Lots to celebrate in February – groundhogs, freedom African American history

What? It is already February, dear readers?

February introduces African-American History (Black History) month.

February first is National Freedom Day.

Happy Groundhog Day on February 2. At 7:30 a.m. Punxsatawney Phil will emerge from a simulated tree trunk on Gobbler's Hill in Pennsylvania. If he sees his shadow, winter will continue; if not, spring is soon to arrive.

Big birthday wishes are extended to Kayla Layton (Feb. 3) now studying in Ireland. Happy wedding anniversary wishes to Bill and Donna Barker (Feb. 2).

February 4 is "Thank a mailman day". (I guess postal worker/employee would be more politically correct?) Thank you to all our postal employees at the Havre de Grace Post Office. You're great!

My local dentist, Dr. Kim Birchem, will like this notice – February is National Children's Dental Health Month.

February is Snack Food Month. Anyone in need may snack at Grace Place Serving Center at St. John's Episcopal Church, 114 N. Union Ave., 410-939-2107 for its regular Tuesday luncheon from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Feb. 5. Volunteers will provide a free, hot meal to those in need who enter.

Leaded gasoline was first sold Feb. 2, 1923. I'm certain that you have noticed the rise in gas prices once again.

In reflection, can you believe that February and Valentine's Day are already looming in the calendar year? Visit our local stores: Bomboy's Home Made Candies, 322 Market St. (410-939-2924) and Lyon's Pharmacy (328 St. John St., 410-939-4545), which are embellished with real and pink hearts, chocolates and valentines! Don't forget your sweetheart!

Brigitte Peter, at the Office of Tourism and I are making the parade list for the Feb. 12 Mardi Gras Parade, 6:30 p.m. down Bourbon Street from the high school, to Washington Street into downtown, ending on St. John and Warren streets at Legion Square and David Craig Park. Laissez les bons temps roulez and grab some beads. The party continues at downtown restaurants and taverns. If your group is interested in joining the parade, please contact Brigitte, 410-939-2100, or myself.

Feb. 6 is Babe Ruth's birthday. Babe Ruth visited Havre de Grace several times. One notable time was when he stayed at the Abraham Jarrett Thomas House (1834), then the Lafayette Hotel at 501 St. John St., until the early 1940s. Today this pale blue building is home to the Joseph L. Davis Post of the American Legion. Hit one out of the ballpark for me!

Feb. 7 is the anniversary of the tragic Baltimore fire in 1904 which decimated 70 city blocks in the business district.

Feb. 8 is Nirvana Day, named for the Buddhist state of peace and contentment.

Best wishes in Texas to Havre de Grace Main Street director Matt Kriegl. Havre de Grace Main Street's Arts By the Bay Gallery, 500B Warren St., will host a winter reception today (Friday, Feb. 1) 7 to 9 p.m. Regular gallery hours are Fridays and Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m., and Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m. Check it out!

Are you missing your flea market/yard sale fix? An indoor flea market will be held Feb. 9, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. (snow date Feb. 16) at Good Shepherd School, 800 Aiken Ave., Perryville. To rent table space ($20) or for information, phone Katie, 410-802-4302. Food and drink will be available for purchase.

Ah ha! Three cheers for Brigitte Peters and Patrick Sypolt for doing much of the fine tuned painting to enhance the decor of a newly expanded Havre de Grace Tourism Office, 450 Pennington Ave. Part of the expansion includes a special War of 1812 miniaturized map of Havre de Grace on the morning of May 3, 1813 before the British landed, seized and burned the city.

Cathy Vincenti with the Havre de Grace Chamber of Commerce informed me that the monthly chamber luncheon will be held Feb. 14 at 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Bayou Restaurant, on Route 40. The guest speaker is Lyle Sheldon, CEO of Upper Chesapeake Health System. Reserve by phoning 410-939-3303 or email hdegchamber1@comcast.net.

On Saturday, Jan. 12, the robotics team at Havre de Grace High School participated in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge (FTC) qualifier competition at the U.S. Naval Academy's Dahlgren Hall in Annapolis. The odds were stacked against this one member team, but that did not stop Tucker Barnes and team mentors Tim Corbin, Craig Kostyshyn and Shawna Ashman from stepping up to the challenge. Thanks in part to competition and the gracious professionalism of the other 27 participating teams, HHSTTC Team 4141 (Spears & Gears) persevered, ranking an impressive ninth after the qualifying rounds and progressing to the elimination round after being chosen as an alliance partner by a higher ranked team. In the end, despite a rousing performance, Team 4141's alliance came up two points short of advancing to the final round.

If this has inspired you to check out what FIRST robotics competitions are all about, you're in luck. HHS will be hosting an FTC qualifier on Saturday, Feb. 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend, free of charge. come witness the gracious professionalism and competition that can only be found at FIRST competitions. The first part of the day will consist of qualifying rounds, where 18 teams will demonstrate their problem solving skills while competing to advance into the final rounds, which will take place in the afternoon. Concessions will be offered by the HHS Sports Boosters. Contact 410-808-4256.

Time is wasting. Prepare that Mardi Gras parade costume now for Feb. 12. Keep me posted at 410-939-6562 or 226 N. Union Ave. See ya!

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