Thanksgiving riot shows dangers at Maryland mental hospitals

West Laurel native is NBC embed on Newt Gingrich's campaign trail

I was watching the Republican debate on television last week when I heard a familiar voice and saw a familiar face. It's kind of a weird experience seeing someone you know on TV, just like the time I heard my daughter's voice on the television, looked up and there she was on a commercial. This time, it was Alex Moe. She was on NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams. After the debate, the show featured its NBC Campaign 2012 embeds. The embeds, a name taken from a military term, are a group of eight young reporters selected to cover the candidates on the campaign trail. The selection process was very rigorous and Alex outshined many other young people vying for the job. Her assignment was to cover Republican candidate Newt Gingrich. The embeds are on duty 24/7 so they are always on the run chasing after their candidates and getting the scoop for NBC. It just happened to be Alex's birthday on Jan. 17 and Gingrich wished her a happy birthday. When asked what Alex thought was a necessity on the job, she pointed out that it was coffee. If you would like to see the clip online, go to http://www.rockcenter.msnbc.msn.com and find Decision 2012: Meet the NBC News Campaign Embeds. Alex is the daughter of Brian and Joann Moe. Congratulations, Alex.

I was driving home from Old Town on Sunday and decided to stop in and see for myself what the Double Dipper Ice Cream Parlor and Cafe on Montgomery Street was all about. I thought it was fantastic to have a little place close by that you could take your kids for ice cream. But I found out that it's much more than that. Inside, It looked like an ice cream parlor with the charming neon pink walls and small parlor-type tables and chairs, but I was distracted by the aroma of the fresh-brewed Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company coffee, which is a local company that supports Chesapeake Bay environmental projects. On the menu were muffins, soups, sandwiches, coffee, specialty lattes, milkshakes, ice cream sundaes, ice cream cones, smoothies and more. They have a selection of about 30 flavors. Owners Angie and Robert Crowell run the business themselves seven days a week. Soon there will be a boardwalk-like deck around the building for outside enjoyment of morning coffee, lunch or dripping ice cream cones. I can see families driving the very short distance to the Double Dipper Ice Cream Parlor and Cafe for ice cream treats after a West Laurel Swim Team meet on a Saturday afternoon in the summer. Support this local mom-and-pop business and check it out. It's your excuse to treat yourself to a homemade milkshake.

Congratulations to the Bond Mill Elementary students and artists who were selected by the Ladies Auxiliary Fire Prevention Committee for the 2011 Fire Prevention Poster Award. First place was awarded to Taylor Baucum, second place to Sara Dollen, third place to Taylor McKenna and honorable mention to Dylhan Flores.

Reminder for seniors: Tickets are going fast for the Laurel-Beltsville Senior Activity Center Valentine's Day Dance on Feb. 14. Stop by "the club" at 7120 Contee Road (next to the hospital) to pick up your tickets.

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