Westminster man built house to benefit children


When Westminster resident and master builder Michael Oakes walked into Johns Hopkins Children's Center for a meeting a few years ago, he was moved by the children who were suffering there and how the staff helped them heal.

"It's not an easy place to visit if you have a big heart," he said.

Soon after that first visit, he was on the phone rounding up subcontractors, building suppliers, landscaping companies -- anyone who would help him build a house, sell it and then donate any profits from the sale (minus the construction costs) to the Children's Center.

The charity house is complete and has an estimated appraised value of $450,000 and is expected to sell for $360,000. Oakes hopes to hand over between $50,000 and $60,000 to the Children's Center during the Children's Miracle Network telethon the end of the month.

"It's a super house -- someone will have their dream home," Oakes said. "There are custom cabinets, Corian counter tops, Kohler fixtures, a Grecian bath with columns, and an oversized shower for two."

The property backs onto Wakefield Valley Golf Course in Oakes' Fenby Farms subdivision. Wakefield Nursery donated landscaping for the lot, which is a little over a half-acre. ReMAX Ambassadors Realtors in Westminster is handling the sale at no charge, and local attorney Robert Lennon is donating closing services.

An open house will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

"Everybody talks big about giving, but few are willing to step up to the plate," Oakes said about this project. "Somebody's got to do it."

'Sound of Music' benefit

Area families can get into the-hills-are-alive spirit and enjoy a benefit preview performance of Theatre on the Hill's "Sound of Music" next month.

Every penny paid for tickets will go to Shepherd's Staff, a nondenominational, nonprofit ministry that reached 3,200 families last year and exists solely on donations.

Before the performance at 8 p.m. June 18, a Viennese dessert reception will be held in McDaniel Lounge from 6: 30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Participants will dine on specialty desserts donated by local restaurants, and the room will have the ambience of Austria, thanks to decorations created by the Carroll Garden Club.

Each year, Theatre on the Hill, a professional summer theater company in residence at Western Maryland College, has given money from ticket sales to a local charity. This year the company has agreed to dedicate all proceeds from the performance, to be held the evening before opening night to Shepherd's Staff.

"It will be a fun family evening," said Kathy Brown, director of Shepherd's Staff. "We chose the time before the performance [for the reception] instead of after so families could come together."

Tickets are on sale at these locations: SERRV International, Cranberry Mall; Long and Foster Realtors, Crossroads Shopping Center; The Hickory Stick, Liberty Street; Ain't That A Frame, Main Street, Westminster; and Stu's Music Shop on Route 140. Tickets are seniors, $15, children, $10, and adults, $20.

"We hope to sell all 450 seats and make $5,000," Brown said. "That is a lot of money for us, and it will go so far."

Information: 410-857-5944.

Basket bingo night

The Montessori School of Westminster is holding a Basket Bingo Night Saturday at the Hampstead Volunteer Fire Hall. Doors will open at 6 p.m., and games will begin at 7 p.m. Baked goods and other refreshments will be available.

Twenty games as well as door prizes and two raffles will be offered. One raffle prize will be a "hostess only" corn basket and another will be a "hostess only" hamper.

Coordinators are Sunny Ruzbarsky and Andrea Lurz, parents of Montessori students, and Tammy Brunk, a Longaberger Basket representative. Reservations/information: 410-751-0048.

Handbell ringers

rTC The Westminster Ringers Inc., a Maryland handbell ensemble, will present "Unplugged: The Age of Bronze" beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday, at the Westminster Senior Center on Stoner Avenue.

Directed by Larry Henning, a teacher at Runnymede Elementary School with more than 20 years of handbell experience, the group was formed less than eight months ago in hopes of offering area musicians the opportunity to play an advanced handbell repertoire.

The 14 ringers have an average of more than 10 years of handbell experience each. The ringers are Laura Baker, Louise Borneman, Michael Cleveland, Ted Dix, Debbie Henning, Westminster; Shirley Bockstahler-Brandt, Laurel; Sheena Hunter, Eldersburg; Betty Kerwin, Fulton; Jo Morrison, New Windsor; Christine Phillips, Taneytown; Linwood Row, Sykesville; Chase Stewart, San Antonio.; Robert Weaver, Dover, Del., and Karen Williams, Cockeysville.

The concert is free.

Information: 410-848-5482.

Community news

Today, this column looks a little different, but the form will soon be familiar: several smaller briefs filled with lots of names.

If your Scout Troop, church group, community organization or neighborhood is doing something interesting and/or doing something to make a difference in our community, I want to fill this column with your news. Let me hear from you at 410-848-4703.

Lisa Breslin's Central Carroll neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 5/11/98

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