It's a fairy-tale end of school year for Owings Mills fourth-graders [Owings Mills]

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I hope everyone had a Happy Fourth of July as America celebrated her 237th birthday. As families enjoyed cookouts and fireworks, here's hoping they remembered America's past, including our Founding Fathers with the vision for a free country, and all the immigrants who sacrificed everything to travel to a new country for a better way of life. How fitting that the Statue of Liberty, damaged by Hurricane Sandy, was re-opened on July 4.

The Hippodrome Foundation, Inc. (hosted a book celebration for 40 fourth-grade students at Owings Mills Elementary School who participated in the educational program Bringing Enchanted Tales to Life. A week before the end of school, students had the chance to hear their class stories read aloud by their principal, Chester Scott. They even received their fairy tale in a hard-bound book from HFI.


The program was taught in connection with the Broadway musical "Disney's Beauty and the Beast" and included 280 fourth- through sixth-graders from seven schools in Baltimore city and county. Local businesses sponsored each school and T. Rowe Price was the proud sponsor of Owings Mills Elementary School.

Educators from the foundation held two in-school workshops focusing on the elements of a fairy tale, and then instruction on writing and illustrating a story. Then it was computer time to compile a finished product. These young writers used software from U Build a Book and the finished result was a hard-bound book that each student received. A permanent copy was also placed in the school library.


As an added bonus, all of the students attended a live performance of the musical at the Hippodrome Theatre of the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center.

The summer solstice was welcomed in a bit early by a NeighborSpace event at the home of Avram Reisner and Nina Beth Cardin on June 19. This third annual celebration occurs in a different area each year and friends of NeighborSpace get a chance to enjoy a leisurely evening with refreshments and conversations. Over 50 people attended this event this year.

Marsha McLaughlin discussed the URDL (urban rural demarcation line) which was established in 1967 and interestingly enough, ran through the property where the event was held. In the 1980s, open space areas were required of developers. Today, Smart Growth advocates open space preservation, and NeighborSpace is developing a strategic plan for preserving open space.

Many thanks to Barbara Hopkins, the executive director of NeighorSpace who does a phenomenal job in educating the community about the need for open space and land preservation. There is a survey on-line that residents are urged to complete that speaks to land conservation within the URDL. Visit to voice your opinions. Be sure to check out the photo gallery on the Solstice Celebration as well.

McDonogh School once again presents its Summer Carillon Recital series at Tagart Memorial Chapel. In its 35th year, these recitals are held on Friday evenings from 7-8 p.m., rain or shine. Locals have been attending for years, spreading blankets on the lawn and bringing picnic suppers. On July 12, Gerard deWaardt of The Netherlands will be the guest carillonneur. For information, call 410-363-0600.

Congratulations to the Hoff family of Owings Mills on the birth of their son, Herschel Thomas Hoff. The man-cub made his appearance on April 14, 2013 weighing 7 pounds, 14 ounces, and measuring 20 inches long. Proud parents are Geneva and Jamey Hoff, and Purslane Kate is excited to be a big sister! Proud grandparents are LeAnn and Mark Burlbaw and JT Hoff.

Happy 8th birthday to Makayla Elizabeth Freeman when she celebrates on July 22.

Her little sister, Katie, will surely help her open all those presents, and help her eat birthday cake, too!


Happy anniversary to Gloria and Ken Davidson on July 8 and Judy and Gary Beck on July 13. May both couples be blessed with many more happy years of marriage.

I hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful start to summertime and finding time to relax and have fun. There's lots of farmers markets around the area so stock up on local fresh produce while it's available.

Call with your special summer news; see you Aug. 8.