Earth tried four times to shake off the storm of the century WEST COLUMBIA


Talk about a wild week in Columbia, four earthquakes and a blizzard! Obviously, this is not normal and the question in everyone's mind is: What the heck is going on?

The snow we understand. Everyone who has lived in the area for any length of time knows that every once in a while we get walloped.

But the quakes are a different matter. They have a lot of people on edge, wondering if they are a warning of something bigger to come. The scientists assure us there is little to worry about, but they have difficulty explaining the sudden increase in the frequency of these small earthquakes in the Central Maryland region and in Columbia, in particular.

We'll all remember where we were, and what we doing, on the days the earthquakes rumbled through Columbia.

I wasn't home when the first two struck. But, on Sunday night, I was in the kitchen when there was a boom, and a bump, and the dishes in the dishwasher rattled slightly, and it was over. My wife felt it, too, and we had our suspicions.

It wasn't until the next morning we learned the details. It measured 2.7 on the Richter scale, slightly stronger than the 2.5 on Wednesday and the 2.0 on Friday. I slept through the smallest quake in the wee hours yesterday morning.

Since then, I haven't been able to stop humming the old Jerry Lee Lewis hit "Whole Lotta' Shaking Going On." Just nerves, I guess.

In reality, the quakes were little more than barely noticeable tremors, which would have gone completely unreported in more earthquake-prone parts of the county, and the much heralded blizzard actually fizzled in the Columbia area to little more than a real good snowstorm.

The quakes have given rise to a number of jokes. A non-Columbian colleague of mine noted, with a degree of smug amusement, that people can no longer say that Mr. Rouse's Columbia is a city without faults.

But the events of the past week provide all the necessary ingredients for a tale of near epic proportions. Add to the mix an active imagination, and you have everything needed to spin an amazing story that, some day, can be told to attentive, wide-eyed children and grandchildren.

And, I suspect that many people have cut the news clippings from the paper and saved them, just in case people won't believe them 20 or 30 years from now.

The Slayton House Camp of the Arts will hold an open house Sunday from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Camp of the Arts is a theatrical arts camp for children ages 7-15, which offers beginning, intermediate and advanced training in art, dance, music and theater.

Three sessions are scheduled: June 21-July 9, July 12-30 and Aug. 2-13. The classes run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

The Conservatory Camp, for advanced theatrical students, ages to 18, is now taking reservations for auditions to be held on May 1-2, from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For additional information on both camps, call 730-3987.

While on the subject of theater, a stage production of "The Music Man" will be presented at Centennial High School on April 1, 2 and 3. The cast of the musical comedy includes Harper's Choice resident Justin Parady in the roll of Winthrop. In supporting rolls are Longfellow Elementary School students Ashley Engleman, Vickie Gelfman, Rebecca Levine and Laura Stevens.

For information about tickets, please call 313-2856.

The Howard County Central Library is presenting "You and Me, Babe," a movement, music and story experience for children from 12 to 23 months, and their parents.

The program, offered by early-childhood specialist Susan Morris, will be held Friday from 10:15 a.m. to 10:35 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.

B6 To register, call the Central Library at 313-7880.

The Wilde Lake High School gym will be the scene of the Howard County Fuel Fund charity basketball game March 25 at 7 p.m.

Members of the Howard County government will test their court skills against a team from WMAR-TV, Channel 2. Special guests will include the Washington Bullets' Rick Moreland and County Executive Charles Ecker.

The tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for children under 12. All proceeds will go to provide assistance to the needy to help with their fuel bills.

For more information, call 691-5719.


The Florence Bain Senior Center will host the third annual Spring Craft Show on March 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The crafts show is presented by the Howard County Woodworkers Guild and will offer a wide variety of handcrafted items. There will also be numerous demonstrations by guild members.

For additional information, call 730-8178.


A reminder: The Columbia City Fair is rapidly approaching. This year, the event is scheduled for June 18, 19 and 20.

Booth space is limited, and those organizations and craftsmen interested in participating should call Connie Kraft at 715-3102 as soon as possible.

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