32 people seek positions on Columbia's 10 village boards


Thirty-two people are vying for seats on Columbia's 10 village boards in elections to be held today and tomorrow, but there isn't much competition.

Only four villages - Hickory Ridge, Kings Contrivance, River Hill and Long Reach - have contested races.

Wilde Lake and Oakland Mills have fewer candidates than open seats, and vacancies will be filled by appointments after the election. Owen Brown will not hold elections because it does not have a contested race.

However, the elections are more competitive compared to last year, when only Oakland Mills had a contested race.

Those low-key elections resulted in Hickory Ridge not meeting its quorum for the first time. The Columbia Council and village board candidates had to be appointed to office.

But Hickory Ridge Village Manager Jane Parrish doesn't worry this year about getting the necessary 333 votes to validate the election.

"It's always good to have a race," she said.

Kings Contrivance Village Manager Anne Dodd is also pleased that her village has its first contested race in recent years.

"I just think it's nice to have people interested in serving," she said. "And it gets a little debate where there might not have been any."

These are the candidates running for village board positions, compiled from the candidates' statements submitted to their villages; incumbents are marked with an asterisk:

Dorsey's Search

Two candidates, two open seats

Diane Turner: A 23-year resident of the village, Turner has served on the village's resident architectural committee for the past year. She has also volunteered at Worthington Elementary School for the past two years. "I have assisted in community-based youth organizations and participated in various fund-raising activities to provide help to the homeless," she wrote.

*Laurence Winston: Winston is the chair of the village's resident architectural committee and has lived in the village for eight years. Now retired, he previously held senior management positions at CVS, Linens & Things and other retail stores. "I am committed to a strong financially healthy village, the upkeep of homes and the village center and to continue making Dorsey's Search a wonderful place to live," he wrote.

Harper's Choice

One candidate, one open seat

Kathleen Rosenheim: Rosenheim has lived in Columbia since 1983 and has been involved with Longfellow Elementary School, Harper's Choice Middle School and Wilde Lake High School. She has also been a board member of the Howard County League of Women Voters. "My husband and I are very grateful for the involvement of this community in helping us raise our three children and for the quality of life we have experienced here," she wrote.

Hickory Ridge

Six candidates, five open seats

David P. Greisman. A lifelong resident of Columbia, Greisman plans to bring to the board the same "exuberance and dedication" that he does to his role as a Howard Community College student, friend and family member. " ... I feel a close bond to the people of this town, and care tremendously for the direction that we will take in the future," he wrote.

*Linda Hitzelberger: The current chair of the board, Hitzelberger is seeking her 12th term. She has testified at Columbia Association budget and Howard County Zoning Board hearings and attended many council meetings. "It is important to stay on top of covenant and zoning issues in our village and all of Columbia, and I will continue to do this," she wrote.

*Tom Louden: Louden wrote that during his tenure on the board, it has worked on covenant enforcement, and has voiced opinions about adding residential density to Town Center and rezoning Cedar Lane and Freetown Road. "This past year has been a challenging year for all of us who strive to serve you in many ways," he wrote.

*Linda Rossiter: A 12-year village resident, Rossiter wrote that while on the board she has responded to residents' concerns to keep the village "vibrant and safe. Open communication between our residents, village board, CA and local government is critical to our community's health."

*Gregg M. Schwind: Schwind noted that he and fellow board members solicited resident input to form positions on the Rouse Co.'s plan to increase Columbia's residential density, local rezoning proposals and legislation that affects Columbians. "We have made our positions known and opened lines of communication at the county and state levels that will serve us well in the future as the county changes around us," he wrote.

*David R. Zeitzer: Zeitzer is serving his fourth term on the board. He has chaired the Columbia Association's Sister City Committee, and served on the Long Reach Village Board. " ... I will continue to encourage the Columbia Council to mitigate unreasonable increases in assessments," he wrote.

Kings Contrivance

Four candidates, three open seats

*Buna Cumbie: Cumbie, who has lived in the village since 1979, has owned a financial advisory practice in Columbia since 1987 and served on the board for the past two years. "As our residents mature, it will become increasingly important to understand and address their unique issues, such as affordable home maintenance, health care, convenient shopping and transportation needs," he wrote.

*Heidi Gaasch: Gaasch's priorities as a board member are to maintain village aesthetics and help build a greater sense of community. "I would like to see some changes to our village center that would make it a more pleasant shopping experience," she wrote.

Heather Ryan: Ryan has been a village resident for three years and is a business owner, Girl Scout leader, PTA volunteer and Navy veteran. "Always the one to volunteer for a good cause, Heather has the heart of Eleanor Roosevelt and a filled schedule that rivals that of ousted American Idol contestant, William Hung," she wrote.

*Jennifer Terrasa: Terrasa has served on the board since 2001 and has lived in the village since 1994. "Among other issues that I am committed to are the continued vitality of our village center, the resolution of issues at pool and recreational facilities, and keeping our community safe and clean," she wrote.

Long Reach

Four candidates, three open seats

*Nina Basu: A lifelong Howard County resident, Basu has testified before the county Planning Board on behalf of the village and has addressed resident concerns. "On the village board, I have worked to formalize procedures, carefully examine all sides of an issue, involve more resident voices, and advocate for the community as a homeowners' association," she wrote.

*Karen S. Hitcho: Hitcho has served on the board for three years and has been vice chair for two years. She has focused on the village's budget and finances and will continue to work to maintain the village's financial health if re-elected. "I am interested in preserving all that is good about Long Reach, while maintaining a good quality of life, particular as our community ages," she wrote.

Bridget Mugane: A 22-year resident of the village, Mugane describes herself as a grass-roots activist. She plans to work with police groups and help start a youth basketball program. "I will hold office hours for residents, write newsletter articles on topics/bills affecting us, and establish a Web site to share information on contractors and to arrange discounts for group jobs" she wrote.

*William A. Taylor: Taylor has served on the village board for four years and has been the chairman for 2 1/2 years. During his tenure, Taylor wrote, the board has been "successful in overcoming various issues that have arisen and have had positive results." He wants to keep the village a "positive, safe and nice place to reside."

Oakland Mills

Three candidates, five open seats

*David A. Hatch: Hatch noted that while the village has had challenges, it is "on the verge of a rebound. Remember this past year: The village board and the residents, teamed with the county, solved some immense problems. Working together we can solve even more in the coming year," he wrote.

Deanna Moran: A member of the community for more than 30 years, Moran is an associate broker at Astor Properties, Inc. She believes the village center needs to be a meeting place with an inviting atmosphere for newcomers. "I intend not only to be a member of this community but to be a proactive member," she wrote.

*Bill Woodcock: Woodcock believes there are many tasks the village needs to accomplish - fighting for school resources, seeking funding grants for village programs and bridging cultural gaps in the village. "The list of things to do is many; I need your help and your support to keep Oakland Mills what Columbia was meant to be," he wrote.

Owen Brown

Two candidates, two open seats

*Drew Dedrick: A village resident for nearly 30 years, Dedrick is an urban planner who recognizes Lake Elkhorn as a "major asset" to the community. "I am committed to assisting our community in improving our schools, maintaining high property maintenance standards and securing a low crime rate," he wrote.

*Andrew C. Stack: A member of the board for several years, Stack wants to ensure the financial health of the village and wants the board to be an advocate for residents. "I will advocate for changes in the governance of CA to make it more responsive to our Village residents," he wrote.

Town Center

Two candidates, two open seats

*Gwendolyn Christopher: A board member, Christopher pledges to stay abreast of issues important to the village. " ... I decided to get involved on the grass-roots level of our local governance and do my part in making a difference in a positive way," she wrote.

*Edwin B. Knauft: Knauft has served on the board for the past two years and has chaired the village architectural committee. He testified at a Howard County Zoning Board hearing regarding adding more residential units to Town Center, and he talked about the need for adequate traffic control, parking and public safety. "I am committed to the continued constructive growth of Town Center, to providing services and amenities for our residents, and to encouraging active citizen participation in Town affairs," he wrote.

River Hill

Four candidates, three open seats

*Tammy CitaraManis: CitaraManis was first elected to the board in 1998 and has been the chair since 1999. "My experience on the board ... has taught me how important it is to listen to all opinions and, consequently, how important, too, it is for people to speak up," she wrote.

*Michael Cornell: An eight-year village resident, Cornell has been a youth sports coach, Cub Scout pack master and board member at a local congregation. "I will use my knowledge and experience to serve as a strong advocate for River Hill," he wrote.

Todd Harrison: Harrison grew up in Columbia and has more than 15 years of management and consulting experience. "I've always valued the strong sense of community and diversity that Columbia represents and the village system is at its core," he wrote.

Jeffrey Shang; Shang grew up in northern China and came to the United States 10 years ago. He is principal of the Howard County Chinese School. " ... I am enjoying the beautiful life this village offers to us everyday, and would like to offer my time, efforts and enthusiasm back in return to my wonderful neighbors," he wrote.

Wilde Lake

Four candidates, five open seats

*Philip Kirsch: A village resident for 15 years, Kirsch is chairman of the board's finance committee. He wrote that he will continue to work for strong covenant enforcement and revitalization programs. "Wilde Lake is a great place to live. What we have enjoyed needs to be preserved and passed on to the next generation."

*Vincent L. Marando: Marando has lived in Columbia for 28 years and has served on the Columbia Council as well as the Oakland Mills and Wilde Lake village boards. He explained that Wilde Lake is aging - "several business establishments have departed, crime is a problem and our infrastructure is decaying." His priority is to focus on those issues.

*William Santos: Santos wants to continue serving on the board so he can address property maintenance standards and covenant enforcement. " ... I promise to make myself available, to listen to your concerns, and to be the conduit through which your voice is heard," he wrote.

*Mary Kay Sigaty: In the past year, Sigaty noted, the board has learned: "revitalization works; communication works; involvement works." She believes the village board can serve "as a catalyst for change, a source of information, a forum for discussion."

Columbia Council candidates

In addition to elections today and tomorrow to choose village board representatives, residents from five villages will also elect Columbia Council candidates.

Three villages - Hickory Ridge, Harper's Choice and Town Center - have contested council races.

In Hickory Ridge, Council Chairman Miles Coffman, 54, a vice president at M&T; Bank, is running against Fred Franklin-Campbell, 31, an adjunct history professor at Howard Community College.

Harper's Choice incumbent Wolfger Schneider, 63, a staff engineer at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, is facing two challengers - Arna Clark, 32, a dishwasher and food preparer at Popeye's in The Mall in Columbia; and Kathleen Larson, 62, a writer.

Town Center incumbent Donna L. Rice, 59, who runs a boutique and two businesses from her home, is facing challenger Jud Malone, 53, who operates an Internet portal hosting service from his home.

Incumbents Joshua Feldmark of Wilde Lake, Barbara Russell of Oakland Mills and Pearl Atkinson-Stewart of Owen Brown are unopposed.

Here are the times and places to vote:

Dorsey's Search: From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow at the village center in Linden Hall, 4765 Dorsey Hall Drive. One vote is allowed per household, and voters must have been a resident since at least March 1 of last year.

Harper's Choice: From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow at the village center. One vote is allowed per property.

Hickory Ridge: From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow at Hawthorn Center, 6175 Sunny Spring. One vote is allowed per household (owner or tenant).

Kings Contrivance: From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. tomorrow in the village center at Amherst House, 7251 Eden Brook Drive. One vote is allowed per resident, who must be at least 18.

Long Reach: From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow at the village center. One vote is allowed per owner or tenant.

Oakland Mills: From 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow at The Other Barn, 5851 Robert Oliver Place. One vote per household.

River Hill: From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow at Claret Hall, 6020 Daybreak Circle. One vote is allowed per resident, who must be at least 18.

Town Center: From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow at Vantage Point Park. One vote is allowed per property.

Wilde Lake: From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow at the village center, near Columbia Bank. One vote is allowed per property (owner or tenant).

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