Recently Forge residents attended the Rodgers Forge Community open meeting, held Sept. 12 at Rodgers Forge Elementary School.

The meeting involved the election of officers, but also some guest speakers. One of them, State Sen. Jim Brochin, shared his views on Question 7, regarding a new casino in Prince George's County.

Brochin said another casino would not only lower the tax rate on casino revenues, but it would also eliminate personal property tax for casino owners, while keeping it in place for other businesses.

He went on to say that although revenues from casinos are ostensibly provided for education, they are not always used for that. Revenues must be specifically earmarked for education to benefit, he said. Therefore, he said, he will vote "no."

Brochin also restated his support for a hybrid Baltimore County Board of Education — half appointed by the governor, half elected by voters.

County Councilman David Marks told residents that he has been assured that the request for air-conditioning at Dumbarton Middle School was a top priority for County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. Marks said it might take two or three years to implement, though.

Marks surprised everyone by presenting proclamations from the county to board member Jean Duvall and association President Jennifer Helfrich — both to recognize their tireless service to the community. Duvall's 41 years on the board were noted in the proclamation, and she was also recognized with a gift and a proclamation from the association.

Helfrich gave her "State of the Forge" address, recounting the board's accomplishments during the year. She said the board has enjoyed more open communication by employing its website and blog, and by publishing minutes online.

She said these areas of communication had been used in disseminating information on the Tree Rodgers Forge Committee, the board's work with vacant houses and in effecting better relations with Towson University, among others.

Jason Carter, who has conducted the association's elections for many years, came to the podium. This year half of the 23-member board was up for election, and Carter announced that the following were elected to the 2012-13 Rodgers Forge Community Board of Governors: Ginny Allen, Mike Calwell, Dave Crockett, Jean Duvall, Kate Glorioso, Eric Helfrich, Jennifer Helfrich, John Rinehart, Roxanne Rinehart, Del Schmidt, Stuart Sirota and Bryan Tillman.

On Sept. 15, our neighbors in Gaywood held their annual community picnic. The Gaywood Green was festooned with colorful tablecloths, games, lively music and lots of residents. The menu delighted all, and raves accompanied each dish.

Gaywood Association President Cindy Sommer opened the meeting by thanking those who made the picnic possible. Pat Palm coordinated the elements and produced a stunning afternoon. The silent auction included many fine items collected with the concerted efforts of Paige Fritze, Tricia Hayden, Elizabeth Heubeck, Claire Holmes and Erin Yaggy. Printing of raffle tickets was secured by Mary Pat Fitzgerald.

And Tom Scott was hailed for his efforts to maintain the Gaywood Green — it was a vision to behold due to his mowing, watering, weeding and watchful care all summer.

Sommer also thanked the retiring board members for their service — Johanna Biehler, Laura Koehler and Gary Smith.

The proposed slate of officers was unanimously accepted and the following members will serve on the 2012-13 Gaywood Community Association Board of Governors: Jim Fragetta, Paige Fritze, Sasha Harris, Tricia Hayden, Dawn Katz, Katie Krawczyk, Tom McFall, Pat Palm, Cindy Sommer, D'Arcy Talley, Rachel/Seth Vannatta, Janet Wagoner and Erin Yaggy.

"Variations on Brass" will fill Central Presbyterian Church, 7308 York Road, when the Clipper City Quintet entertains with classical, jazz and Broadway tunes. This talented and versatile group will open the 2012-13 Sundays at Central Concert Series on Oct. 7 at 3 p.m. The concert is free.

On Oct. 8, as we celebrate Columbus Day, let us remember the man who, 520 years ago, discovered America.

Till we meet again ...