The Howard County Community Sports Hall of Fame will welcome six new members at the annual Celebration of Sports banquet set for Oct. 15 at Turf Valley. The Community Sports Hall of Fame recognizes those individuals who have made substantial contributions to recreational sports in our community.

This year's inductees include former sports editor Carol Gralia, baton twirling coach Linda Alford, golf advocate Don Dunn, softball supporter Lew Oppenheimer, soccer coach and administrator Durvis Roberts and former Howard County Strider official Miles Weigold.


Carol Gralia was my former boss at the Columbia Flier/Howard County Times. From the late 1970s until her retirement in 2012, Carol covered just about every sport and ensured that thousands of recreational athletes got their names in print. She was most instrumental in coverage of girls sports. In fact, no one has been more important to the female side of sports in Howard County than Carol and Karen Brelsford, who co-founded the county's Women's Athletics Hall of Fame.

Linda Alford's competitive baton twirling club, the Dynamics, has won 10 world championships and 94 national titles since its 1976 debut at a 4th of July parade. Her twirlers range from age 3 to adult and she and her team have represented Howard County across the globe. Linda's twirlers have won numerous college scholarships.

Don Dunn learned to play golf on a free public course in Pennsylvania and when he moved here in 1965, he discovered there were no public courses and no affordable courses for youngsters to learn the game. He lobbied the county council and the Columbia Association to build courses. He formed the Howard County Golfers Association and, today, courses like Timbers at Troy and Fairway Hills are testaments to his persistence.

Lew Oppenheimer was softball in every sense of the word. He was a player, a coach, a coordinator and a sponsor. He gave hundreds of athletes the opportunity to share his passion by sponsoring countless teams often at his own expense. He paid for everything from uniforms, equipment, league fees and even travel costs for his teams. Lew was tragically taken from us in 2011 when he was struck by a car while attending a tournament in Phoenix.

Durvis Roberts got involved in soccer in 1978 when he decided that his daughter needed better coaching. He has been a fixture with the Soccer Association of Columbia ever since. He coached as many as two teams a year, while also serving as a neighborhood coordinator, the South District recreational coordinator, an age group coordinator and the U-15/19 girls recreational coordinator. Durvis is the second-longest serving active coach in SAC history.

Miles Weigold was the voice of the Howard County Striders for years. He joined in 1977 and has held just about every position in that organization. He was instrumental in modernizing the club with computerized race entries, finish line process and bar coding. Miles also organized the Columbus Chase 10K, which benefitted the Howard Community College Education Foundation. For 21 years he served as race director of the BWI Airport Run/Walk.

Annual Longfellow Parade

County Executive Ken Ulman will be the grand marshal at the 43rd annual Longfellow Friends of the Traditional Fourth Parade, which has its start at Longfellow Elementary School on Hesperus Drive at 10 a.m. Those attending are asked to bring non-perishable food items for the Food for Tomorrow organization. Afterward, the traditional softball game will be played at the field off Rivendell Lane.