the overgrown cemetery. Hurdles must be cleared and money and time are an integral part in order to implement such a plan. The cemetery is now a tangle of weeds and log falls. There are plenty of fallen tree trunks that need to be removed, as well an overgrowth of rampant vines.

A suitable landscape plan might have a delineating fence or hedge with gravel paths and the internment sites could be graced with perennials, shrubbery and perhaps some soothing ornamental fixtures. Perhaps, then, such a historic final resting place could truly be an overlook, a nearby oasis for contemplation, relaxation and prayer.

Many cooperative approvals will be needed for this goal. It is not clear whether this vision will come to fruition, but as the Iglehart family turn their efforts toward preserving their ancestor's cemetery and creating a place of peace and solace, perhaps more effort in this vein could teach our children the importance of preserving history, and to show reverence for those that came and served before us. And, perhaps, they can ultimately take comfort in knowing that the same will be done unto them.

The Howard County Citizens Association will present its 51st annual meeting on Monday, May 14 at 7 p.m. at the Hawthorn Center, 6175 Sunny Spring in Columbia. The meeting will focus on hearing residents' concerns and suggestions about the County in such areas as growth, traffic and transportation, timely emergency medical care, the new General Plan, expansion of Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance, downtown Columbia, and the right to referendum, etc.

The collective input from the meeting will be forwarded to County officials for their review, along with a call for response and/or action in specific areas of concern. Refreshments will be served. For questions or comments please go to howardcountyhcca.org/contact-us/.

The Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department Junior Firefighters will sponsor a luau youth dance for ages 9-15 on Saturday, May 19, 7-10 p.m., at the fire hall, 6275 Old Washington Road. Tickets are available at the door for $10 per person with a maximum of 200 tickets sold. Food and beverages, which includes pizza, corn dogs, pretzels, nachos, candy, water and sodas, will also be for sale at the dance.

As always, the department enforces a "no exceptions" policy on appropriate behavior and dress code for its youth dances, and also mandates a strict adult sign-in/sign-out procedure for attendance.

For more information on the dance, call 410-761-6633 (and select option 5), or go to http://www.ElkridgeVFD.org.

Wishing a very happy Mother's Day to all the special women who are called "mom," or serve as a nurturing, guiding spirit. It doesn't matter whether you gave birth or achieved such the coveted role through adoption or foster care, so whether it is a role in theory or in practice, you are nothing short of amazing.

Jill Churchill once said that she had learned over the years there was no way to be a perfect mother but realized there was a million ways to be a good one. And, in a very compelling tribute to moms — and especially as we offer never ending prayers for world peace — are the words of E.M. Forster, "I am sure that if the mothers of various nations could meet, there would be no more wars."

Until next time, please pay it forward and practice random acts of kindness. Thanks and have a stellar week!