EVEN BEFORE Gov. Parris N. Glendening announced Level 1 water restrictions, western Howard County families on wells have long known about conserving water. Jane Caswell of Highland has been doing it for three years.
Caswell says her well nearly went dry in the spring, and she knew it was time for a new one. "It was a really good little well," she said "It's been in here since 1941." But the drought caught up with her.
Her old well, a 23-foot, hand-dug well in her basement, had served her nicely for the first three years she lived in her house. But several years ago, she noticed a drop in the water level.
"It dropped down to 2 feet and I've never recovered," she said.
"For the last three years, I have had to be extremely careful," she said, even washing clothes in the middle of the night so that her well would have a chance to recover for day use.
"Last year, [the water level] was down to inches," she said. "It was definitely the drought."
Joseph Mayne of Mount Airy in Carroll County drilled Caswell's new well. It went down 165 feet, which cost Caswell about $3,000. She hired a plumber to finish the work at a cost of $3,500.
Betty Mayne, who works with her husband, said the Joseph L. Mayne Well Drilling company works mostly in Howard, Frederick, Carroll and Montgomery counties. Because there are so many wells being dug these days, they have an eight- to 12-week backup.
"It's really getting bad," Betty Mayne said. "[The drought] has made it where we can't take any more orders."
The Maynes have drilled 22 replacement wells in Howard County since Jan. 1. "That's quite a bit of replacement for less than a year," Betty Mayne said. "I would say it's doubled [since last year]."
She said drilled wells and springs are going dry, along with hand-dug wells. The Maynes are working steadily and managing to stay on schedule. But Betty Mayne worries about the future.
"If we don't get rain soon, the wells will go dry in the winter," she said.
Caswell had to wait three weeks for her new well, but she said her next-door neighbors, who had a new well drilled last week, had a longer delay.
Caswell runs Living Dolls beauty shop in her home, but she believes her water usage would be similar to that of other homes. "If I had a family of four, it would be equal to that," she said.
In talking with many people in the course of her day, she learned that one of her customers had a 1,000-foot well dug. And she has heard stories of others in the area who have had to dig as deep as 900 feet to find adequate water.
Betty Mayne confirmed that her company has gone deep in search of water. She said the deepest well this summer was a 980-foot "dry well" - it never reached water. Another well came in successfully at 800 feet.
But Caswell is happy with her new well and optimistic about rainfall. "It will rain," she said. "It always does."
The River Hill High School Marching Band and Outdoor Guard completed five days at band camp in West Virginia last month. Nearly 90 students prepared for their fall program as they twirled flags, tossed rifles, and marched to the music of Prokofiev, Brahms and Tchaikovsky.
After a Grand March-off, Charley Smith was awarded a trophy for Best Brass. Lindsey Meney won for Best Woodwind, and Adam Guiliford won for Best Percussion.
Becky Suther won a trophy for Best Guard, and Emily Magers was Outstanding Rookie. Matt Sauers was Grand Champion of the March-off.
Chaperones Valerie Evans, who is president of the Music Boosters, Cheryl Nitz, Tim Dell, Cora Elliott, Bill Talbot, Jerry Smith, Ginny Wollen, Denise Ellingson and Roger Colvin accompanied the group.
Sauers will serve as drum major this year, with Addie Gortayo and Matt Basch backing him up as assistant drum majors. Erin Swann and Suther will work together as guard captains, and Derek Burroughs is the new drum captain.
Their program will be presented during the halftime show of home football games, including Saturday, Sept. 21, Oct. 5, 19 and 26.
New at Mount Pleasant
Martha Moore is the new full-time Volunteer Maryland coordinator at the Howard County Conservancy in Woodstock. She will serve for 10 months, helping to develop the conservancy's environmental education program.
Moore will recruit and train volunteer naturalists, who will work with the school-age children visiting Mount Pleasant.
Volunteers are always needed. Information: 410-465-8877.