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Crossing guard pounds her school beat with pride


COURTEOUS AND friendly to passers-by, but never taking her eyes or attention off the children in her charge, Patty Arrington goes about doing a job she loves, seeing that pupils on their way to school cross the streets safely.

Arrington has been a crossing guard with the Anne Arundel County Police Department since 1985, shepherding pupils to and from Linthicum Elementary and Lindale-Brooklyn Park Middle schools.

She said she wanted to be able to stay home with her children and found this to be the perfect job to fit in with their schedule. But it is obvious to any observer that this is more than a job for her. Her enthusiasm overflows when she talks about the kids. And the feelings are reciprocated.

Like mothers who can't bear to throw away their small children's drawings and handmade cards, Arrington keeps a large envelope with letters, poems and thank-you notes she has received from pupils. Most are addressed to Mrs. Patty. One thanks her for "being there when we need you," and another states, "When I'm with a crossing guard, I'm safe."

"I really enjoy getting out the envelope occasionally and re-reading them," she said.

Arrington's day starts at 5 a.m. She gets up early to be at her post at Camp Meade Road and Benton Avenue by 7: 15 a.m. for middle school pupils, then takes a break from about 7: 45 a.m. to 8: 25 a.m., when the elementary school pupils come by.

"I meet all kinds of interesting people, especially at the firehouse crossing," she said.

The intersection was the site of one of her most unnerving experiences as a crossing guard. A driver came dangerously close to her and a child before stopping.

"I know I blew my whistle at least 12 times before the car stopped," she recalled.

Being conscientious, Arrington counts the children on the way to school every morning and on their way back in the afternoon. She waits for children who may be late and checks with the school if she's missing someone.

Every year, she makes a Christmas gift for each child that crosses her intersection. Usually its a tree ornament, but last Christmas she put together kits with beads and cord for children to make bead critters.

"They are incredibly popular," she said. "Children use the beads to make jewelry, or animals that they attach to bookcases or key chains."

Arrington has taught kindergarten and pre-school children a safety course at Linthicum Elementary, and over the years has received awards and recognition for her service from the Police Department. One of her best awards, she said, is when one of the kids she helped cross the street who has grown up remembers her and stops to talk.

A Romantic concert

As next Sunday is Valentine's Day, award-winning pianist Angelin Chang has chosen a program from the Romantic era for her concert at 3 p.m. at North County High School, 10 E. First Ave., Ferndale.

The concert is one in the Performing Arts Association of Linthicum's series.

Chang, a graduate of Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, has performed throughout Europe, Asia, North America and South America. Since 1996 she has been artist in residence at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.

Chang was the first American awarded first prizes in both piano and chamber music during the same year from the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris.

The Performing Arts Association has given several complimentary tickets to each of the 11 schools in the north county feeder system to offer pupils exposure to different musical tastes.

In addition to this concert, two remain in the season: Chesapeake Music Hall Presents at 8 p.m. March 20, and The Sounds of New Orleans at 3 p.m. May 2. Those concerts also will be at North County High School.

Information: Jo Barker at 410-859-3308 or Shirley Murphy at 410-859-0777.

A spicy program

Sue Latini, an accomplished hearth cook, food historian and herbalist, will present a program titled "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme" at the GFWC Woman's Club of Linthicum Heights meeting at 10: 30 a.m. Tuesday at the clubhouse, 110 N. Hammonds Ferry Road.

Latini was a volunteer with the 1840 House, a part of the Baltimore City Life Museums for many years. She developed monthly programs of cooking workshops and lecture/ demonstrations in the house's original kitchen.

Now, she is associated with The Flag House in Baltimore, where she conducts similar hearth-cooking programs. Many of her recipes come from her book "At the Hearth: Early American Recipes." Latini also is program chairwoman of the Friendly Thyme Herb Club.

Information: Jenny Kuhn at 410-859-5309.

Well-earned praise

St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, 118 Marydell Road, elected five new members to its vestry and presented service awards to two members of the congregation at the annual parish meeting Jan. 17.

Martha Yeager, Rose Marie Nichols, Eloise Vaughan, Barbara Roles and Missy Smorgens were elected to the vestry.

The Rev. J. Christopher Pieper, rector of St. Christopher's, presented an award to Tom Fairfield for in-parish service because of his uplifting outlook and spirit with his fellow parishioners. Barbara DeLorenzo was given the award for service outside the parish for her work with youths in the Diocese of Maryland.

DeLorenzo is the diocesan youth director and also leads the youth at St. Christopher's.

Bull and oyster roast

When it comes to eating out and getting tasty victuals, look no further than these community-sponsored events.

The North County High School Parent Booster Club is having a Bull and Oyster Roast from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday at Michael's 8th Avenue in Glen Burnie. Tickets are $25 each.

Profits benefit scholarships and student organizations supported by the parents club.

For tickets or more information, call Karen Balonis at 410-636-8399.

The Youth of Friendship Church of the Brethren is sponsoring a sweetheart breakfast from 7 p.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday at the church hall, 217 Mansion Road.

Tickets will be sold at the door and are $5.50 for adults, $3.50 for children and $5 for seniors. There also will be a bake table. Proceeds will help pay for the church youth group's trip to New York City.

Information: Nancy Hopkins at 410-789-1337 or Mary Fincham at 410-859-5212.

The Brooklyn Heights United Methodist Church Youth group is sponsoring a pancake supper from 6 p.m. to 7: 30 p.m. Feb. 16, Shrove Tuesday, in Lacher Hall, 110 Townsend Ave. Suggested donation: $3 for adults.

Information: 410-789-3688.

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