ANTON DeCESARE, 9, is establishing a reputation as a successful race-car designer. For the second year in a row, he placed first in his Cub Scout pack's Pinewood Derby.
"When I won, I jumped about 5 feet in the air!" he exclaimed, recounting his recent victory. "The best thing about this is that people really recognize me now. Next year, they'll say, 'Here comes Anton. He's going to win again.' "
The competition included more than 50 entries, all designed and built by Scouts, siblings and parents of Pack 762, which is in West Friendship.
The derby was held last monthat the Howard County Fairgrounds.
In the Pinewood Derby -- a longtime Cub Scout tradition -- Scouts race their miniature homemade cars down a 32-foot inclined wooden track.
Cars losing two heats are eliminated. The winner advances to the next heat. Anton's car was undefeated.
Each heat takes three to five seconds.
Anton wanted his car to be aerodynamic and stable. "I designed it in my head and told dad where to saw, since I can't use power tools," he explained.
"Then I did all the sanding, gluing and painting. It took about three days to finish."
The cars are a maximum of 7 inches long and 2 3/4 inches wide, and must weigh no more than 5 ounces.
Entrants start with the same basic kit: a block of wood and a set of wheels.
Anton customized his car by adding a spoiler (a small wind-deflector), angling the front, and hollowing out the underside to insert metal weights.
He says he has a secret technique for making the car go straight and fast. "It doesn't shimmy at all," he said.
Anton is in fourth grade at Triadelphia Ridge Elementary School. He participates in the Gifted and Talented math program.
He also enjoys soccer, computer games and photography.
Other Scouts who took honors in this year's Pinewood Derby were Tyler Duff, second place; Max Jimeson, third place; Daniel Skutt, most original design; and Shane McGrath, best craftsmanship.
Race semifinalists included Dylan Kestel, Michael Miller, Jacob Jaffa, Gregory Meade, James Miller, Adam Graybeal, Clark DeLong, Chris Niznik, Sultan Chakkar and William Connolly.
The PTA Council of Howard County has announced winners of its "Reflections" competition.
Student work in literature, music, photography and visual arts was on display at River Hill High School during the awards ceremony last Thursday.
The western Howard students whose work will go on to state-level competition are:
From Bushy Park Elementary: Katie Beaver, first place in literature; Katherine Flaharty, third place, music; Billy Ray Taylor, third place, visual arts.
From Clarksville Elementary: Carolyn Rosinsky, second place, music.
From Lisbon Elementary: Courtney Knill, second place, photography; Stephanie Terry, honorable mention, photography; Larkin Nixon, honorable mention, photography.
From Manor Woods Elementary: Molly Morse, first place, music; Lauren Ramsay, first place, visual arts; Alexandra Torres, honorable mention, visual arts.
From Triadelphia Ridge Elementary: Bridgette Burgess, honorable mention, music; Michael Leon, third place, music; Dana Gittings, honorable mention, music; Eric Pettis, third place, photography; Edward Yu, second place, visual arts.
From West Friendship Elementary: Matt Hoyt, honorable mention, literature.
From Mount View Middle: Evan Lee Emshwiller, second place, photography; Ellen Tsay, third place, visual arts.
From River Hill High School: Kathryn Thompson, honorable mention, literature; Nathaniel Decker, second place, photography; Ben Greenstein, third place, photography.
An evening of music
Glenelg High School choir director Nancy Buckel has extended an invitation to a Pops Concert at 8 p.m. Feb. 12 in the school auditorium.
According to Buckel, the concert will feature something for everyone. "We will have performances by the concert choir, chorus, women's ensemble, men's barbershop quartet and madrigal singers," she said.
Tickets are $5 and can be purchased from choir students or at the door.
If your little one is fascinated by our flying feathered friends, check out Howard County Library's "For the Birds" program.
It's for children ages 2 to 5, and it includes stories and making a snack for the birds.
The program will be presented at Lisbon Community Library at 10: 30 a.m. Feb. 24.
Registration begins at 10 a.m. Monday and may be done in person or by phone.
In case you didn't notice the byline on this column, I am the new western Howard County community correspondent.
With help from many of you, I hope to perform as capably as Casey Willis has.
My husband, Dwight, and I have lived on Folly Quarter Road in western Howard County for nearly 13 years. We love the area and all it has to offer -- especially the friendly neighbors.
Our children, Adam, 10, and David, 5, attend Triadelphia Ridge Elementary School and are involved in soccer and baseball. Our youngest son, Patrick, 1 1/2, keeps me company at home and on carpool duty.
Before making a career change to full-time mom, I spent 17 years with Westinghouse Electric Corp. near Baltimore-Washington International Airport, holding communications and marketing positions.
I'm eagerly looking forward to hearing from you.
Our area is so large and diverse that I know I can't cover it alone. Let me hear your stories, accomplishments, awards, talents and hobbies, important events for the community and anything else that makes our area tick.
Contact me at 410-531-2887 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pub Date: 2/04/99