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Savage Fest: Your opinions are sought to make it even better NORTH LAUREL/SAVAGE


The last meeting of the Savage Community Association was devoted to a critique of Savage Fest. All the receipts and bills hadn't come yet, so as of the meeting two weeks ago, no one knew how the Fest had done financially.

However, everyone has suggestions for improvements and changes. Bill Waff, the president of the organization, is looking for community feedback to help plan a better festival for next year.

Should there have been more food or less or different types? Did you like the parade? Again, should the parade be changed in any way: longer, later in the day, a different route, more community organizations participating, more or fewer floats? Which rides did you and your children enjoy most? This year fewer people rode the carousel. Should there be one next year or should we look for another ride?

How about the vendors? Should there be more of them, fewer, more crafts people or more service booths? Did you like the moon bounce? How about the entertainment? Do you like the mix of professional and amateur performances?

The festival is run entirely by volunteers who, except on rare occasions, are glad to give their time, energy and smarts to running a party for everyone, from toddlers to octoge narians.

So how about helping them out by telling the organizers what you liked, and what you'd like to see changed. It'll cost you 29 cents to mail your opinions to SCA, Post Office Box 22, Savage, Md. 20763. Or call me at (301) 776-6796 and I'll forward the comments.

The state came through with a grant last year to help restore the roof of Carroll Baldwin Hall, the lovely stone auditorium on Baltimore Street in Savage. However, the community has to come up with $3,000 in matching funds.

To that end, the Carroll Baldwin Hall board decided to sell copies of a video produced by Howard County Cable, which featured Savage and many of the inhabitants.

There were some legal, some political and some technical difficulties. But that is all in the past. Thanks to the good offices of County Councilwoman Shane Pendergrass and to board member Warren Williams, 60 videotapes are here.

Mr. Williams had 60 copies made by Video Services of Elkridge. "They treated us well because we're nonprofit," he said.

No word on how much the videos will sell for until the board meets. But I'll keep you posted.

Demographers tell us that there is a trend toward entrepreneurship and working at home.

Many are like Melissa Simmens, a young mother who started the Mother's Exchange newsletter from her home in order to be near her toddlers.

Not everyone who does this has children at home, of course. Sharon Marshall began her home-based operation, Business Support Systems, two years ago when she realized she'd rarely seen her new husband one month.

She was working full time and going to school part time. She also did volunteer work with women in recovery at Reality, a Laurel-based program. Her husband, who works at NASA, worked an odd schedule.

It was either run a marriage through notes left on the refrigerator or adjust the schedules. Ms. Marshall chose to adjust the schedule.

While she had enjoyed working for Arbitron, she realized that she "enjoyed variety, working with different people, at different jobs. There wasn't a lot of challenge, growth or learning in what I was doing. I was doing it by rote."

When she and her husband bought a new house in North Laurel, she went to work for herself, offering bookkeeping (the only word English with three consecutive pairs of double letters) and other office services to small businesses.

Her clients were often construction-related shops that didn't need the services of a full-time bookkeeper but needed to have receipts and orders entered into the ledgers.

Sometimes she got receipts handed to her in a shoe box, but she has recently branched out into helping maintenance and construction companies bid contracts.

Recently, she was called in by a small manufacturing company when a programmer somehow destroyed a data base, forcing the client to stop production.

"It was a challenge," Ms. Marshall said. "But I fixed the problem, and I gave them a spreadsheet. Now all they have to do is the data entry.They are back in business."

Her most interesting contract so far has been one from a 70-year-old man who gave Ms. Marshall his mother's journal and assorted family letters, and asked her to organize the material in novel form.

The man's mother had kept the journal during World War II when her five sons went to war. "I couldn't turn it down," she said.

Her new work schedule gives her time to continue her studies, see her husband, volunteer at Reality, and enjoy the lovely house she and her husband bought. Her clients get to devote their energies to developing their own businesses, not to running an office. Kind of works out nicely for everyone.

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