Highland/Fulton: Greater Highland Crossroads Association plan Jan. 10 meeting

The next meeting of the Greater Highland Crossroads Association will be Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. at St. Mark's Episcopal Church on Roue 216/Hall Shop Road in Highland. The planned discussion centers around the comprehensive rezoning and the General Plan.

Dan O'Leary, president of GHCA, pointed out the many Highland businesses that were mentioned in the recent Howard magazine's best-of competiton: Pro-Built Construction: Best; Serendipity: Best Clothing Boutique; Highland Groomery: Honorable Mention for pet grooming; Oaklawn Landscaping: Honorable Mention; Mark Brew Plumbing: Honorable Mention; Martial Arts classes: Honorable Mention; Little Builders Child Care: Honorable Mention; Highland Day: Honorable Mention for Annual Festival Event.

He also noted that, "if 'they' had a country butcher category, we know who would have won (Boarman's) and that our little local festival was second only to Wine in the Woods."

Not too shabby, eh? Congratulations to all that were recognized.

Robert Sheppard, the building supervisor and day chief at Fulton Elementary School, retired Dec. 19 After 15 years at the school. Congratulations for a job well done, sir. May your next great adventure be just as rewarding. The Fulton Elementary staff wishes him well as he begins this new chapter in his life.

Another new beginning at Fulton Elementary: Meghan Wyant, a special education teacher at Fulton Elementary, has a new member in her family: Nathaniel Chester Wyant. He came into the world Dec. 10. Both mom and Nathaniel are doing great. Congratulations to the happy parents (and grandparents).

Over at Lime Kiln Middle School, the Students of the Week for the week ending Dec. 16 included: Eric Hasegawa, Danielle Yu, Ellen Campbell, Jack Murphy, Sabrina Nagy, Bailey Schwab, Griffen Cinotti, Kyle Butts and Neil Amin.

At the Holiday Invitational track meet, Reservoir High School indoor track team members Lisa Horowitz, Adam Gartrell, Nina Ross, Anthony Grant, Terry Harper, Alex Alli and Danny Green all set "personal best" records and Tim Usher was named Reservoir Athlete of the Meet. Timmy is currently ranked as the No. 1 Howard County track athlete in the 800- and 500-meter events.

There are certain topics that I stay away from in this column: politics, the government (local and national), etc. But sometimes a topic arises that just begs for comment.

For example: the school board voted down a provision in the upcoming redistricting plan to allow rising fifth-graders to finish out their last year in their current school. I understand the arguments against this plan: school capacity, future redistricting plans.

But I think the board members who voted against this provision have forgotten what it was like to be a fourth-grade student. I suspect that most of these kids have been with the same group of kids since kindergarten or first grade.

Next school year, they will be yanked out of their comfort zone and "redistricted" into a new school. These kids won't be thinking about overcrowding, large class size, etc. They'll be thinking about how much they miss their friends and teachers from their old school.

I think the Board should revisit the provision by adding a choice clause: those rising fifth-graders who want to be redistricted into a new elementary school, can be; those that would prefer to remain in their current school, would be allowed. This is just my two cents worth.

Kendle Priestly, the communications and stewardship coordinator at St. John's Episcopal Church in Ellicott City, sent me a note about its "living crèche," on display at the church through Dec. 30. There is also a New Year's Eve service, "Service of Light for the New Year and Holy Eucharist" at 5 p.m. in the historic church and also a New Year's Day service celebrating the "Feast of the Holy Name" that starts at 10 a.m.

Happy New Year! Now that 2012 is just a couple days away, it's a good time to reflect on the past 365 days, kind of a "lessons learned" reflection: What went well? What didn't? What can be improved and how? Were there any surprises? How did you/didn't you handle them? Well, that's all for this week. Commit a random act of kindness. Look in on your neighbors. Say a prayer for our troops who remain in harm's way and remember their families, too.

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