August 27, 2008

Newburg Avenue

Yesterday the Baltimore County Council voted on my two properties on Newburg Ave. The actual houses are being down zoned from RO to ROA. The County Council also voted to increase the zoning on the rear portion of these properties to BL-CCC, the same zoning that the rest of Strawberry Fields carries. The zoning change on the rear of the property should not be of much immediate concern, to anyone, because we already had approval to move forward with plans to build our parking lot.

I know that the Councilman put forth his best effort to make a decision that would be the best one for the most people. His decision was obviously influenced by the many misinformed people that contacted his office asking him to "Save the Muir House", he must have felt that this is what the public wanted. I know that I wanted to see the house saved!

How could this dastardly developer. demolish these houses to build a .... (Insert here - any number of the lies that were spread about my intentions)?

In Reality, the Muir House was saved two years ago when we bought it. You see the property was marketed as commercial and several developers were interested in buying it with the intention of tearing it down and building something like a strip center. We always intended to protect this house and our actions have clearly demonstrated that.

Our sole purpose for our zoning request was to obtain different financing so that we could enhance the beauty of the 2 properties on Newburg Ave. with new landscaping and exterior cosmetic improvements. We wanted to create a beautiful gateway to our historic residential neighbors. (The inside of both of these properties have received many renovations since we acquired them.)

To prove our intentions, we were willing to enter into certain restrictive covenants that would protect the future of these properties for many years. The self appointed leaders of the NNA were ridiculous and wanted to control every little detail of my project, with unlimited time restraints. This was impossible to agree upon since technology increases so rapidly these days, that, prohibited uses today could be completely desirable in 20 yrs.The representatives from the NNA also wanted the covenants assigned to themselves personally, which meant that if they were to move, they would still be in control. I simply could not agree to their outrageous requests.

In an act of Shear Frustration, I had my attorney propose that I place 9&11 Newburg Ave in the Newburg Ave. Association and let the board draft whatever covenants they wanted to, as members of the association these properties would have to abide by their rules. This meant that if they said no businesses could operate on Newburg Ave., we would have to comply. The problem was that there are already several businesses operating out of houses on Newburg Ave. That are not allowed under their current zoning. (At least one Contracting Company, a daycare provider, a Steel Fabrication Company, a Sign Manufacturing Company, a T-Shirt Printing Company, a Music Recording Studio, Multiple Music Instructors and several other businesses) The Association did not want rules that would apply to any of these businesses ONLY MINE.

The Members of the NNA stated many times that they were not trying to attack me personally; they said they actually liked the improvements that we have made so far. They said that they were concerned about future owners of the property and what they may decide to use the properties for.We tried for Months and Months to agree on which Restrictive Covenants to place on the entire property, but their real intentions were never to reach an agreement, their real motivations were to strip the houses at 9 & 11 Newburg of the appropriate zoning that they have carried for longer than anyone has been able to verify.

The end results are:

Any property owner on Newburg Ave can still request a zoning change during the comprehensive zoning process every four years. Future owners of the properties at 9 &11 will not be excluded from this process as they would have by the covenants I had recommended we put in place.

I will not be able to move ahead with the refinancing plan, improvements to the facades of 9&11 Newburg Ave will be temporarily delayed.

The businesses that occupy these buildings will be able to stay legally and other professional tenants will be able to replace them when they leave.

Thousands of dollars were wasted on legal fees, money that should have gone directly into landscaping and other improvements.

We now have a Neighborhood that has been divided, due to a few individuals’ personal crusades.

The Neighborhood would have been better served if the directors of the Association would have been willing to reach an agreement.

Feelings have been hurt and neighbors are reluctant trust one another.

The leadership of the Newburg Neighborhood Association did nothing to "Maintain and Improve" the quality of life (as their web site proclaims) in Catonsville. They only created fear, anger and hard feelings among many residents of this great town. We deserve better than that.


I have offered my opinion about the short term affect of this zoning decision and the longer term results of the actions of the NNA. .

The Newburg Ave. Association appears to be very pleased with the results of the vote, I guess they feel that the ends justify the means: Here is an excerpt from their website:

Thank You Catonsville
Thank You Councilman Moxley
Thank you Catonsville for responding to our call for support. Over 500 of you joined us in calling on Councilman Moxley to protect our residential community from commercial encroachment.
At the August 26th County Council meeting, the Council voted unanimously to accept Councilman Moxley's motion to down-zone the houses at #9 and #11 Newburg Avenue to ROA and to up-zone the parking lot in their backyards to BL-CCC.
ROA zoning restricts the houses to residential or office use only, and gives substantial protection to maintaining the original structures. While this does not apply to the entire property, it is a significant move to support our request - which was to protect the historic structures and maintain the residential character of Newburg Avenue.
Thank you Councilman Moxley for hearing the voices of the community and taking positive action to protect the beautiful, historic community of Catonsville.

August 23, 2008

Friday Evening August 22nd

The Sixth Frederick Road Fridays was Another Outstanding Evening!

Reality Jones provided an Evening of Excellent Music

The Weather was Great

Bud and Debbie Becker had their Collection of Rock & Roll photographs on display, these Photographs are available for sale at One World Emporium.

The Beer Garden at Jennings Cafe busy with People Enjoying the Festivities.
Young Families Gathered Together - It is Fun to Watch the Small Children
Burn Off a Little Energy - While the Parents Relish the Opportunity to Relax and Take In the
Frederick Road Fridays will be Skip a Week this Time
Don't Miss The Arts & Crafts Festival On September 7th
We will See You at The Next Frederick Rd. Fridays on September 12th
When We Welcome The Incoming Class at UMBC
The Talent Will be: The UMBC "Mama's Boys"Accapella Group and Local Rockers "Red Sammy".

August 22, 2008

UMBC 5th in U.S. News Poll

Hrabowski pleased at 'up-and-coming' rank; Hopkins 15th overall

By Stephen Kiehl Sun Reporter
August 22, 2008

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County, is ranked No. 5 among "up-and-coming" national universities in the latest college rankings released today by U.S. News & World Report - a confirmation, UMBC says, of its rising reputation for research and education.The Johns Hopkins University is ranked No. 15 overall among national universities, down one notch from last year, and the University of Maryland, College Park is up a slot to No. 53 in the rankings, which have stirred disputes but still hold sway over thousands of prospective students trying to determine where to go to college.Harvard, Princeton and Yale were the top three universities in the country, respectively.UMBC President Freeman A. Hrabowski III said his school's recognition as an "up-and-coming" university meant it was viewed as "innovative and on the move" by the leaders of other institutions, who are surveyed for the rankings. After much publicity about the school's basketball, lacrosse and chess teams, the U.S. News ranking shows the school's academic reputation is just as strong, Hrabowski said.
"What it says to students in the state and beyond is that UMBC is highly regarded in the national academic community," he said.Among other Maryland schools, Stevenson University (formerly Villa Julie) was ranked No. 1 among up-and-coming baccalaureate colleges in the North, and Loyola College in Maryland was No. 2 among regional universities in the North. In ranking schools the magazine classified as liberal arts colleges, the U.S. Naval Academy was No. 22. St. Mary's College of Maryland was No. 84 but ranked No. 1 among liberal arts colleges that are publicly funded. Goucher College fell from No. 91 among liberal arts colleges to No. 111. Among historically black colleges, Morgan State University was No. 19 and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, No. 27.

Ribbons of Comfort Dance

Ribbons of Comfort is an organization that performs acts of compassion for cancer patients in treatment. During this difficult time they provide Fresh Fruit, Current Periodicals, DVD's, CD's, Electronic Equipment, Personal Items, Service and more to Patients Receiving Treatment.
They are a Great Group of People!
October 25th
at the Catonsville Knights of Columbus
1010 Frederick Rd.
8pm - Midnight
Your $25. Ticket Price includes:
Beer, Wine & Setups
There will be a Money Wheel, Wagon of Cheer,
a Silent Auction and Door Prizes!
Call 410 455 9639 or email
All Proceeds Support the Ribbons of Comfort Foundation

August 20, 2008

Frederick Rd. Friday's Reality Jones

It's dancing in streets in Catonsville this Friday August 22nd!

This event will feature Live Music from 'Realty Jones'. The Free concert will take place at Egges Lane -next to the Catonsville Firehouse. The fun starts at 5:30Pm and we invite the entire family. Chairs are avalable.
Jenning's Cafe will feature a 'Beer Garden', which will stay open late! Food can be purchased from any of the restuarant in Catonsville and brought with you to enjoy while listening to the music.
So bring the kids, bring the neighbors and bring your friends.

Reality Jones is a Baltimore-based, original band fronted by singer/songwriter Tim McFadden. Tim's writing provide insightful lyrics and memorable melodies for Reality Jones to arrange and mold into well crafted, unforgettable pop/rock songs. The band is comprised of top-notch musicians, all of whom have many years of playing experience. Such a background enables them to perform a few live improvisational jams at each show, which their fans have come to enjoy. The band prides itself on exceptional instrumentation, tight harmonies, and a unique blend of personalities that all combine to keep an audience captivated.

Community Blood Drive

Catonsville Community Blood Drive Saturday Aug 23, 2008

Saturday August 23, 2008
Bloomsbury Community Center106 Bloomsbury Ave.Catonsville, MD 21228

to sign up for a donation time
contact Major Doug Barth at 301-518-0046 or

Walk-ins are always welcome.
Sponsored by
Fort McHenry Squardon, Civil Air Patrol,
Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce
Baltimore County Dept of Recreations and Parks, and
the Civil Air Patrol

Saturday Sept. 13th at Strawberry Fields

Starting at 10:00am and will end at 11:00am This is a Children’s event. The featured performer, Christine Kellar from “Dance on the Planet” will entertain the children with song and dance. Coffee will be available for the adults and juice for the children. Strawberry Fields is located behind the Catonsville Groomery and the Catonsville Gourmet ( 821-827 Frederick Road ) Bring blankets if you like, chairs will be available. . This FREE Event is being Sponsored by: George Brookhart of Long & Foster Realtors

Catonsville Fall Into Fitness 5K Race

Saturday, September 27th at Mathew’s 1600 ( 1600 Frederick Rd. ). Registration starts at 7:00am and the race starts at 8:00am. Join a thousand other runners and walkers to raise funds for the St Agnes Lung Cancer Center, The St Agnes Foundation and The Rotary Club of Catonsville-Sunrise Charitable Foundation. Register online at or go to .

Around the World in 20 Wines

'Wine Tasting' event featuring wines from Greece, New Zealand, Italy, Argentina, Australia, France, California, Portugal & Spain. Lavish Hor D' Oeurves will be served to compliment the wines. Tickets are $35 per person in advance and $40 per person at the door, Must be 21 or over.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
07:00 PM - 09:00 PM
Cost:$35 in advance, $40 at the door

Mathew's 1600
1600 Frederick RoadCatonsville, MD USA 21228

35th Annual Catonsville Arts & Crafts Festival

The Catonsville Arts & Crafts festival has something for everyone. Over 240 talented artists and crafters along with local business and civic groups join a delicious variety of food vendors to line our Frederick Road Village. We have a car show for the automotive enthusists and our famous Kidzone to entertain children of all ages. “Clowning Around” is the theme of this year’s Kidzone and will include games, the all-time favorite moon bounce, entertainment, a pie eating contest, relay races and much more.

For your listening pleasure, we have expanded our musical entertainment to include two venues, a stage next to the Fire Station on Egges Lane and one at the west end of the Festival at the corner of Frederick and Melvin Avenues. All of our bands have musicians who grew up, live or work here in Catonsville and we are sure you will delight in their talent and variety.

Come and enjoy a great day in Catonsville!!

Sunday, September 07, 2008
10:00 AM - 05:00 PM

35th Annual Catonsville Arts & Crafts Festival
Frederick RoadCatonsville, MD USA 21228

"Rudy" to Speak at Cardinal Gibbons

Everyone who loves sports and underdog stories knows the popular football motion picture “Rudy”. The “real” Rudy, Dan “Rudy” Ruettiger, is now an equally popular international youth motivational speaker. People such as film star Matt Damon attribute Rudy’s encouragement for their successful attitudes. On Saturday, September 13th at 7:00pm Rudy will bring his inspirational message to the Cardinal Gibbons School. Accompanying his message will be actual film footage of the Notre Dame game that made “Rudy” a household name. Tickets are $25 with proceeds going for the benefit of the Cardinal Gibbons athletic programs. Seating is limited. For tickets and further information, call Joe Loverde at 410-788-2425 or Jim Malone at 410-207-2531.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Starts at 07:00 PM
Cardinal Gibbons School
3225 Wilkens AvenueBaltimore, MD Baltimore City 21229

August 16, 2008

Farmers Markets - Catonsville

It's a growing business
Farmers' markets are 'red hot' in the city, across Md.
By Jacques Kelly Sun reporter
August 16, 2008

(Photo) At the farmers' market under the Jones Falls Expressway, Suzannah Hoffman, 8, helps out at the Richfield Farm stand. (Sun photo by Algerina Perna / August 3, 2008)

The corn's been selling out before closing time. The heirloom tomatoes disappear, too. This summer, farmers' markets have emerged as consumer-driven havens for decidedly local foods sold in a setting of tell-all candor.In a summer vexed by food safety worries and gasoline-cost anxiety, farmers' markets are mushrooming. Growers also report favorable weather conditions as boosting this summer's harvest - as well as increasing attendance. Consumers say they are shopping for price and assurances that the food comes from farms no more than about 50 miles away."I've gone from two workers at the Waverly Market to five," said Cindi Umbarger, who owns Woolsey Farm in Harford County's Churchville. "I've gone from three freezers to four. I've gone from one to two trucks."The inquiries are different as well. "I can tell all our new customers by all the questions they asked," Umbarger said. "They asked about how our animals are housed. They asked about hormones and antibiotics. They asked where our feed comes from."
Mark Powell, chief of marketing and agricultural development at the Maryland Department of Agriculture, said sales numbers are not in yet, but he is hearing that sales are up."For years, the Maryland Department of Agriculture labored in the wilderness trying to promote our local produce. All of a sudden, it's red-hot," he said. "All of the indicators say there is something going on in the minds of consumers saying, 'We want local.'"Added Vernon "Mark" Rey, president of the 32nd Street Farmers' Market in Baltimore's Waverly neighborhood: "Vendors tell me they are up 25 percent from a year ago. Some are up 50 percent."And while the customer base remains top-heavy with those seeking a quart box of ripe tomatoes or peaches, restaurateurs now shop these stalls to acquire ingredients they will later promote for their Maryland pedigree and eco-friendly status."My egg and chicken customers like the story behind the product," said Andy Bachman of Fallston, who has doubled the number of eggs he typically sells on a busy Saturday. "They want that local product, and they are willing to pay for it. There is a real interest in and appreciation of the egg."One way to measure the increased attraction is by the number of markets. The state reports that in 2004, Maryland had 72 farmers' markets, up from 30 a decade earlier. Last year, there were 74 markets; this year, there are 84. The Baltimore area now has 10 markets from Catonsville to Dundalk.The statistics translate into a half-day beehive of activity when the farmers arrive with their loaded trucks, collapsible tables and green shade umbrellas."The only reason I haven't been selling out earlier is that I've been bringing so much more," said Joseph Bartenfelder, who sells produce at his Preston farm on the Eastern Shore and is also a member of the Baltimore County Council. "I think people are staying closer to home this summer and that that they are scared by all the produce shipped in over great distances."While Baltimore's principal farmers' market opened downtown on a Sunday in the 1970s, its typical audience - sandwiched under the Jones Falls Expressway - has enlarged this season. Its organizers say that it has been crowded since opening this year in June.As bells at the nearby Zion Lutheran Church call worshipers to service, market shoppers overlook the gritty setting under the highway to spend a couple of hours lining up for coffee and breakfast items. The tote bags bulge with fruit, vegetables, cut flowers and plants. This sprawling market stretches from Gay Street northward.The downtown market's organizers note increased numbers of downtown dwellers residing in the Harbor East and other adjacent areas, but they also credit other issues."People are aware of the carbon footprint," said Carole Simon, who coordinates the Downtown Farmers' Market. "They look at a tomato and know it was just picked off a vine and that it was not gassed to make it appear red."Organizers say food safety is driving the success of the markets."I simply feel very comfortable shopping here because everything is fresh," said Juanita Sowell, who lives in Charles Village and walks to the Waverly market. "You know what you are getting."Janna Howley, whose Farmfresh group organizes markets in Washington's Dupont Circle, as well as St. Michaels, Annapolis and Silver Spring, says her organization counts attendance - which is not done in Baltimore. In 2006, her markets attracted 150,000. Last year, attendance increased to 170,000.Participants at the Waverly market, open for five hours Saturday mornings, see this summer as a boom year.
"Our sales this summer are almost double what they were last year," Umbarger said this week. "After a national ground beef scare last winter, I sold more ground beef than ever. I almost ran out."She said she and her suppliers - a Jarrettsville natural honey producer and a free-range chicken raiser - meet to discuss what new items customers might buy. They are talking about adding beeswax candles."The more we hear about food security and contamination issues, the better it is for markets like ours," said her sister-in-law, Kate Dallam, an owner of Broom's Bloom Dairy in the Fountain Green section of Harford County."The perception of farmers' markets used to be you could get seasonal, local produce for less money. Now, there is a change. Customers think you can get really good, safe products in general. They like that," Dallam said.

"The whole idea of manufactured food is a nightmare," said Brande Meese of Bolton Hill as she shopped at the Waverly market. "The idea of buying local is a natural. It makes perfect sense - the less you have to trek.""I can't tell why we're getting more customers," said Dave Hochheimer, a Lineboro orchard owner. "Sales are so fast that we don't have time to talk.""It's a way to stay in farming when so much in the agricultural business is stacked against you," said Chris Reid of Buchanan Valley Orchard. "These markets give farmers a viable livelihood and bring more buyers fresh produce."Chris Reid, the second generation of his family to grow fruit, said, "One of our philosophies has been to diversify. We look at what people are asking for. We listen to what people say they had as kids."In this regard, he offers certain items such as two varieties of gooseberries (used by Baltimore chef Spike Gjerde at his Woodberry Kitchen) and red and black currants. Throughout the year, he picks strawberries, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches and apples. He also grows 10 varieties of plums."It's always a busy time of the year when you have peaches and tomatoes," said Kevin Tuckey, a farmer from Biglersville, Pa., who traveles to Towson's Allegheny Avenue weekly for that community's farmers' market.Customers are realizing this summer that they had best get to farmers' markets well before the posted closing hours."I'm disappointed," said Freya Sonenstein as she looked at an empty truck that earlier had been full of corn. "It's all gone."

Partial list of farmers' markets Baltimore
Saratoga Street between Holliday and Gay streets, under the JFX Viaduct, 8 a.m. to noon Sundays until Oct. 25.
Harbor East - 1600 Lancaster St., between South Exeter Street and Central Avenue, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 25.
Waverly - East 32nd and Barclay streets, 7 a.m. to noon Saturdays, all yearSuburbs
Towson - Allegheny Avenue between York Road and Washington Avenue: 10:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays through Nov. 20; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through Nov. 22 (Allegheny Avenue at Washington Avenue)
Carroll County - Smith Avenue and Carroll County Agricultural Center, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through Sept. 6.
Howard County - 6600 Cradlerock Way, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays through Nov. 20
Bel Air - Mary Risteau Building, parking lot, 2 S. Bond St., 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturdays through Oct. 25; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Oct. 28.
The Catonsville Farmer's Market is held in the parking lot at the Bloomsbury Center. The market is open from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. every Wednesday until late November.

August 15, 2008

Catonsville Times Article

Neighbors upset by plans for houses on Newburg Avenue
Property already zoned for office use
By Marcia
Posted 8/13/08

Craig Witzke's request for small-scale commercial zoning at 9 and 11 Newburg Ave. has turned "terribly stressful" for him, the Catonsville developer said last week.
So many people called his Catonsville home since late July to complain about the request that his attorney was advising him not to comment, Witzke told the Times.
Almost 100 people had contacted 1st District Councilman Sam Moxley's Catonsville office by e-mail or phone between July 25 and Aug. 8 to discuss the issue, said Moxley aide Bryan Sheppard.
Most seemed eager to save the late Allan Muir's home at 11 Newburg Ave., unaware that no one has lived there since Witzke bought the property in 2006, Sheppard said.
Both 9 and 11 Newburg Ave. have been zoned for offices for more than a decade, Sheppard said.
Witzke said he intends to preserve the houses at 9 and 11 Newburg, but wants the zoning change because it would enable him to refinance a loan for the properties.
Sheppard and Witzke each said they were surprised by the sudden widespread concern regarding an issue that has been on the proverbial table for several months.
More than 500 people have signed a petition asking Moxley to recommend residential use for the properties, which combined are approximately 1 acre. The petition was sponsored by the 14-household Newburg Neighborhood Association.
At least 268 of the signatures were collected online beginning July 25, after association president Colin Flynn and his wife, Marie, announced the petition in an e-mail to "Catonsville Friends."
That e-mail, which was forwarded July 25 to the Times, included a statement that Sheppard interpreted as misleading, and Colin Flynn described last week as "overly strong."
"We are not attempting to mislead anybody in anyway," Flynn said of the e-mail.
The statement in question read: "If these properties are changed to commercial zoning, any of the stores you find on Route 40 could replace the current structures."
An examination of Baltimore County's online zoning maps, however, showed that about 90 percent of the commercial properties fronting on Route 40 in Catonsville have more permissive commercial zoning than the small-scale commercial designation Witzke has requested for 9 and 11 Newburg Ave.
"Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to proofread it and I mistyped 'any‚' instead of 'many‚' in the sentence about Route 40 stores," Marie Flynn wrote in an Aug. 8 e-mail to the Times.
She noted sending a corrected version on July 25 that changed the statement to read: "If these properties are changed to commercial zoning, then in the future someone could replace these houses with the kinds of buildings and stores that you find on Route 40."
The Times did not receive the corrected version until Aug. 8.
The zoning Witzke has requested allows retail stores, restaurants, banks, taverns and medical clinics.
He would need special zoning relief to use the property as a carwash, service garage, hotel, motel, funeral home or theater.
He would not say what the plans are for those properties.
Newburg Neighborhood Association representatives testified March 4 before the Planning Board against Witzke's zoning request for 9 and 11 Newburg Ave.
In addition, they said they wanted both properties downzoned from residential office to strictly residential.
The Planning Board recommended that Witzke's request be approved, contingent on his reaching a restrictive agreement with the neighborhood association on how the properties could be developed.
At the County Council hearing for District 1 on June 18, a Newburg association representative testified that the agreement was still pending; Witzke testified that his attorney was working on it.
Last week, Witzke said he thought an agreement was "very close" to being completed.
He said he had agreed to prohibit the presence of a liquor store or tavern, a fast-food restaurant or a gas station.
"I am willing to file papers attached to the deed that certain things could never happen," he said.
"There is no agreement at this time," Colin Flynn said Aug. 8.
Earlier this summer, Moxley said he would accept written testimony on 1st District issues through the end of July.
Because of the apparent confusion surrounding the issue of 9 and 11 Newburg Ave., he probably would accept testimony through mid-August, Sheppard said.
Witzke's request was one of more than 570 that were filed last fall in Baltimore County's 2008 Comprehensive Zoning Map Process.
Of that total, 62 requests, or issues, were aimed at properties in the 1st District, which includes Catonsville, Oella and part of Woodlawn, as well as Arbutus, Halethorpe, Lansdowne, Riverview and Baltimore Highlands.
Conducted every four years, the CZMP is the main process for changing allowed uses on properties in the county.
It includes a Planning Board hearing in each of the seven council districts, followed by a County Council hearing in each district.
The County Council, which has the final say, is scheduled to vote Aug. 26.
But it must have all issues decided and proposed as legislation beforehand.

August 14, 2008

Small Black Bear Captured in Arbutus!

Tranquilizer gun used to quell animal that had roamed area

By Kevin Rector Sun Reporter
August 14, 2008

A young male black bear that had been spotted for more than a week in the Arbutus-Halethorpe area of Baltimore County was captured last night after Department of Natural Resources police shot it with a tranquilizer gun as it roamed in the backyard of a house in Arbutus.The 1 1/2 -year-old, 100-pound bear ran a short distance after being hit, then collapsed as the drug took effect in the 5200 block of Larlin Road, not far from the Beltway. The animal was not injured.After being examined, the bear was placed in a circular bear-capture cage, doused with water and transported by DNR vehicle to the more isolated wilds of Western Maryland, where it was to be released.The bear had made its way from St. Mary's County and through Calvert and Anne Arundel counties in the past few weeks and was spotted yesterday in the Arbutus area, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
Dozens of sightingsThe agency received calls from dozens of residents who reported seeing the bear, officials said.Before the animal was captured last night, Paul Peditto, director of the department's Wildlife and Heritage Service, said he and four other DNR employees were in Arbutus yesterday to investigate the reports and look for the bear. Peditto said they confirmed a sighting near Southwestern Boulevard and Selma Avenue.
Not a threatThe bear "isn't an animal that's creating a threat just by its mere presence," but DNR officials would use lethal force if it became an imminent threat to people, Peditto said. Dozens of bears each year travel through areas of the state that they don't commonly inhabit, but "not normally this close to Baltimore City," he said.The bear is "probably a little over a year old and is looking for his home territory," Olivia Campbell, a department spokeswoman, said earlier yesterday."What happens with bears is that their mothers kick them out of their den, and they need to go find their own home range," she said.Bears can travel up to 30 miles a day, she said.Campbell said the bear had been traveling along river corridors and could have come across the Potomac River from Virginia. Last week, the bear was spotted in Shady Side in Anne Arundel County "very early in the morning enjoying an apple from an apple tree in someone's front yard," Campbell said

August 13, 2008

Whatever Happened to...Ron Swoboda?

By Jacques Kelly
Baltimore Sun
August 9, 2008
Former New York Mets right fielder Ron Swoboda will be visiting Baltimore this weekend to spend some time with his father at the family home on Lakeview Avenue in Sparrows Point.Swoboda, 64, is now a television color commentator for the New Orleans Zephyrs, the New York Mets triple-A farm club. He retired from professional baseball in 1973 and was a television sportscaster in New York before moving to New Orleans, where he also did 20 years of local TV sports."I try to relieve myself of overt Baltimorese, but it comes out after a couple of beers," he said of the local accent.He's been married to the former Cecilia Hanna of Bel Air for nearly 43 years and has a son, Brian, who lives in Stewartstown, Pa. Another son, Ron Jr., lives in Metairie, La.
Swoboda, a graduate of Sparrows Point High School, started playing baseball as a 9-year-old in the Edgemere Little League. He advanced to Sterling "Sheriff" Fowble's teams in Patterson, Herring Run and Clifton parks. At age 18, Swoboda played on the Dolphin Club. At 19, he played on Leone's Boys' Club at Swann Park in South Baltimore, where his coach was Walter Youse, an Orioles scout.In 1963, the summer after his first year at the University of Maryland, he played in a Johnstown, Pa., tournament and was offered a New York Mets contract. He signed as a right fielder and had a role in the Mets' defeat of the Orioles in the exciting 1969 World Series when he made a ninth-inning, Game Four catch - he was almost horizontal to the ground - on a hit from Brooks Robinson. "I got to play in Memorial Stadium in front of my family," he said. "And Brooks was always one of my personal heroes and my idol.""Swoboda is the personification of the Mets - exciting, unpolished, unpredictable, a little brash and young," a 1965 Sun profile said. Legendary Mets manager Casey Stengel added to the image by referring to him as "Suhboda" and saying he "wouldn't sell Suhboda for half a million dollars."

This article has been published on this blog, for the many people that have asked about him.


Music City Maryland
On August 16th
from 12 noon until 9pm
MoonTimes Cafe
(Corner of Ingleside and Edmondson Aves.)
Will Be Hosting Live Music
w/ "No Exit" &" Earth Dayz"
Food, Beer,Games, Henna Tattoos & More
$5. Admission
(Free Admision for inside Show)
Live Music After Party w/
Dirty Jack Wheeler
Starting Inside at 9:30pm

August 10, 2008

One World Emporium

One World Emporium
By Liz Atwood
The Baltimore Sun
August 10, 2008
825 Frederick Road
2 p.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday
1 p.m.-7 p.m. Friday
noon-5 p.m. Saturday
noon-3 p.m. Sunday

Handmade arts and crafts from more than 20 countries are brought together in One World Emporium, a new shop in the Strawberry Fields complex in downtown Catonsville.
The store, behind Catonsville Gourmet, has offerings including dolls from India, puppets from Chile, ceramics from Mexico, baskets from Uganda, vases from Vietnam and hand-carved chess sets from Pakistan.
The store is a vendor for A Greater Gift/Serve Corp., which offers fair-trade items from around the world, says Alexey Mernaugh, who owns One World Emporium with his father, Larry Mernaugh, a psychotherapist at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.
The Mernaughs originally opened the store in York, Pa., in 2006, but moved the shop to Catonsville on May 1 in hopes of attracting more business.The shop sells paintings, tiles and photographs from three Catonsville artists, in addition to the gifts from across the globe.
Prices range from about $3.50 for small toys and jewelry to $70 for a ceramic umbrella stand from Vietnam.

August 7, 2008

WBAL visits The Catonsville Gourmet

Beltway Gourmet Is Back This Week Enjoying The Fine Cuisine At

" The Catonsville Gourmet Market & Fine Foods".

Thursday, August 07, 2008Dave Durian
Enjoy Beltway Gourmet with Doug Roberts.

Beltway Gourmet Is Back This Week Enjoying The Fine Cuisine At " The Catonsville Gourmet Market & Fine Foods".

Click on this link to hear the interview.

Recipe: Sesame EnCrusted Sea Bass

For the crust: 1 Tbs of white sesame seeds, 1 Tbs of black sesame seeds, 1/4 Tbs of Chinese 5-Spice, salt and pepper. Two 8-ounce pieces of Chilean Sea Bass Directions: Mix all crusting ingredients in a bowl. Dredge both sides of each Sea Bass filet in the crusting mixure. In a saute pan over medium heat, place 2 Tbs of olive oil, then saute the fish 4 mins on the first side and then flip it over, finish in a 350 degree oven for 4-6 more minutes (depending on how you prefer your fish done). Garnish with Seaweed Salad, Hawaiian BBQ sauce and cucumber wasabi...all available at Catonsville Gourmet's Market! We accompany this dish with Roasted Fingerling potatoes but it would be great with whatever side you choose.

Catonsville Market And Fine Wine
829 Fredrick Road
Catonsville,Maryland 21228
410 788-0005

August 2, 2008

Catonsville's Lurman Theatre Gets a Mention in Baltimore Magazines August 2008 issue of The Best of Baltimore

2008 Best of Baltimore

Free Concert Series

There's an unlikely venue tucked away in the woods behind Catonsville Senior High School, and each summer it hosts a remarkable line-up of performers. Thisyear's Lurman Woodland Theatre Summer Concert Series includes Deanna Bogart, Charles "Big Daddy" Stallings, Bayside Big Band, Carl Filipiak, Pan American Rythm Project, St. Charles String Quartet, Junkyard Saints, and many others. The acts are first rate, the theatre is shaded, and most impressively, it's free.

Way to go Lurman Theatre and thanks Baltimore Magazine for recognizing one of Catonsville's gems. Maybe next year the editors will add a few of Catonsville's great local businesses that are contributing to our town's Renaissance.

Frederick Road Fridays -August 8th Appaloosa

Forget Trying to get Tickets to the Virgin Festival this Weekend and Come to our Friday Night Event. We are going to be treated to a special performance by Local Legends- Appaloosa.
If you were anywhere in the Baltimore Area during the 1970's or 80's and you attended a school dance, a pool party, a wedding or prom. You probably remember and love Appaloosa. They were the Hotest Band then and they are still Rockin!

This week Appaloosa will be performing at Frederick Rd and Egges Lane. Show Starts at 5:30pm and is FREE!
This is a Family Friendly Event so bring the kids and as always The Beer Garden at Jennings Cafe will be open.

Band Biography

Gordon Holder · Tony Cesenaro · Sharon Donovan · Chuck Ansell · Mike Flaherty · Marc Pena

Appaloosa was born in early 1971 with original members Chuck Ansell - keyboards, Mike Flaherty - drums, Frank Frazier - bass and Jimmy Neeson on guitar. In 1977, Rob Finecey replaced Jim Neeson. His tenure lasted from 1977 - 1982 while giving the band excellent vocals, lead guitar, and songwriting. Larry Neeson joined the group in 1978 as the main lead guitarist, making the band five members. He stayed until '82 when the band went part time. The original vision of a full vocal band with steady playing of songs during their performance all the while pleasing the crowd with their party atmosphere is still with Appaloosa today. After a great 24 years with the group, Joe Cowman, lead vocalist and second guitar/keys had a career opportunity and re-located out of the area with his family. The current line-up now has Gordon Holder on guitar, Tony Cesenaro on bass and the dynamic vocals of Sharon Donovan. Accenting the sound, Appaloosa is proud to have Marc Pena, AKA Midnight Marc, as part of the team since 1999 doing sound and providing outstanding DJ music. Stability and professionalism strike deep into the core of the band’s existence even to this day.It's a good chance Appaloosa played your prom, school dance, CYO/Teen Center, social function, favorite night club and maybe even some of the readers' weddings over the years. Appaloosa takes pride in providing a first rate performance and being a strong dance band. This group still kicks!

Gordon Holder
Gordon has been performing music "professionally" since 1980. He has performed lead & rhythm guitar playing for a variety of Baltimore-Metropolitan rock & roll style bands. His musical studies and influences have encompassed guitar styles ranging from jazz, country, rhythm & blues, and rock & roll. In 1988, he proudly joined the Baltimore based band Appaloosa and has been supporting the musical group with his lead & rhythm guitar talents since!

Tony Cesenaro
Tony Cesenaro joined Appaloosa in 1993 as their bassist. Tony started playing at the age of 12, influenced by the sounds of Motown quality groups like Tower of Power, Blood Sweat and Tears, Chicago, and the rich "Doo Whop" vocals of the 50's sounds. Tony has provided Appaloosa the fortune of a continued list of strong musicians with a stable attitude and a solid approach towards entertainment and a professional attitude to his music.

Sharon Donovan
Sharon Donovan joined Appaloosa the summer of 2007. Sharon started her singing career with “Country Strangers” in her late teens. Later karaoke hit the scene and she hosted sometimes seven shows a week. She then met Clay Hunt and joined his group “Pure De-Lite” in the 90’s for several years. She left and went to “The New Romano’s”. Sharon decided to take a small sabbatical from singing. But the itch was too strong not to scratch. She then joined “Messenger”. Sharon is quoted at saying “Messenger was the time of my life”. When “Messenger” dispersed she joined “Imposter” until they too dispersed. Sharon spent a few months fronting for “Rumor Has It” which she stepped down to finish school. But once again the itch was too strong. She is now the first female to front “Appaloosa”. She brings a new type of versatility and energy to the group. Finally she’s found a home.

Chuck Ansell
Chuck Ansell has been performing in bands since he was 16. He started out as a lead vocalist while being caught up in the "British Invasion" and the Motown Sound in the 60's. Then at 19 he picked up keyboards. After playing in several bands and developing a vision for what he considered to be a successful formula for a group, he formed Appaloosa in 1971. Success came quickly and over the years, Appaloosa has experienced good fortune and stabilty while added by wonderful chemistry amongst the members.

Mike Flaherty
Mike Flaherty is the drummer/vocalist. Along with Chuck, he is an original member. Mostly self taught, he has been playing since the age of 12. He played in the marching and concert bands in high school. Mike performed with several local bands including a 14 piece soul band called the “Expressions featuring the Delvons” before finally settling in with “Appaloosa” in 1971. He also plays and sings with the St. Ursula Contemporary Worship Group on Sunday mornings and at other church functions.Mike is a proud dad of his daughter Melissa and his son Matt. He works for Nelson White Systems, a large Baltimore based audio/video contractor selling, designing, installing and servicing sound and video systems for schools, churches and corporate boardrooms.Some of the highlights in his musical career have been performing in Caracas, Venezuela and as the warm-up act for Slade, Hall and Oates and the Edgar Winter Group and performing at the Inner Harbor Summer Concerts. Another memorable experience was recording at Todd Rungren’s studio in Manhattan, New York with famed keyboardist Felix Cavaliere of the “Rascals”.Mike says “the great thing about playing in Appaloosa is being able to perform such a wide variety of music while entertaining audiences. Music is such a big part of my life that I can’t imagine not performing in some capacity”.

Marc Pena
Marc has been the soundman for Appaloosa since 1999. To get more info on him visit his site, Midnite Marc.

For more information on the band visit

August 1, 2008

How Our Main Street Commercial Areas Go - So Goes Our Neighborhoods

For Anyone That May is Truly Concerned This Article is Very Good Reading.
Ironically it was posted by someone on the Newburg Ave.Petition

The Next Slum?
The subprime crisis is just the tip of the iceberg. Fundamental changes in American life may turn today's McMansions into tomorrow's tenements.

Save The Muir House - Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions

I hope this helps to eliminate some of the confusion created by the misinformation that is being spread about 11 Newburg Ave. I did purchase the property from the Muir family and it was marketed as a commercial property.

Here is the original draft copy of the restrictive covenant agreement between The Newburg Association and the response from their attorney. The Newburg Association has had this since July 3rd. It was my understanding that we were going to change the timeline of some of the prohibited uses in exhibit "B" to include No Gas Station, Package Goods Stores, Fast Food Establishments,Taverns or Sludge Treatment Facilities (Their request) to run in perpetuity with the land.

First Their Response:
Craig - the Newburg Association has reviewed the covenants and has only asked for two minor changes. We have a conference call scheduled with them next week to finalize everything. I can not explain any of their recent positions or the website / petition. Every conversation I have with their legal counsel is productive and professional. I was under the impression they were satisfied with the covenants and would support the changes.

From: J Carroll Holzer [mailto:jcholzer@XXXX] Sent: Monday, July 28, 2008 2:05 PM
To: David ThurstonSubject: Newburg Covenants

Insofar as to any amendments to the draft of the Agreement between our clients, we have only two small changes:
1. add Colin Flynn individually after the NEWBURG NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION, INC. in the very first paragraph, and add a signature line at the end for Colin Flynn; and
2. in the second WHEREAS paragraph, after the word "and" at the end of the paragraph, add, "various adjacent and adjoining property owners."
Sterling Leese


This DECLARATION OF COVENANTS AND RESTRICTIONS (this “Declaration”) is made this _____ day of July, 2008, by and between NEWBURG NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION, INC., a Maryland non-stock association (the “Association”) and A &A ENTERPRISE III , LLC., (“A & A”), a Maryland corporation.


WHEREAS, A & A has requested Baltimore County to rezone No. 9 and No. 11 Newburg Avenue from current zoning of RO to BL-CCC. The property is described on Exhibit “A” attached hereto and incorporated by reference herein.

WHEREAS, the Association is a neighborhood improvement association that represents the neighborhood in which the parcel sits and has certain concerns in regard to the change of zoning for the aforesaid properties; and

WHEREAS, A & A and the Association desire to enter into this Declaration to set forth their understanding with regard to certain matters related to the development of No. 9 and No. 11 Newburg Avenue.

NOW THEREFORE, in consideration of the foregoing and for other good and valuable consideration, the receipt and sufficiency of which are hereby acknowledged, the parties hereto hereby agree as follows:

Noise Restrictions. In its operation of the property, A & A shall comply with all applicable noise ordinances and shall use reasonable efforts to prevent undue noise emanating from any mechanical equipment located on the property. A & A will restrict deliveries and garbage pickup to hours of operation between 7am and 11pm.

Lighting Restrictions. The following restrictions shall apply to any newly installed outdoor lighting:
a. Lighting standards shall not exceed twenty (20) feet in height above grade.
b. Lighting shall be shielded to hide the light source from direct view and to the extent possible not to be directed toward adjoining properties.
c. A & A shall use reasonable efforts to limit the intensity of lighting in compliance with applicable building code and not in excess of applicable safety and security standards.
d. A & A shall use reasonable efforts to prevent parking lot lighting from being visible from Newburg Avenue.

Front Facades and Landscaping. A & A will not to pave the front yard of 9 or 11 Newburg Avenue and install only residential style landscaping to maintain a residential appearance of the properties.

Signage. No electric signage will be erected on the property. . For the front of the properties, A & A will agree to comply with residential office (R/O) signage regulations regardless of current or future zoning classification of the property.

Parking Lot Design and Traffic Control. A & A will make reasonable efforts to promote a traffic pattern which emphasizes entrance and exit to the property via Frederick Avenue. In addition, A & A will limit the access of driveway use of 11 Newburg to business hours of 7am to 6pm.

USE. A & A will agree not to lease the premises to organizations engaged in operations as described in Exhibit B of this agreement. The restrictions on these prohibited uses will expire, along with this agreement on December 31, 2013.

Formation of Committee. A committee will be established whereby the Association will hold annual meetings to review the covenants. Any issues discussed at the meeting will be communicated in writing to A & A.

Standing of the ASSOCIATION. The ASSOCIATION, through its duly elected and authorized officers shall have standing to enforce the provisions of this Declaration.

Captions. The captions appearing in this Declaration are inserted only as a matter of convenience and do not define, limit, construe or describe the scope or intent of the Sections of this Declaration or in any way affect this Declaration.

Force Majeure. Whenever a period of time is herein prescribed for action to be taken by A & A or the ASSOCIATION, the party taking the action shall not be liable or responsible for, and there shall be excluded from the computation for any such period of time, any delays due to strikes, riots, acts of God, war, acts of terrorism or casualties.

Delivery of Notices. ASSOCIATION Representative. Whenever any notice or request for approval or consent (a “Notice”) is required to be given by either party, such Notice shall be deemed received by the other party on the third business day after such Notice is deposited in the United States mail for delivery by Certified or Registered mail. Such Notice shall be addressed (i) if to the ASSOCIATION, to the Resident Agent of the Association as shown in the records of the State Department of Assessments and Taxation of Maryland, or any successor agency, and (ii) if to A & A __________________. A & A may rely on any written document signed or purportedly signed by any officer of the Association as constituting any consent or approval required hereunder.

Severability. If the application of any term or provision of this Declaration whether in whole or in part be held invalid or unenforceable in general or in any instance, the remainder of this Declaration shall not be affected by any such holding and shall be fully valid and enforceable.

County Comments and Government Regulations. In the event that any of the provisions set forth in this Declaration conflict with any State, County, or other government ordinance, statute, rule or regulation or any matter required by Baltimore County as a condition of Site Plan approval such ordinance, statute, rule, regulation, or other government provision shall supersede the relevant provision set forth herein.

Incorporation of Agreement. It is the intent of the parties that the terms and provisions of this Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions be incorporated into any zoning and Site Plan approval by Baltimore County, Maryland for the project including approval by the Planning Board, the Hearing Officer and/or the Development Review Committee.

Covenants Do Not Run with the Land. The parties hereto covenant and agree that all of the terms, covenants, conditions, agreements, rights, privileges, obligations, duties, specifications and recitals in this Declaration shall not be construed as covenants running with the land, or as extending to, incurring to the benefit of, and being binding upon their respective personal representatives, successors and assigns. As such the terms of this agreement shall expire and become null and void and of no further legal effect on December 31, 2013.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, THE ASSOCIATION and A & A have caused this Declaration to be executed, under seal, as of the date and year first above written.



___________________________ By: _______________________________

Name: Matt Totaro

Title: President


__________________________ By: _____________________________

Name: Craig Witzke

Title: Managing Member
STATE OF MARYLAND, COUNTY OF __________________, TO WIT:

I HEREBY CERTIFY, that on this _____ day of _______, 2008 before me, the undersigned officer, personally appeared Matt Totaro, who acknowledged himself to be the President of the Newburg Neighborhood Association, Inc.. and on behalf of said association did acknowledge that he, as such President being authorized so to do, executed the foregoing instrument for the purposes therein contained, by signing the name of such corporation by himself as such President.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and Official Seal.

Notary Public

My Commission Expires:

STATE OF MARYLAND, COUNTY OF __________________, TO WIT:

I HEREBY CERTIFY, that on this _____ day of _______, 2008 before me, the undersigned officer, personally appeared Craig Witzke, who acknowledged himself to be the Managing Member of A & A Enterprises, LLC. and on behalf of said company did acknowledge that he, as such Managing Member being authorized so to do, executed the foregoing instrument for the purposes therein contained, by signing the name of such corporation by himself as such President.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and Official Seal.

Notary Public

My Commission Expires:

Exhibit A- Legal Description of Property

BEGINNING for the first at a point on the east side of Newburg Avenue at the distance of one hundred fifty feet south from the intersection of said Avenue with the Frederick Road; running thence south bounding on the east side of said Avenue one hundred feet; thence east at right angles with said Avenue north 77 degrees 25 minutes east 263 feet 6 inches to the outline of the whole Lot Number Seventeen (17) on the Plat of Catonsville; thence northwesterly bounding on said outline and parallel with Newburg Avenue one hundred feet and thence by a direct line to the place of beginning; with the right of use of an alley sixteen feet six inches wide communicating with the said Frederick Road from the northeast corner of this lot.

The improvements thereon being known and designated as 9 Newburg Avenue.

Tax Account No. 01-13-855205.

BEING all and the same lot of ground which by Deed dated October 21, 2004, for the consideration of $0.00, and recorded among the Land Records of Baltimore County, Maryland in Liber No. 0020947, folio 466, was granted and conveyed by Jay Allan Muir, Sr. Trustee of the Trust Estate of Myrtle S. Muir, unto Jay Allan Muir, Sr.

BEGINNING for the second at a point on the east side of Newburg Avenue at the distance of two hundred fifty feet south from the intersection of said Avenue with the Frederick Road; running thence south bounding on the east side of said Avenue seventy feet; thence east at right angles with said Avenue north 77 degrees 25 minutes east 263 feet 6 inches to the outline of the whole lot Number Seventeen (17) on the plat of Catonsville; thence northwesterly bounding on said outline and parallel with Newburg Avenue seventy feet, and thence by a direct line to the place of beginning.

The improvements thereon being known and designated as 11 Newburg Avenue.

Tax Account No. 01-13-855204.

BEING all and the same lot of ground which by Deed dated October 21, 2004, for the consideration of $0.00, and recorded among the Land Records of Baltimore County, Maryland in Liber No. 0020947, folio 466, was granted and conveyed by Jay Allan Muir, Sr. Trustee of the Trust Estate of Myrtle S. Muir, unto Jay Allan Muir, Sr.

Exhibit – “B” – Prohibited Uses

Until December 31, 2013 A & A will agree not to lease the premises to organizations engaged in operations as:

Fast Food Restaurant
Alcohol Beverage Packaging Store
Billiards Hall
Bowling Alley
Coin Operated Dry-Cleaning
Fuel Service Stations
Laundromat or self service laundry
Rail Passenger Stations
Public Utility Service
Recreational Vehicle parking lot
Transit Facility
Boat Yard
Golf Driving Range, batting cage or miniature golf
Motel or Motel Court
Sludge disposal facility
Volunteer Fire Company

PLEASE NOTE: This was the original draft copy. We were waiting for comments, from the Association's Counsel, on which of these uses the Association would reccommend be prohibited for 5, 10, 20 years or forever.
No notice was ever given, that they had decided to stall the negotiations or start their "Campaign of Fear". We had no idea that they had decided to make an attempt at stripping the current zoning from the property. Craig

Here are a Few Replies to the Very Misinformed Petition Signers

This entire post and all supporting comments were removed
Wednesday August 6th.

Some of the Individuals whose names were mentioned prefer to remain anonymous. Having their names appear on this blog may hurt any negotiations with the Newburg Avenue Association.

I do believe that I have the right to defend myself against the misinformation and downright lies that have been distributed throughout Catonsville, to elicit signatures, on their misleading petition. It is not my policy to remove ANY post, but, this is being done as an attempt to refocus our efforts on reaching a mutually satisfying agreement with the Newburg Ave. Association.

I would like to thank all of the people who support this project and took the time to learn the facts, before signing the petition blindly. You can remain assured that I will do everything,within my power, to see that the Muir House is renovated and will contribute to the beautiful gateway to the surrounding neighborhood. Although, this may take longer than originally planned, due to the unexpected legal expense and hindrances, that we have encountered, this is still our goal.

Please keep reading this blog to find out about the many great things happening in Catonsville.


On the Lighter Side!

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