With 270 football players ages 5-13 involved with 12 football teams competing in the Mid-Maryland Youth Football and Cheer League, and 96 girls in the cheerleading program, the Catonsville Stars Football and Cheerleading program is shining this fall.
Catonsville's 7-9 age group team and its 11-13 team are both undefeated in the American Division of the MMYFCL as are its 11-13 and 6-8 teams in the league's Federal Division, according to Joe Stevens, one of the program chairmen.
"Last year, our 7-9 American Division won the Super Bowl, capping off a perfect season," Stevens said. "We are expecting that same team repeat from last year. We also expect to have more teams compete in the playoffs this year."
The league is a competitive one, with teams from Baltimore, Howard, Carroll, Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George's counties.
Parents and volunteers devote and dedicate countless hours to make the "Stars Nation" experience an amazing one.
This year, for the first time in 10 years, the Catonsville Stars Football Program and the Cheerleading Program joined together for a bull and oyster fundraiser that raised more than $4,000 for football equipment and cheerleading mats.
Bryan Wynn, president of Catonsville Youth Football, and Jaclyn Lilly, president of Catonsville Cheerleading, were both pleased with the success.
Sponsors included Peace of Pizza, State Farm Insurance/Tom Corbitt, Keel's Auto Body Works, Brightview Assisted Living, EC Roofing & Home Services, A&S Electrical Services and C.P.S. Properties.
This year's special Homecoming event featuring 11 teams is Friday, Oct. 14, and Saturday, Oct. 15.
The first game is Friday at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, games start at 8:30 a.m. The last game starts at 8:30 p.m.
In other football news, longtime Catonsville resident Tim Russell and his family enjoyed their third annual road trip to root on the Ravens.
Russell and his three children, Katie, Timmy and Anna, his girlfriend, Betsy Wendell, and her son, William, traveled to St. Louis for the Ravens game, stayed at the team hotel and had a great time cheering on the Ravens to a 37-7 win Sep. 25.
Two years ago, the group enjoyed the Ravens' 31-26 win at San Diego. Last year, they witnessed the visitors' 17-14 victory in Pittsburgh.
"It's a nice diversion to get out of town every fall to see the Ravens play an away game," said Russell, who owns Realty Landscape.
The travelers brought back memories of more than seeing Ravens rookie wide received Torrey Smith score touchdowns on each of the first three receptions of his pro career.
"Going up to the top of the Arch was so cool," said daughter Anna on her journey through the 630-foot Gateway Arch, the nation's tallest monument, according to the arch website.
"So was seeing a game inside a dome," said the sixth-grader at St. Mark School on her experience in the 66,000-seat Edward Jones Dome, which is only a short distance from the arch.
Anna also had a long conversation with her favorite player, kickerBilly Cundiff.
Her brother, Timmy, a seventh-grader at St. Mark, said he liked meeting the players and getting autographs.
Big sister Katie, a freshman at Mount de Sales Academy, spotted the drummer for the Dave Matthews Band, Carter Beauford, at the game and had a chat.
Check out the library
Does anyone remember when Elmo came to the Catonsville Library April 21, 2007?
Approximately 400 fans of the furry red monster from Sesame Street descended on the library and crowd control was a challenge.
Kevin Clash, Elmo's puppeteer and former Baltimore resident, was a good sport and the library survived the wild afternoon.
A documentary film crew followed Kevin throughout the visit and the footage is featured in a new film, "On Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey."
Whoopi Goldberg narrates the film and it's received several awards included a Sundance Film Festival award.
The film premieres at the Charles Theater on Nov. 18.
Major renovations are coming to the Catonsville Library in the next few weeks with the circulation, or checkout, desk and the two information, or librarians', desks being moved together.
"It's like a one-stop shopping experience. Customers can come to one place for all library services, rather than wonder which desk you go to for a library card, where you ask for reference help, etc. This change allows us to better use staff time and opens up space on the public floor for our busy library," said county library spokesman Bob Hughes in a press release.
The branch will be also installing four new checkout machines, including one in the children's area, on a low desk just for younger visitors.
"The additional checkout stations should noticeably reduce the amount of time our customers spend in line," said Melissa Gotsch, Catonsville Library manager.
"We are helping our customers use more self-service technology, like the checkout machines, the online catalog through which customers can place their own reserves and renew materials, and the option to pay fines online with a credit card. Many customers appreciate the speed and privacy these options offer them," Gotsch said.
The library, built in 1963, is the third busiest branch in the Baltimore County system.
Don't miss the fifth annual Words and Wine Benefit Friday, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m. at the library.
In addition to great wine from the Wine Bin, cheese from Atwater's, sweets from Sugarbakers, guests can mingle with local authors and fellow library lovers and enjoy the music of local classical guitarist Bob Margolis.
The Friends of the Catonsville Library sponsor the event and proceeds benefit the Frederick Road branch.
Teens are encouraged to come to the library and check out books, including graphic novels and creative titles.
A display of award-winning books, booklists, bookmarks and refreshments will be in the lobby.
Those ages 13 and older can send a digital photo of themselves holding or reading their favorite book to email@example.com and the photos will be made into posters captioned "Read" and put on the Facebook page for Baltimore County Public Library's Teens. (https://www.facebook.com/#!/bcplteen.
Everyone is invited to Catonsville Elementary School's first Environmental Festival, Oct. 8, noon to 4 p.m. at the school, 615 Frederick Road.
This family outdoor community event will bring together local businesses, organizations, local and state agencies and families to learn about and promote environmental awareness.
Among the hands-on activities will be papermaking, recycling relay races and scavenger hunts.
There will also be food for sale.
Come and support Catonsville Elementary's goal of being named a Maryland Green School.
Dee Keagle, a gifted and talented South Rolling Road resident, is starting a new business, "Tangled Threads."
She plans to share her sewing skills and her enthusiasm to anyone interested in learning to sew.
Her goal is to help students of all ages learn to create and design with fabric while having fun and meeting new people.
"I think there is a need and desire for individuals to learn how to sew," said Dee, who's lived in Catonsville since 1999 and ran a custom pillow business for 13 years, fabricating for high-end designers.
"I love helping people discover themselves. I find that I can give a lot back through sewing," she said.