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News from Elkridge

Vale family gets pre-Halloween treat at 'Munster Mansion'

By Lisa Madera, lisamadera@verizon.net 410-796-8713

November 8, 2011

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Christopher and Sharon Vale recently returned from Texas where they visited with their son, Kevin, and his family. According to Chris, they attended the Texas State Fair, in Dalllas, during their visit and enjoy touring the home of Sandra and Charles McKee — otherwise known as the "Munster Mansion."

The McKees renovated their 5,824-square-foot house — they really live in it as their primary residence — to be an exact replica of the Munsters' gothic home-sweet-home at 1313 Mockingbird Lane from the 70-episide television series that ran originally on CBS from 1964 to 1966 and in syndicated reruns ever since.

People dressed in theme-appropriate costumes and authentic props from the TV show decorated the home, which is about 30 miles south of Dallas on the outskirts of Waxahachie. The show's main characters were depicted at the house, including Lily and Herman, son Eddie and, of course, what would The Munsters be without Grandpa! Pat Priest, the actress who played Marilyn on the TV show, was there as well, providing autographed pictures. What a blast from the past.

Howard Johnson, president of the Greater Elkridge Community Association, just announced that the GECA open meeting scheduled for Nov. 17 will be canceled to allow would-be attendees and other concerned citizens to focus on an important issue facing the community at large.

GECA is asking all members of the community to attend the Maryland Department of Transportation's Intermodal Workshop to be held that same night at 7 p.m. at Elkridge Landing Middle School. MDOT will present status updates on all the proposed sites. According to Johnson, GECA would like to remind the community that the association fully supports all the benefits the CSX Intermodal has to offer the state, but does not see a clear reason why the Hanover Road location, with such a high density of homes in such close proximity to the proposed site, should continue to be considered when there are other sites under consideration that would offer a substantially less invasive effect on residential areas.

"I'm asking you to sign this petition to help us reach our goal of 2,000 signatures. I care deeply about this cause and I hope you will support our efforts," Johnson said.

Getting involved empowers individuals to make a difference and can effect positive change through activism. Get connected with this cause, show you care about and are willing to take action to make Elkridge and Hanover a better place. Go to http://www.geca-elkridge.org and look up NoElkridgeIntermodal on Facebook for more information.

There's still time to get that swing thing going on! The Elkridge Furnace Inn's swing dance party is Saturday, Nov. 12 from 7 to 11 p.m. Learn the basic swing dance moves in the first hour from dance instructor, Carlos Pabon, from That's Dancing Ballroom and Dancesport Center, in Jessup. Then, with your newly mastered moves, dance the night away to the great sounds of Street Life. (Note: this is a change from the band Lovecraft that was originally expected to appear.)

Enjoy amazing hors d'oeuvres, a delicious carving station and decadent desserts, prepared by Elkridge's award-winning, historic Inn. One house drink is included in the price of the ticket and a cash bar will continue to offer libations and spirits throughout the evening.

Tickets are $61 per person (plus tax and gratuity) and can be purchased by calling Meredith Cook, director of marketing and special events, at 410-379-9336 or emailing her at meredith@elkridgefurnaceinn.com, or by going to http://www.elkridgefurnaceinn.com. Bring your friends for a fun night out.

Here's some news that really adds up. Eight students from Elkridge Landing Middle School participated in the 26th annual Maryland Math-a-Thon Oct. 29 at Meade Middle School and the school had multiple winners.

Yuxin Chen and Daniel Fraker won second and third place, respectively, for the High Flyer Invention; Zachary Sents won a fifth-place ribbon on the Swinging Time Invention and Richa Beher and Gavin Courtright earned fourth- and fifth-place ribbons, respectively, for their work on the Straw Bridge Invention.

In the first leg of the competition, students answered questions individually on a written test. Then, they participated in a group assignment with their school teammates to answer challenging, problem-solving questions.

The second part of the day involved mixed teams, comprised of math students from various school systems in the state. In this "Invention" round, the groups (which had never worked together prior to this event) were challenged with various engineering problems, and given only 20 minutes to solve them. To further challenge their ingenuity and resourcefulness, the teams were only provided such limited supplies as straws, cards, paper clips and paper.

Elkridge Landing Middle is very proud of all the students that represented the school in the Math-a-Thon.

In other Elkridge Landing news, Students of the Month are recognized for demonstrating a specific character trait, and the recognition helps students learn that "character isn't just something you're born with; it's how you choose to act."

Each month, Elkridge Landing Middle teachers nominate students from each grade who demonstrate the specific character trait of the month. The character trait for September was Respect and those students who demonstrated respect did so by consistently showing good manners, using positive language, following rules and appreciating the differences in others.

The Students of the Month for September are: Liam Gerst, Chris Hatfield, Yeseria Negron, Daivon Tolbert and Trish Tu, sixth grade; Shivani Amin, Matt Barnhouse, Matt Burnstein, Ajah Ragler and Sahin Raina, seventh grade; and Grace Elekwachi, Jennifer Fioretti, Dylan Johnston, Sean Lillis and Paige Sullivan, eighth grade.

The character trait for October was Responsibility. These students were selected for always doing what needs to be done, are consistently reliable and dependable, and diligently exercise self-control.

The Student of the Month for October were: Nina Bundy, Zachary El-Leithy, Maddie Goller, Kara Shedleski and Henrik Struck, sixth grade; Najya Ahsen, Lyndsey Brown, Lorenzo DeCampo, Emily Hawkins and Ryan Simmons, seventh grade; and Berit Batterton, Sidonie Brown, Nhu Chau, Joseph Lockard and Alyssa McGovern, eighth grade. Congratulations to all of these deserving students.

At Elkridge Elementary School, there is some impressive work to be acknowledged. Lorena Riesett, the principal's secretary, said the students have taken on the "mission" to do their part to support our military troops. As part of the "Wee Deliver" Post Office Program, which began in 1994, the children at Elkridge Elementary have been writing to the men and women serving our military abroad. In the beginning stages of the project, their letters went to Bosnia and now, they are sending love and support to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. In return, the children — much to their delight and excitement — have received many thank you notes and letters of appreciation from the troops overseas.

Most recently, the students had a visit from Lt. Col. Omar Jones, who showed up in person to thank the children for their letters. Also, Elkridge Elementary received a flag from Brian Hoff, who served in Afghanistan, and whom the children also wrote to for the pasts few years.

The gifted flag flew in a mission in Afghanistan in honor of the students from Elkridge who send the best they have to offer these young men and women so far from home.

This simple writing lesson to our brave military personnel has become a lifelong lesson the children will carry throughout their lives.

In other Elkridge Elementary news, the PTA Holiday Shoppe will be held in plenty of time for holiday shopping in the school gym. The PTA is seeking crafters and vendors for this fun event. Email Darcy at tonyanddarcy@verizon.net for more information or to participate.

The Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department's Junior Firefighters will sponsor a "sports" dance for youth ages 9-15 Nov. 19 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the EVFD fire hall, 6275 Old Washington Road.

Be a fan and wear your favorite sports apparel. Tickets are available at the door for $10 and a maximum of 200 tickets sold. Food and beverages (pizza, corn dogs, pretzels, nachos, candy, water and sodas) will also be sold at the dance.

The department has a "no exceptions" policy on appropriate behavior and dress code for its youth dances and also enforces a strict adult sign-in/sign-out procedure for attendance.

For more information, call 410-761-6633 (Option 5), or go to http://www.ElkridgeVFD.org.

As we approach the season of gratitude, please remember the Elkridge Food Pantry and the convenient drop off box at the Elkridge Branch Library. Please keep in touch and let me know what you'd like to share in this space. I always look forward to hearing from the great friends and neighbors of Elkridge and Hanover. Thanks and have a stellar week!