St. Mark School is gearing up to show its Lions' pride in the Catonsville Fourth of July parade.
More than 75 Home and School Association volunteers have been busy planning, building, painting and putting on the final touches for the school's War of 1812-themed float. J.F. Brinker & Sons, a general contractor in Curtis Bay, is donating a flatbed vehicle for the parade.
"We have lots of families, alums and teachers pitching in," said Kelly Reichardt, the association president.
Kindergarten teacher Candie Morea, fourth-grade teacher Gerry Fromm and Michele Taylor, who teaches first grade, were among the school's faculty who shared their skills and abilities working on the float.
Last year, St. Mark's Noah's Ark float won first prize for best religious affiliation award.
Among those accompanying the float in this year's parade will be the three children of Catonsville residents Matt and Megan Regan. The two met as students at St. Mark and later married. Their three children, 9-year-old Garrett, 7-year-old Anna and 6-year-old Abbey will all be students at the school this fall.
Spirit of the Olympics
In the spirit of the 2012 Summer Olympics next month in London, the Rollingwood Swim Club team has adopted its own version of the games, a segment of which takes place each Friday morning during the team's legendary "Friday Funday Practices."
The 13-18 year-olds were divided into three countries: Sri Lanka, The Federated States of Micronesia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Nearly 30 athletes participate in the games in Friday morning.
"This is my eighth year at Rollingwood and it's my favorite summer series yet! Friday mornings in the summer are the highlight of my week," said Colleen Miller.
The goal is to complete the full 36-event schedule of the Summer Olympics, with sport modified for an aquatic environment
But the team members' involvement goes beyond competition. Swimmers researched their countries on their own time, have performed national anthems, created team flags, and even plan to tie-dye T-shirts in their team color.
"The Rollingwood Olympics are more intense than I ever could have imagined," said Jozy Herrick. "My team has fought hard. We are an Olympic and swimming family."
The team of head coach Joe Miller competes in Division I of the Central Maryland Swim League. It is made up of 203 girls and boys, ages 4-18.
Quiet after Sailabration
Among those who had a very hectic week during the recent Sailabration event in Baltimore was Oakdale resident Tim Ertel, a park ranger and member of the Fort McHenry Guard Fife and Drum Corps.
Ertel, who said his other titles include music coordinator and historic weapons supervisor, was among those who guided visitors around the national monument and historic shrine.
"As I walked into the quiet serene park yesterday, the fencing, rope lines, spot-a-pots, stages, were all gone," he wrote in an email after Baltimore's spectacular celebration had ended.
He said he thought about what it must have been like a day after the night-time bombardment nearly 98 years ago that marked one of the major victories for the new nation.
"As I talked to some visitors from Nebraska yesterday about the Battle of Baltimore and the birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner, a sense of calmness came over the water battery and fort," he wrote, "just as when the British left the Patapsco River September 14th, 1814."
Ertel, who has worked at the star-shaped fort at the end of Fort Avenue in South Baltimore since April 2011, said his favorite part of the weeklong Sailabration and events at the fort was meeting and hosting the dignitaries and sailors from the visiting ships.
"Crowds were enthusiastic, excited to be at the Fort," he wrote. "Our job was to make their visit memorable and safe in the hopes that they will visit again to learn the history and why the War of 1812 is so crucial to our past, present."
His two children, Seamus and Molly Ertel, are seasonal rangers for the summer at the fort as part of a National Park student program, he said.
They, and other student volunteers from Catonsville High School, fired cannon salutes as gunners as the ships came and went, worked with sailors from the USS Fort McHenry and participated in the filming of the "Today Show"with Al Roker, and WBAL-TV meteorologist Ava Marie.
He said the students met members of the Royal Marine Band, told them the history of the fort and even exchanged mementos with them.
He said Molly, a rising senior at Catonsville, was one of the social media photographers who captured the weekend event on film.
They also met several dignitaries and officers from the United States and around the world.
Rec programs lose a leader
Joe Daley, a longtime Catonsville Recreation and Parks Council leader, is retiring from the council's executive board of the Catonsville Rec & Parks Council.
He has served with dedication since 1987 on youth football, cheerleading and youth and adult lacrosse programs and was a determined advocate for numerous community recreation programs.
President of the Baltimore Lacrosse Club, he started the Catonsville Men's Lacrosse Program, chaired the Catonsville Stars Football Program, was president and vice president of the rec council.
An inaugural inductee to the Catonsville Recreation and Parks Hall of Fame, he was a member of the council's Scholarship Committee, Election Committee and Field Allocation Committee in addition to his participation on the 2005 Catonsville High School Turf Field Committee.
"His contributions have been great and (he) really always tried to accommodate everyone but also did what was best for the lacrosse club. He has been a valued volunteer to the CLC," said Andy Meyers, president of the Catonsville Lacrosse Club.
Daley's accomplishments also including the initiation of work to recondition the athletic fields at the Bloomsbury Community Center and at the Banneker Community Center.
Celebrating the big 5-0
On June 16, Orley Road residents Lou and Anne Weinkam were joined by a host of friends and family members in celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary at Matthew's 1600 restaurant on Frederick Road.
Helping them celebrate were the couple's three children: Lou Weinkam Jr. with his wife, Dawn, Mark Weinkam, and Jennifer and her husband, Mike Parrott.
They said what made the occasion even more special was the presence of their 13 grandchildren: Addy, Bailey, Cade, Cortlyn, Dexter, Dominick, Gretchen, Gus, Hunter, Jake, Luke, Treyton and Vinny.
Some of the wedding party joined the group: Tom Weinkam, who was best man; Susan Keller, who was maid of honor; bridesmaids Mary Joan Sacchetti, Mary Beth Getka and Kathleen Quinn Mahoney; Charles Paddy, who was usher; and Janet Kaczmarek, who was flower girl.
Anne Weinkam, who grew up on Dutton Avenue, and Lou, who lived on Cooks Lane, met while dancing at the Westowne Teen Center.
After gaining approval from her girlfriends, they became high school sweethearts.
She graduated from Trinity Preparatory High School and Towson State Teachers College while he graduated from Mount St. Joseph High School, the University of Baltimore, and the University of Baltimore School of Law.
They have lived their entire married lives in Catonsville and said they appreciate being able to raise their family in Catonsville.
Lou and his son, Lou Jr., practice law on Frederick Road.
Active in the community, the Weinkams enjoy family traditions, such as vacationing at Delaware's Bethany Beach, as well as traveling, golf and their many friends