Just get them to the church on time

The Baltimore Sun

Florist? Check. Photographer? Check. Police traffic coordinator? Double check.

Several Towson-area brides-to-be will share their big day Saturday with Michael Phelps, star of a parade that will shut down the town's main thoroughfare for hours. To something borrowed, something blue, add something stuck in traffic: an entire wedding party. Enough to morph the sweetest vision in white into Bridezilla.

"We freaked out a little bit at first," said Elizabeth Rowley, who is to be married at St. Pius X Church, situated on the parade route formerly known as York Road.

When Rowley, a second-grade teacher at Sandalwood Elementary in Essex, and Kevin Addison, a tech school student, decided to marry, there was no question where the ceremony would be. St. Pius was Rowley's home parish, where she'd made her First Communion and confirmation. She'd attended grade school there. Out went invitations to 300 of their closest friends.

Then came the moment of high wedding drama, just like on the soap operas, when someone pops up in the back of the church to offer a reason why this wedding should not go off without a hitch. In this case, the unwitting intruder was Phelps, who was just a pipsqueak freshman at Towson High when Rowley was a senior there.

When the parade plans went public about two weeks ago, Addison had the good sense to do what anyone should in an emergency; he called the police.

A lieutenant helped plot another route into the church, using a side streets and a side entrance. It's not perfect. One of the streets is one way, with parking on both sides. It's tight even when an Olympic hero isn't drawing thousands to the area. But it should help. Guests were notified via e-mail and the couple's wedding Web page. (Yes, weddings have Web pages these days.)

If the parade and street cleaners are through with the area ahead of the 6 p.m. wedding, the lieutenant has promised to call the groom. Addison, in what might be the least hedonistic last act of any bachelor, would then text guests to say York Road is open.

The wedding hitch has amused some of Rowley's school colleagues. They threw a surprise parade as she lunched in the teacher's lounge the other day, marching around with little American flags, a drum and pictures of Phelps. She's starting to see the humor.

"At first I was kind of stressed out about it," she said. "Now I'm just laughing about it and saying, 'It's gonna be what it's gonna be.' And at the end of the day, we're still getting married, and that's the most important thing."

That's a lot of water for one customer

If the guy who's been beating back Baltimore's murder rate wants some decent water pressure when he takes his morning shower, who's gonna mind?

And yet, the question had to be asked when a $36,925 item "to install new water services" at a particular Southwest Baltimore address appeared on the city's Board of Estimates agenda: Um, isn't that police Commissioner Fred Bealefeld's house?

Indeed it is the house Bealefeld has been renting since May, spokesman Sterling Clifford told The Baltimore Sun's Annie Linskey. But Clifford said there's nothing fishy.

The improvements aren't for the commish but for all the new neighbors he's about to get.

The house, built in 1920, sits on 24 acres. Developer Richard Demmitt, who owns it, plans to put 200 condos and townhouses on or around the property. As part of the project, his company is having new water service installed.

What's on the agenda for today is a standard performance bond, issued to ensure completion of the work, Clifford said.

Connect the dots

Bill Cunningham, a planning commissioner and former city councilman, spent Friday night at the jazz club where former Councilman Ken Harris was killed nearly a week earlier. He was one of about 40 people from City Hall, the Police Department and state's attorney's office who showed up at the New Haven Lounge jazz club to show support for the owner, Keith Covington. Cunningham's daughter, Erin, who works in Mayor's Office on Criminal Justice, helped rally the group via e-mail. "I was really proud of the whole group," Bill Cunningham said. "Excellent response." ... Maryland's federal judges host a lecture next month, and the featured speaker is a big-name lawyer - one known not for his own cases, but for commenting on other people's: Jeffrey Toobin, the CNN legal analyst and New Yorker staff writer. He'll speak Oct. 21 at the U.S. District Courthouse in Greenbelt.

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