Score one for the regular folks.

Instead of boarding up one of the truly terrific free attractions in the county, state crews are sprucing up "People's Park."

The popular dirt patch along Dorsey Road attracts families, dating couples and airplane buffs who bring blankets, folding chairs and hibachis to gawk at jets touching down at BWI.

The state had an understandable case of the jitters about people being close enough to the planes to read "Goodyear" on the tires. God forbid if some doot brain unfurled a kite or launched a radio-controlled plane in the glide path.

Duncan Henderson, of the Maryland Aviation Administration, acknowledged the popularity of the area and said he had no desire to have the police haul off families. But officials made noises about closing it off for good and even put up railroad ties to discourage parking.

That would have forced plane-watchers to the "safe" observation point on the other side of the glide path in Friendship Park, a notorious hang-out for perverts like "Nightie Man."

Given a choice between sucking in jet fumes and watching a creepo traipse about the forest in garments from Victoria's Secret, I'd inhale exhaust, too.

In the end, Henderson came through. Crews have erected permanent barriers along the edge of the park, but they also expanded and smoothedthe public access area. Signs and trash cans have been added.

Sure, it doesn't look like Quiet Waters or Downs Park, but for one briefmoment it appears as if government is following the wishes of regular folks instead of some stiff-necked set of rules.

The new park, which doesn't have an official name yet, will be open sunrise to sunset, beginning Saturday.


For five years, Richard Haefner Advertising has created images of McGarvey's Saloon & Oyster Bar in Annapolis through its offbeat ads.

The full-page, color ads appear each month on the back page of Annapolitan Magazine, portraying "a classy saloon, like a polished piece of furniture," saysagency president Richard Haefner.

Now the ads are getting some national attention.

A series of three McGarvey's ads is among the eight winners in Bartender Magazine's 7th Annual Tops in Publication (TIP) Awards.

One shows a smiling local priest about to dig into a big Sunday brunch at the saloon. The copy reads, "Huevos Rancheros andother temptations at McGarvey's Sunday Brunch."

A St. Patrick's Day promotion captures McGarvey's proprietor, Michael Ashford, playingbagpipes outside the restaurant. He's wearing a green hat and leading a hypnotized crew of snakes out the door.

The third ad focuses close-up on a hot, spicy dish of red beans and rice, a Monday luncheonspecial. An inset photo of a wimpy-looking customer in a 10-gallon hat is captioned with the guy's quote, "Not for Wimps!"

Haefner, who comes up with most of the ideas, says the first one five years ago set the tone for what would come.

That ad shows a long view of thebar, as if from the view of someone sitting behind the martini glassin the forefront. In the background, a bartender polishes a glass. In front of the bar stands proprietor Ashford, wearing a white dinner jacket and black tie.

The copy reads, "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."


Some things end with a bang, some with a whimper.

VideoLane, unfortunately, chose the latter course. Pity.

Video Lane was a tiny little video store in Glen Burnie, just across the street from the Sun Valley Shopping Center and adjacent to one of my favorite eating holes, the local Subway (where on Tuesday, you get two-for-onesandwiches. Some deal, huh?). It didn't offer the greatest selection, at $3 a pop it wasn't the cheapest venue around and it certainly never was crowded.

But it was convenient (for me, at least). And thefact that it never seemed extremely popular only made it more attractive -- every once in a while, I'd find a movie there that never seemed to be in at the local Blockbuster.

But now Video Lane is gone. Vanished. Without a peep. The doors are locked, the insides are empty-- not so much as a poster remains -- and the only evidence it ever existed are the sign outside and a plastic banner, complete with Santa Claus and Coca-Cola, proclaiming a holiday opening special. Even the gals at Subway say they never had a clue it was closing.

So whathappened, Video Lane? Did you move or vanish? And what happened to that poster behind the desk for "The Last Picture Show?"

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