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Howard County Times
Howard County

More than 100 Baltimore-area businesses post job openings for displaced Ellicott City workers

After seven years working at the Diamondback Tavern and Portalli's in Old Ellicott City, Mikey Tyler settled in behind a new bar this weekend for his first shifts at Nottingham's in Columbia.

Tyler was hired at Nottingham's after the floods displaced him and many others from their jobs.

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Familiar faces helped reduce the stress of the new bartending job: He had worked previously at Nottingham's as a bouncer, and many of his Ellicott City regulars had followed him to Columbia.

"The customers are all displaced as well," Tyler said. "They're supporting the different bartenders and servers."

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More than 100 bars, restaurants, catering services and other businesses around the Baltimore area posted openings for servers, bartenders, chefs and other service industry positions in a Facebook group called "Keep Ellicott City Working." Many planned to attend a job fair at 10 a.m. Monday at the Howard County Senior Center in Ellicott City.

Residents, business owners and property owners, who have been given only limited access to their buildings out of concern for safety, will be allowed back for extended cleanup from noon to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman announced Sunday night.

More than $200,000 has been raised in the week since the flood July 30 and is being distributed to those affected, the Ellicott City Partnership announced Sunday.

The partnership, a Main Street group dedicated to the preservation and vitality of Historic Ellicott City, has set a goal of $500,000 by the end of August. All the money collected will go directly to affected residents, merchants and property owners, the group said.

"We want to help the most amount of people as fast as possible," said Maureen Sweeney Smith, the executive director. "Our residents have lost their homes. Our merchants have lost their livelihoods. We're acting quickly to ensure that people start to receive what they need as soon as possible."

The donations have come from citizens and companies across the region, with some restaurants, breweries and other businesses holding fundraisers.

Some of the money has been distributed in the form of $100 check cards to purchase cleanup supplies, clothes and other necessities. The Ellicott City Partnership set up a grant program Saturday to distribute larger sums to residents and business owners in need of assistance.

Debbie Slack Katz, chair of the Historic Ellicott City Flood Workgroup and a vice president of the Ellicott City Partnership, said the area is beginning to recover.

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"It's slow but residents are able to get in a little bit more each day," Katz said. "People are starting to make some plans about the future."

"One step at a time," she said. "That's all we can do."

Tyler, 33, lives in Catonsville with his wife and baby. He said he had helped open the Ghost Bar above Portalli's just three months ago.

"We were just getting into the swing of things when this happened," he said.

Tyler said his return to Nottingham's is fitting because he met his wife while working there. But he isn't relinquishing his involvement in Ellicott City.

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Although the kitchen, dining room and entrance to Portalli's were destroyed, he said, the Ghost Bar itself wasn't damaged in the flood. Once the area is restored, he plans to return in some capacity, even if he keeps some shifts at Nottingham's.

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"I've been there so long, and they've helped me out over the years," he said. "I'll get back in there and help them get back up to speed."

The disaster response — from people's efforts to keep each other safe during the flooding to the donations and job postings that have rolled in afterward — has been heartening, Tyler said.

"It gave you more hope in the human spirit when you see everyone band together and everyone looking out for each other," he said.

"That's the biggest thing to pay attention to. The community banded together. It's refreshing to see, a shining point in an otherwise terrible moment."

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

twitter.com/cmcampbell6


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