Friendly Fire plans family concert SOUTHEAST -- Sykesville * Eldersburg * Gamber


Friendly Fire will blaze in Millard Cooper Park in Sykesville from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday. This group promises music and dancing for the whole family at the second in the series of "Concerts in the Park" sponsored by the Sykesville Parks and Recreation Department.

"You can bring your small children to see us," said Dave Hooper, who plays rhythm guitar and banjo for the group. "We play country with a little old-time rock and roll -- Chuck Berry, things like that -- '50s music, and a lot of our original songs."

The original songs, which include such titles as "Black Swamp Water" and "Where the Wild Eagles Fly," have brought audiences to their feet the first time they were performed in public.

"The first time we played 'Wild Eagles' for the public, we filled the floor," Mr. Hooper said. "That's not easy for a song which has not had any air play at all -- it's not anybody's favorite song at that point."

The four-man group, which is booked every weekend this summer, has performed in prime time at the "Canal Day" festival in Chesapeake City for the past three years.

"We like playing our music outdoors," Mr. Hooper said. "We're looking forward to this concert."

The concert is free, so bring the whole family.


"Watch out for cars!

"Don't expect drivers to be watching out for you," said Trooper First Class Joe Newcomer as he handed out pamphlets on bicycle safety to 41 youngsters at Cub Scout Pack 392's Bicycle Rodeo on Saturday.

"There are 60,000 bike-related injuries in this country each year," Trooper Newcomer said. "1,400 people are killed in these accidents. Practicing bicycle safety is something you should do each time you get on your bike."

Wearing bike helmets and using hand signals, the Cub Scouts and their siblings demonstrated turns, stops and basic bicycle skills on the playground at Eldersburg Elementary School.

No one popped a "wheelie," a maneuver that Trooper Newcomer said causes many of the bike-related accidents each year.

"When you are on your bicycle," he told the kids, "you are very vulnerable to accident because there is nothing protecting you. In a car you're surrounded by the walls, but on a bike, anything you run into hits you.

"Loss of control is the number one cause of bike injuries. Hitting a rock, doing stunts -- like a 'wheelie' -- can cause you to lose control, and you won't be able to get out of the way of a car. That is how many of the bike injuries and deaths occur."

Shoestrings caught in the chain and other entanglements also cause loss of control, he said.

The children were instructed to wear bright clothing at night and to apply reflectors, lights and bells to their bicycles. In some emergencies, such as when a rider falls off a bike in front of a car, he urged the youngsters to drop the bike and run.

"Your bicycle can be replaced," Trooper Newcomer said. "You can't."

The children also learned about caring for their bicycles. Each child's bike was inspected by Cubmaster Jack Redmond and several parents before their "road test" for loose pedals, chains, soft tires, balance, brake response and other potentially hazardous conditions.

Oil was applied to many chains, training wheels were adjusted, and helmets were properly placed on small heads with an explanation of why the helmet, and its proper position, are important to a biker.

Trooper Newcomer discussed how to prevent bicycle theft with the children, too.

"Many bicycles are stolen each year," he said. "If you keep a record of its serial number -- you can register that with the police -- or engrave your bicycle with your parent's driver's license number, or social security number, we can help you recover the bicycle.

"We feed those numbers into a nationwide computer network, and can return your bicycle to you, even if it's found in California.

"But if we don't have a serial number, or other identification, we just can't do anything with a bike we recover."

Locks are a good way to prevent theft, he said, agreeing with a child's suggestion.

Pamphlets about bicycle safety and use of helmets are available at the Westminster state police barracks.

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