Elkridge: Ready, set pull! Annual Garlic Mustard Challenge returns May 6

I'm sure you join me in welcoming May with open arms! Well, I've been telling you about this for weeks now, and it's finally here. This weekend is the Patapsco Heritage Greenway's 13th annual Garlic Mustard Challenge.

Join this one-of-a-kind event on Sunday, May 6 from 1 to 4:30 p.m. in the Orange Grove Area of Patapsco State Park, which centers on a garlic mustard-pulling contest. The PHG has made a regular celebration out of this yearly battle with the invasive garlic mustard, and the event features a chef contest, old-fashioned games, music by Elkridge's own Sam "the Muleman" Miller, a watershed scavenger hunt, environmental exhibits and more. For additional information, or a last-minute offer to volunteer, email Betsy McMillion at patapscofriend@gmail.com.

In other PHG news, the group's annual meeting on April 10 honored Greenway member Jon Merryman as the "2012 Patapsco Heritage Greenway Volunteer of the Year." His teamwork and tenacity is a tremendous asset to the organization, as is evident in his ongoing participation and tireless efforts on behalf of the PHG and Mother Earth.

Merryman, a Catonsville resident, works at Lockheed Martin in Hanover and serves as a PHG stream watcher in the Elkridge area. His first cleanup took place with the organization along Bull Run at CCBC—Catonsville campus, and he obviously discovered a passion for the volunteer work, and joined other cleanups, including a section of Deep Run along Race Road in Hanover.

He often bikes to work, traveling along a section of the Patapsco Heritage Trail along Race Road. In his travels, he discovered tons of debris along this scenic, yet somewhat forgotten, road where dumpers often illegally dispose of trash.

His discoveries called him to become a stream watcher, and he hasn't slowed down since, covering the additional areas of Deep Run and Piney Run. He has been instrumental in setting up group cleanups and recruiting co-workers in the process. His self-appointed efforts in Anne Arundel County soon expanded to include the Hanover/Elkridge area, specifically along Race Road.

Merryman is one of PHG's original CSIs — Creek Scene Investigators — and discovered yet another pile of recently dumped debris and found junk mail with an address. He contacted the resident and explained that he was going to report them to the police for littering. The homeowner explained that she had hired someone to haul junk from her home and provided that contact information. Merryman proceeded to contact the company and warned the owner of his discovery and also filed a report with the police. Yes, an extreme case, but this particular CSI stream watcher has a drive and determination second to none!

In 2011 alone, Merryman was responsible for removing more than 15,000 pounds of trash and junk from the Patapsco River watershed, and even convinced his co-workers to donate more than $500 to defray the cost of cleanup supplies and join his efforts. You can see photos of the group's cleanup efforts at patapscofriend.smugmug.com.

In addition to his efforts on behalf of the Patapsco Heritage Greenway, Jon always offers a great sense of humor, grim determination, tireless effort, and is always willing to lend a hand. Above all, he is proof positive that one person really can make a difference. Congratulations on this well deserved award, Jon!

According to McMillion, the PHG has had more than 8,000 volunteers participate in various programs and events since 2006. Because of their efforts, the organization has been able to accomplish so much with so little. PHG is proud to acknowledge key volunteers who contribute a great deal of time and energy to help accomplish the group's goals and objectives. These are individuals who have spent anywhere from 50 to 300 hours of volunteer service in the past three years, to preserve, protect and enhance the history, heritage and natural resources of the Patapsco River Valley.

These individuals include board members: Jim Apgar, Lisa Baum, Max Buffington, Paul Farragut, Guy Hager, Dennis Hodge, Ronald Hogg, Cathy Hudson, Grace Kubofcik, Gary Maule, Ken Mays, Lucy McKean, Matthew Morgal, Lee Moser, Pat Hatton, Steve Schreiner, Tim Titus, Kit Valentine, Charles Wagandt, Lisa Wingate and Kathy Younkin.

Also, in recognition of the following PHG members and volunteers: Alan Berlin, Kellie Carlisle, Peggy Clark, Carol Curley, Bruce Donoghue & family, Vickie Fletcher, Rob and Marion Flint, Jennifer Furman, Jennifer Griffith, Eric Jacques, Susan Koches, Kyle Koho, Jeff Klein, Ed Lilly, Lori Lilley, Debby Luquette, Pete McCallum, Betsy McMillon, Jon Merryman, Michele Monde, Josh Oliver and family, Jamie Petrucci, Connie Regan-Alexander, Doug Retzler, Brian and Carolyn Schexnayder, Sonja Schmitz, Theresa Spliedt, Kathy Swan, John Teichmoeller, Joe Wickless and Jim Williams.

The Patapsco Heritage Greenway truly values the many wonderful volunteers who are making a big difference in the Patapsco River Valley.

You're invited to join the Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department as it hosts its all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast on Sunday, May 6th, 7:30-11 a.m. The menu includes pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries, baked apples, toast, chipped beef, sausage gravy, fruit salad, cold cereal, coffee, hot tea, milk and juices. Adults $8; seniors (55 and older) $7; children (5-12) $5 and those younger than 5 can eat for free. Baked goods will also be available for sale.

So start your first Sunday in May catching up with neighbors and friends over some great homemade food. For more information, call 410-761-6633 ext 4 or 410-313-4901.

The Elkridge Heritage Society invites you to an exciting program as they present "Sports History in Elkridge" on Tuesday, May 8, 7 p.m., at the Brumbaugh House, 5825 Main St. This panel presentation will feature Elkridge natives Doug Anderson, Doug Duvall, Larry Miller, John Merson and George Petrlik. Merson and Petrlik will present on the early days of baseball in Elkridge; Anderson and Miller will discuss how lacrosse came to Howard County; and DuVall will serve as the panel commentator.

Stuart Kohn, of the Howard County Citizens Association, would like to extend an invitation to the HCCA's 51st annual meeting on Monday, May 14, 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, go to howardcountyhcca.org/contact-us/.

A reminder that the Elkridge Elementary School's annual Field Day is May 30 and the faculty and staff are calling for volunteers from the community, especially former Elkridge Elementary students who may want to earn community service hours.

Field Day begins with the third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students participating in a wide variety of games and sports from 9:30-11:30 a.m.; kindergarteners and first- and second-graders will have their field day fun from 12:30-3:30 p.m.

Anyone wishing to volunteer on behalf of the Elkridge Elementary Field Day, should contact the school at 410-313-5006, and ask for Conrad Brookhart, Lawrence Books or Rob Abramson.

That's all for this week, but keep those emails coming! If you've got anything to share with your friends and neighbors in the Neighborhood View, I'd love to hear about it and pass it on. Until next time, please pay it forward and practice random acts of kindness. Thanks and have a stellar week!

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