July 31, 2008

Please Help Us Continue Our Efforts to Improve The Community

As you may be aware, I am the managing member of A & A Enterprises, III. And I have raised 2008 CZMP Issue # 01-001 9 and 11 Newburg Ave.

During the time of my service as a member of the Baltimore County board myself, I spent much time studying the 2010 Baltimore County Master Plan and The Catonsville Plan. I learned the importance of implementing these plans and how they enhance the quality of life for the entire county. It was during my tenure as a planning board member that I cultivated my desire to strengthen the existing character of our community by, contributing to the vitality of the area. I want to invest my money and time into bringing these great elements of good planning to downtown Catonsville. I want to make a difference, that the next generation of my family will be proud of and, to demonstrate good stewardship and personal responsibility.

I have assured the neighbors that I would agree to restrictions against future uses as a gas station, Tavern or Fast Food restaurant.

Our project, here in Catonsville, is located in one of the County’s 12 revitalization areas. 11 Newburg Ave. is within that area.

There are a variety of reasons that the private sector has been unable to carry out revitalization in these areas. A major one is that it is necessary to amend zoning to encouragement Renaissance in these areas. Economic Development and community conservation go hand in hand.

My Family and I live Catonsville and are not, absentee landlords. Our project supports the Master Plan and the Catonsville Plans by:

· Preserving and Enhancing the quality of life in the SW part of the County
· Sustaining Prosperity -making a significant private investment in a Baltimore County Urban Area
· Being located entirely within the URDL
· Contributing to Economic Development, by helping generate family supporting jobs
· Revitalizing an aging commercial area, contributing to a healthy, strong tax base
· Not contributing to rural sprawl
· Attracting Retail Shops
· Bolstering confidence in the Vitality of the community
· Maintaining high quality and it is compatible with surroundings
· Promoting the restoration of Historic Resources
· Using Private Funds to meet the County’s goals
· Meeting the needs of higher income earners, making it more likely that they will continue to live in their neighborhood
· Successfully redeveloping well situated vacant and underutilized properties to more productive uses
· Strengthening this older commercial area to support new business
· Working Cooperatively with the Chamber of Commerce
· Nurturing small and star-up business
· Creating a Bicycle and Pedestrian friendly area
· Increasing safety by providing better lighting and new sidewalks
· Establishing private sector open space
· Creating privately owned / shared parking
· Consolidating smaller parcels of land to attract more desirable businesses

As the 2010 Master Plan states, “Commercial corridors are the faces of the adjacent communities, the commercial corridors appearance and liveliness influences perceptions about the adjoining neighborhoods”. Shopping habits are changing to internet and mail order, making it even more difficult to successfully revitalize older properties that are constrained by size, shape and parking.

The Catonsville Plan, specifically addresses the subjects of- reusing existing buildings, adding parking behind the 800 Block of Frederick Rd., attracting a Fresh Seafood & Meat Market and relocating loading zones and parking to the rear of the properties on Frederick Rd. We have achieved these goals; with your help we will be able to continue our efforts.

By supporting our zoning request change to BL-CCC, you are helping encourage people to walk and spend more time in their neighborhood, getting to know their neighbors. And you are assisting the future needs of one of Baltimore County’s premier revitalization districts!

Please Let Councilman Moxley Know that you support this change:

July 28, 2008

Story Time at Strawberry Fields

One of our original desires, when we acquired the properties from the Muir and Bray Family's, was to create a place where families could walk with their young children to enjoy and participate in some Good Old Fashioned activities.

On Saturday July 26, 2008. Another of these family oriented events was held at Strawberry Fields. George Brookhart, of Long & Foster Realtors, hosted story teller Rebekah Kaufman, who provided a Magical Morning for the children (and parents) that attended. Watch for other events to follow!

Special Thanks to:
George Brookhart
One World Emporium
The Catonsville Groomery
The Coffee Junction
and the Little Sugar Shack
for making this Fantasy a Reality!

July 27, 2008

11 Newburg Avenue Zoning Change Request

It was recently brought to my attention that my "Friendly Neighbors" on Newburg Ave.,
the ones that we have been working with, to ensure that the character of Newburg Ave. is maintained. Are circulating a petition to stop the "Greedy Developer, from tearing down the house at 11 Newburg Ave. and building a Burger King".

I DO NOT WANT to see a fast food restaurant or a gas station on this site either. But, I urge you not to sign their misleading petition.

These are the same people that tried to stop Frederick Road Fridays - Music Nights from happening and they also tried to stop the outdoor move nights. If you missed any of these events, you can read about them on this blog, they have all been very successful and have helped contribute to the great sense of community that we all enjoy.

I would like to again share my reasons for the zoning change request.

Below, I have reprinted an excerpt from my post dated January 30, 2008, entitled 2008 CZMP.
The entire post is still available on this blog.

"As you may be aware, we have applied to have the zoning changed on the properties at
9 & 11 Newburg Ave. They are currently zoned and occupied as RO or Residential/Office. With an approved variance allowing the rear of the properties to be used to provide parking for the business located at 821-829 Frederick Road as well as 9&11 Newburg Ave. We have carefully selected tenants whom we have felt will be unobtrusive, and good neighbors, to occupy these two properties.
We have requested a zoning change to BL or Business local. Our main reason for requesting this change has to do with our ability refinance the properties. The lender will not refinance or allow us to negotiate better terms with the "split zoning" which is currently on the property. We would like to be able to do this so that we may finish the whole project this year.
I have stated publicly ever since we bought these properties, that we have no intention of tearing down any of the buildings on the properties. Had that been our intention, we would not have invested so much in them. I would like to assure you that we are not just trying to make a "fast buck" we are looking at this as a 50 year project. That is, as someone that was born, raised and still lives in Catonsville, we are working to create something that the residents of Catonsville will be proud of 50 years from now!
If anyone has any concerns or questions about this zoning request. Or you would like to help. Please feel free to call me at 443.830.0310. We are eager to work out an agreement that will protect the neighbors best interests.
Thank you for all of your support." Craig

July 25, 2008

Upcoming Events - Horseshoes and a Memorial Picnic






Present -


The Catonsville Men's Civic Association's:


Saturday, August 9th - 2pm

This Event will be Held at Opies Snowball Stand
(Please Note Change of Location)

Proceeds will benefit the community, through CMCA sponsored programs.


With CMCA and the Shed Guys you know this is going to be the event of the year !!!!! CASH Prizes for the winning teams !!!!!!

Call Larry Davis with any questions: 410.744.3695


The Beth Cole Memorial Fund Benefit
at Rollingwood Pool's Adult Night
Wednesday, August 13th - 2008
6pm - 10pm

$30 donation
Includes use of Pool Facilities, All-American Dinner of
Pit Turkey, Beef Bar-B-Que & Sausages,
Side Dishes, Salads, Desserts
a chance at many Door Prizes and Raffles

All Proceeds Benefit Programs and Families
in Catonsville with Special Needs

Tickets available at
Opie's Snowball Stand,
Hair-M Barber Shop
and Rollingwood Pool

Please make checks payable to The Cole Fund

BYOAB (bring your own adult beverage) ** Lemonade & Iced Tea Provided
Absolutely NO GLASS permitted on pool grounds
Benefit will be held rain or shine


If you have any questions, please contact Beth Reymann at 410-788-3147
or Terry Burk at 410-747-5065

Tell Your Friends

July 18, 2008

Satudays at Strawberry Fields

Come Join us For an Hour of Fun in the Courtyard at Strawberry Fields.

Saturday July 26, 10:00am:
Story Teller and Catonsville Elementary School Librarian “Rebekah Kaufman” will entertain parents and their children with her spell binding stories.

Saturday September 13th, 10:00am:
Children will be entertained with music and dance by renowned artist Christine Kellar from Dance on the Planet. www.danceontheplanet.com

Bring a Blanket or Beach Chair.

These events are FREE, they sponsored by George Brookhart of Long and Foster Realtors. Bring your children, grandchildren & your neighbors children.

Pictures from Frederick Rd. Fridays July 11

The Homeless Guy on Bench in Front of Salem Lutheran Church

Mark Hoffmann sits on the steps of Salem Lutheran Church Friday in Catonsville, Md.
Credit: Gail Burton
Man Finds His Way Home
By Lorraine Ahearn Staff Writer
Greensboro - News Record

To make a long, stranger-than-fiction story short, he went home.
Or at least, Mark Hoffmann got as close as he could get — the front steps of his parents’ church 331 miles from here, in a town near Baltimore.
Hoffmann, 51, the shy, enigmatic homeless man who was for years a fixture at Friendly Center, mysteriously vanished in May. To the circle of people who had befriended him since 2001, he left a single clue: On his last morning in Greensboro, he bought a road map of the eastern U.S.
Last Sunday morning, after months of reported sightings of him walking along the interstates in a path that seemed to have no rhyme or reason, his itinerary became clear. He was bound for St. Mark’s Roman Catholic Church in Catonsville, Md., three blocks from his boyhood home.
In hindsight, the parish where he grew up and went to school through 8th grade is an obvious destination. But how he got there — carrying his belongings, apparently walking north for a month — is as unlikely as the way he was finally located.
Last weekend, a News & Record subscriber who lives near Hoffmann’s former bench at the Friendly greenway happened to be visiting in-laws in Catonsville, an old, tree-lined suburb not far from the Patuxent River.
When Sunday morning came, Mary Kay Auer decided to go to the 9 o’clock mass at her in-laws’ church. Running late, she chose the old chapel next to the main church and took a seat in a rear pew.
In the corner of her eye, she saw a man who looked homeless, holding the hymnal close to his eyes. There was something familiar about him.
“He looked just like the man in Greensboro,” said Auer, who had been following Hoffmann’s story, but initially thought it was a coincidence. “But then I’m sitting there looking at him, and I think, 'Wait a minute. He’s got all the same stuff — the bundles, the golf umbrella. How can this be?’ ”
At St. Mark’s, where parish records show Hoffmann’s elderly parents died in 1994 and ’95, church members had already taken notice of the stranger. He first appeared a month ago, said church business manager Nora Reiter, and each day sat on a bench by the statue of St. Mary, waiting to go to the 7:45 a.m. service.
“There’s this sense of peace about him, and he’s very polite,” said Reit­er, who helps serve communion at the early Mass. “His hands were so dirty, at first I didn’t want to put the host in them. But you know, Jesus was a carpenter. His hands were probably dirty, too.”
Little did she know his connection to St. Mark’s. The graduate of Mount St. Joseph High, Lehigh University and former accountant at Duke had battled schizophrenia for decades and was presumed dead by his three older, long-estranged siblings.
But meanwhile, in North Carolina, Hoffmann’s whereabouts had been a question of intense interest. His photo and description had recently been circulated by Highway Patrol commanders and police concerned for his safety. Homeless outreach workers scoured roadsides where readers described spotting him — correctly, as it turns out — wearing gray sweat pants and a blue coat.But no one was more interested in finding him than Kimberly Bono, Hoffmann’s oldest daughter. Bono, 27, hadn’t seen her father since her parents divorced when she was 8. She learned only one month ago that he had been in Greensboro since 2001 but had recently disappeared.
Bono, fearing her father might slip away again, lost no time when told that Hoffmann had been seen in Catonsville and that church members positively identified him from a photo.
With her husband and newborn daughter, Bono got in her car in Stroudsburg, Pa., and drove 31/2 hours Thursday night to Catonsville. Friday morning at 7:30, she walked to the bench by the statue of Mary, where a man in gray sweat pants and a blue coat was sitting.
“Dad,” she said, “it’s Kimberly. Do you remember me?”
She held her breath as he searched her face with his ice-blue eyes.
“I don’t recognize you,” he said softly. “But I remember you.”
When it came time for church, the young family waited outside St. Mark’s while Hoffmann went in. When he emerged, Bono knew anything could happen.
“I fully expected him to come out of Mass and walk the other way,” she said, but was surprised when he didn’t, and even accepted her invitation for a ride to get breakfast.
Slowly, not pressing too hard, Bono learned that Hoffmann recalls having two younger daughters. He told her he had not seen any family since coming home to Catons­ville, but didn’t say whether he knows that his parents have died, their funerals held only a few months apart at St. Mark’s.
Though unwashed and unshaven, Hoffmann politely declined the offer of a motel room, Bono said, before the family drove home promising to visit again.
When St. Mark’s offered to get him to a homeless shelter, he declined that, too. Sleeping in the woods, church members believe, Hoffmann appears to be following a similar pattern to the life he had in Greensboro, where on Easter Sunday in 2001, he showed up unannounced at Centenary United Methodist Church near the bench at Friendly.
Church members at Centenary said they were thankful last week to learn that no harm had come to their friend. Meanwhile, 331 miles away, the parishioners at St. Mark’s appeared thankful as well.
He came home to them and was having the same effect on St. Mark’s that he had on Centenary.
Not that St. Mark’s hadn’t fulfilled its obligation — Friday, for instance, was the parish’s turn to send casseroles to the big downtown mission in Baltimore, Our Daily Bread.
Still, that was arm’s-length. Impersonal. Mark Hoffmann was anything but. One church member wanted to see about getting him eyeglasses to help him read. Another sought to replace his tattered clothes.
And Nora Reiter, the church business manager who at first didn’t want to put the communion wafer in his hand, never seems to go straight home anymore.
She may have worked 10 or 12 hours, and she may want nothing more than to turn right on Frederick Road to go home and cook supper. But then she sees the man on the bench beside the statue of Mary. Next thing you know, she’s turning left to go to McDonald’s and get him something to eat.
“He always gives you that beautiful smile and quietly says, 'Thank you,’ ” Reiter said. “He’s become my gadfly. My walking, talking Jesus Christ who reminds me: 'Whatever you do for this guy, you do for me.’ ”
So on Friday, they took the frozen casseroles downtown to the mission as usual, then moved to the next order of business. And that was to get Mark Hoffmann a new pair of running shoes. After 331 miles, the shoes he was wearing didn’t look like they could go another step.
Contact Lorraine Ahearn at 373-7334 or lorraine.ahearn@news-record.com

July 16, 2008

New Section - Catonsville Music Link's

There were only 7 dates to fill for the first Season of Frederick Road Friday's and they all went fast!

It was decided early on that since this is "Music City Maryland", bands with a tie to the Catonsville area, were the bands that would be highlighted.

It should be no surprise that we found quite a few. There is a lot of great talent here!

Check out the NEWEST SECTION OF THIS BLOG, Catonsville's Music Links. Here you can find information on bands that will be playing or have played at Frederick Rd. Fridays, as well as links to some of our favorite local music connections. Enjoy! Craig

July 11, 2008

Friday July 11, 2008

We are busy preparing for another Frederick Road Fridays.
The Fun begins tonight at 5:30pm right in front of the Santa House. Blue Streak will be performing for us. They are another great local band from Music City Maryland.

Remember to bring the kids- we are expecting a special guest tonight.

The Entertainment is scheduled from 5:30-7:30pm.

There are many great restaurants close by where you and your family can dine before or after the show. And be sure to visit the shops that stay open late this evening, they are staying open for you!

See you this evening! Craig

July 10, 2008

Harriet Is Safe at Home!

Someone from UMBC picked up Harriet last. She dropped her off at a house on Newburg Ave. This morning when they took her for a walk and we found them. Thanks everyone for your help. Craig

July 9, 2008

Harriet is Missing


Harriet, our 9 yr old Yorkshire Terrier ran away this afternoon around 5pm. We were out of town and a friend of ours let her out and she ran away. Harriet gets very scared when it rains and she took off. We live on Park Grove Ave. in Oak Forest, we got home around 8:30pm and have been looking for her ever since. Someone believes that they saw her on Rolling Rd. at Brook around 6pm. If you have any information on Harriet please call me at 443.830.0310 or 410.788.3151 any time. Also, it would help tremendously if you would forward this information to some of your friends and neighbors.

Thank you, Craig, Deborah, Amber & Ashley Witzke

A Request From : Marsha Wight Wise

Marsha Wight Wise published the most recent book about the History of Catonsville. It is a very good book. Craig

Hi, Craig! I read your Catonsville blog often. Keep up the good work.

As you may be aware there are a group of people trying to save the old Bloede property, Arden, from the wrecking ball. We are in no way opposed to the PUD but would like to see the developer incorporate Arden in his plans. We have been successful in getting the preliminary Historic Landmark status in January by the Baltimore County Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The Baltimore County Council held a public hearing on July 7th. The Council will vote on Arden’s final Landmark status on July 29th. We need Catonsville to write Councilman Sam Moxley, and the rest of the Council members, to voice their opinion on the necessity of preserving Arden. We need to urge Councilman Moxley to draft a bill placing Arden into permanent History Landmark status.

To read all about Arden and to see the photos go to our blog at:


Marsha Wight Wise


blogging at: http://marshawightwise.blogspot.com/

July 7, 2008

A Message from Larry Mernaugh

Do you remember what group sang :
"Rock 'n roll is here to stay, it will never die......" ?

It's okay if you don't know the answer because Alexey and I are happy to advise Rock 'n Roll is alive and well in Catonsville-" Music City "!
ONE WORLD EMPORIUM is proud to announce the long, awaited arrival of the latest exhibit to our CATONSVILLE COLLECTION :
SaintLuna Photogrphy by Deborah Becker featuring candid concert photos of many of the great artist's from their early beginnings in the "70's"!
This is a must-see collection sure to delight music lovers of all ages.

Alexey & I look forward to seeing you.
In the Gardens of Strawberry Fields

On the Lighter Side!

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