West Friendship: Janet McKegg was a friend to friend to nature and a friend to all

A bright light was dimmed March 9 when long time West Friendship resident Janet McKegg died.

In recent years, Janet had resided at Elternhaus Assisted Living, in Dayton. Janet is survived by her devoted husband of 31 years, Al McKegg, and her loving daughter, Gillian McKegg, as well as her brothers, Barry and Gary Sponaugle, a sister, Harlie Sponaugle, and her mother, Ennis Sponaugle.

Janet, was a vibrant spirit, a loving and dedicated wife and mother and an active community minded and naturalist at heart and will be sorely missed. She was a nature lover who adored horses and rode before the age of 2, Al said.

"For part of her working life, she arose every morning at 5 a.m. to complete barn chores before commuting to her office to arrive at 8 a.m.," Al said.

Janet held a Bachelor of Science in wildlife biology and proudly claimed the honor of being the first woman wildlife biologist to be hired by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Janet worked at the Department of Natural Resources for 28 years.

Too early in her life, Janet was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease in 2005. In her declining years, Janet was cared for at home by her devoted and loving husband.

Janet will be remembered for her love of family, her love of wildlife and nature and its conservancy and her passion for horses which she shared with her daughter Gillian.

The organizations which embodied Janet's love of life on this earth include The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, The Sierra Club and the Nature Conservancy. This lovely woman will be missed.

Loads of kudos are due to local kids who have made us all proud. Glenwood Middle School sixth-grader Mitchell Feaga was the grand prize winner at a chili cook-off competition March 11 at First Presbyterian Church. Mitchell's chili garnered more than ooh's and aah's for its tasty delights. In fact, Mitchell landed the most "tips" for his chili with a grand total of $1,323, earning $200 more in tips than any of the other contestants.

The money earned from his spicy chili will go to Bridges to Housing Stability an organization aimed at assisting the homeless. Ultimately the church consortium chili contestants earned $6500 for the charity. Mitchell was thrilled with the honor and wore the "ceremonial" sombrero to mark his effort.

Congratulations to Mitchell on his award-winning chili.

More congratulations are in order for West Friendship Elementary fifth-grade student Hanna Al-Kowsi, who was the runner-up at the Howard County spelling bee March 9 at Reservoir High School. Hanna competed with students in grades 4-8 and was only eliminated after the word "fenestrate.

As runner-up, Hanna will be Howard County's alternate at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, in Washington, in late May. After studying more than 1,300 words, Hanna is thrilled to have won trophies for herself and for West Friendship Elementary, a $750 college scholarship and a Merriam Webster Dictionary. Congratulations, Hanna.

Paris Couture is coming to Glenwood. Prom gowns and formal dresses from Paris Couture Collections will be sold a huge discount March 25 from 1 to 6 p.m. at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church near Union Chapel Road off of Route 97, in Glenwood, to support the Glenelg High School Marching Unit.

According to the organizers, there will be a variety of independent vendors also selling jewelry, natural skin care products, purses and more. Prom coming up? Wedding dates? Springtime frolics? Come out and select your outfit and help support the Glenelg High School Marching Unit.

There are 10 days left to join Curves of Glenelg, 3900 Ten Oaks Road, with a free membership offer that has been extended through March 31. The no-fee membership is offered to those who bring in a bag of food for FISH of Howard County, our area food bank. Suzy Hill is always on the cusp when it comes to fitness. but even more so with all of the community service events which are held at her branch of Curves.

On April 7, Hill will be among the hostesses serving up baked goods galore. The bake sale is set for 8:30 a.m. until noon and will include outdoor plants, Curves signature chocolate Bunny Boxes and an assortment of Easter candies. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the Western Howard County Relay for Life Survivor Reception.

Mark your calendar for a special event at the Howard County Historical Society March 25 at 2 p.m. Author Jehanne Wake, who has written a book titled "Sisters of Fortune - America's Caton Sisters at Home and Abroad," will sign copies of her historical work which centers on the Caton sisters who were the granddaughters of Charles Carroll of Carrollton and Doughoregan Manor.

Marianne, Bess and Louisa were known as the "Three American Graces" and captivated European royalty. Emily Caton McTavish lived in the Folly Quarter House which is located at the Shrine of St. Anthony on Folly Quarter Road. The book is based on personal correspondence and is a wonderful, intimate biography of the Carroll family with a fascinating glimpse of the life and times of that era.

Refreshments will be served during this event. The Historical Society is at 8328 Court Ave., in historic Ellicott City.

Questions? Call the Historical Society at 410-480-3250 or go to the website at http://www.hchsmd.org/events. Those who wish to reserve a copy of the book for purchase and signing may do so by calling the above number.

Don't forget to keep the Sunshine and Clovers 4-H Club in mind when spring cleaning finds you culling the basement, barn, garage or garden shed. The local 4-H kids have aligned with the great grandfather of two of the club members in a bicycle collection project.

Ernest Schrider, of Berkley Springs, W.Va., the great-grandfather of local girls Dakota and Raelyn Spahr, has agreed to repair and reclaim any bicycles the club membership collects. Schrider will deliver the refurbished bikes to kids in need in the Appalachian area. New and used bikes are great as are any old bike parts and new helmets.

The 4-H club members will accept the bikes at the Howard County fairgrounds March 31 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Signs posted as " Miles of Smiles" will direct donors to the designated collection area.

Mark your calendar for another great classic musical, "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," which is being performed at Marriotts Ridge High School Thursday-Saturday, March 22- 24 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 25 at 3 p.m.

The musical is set to hit the stage at Marriotts Ridge High with a cast of talented music and drama students. Favorite musical numbers include "The Company Way," "Been a Long Day" and the beloved "I Believe in You."

Kids bargains from head to toe. The Kids Nearly New Sale comes to the Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship Saturday, March 24 from 8 a.m. to noon.

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