Old Catonsville: Imagination in full bloom for prom season

With Catonsville High School's Senior Prom only a few weeks away, several seniors at the school have taken an imaginative approach to popping the question for that certain someone to accompany them to the May 19 event at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront on Aliceanna Street.

Brady Stevens flew a toy helicopter that carried a sign which read "Prom?" into the classroom where the target of the question, Rachel Schwaab, was in class.

Luke Chetelat put a banner in the woods that said "PROM?" for Tara McDonald, then led her on a detour during track team practice for her to see it.

Duncan Berry decorated Hannah Jeffery's car with a balloons and a poem.

The After-Prom Party to offer a fun, safe and alcohol-free party for the students after the Senior Prom will be held at Dave & Buster's at Arundel Mills Mall.

This party is paid for by the PTSA-After Prom Committee. The group is still accepting donations. If you can held, contact Rita Hall at ritahall56@verizon.net or Kim Hendrix at kahendrix@msn.com.

Speaking of prom, seamstress Jeannie Furletti is busy this week hemming, sewing and altering dresses for the seniors at Mount de Sales Academy.

The dining room of her home in Patapsco Woods has been converted into "Sew Station Central" with dresses waiting to be picked up and for last-minute alterations.

The mother of three girls, said she loves to sew and the students love her sewing for them!

"She's the best," said senior Cara Dawson.

"When I was in fifth grade at St. Agnes (School), she sewed a dress for my American Girl doll that matched my St. Agnes uniform for my show and tell presentation," Dawson said. "How cool is that?"

Community service on the menu

Add Jodi Ferguson to the list of Catonsville fans of Jim Bower, the owner of the Frederick Road McDonald's.

"There is a sense among some folks that a little bit of a town's charm is lost every time a chain store or chain restaurant is opened. Those folks have not met Jim Bower," she wrote.

"Jim's efforts since buying that restaurant a few years ago have resulted in a cleaner, more comfortable environment and a greater focus on customer service," she wrote.

"But it's Jim himself who really makes our McDonald's special. My kids insist on going there just to see Jim. He walks the dining room to chat with his customers and always makes his restaurant feel like an extension of his home. He takes the time to ensure that my kids always get whatever Happy Meal toy they are looking for, even if it means digging through boxes in the back.

"When my 4-year-old daughter came there just to see a special Ronald McDonald visit, Jim personally escorted her to the front of the line because he knew how much it meant to her.

"When my 8-year-old daughter needed to interview a worker in the community for a school project, she chose Jim and he took time out of a very busy schedule to provide her with a thorough 30 minutes on a Sunday to talk to her about what he does, why he enjoys his work, and what he likes about Catonsville."

Jodi wrote that when Hurricane Irene knocked out power throughout Catonsville and she told Bower about the difficulty finding ice, he volunteered to get ice from his restaurant. He came through with a dozen bags, she wrote.

"Jim's generosity doesn't just stop with us," she wrote. "He provides a place for people to gather, opens his restaurant to the community for fundraisers, and works to make sure that everyone leaves happy and wants to come back.

"To us, Jim is the face of McDonald's and he and his store are a very welcome part of Catonsville."

Save date for Friends of Library meeting

The Friends of the Catonsville Library's annual meeting will feature Rachel-Ray Cleveland, art conservator and owner of Cleveland Conservation of Art on Paper Inc.

The company, which she started in 1995, offers services such as how to treat paper artifacts, needs-assessment surveys, preservation planning and disaster preparedness.

She has performed conservation treatments on a number of rare paper artifacts, including a Picasso lithograph, a parchment document signed by George Washington, Albert Einstein's letters and the earliest known manuscript on the aphorisms of Hypocrites.

Many people may not know that a lot of printed material that communicated culture and art was prepared on poor quality paper from which acid must be removed or the paper will deteriorate.

Those attending the Friends' May 17 meeting at 7 p.m. are encouraged to bring family letters, pictures, maps, diplomas or certificates that need preservation services for consultation.

The meeting in the downstairs meeting room at 1100 Frederick Road is free. Refreshments will be served.

For information, call the library at 410-.887-0951.

For information about Rachel-Ray Cleveland, go to http://www.conservationofpaper.com.

The Friends of the Catonsville Library, established in 1961, helps the Catonsville Library offer programs and services that are not covered by the library's tax supported budget, including children's programs, maintenance of the Catonsville Room, software for the children's interactive computer and funding for library amenities.

Warming up for spring

Birdhouse sculptor Bradford Sweet is the new director of Kaliedoscope Arts camp, a summertime camp for students in third through the eighth grades in its 12th year at Christian Temple Church.

The theme for this summer's camp is "Sculpting Birdhouses into Art."

The camp plans to refurbish bird houses and donate them to Catonsville Rails to Trails to create a natural art gallery for area walking trails, as well as provide homes for our feathered friends.

Donations of worn-out birdhouses, new birdhouses or kits, go to http://catonsvillerailstotrails.org or contact Karen Gatzke, director of "We Love Catonsville," one of the camp sponsors, at kgatzke@cbmove.com.

Spring sports parents wondering about athletic ball field grass cutting schedule now have a electronic source for information.

The Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks has a new website with the mowing crew's schedule for April through September.

Ball diamonds at parks, community centers and elementary school recreation centers are scheduled to be groomed and scarified on a rotating basis at least once a week, weather permitting. Go to http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/budfin/propertymanagement/mowingcycles.html.

The UPS delivery man in shorts who has become a mainstay along Frederick Road is Bill Trentler.

Bill has worked the Catonsville route for UPS for 11 years, delivering packages to businesses and residences one his Catonsville Frederick Road route for the last eight.

He drives 45-50 miles per day during his shift that begins at 8:30 a.m. and can lasts sometimes until 8 p.m.

When he's not working, he likes to ride his soft-tail Harley Davidson and to hang out with his 6-month-old granddaughter, Mackenzie.

The undefeated Mount St. Joseph High School tennis team recently returned from the Boys' DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships in Kentucky.

The Gaels finished seventh after beating the North Carolina and Georgia state champions, according to Coach Tom Hughes, and recently defeated Washington, D.C., power Gonzaga High.

"We have an extremely deep team," said Hughes, coach of the team for the past 10 years. "Seven of our players are ranked in the mid-Atlantic and three (juniors Jordan Portner and Tristan Boustany and senior Matt Bishop) are ranked nationally."

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