Salon owner wins contest with Mother Nature [Old Town Laurel]

Having passion for a project is one thing. The ability to bring it to fruition is a task unto itself. In a building just off of Main Street, Alison Harper took a leap of faith, leased retail space and set about designing several combined areas that would become PREP, a preparatory salon. Opening day was not far in the future. However Mother Nature had other plans.

On Sept. 30, 2015, a micro burst tornado hit the building at 101 Washington Blvd., peeling back the roof and seemingly decimating the nearly finished endeavor. Standing on the ground floor of the structure, you could gaze toward the ceiling, and see sky.


New equipment, with a value of $30,000, was ruined. Closed for more than a few months, most would have quit. Thrown in the towel and walked away. Alison didn't. She gathered her wits, regrouped and started over.

Finally, she finished what she had envisioned, and launched the new retail endeavor for a second time. While there is still some work to complete, she has her eyes set on the prize. Welcome to Old Town.

If you follow this space in the Leader, you will recognize the name of Regina Watts Smith. Answering to a number of names, Mom, aunt and grandmother among them, it's an honor to call her my friend. The still-active senior citizen who seems to never tire celebrated her 98th birthday March 29. She shows no sign of slowing down. Happy birthday!

Jeffrey Palumbo, principal and president of St. Vincent Pallotti High School, recently announced the retirement of Nina Gass, who most recently served the school as assistant director of advancement.

A member of the staff since 1990, she first worked as attendance secretary and snack bar manager. After filling a number of positions that included secretary to the dean of students and book room manager, she landed her current role in 2003. Nina is credited with serving not only current students, but also alumni, while helping to maintain the continued success of the high school.

Never one to leave a task undone, she managed the annual fund and oversaw the fundraising Spring Gala and annual Crab Feasts. The long-tenured staff member has plans to travel and spend time enjoying her granddaughter.

Six-year-old Kennedy Abarca was recently crowned International Junior Miss Maryland Junior Princess. The new member of royalty is a student at Thomas G. Pullen Creative Arts Academy. She recently showed a piece of art she created in the Prince George's County Public School Art Exhibit. Not one to rest on accolades, the youngster started a quarterly food drive at her school, known as Kennedy Kares. No doubt we haven't heard the last from this obviously caring youngster.

Laurel Senior Friendship Club, 7120 Contee Road, will host a Flea Market and Bake Sale on Saturday, April 30, beginning at 9 a.m. Rain or shine. Tables are available. Call 301-206-3380 for details.