August 2019 Newsletter

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More than 35 years ago, residents in neighborhood watch programs nationwide decided to build awareness of their public safety efforts by establishing the National Night Out initiative. It started as an opportunity for citizens to interact with public safety officers and leaders in an effort to build more trust and participation in the concept of community policing. 

Today, the National Night Out program engages over 38 million citizens in 16,000 communities nationwide. Tonight it will be my great privilege to join National Night Out activities in a number of District 44B’s great communities. While social events surrounding National Night Out typically receive the most attention, this event is also an extraordinary opportunity for citizens to ask questions and to provide feedback on critical issues of community policing and relations with public safety officers. 

I am looking forward to working with leaders and stakeholders from each of these areas, as we convene neighbors and officers to determine ways to fortify great existing programs and partnerships aimed at positive community relations, and how to create new ones. 

This program will be the kick-off for a month dedicated to advancing serious work in criminal justice reform and public safety advocacy. I look forward to seeing you at these events and beyond over the next several weeks. 

The following is a list of some of the scheduled precinct events in the District.

Precinct 1 Wilkens

Name of Group: Oella Community Association
Activity: Community gathering
Location: Westchester Community Center (2414 Westchester Avenue)
Time: 6:00-8:00pm

Name of Group: Paradise Community Association
Activity: Community gathering
Location: United Methodist Church (6715 Frederick Road 21228)
Time: 6:00-8:00pm

Name of Group: Medwick Garth Community Association
Activity: Community gathering
Location: South Medwick Garth/Overbrook Road
Time: 6:30 pm

Name of Group: Westgate Community Association
Activity: Community gathering
Location: 500 block of North Bend Road
Time: 6:30 pm

Precinct 2 Woodlawn

Name of Group: Edmondson Heights Civic Association
Activity: "Dessert in the Park", beverages provided
Location: Edmondson Heights Park (Granville and Harwall Roads)
Time: 7:00-9:00 pm

Name of Group: Fairbrook Community Association
Activity: Cookout
Location: Christ the King Church (1930 Brookdale Road, 21244)
Time: 6:00-8:00pm

Name of Group: Graystone
Activity: Meet and Greet picnic
Location: 1905 Gwynn Oak Avenue, 21207
Time: 7:00-8:30pm

Name of Group: Gwynn Oak
Activity: Community Picnic
Location: Virginia Street & Pembroke Avenue, 21207
Time: 4:00-8:00pm

Name of Group: Deerfield
Activity: Community picnic
Location: Dead end of Windsor Blvd. & Spring Mill Circle
Time: 6:00pm-dark

Name of Group: Hilltop
Activity: Community picnic
Location: Corner of Brookmont and Lukewood Roads.
Time: 6:00-8:00pm

Name of Group: Catonsville Manor
Activity: Block party, vendors, food
Location: Johnnycake & Ingleside Avenue Shopping Center / Ingleside Bazaar
Time: 6:00-9:00pm

Precinct 4 Pikesville

Name of Group: Villa Nova Homeowners Association
Activity: Parade, hand out crime prevention flyers
Location: Prince George Road and Buckingham Road
Time: 7:00 pm

Name of Group: Forest Garden COP
Activity: Community walk, meet and greet
Location: Forest Hill Road and Forest Garden Avenue
Time: 6:30 pm

Name of Group: Willow Glen South Community Association
Activity: Community gathering
Location: Prince George Road and Kathydale Drive
Time: 6:30-8:00 pm

Name of Group: Williamsburg HOA
Activity: Parade
Location: Bedford Elementary School (7404 Dorman Drive)
Time: 6:30 pm

Name of Group: Pahls Crossing HOA
Activity: Community Gathering
Location: Pahls Farm Way and Red Jonathan Court
Time: 7:00pm-8:00pm


In The Community

Working to Bring Healthy Meals to Baltimore County Youth

Summertime can be a tough season for youth from low-income households which struggle with food insecurity. No Kid Hungry Maryland is a nonprofit organization working to support these families with a number of sites throughout the county where healthy meals are available at no cost. I joined my colleague Del. Shelly Hettleman in supporting the program’s summer kickoff last month. 

 

 

 


A New Trampoline Park in Catonsville

I had a great time with neighbors in Catonsville celebrating the grand opening of the Get Air Trampoline Park. The facility is located at 6510 Baltimore National Pike and is a great place for families to share time getting fit together.

 

 


Working at Woodlawn High School

During the 2016 flooding, Woodlawn’s baseball fields were damaged and needed restoration.  As a result, the baseball teams did not have a home field to play on and played their home games away.  To help address this we obtained $250,000 in bond money last session for Woodlawn to restore two of its baseball fields.  

Last month, I met with Baltimore County Government and Public School officials to discuss possible solutions to minimize flooding of its fields and stadium, both of which are situated in a flood zone. A study to was thought to be the most prudent option available. 

Fortunately, during the 2019 Session of the Maryland General Assembly passed HB 428/SB 269 requiring at least $3 million in both fiscal year 2021 and fiscal year 2022, and for fiscal year 2023 at least $2 million be appropriated.  In order to help with planning, BCPS is submitting an application to the Maryland Department of Environment for the 2021 fiscal year.  


New Maryland District Court in Catonsville nears completion 

The new facility is scheduled to open this fall and will expedite case proceedings for many of the county’s small claims and violations ranging from civil disputes to felony charges.

 

 


This month’s community Q&A features Sheila Lewis, President of the Villa Nova Community Association. 

-Which community do you live in?

I have lived in the Pikesville community of Villa Nova, which was established in 1910, for 30 years.  Villa Nova is located in the Gwynns Falls watershed. Several residential properties are nestled on or near banks of the small streams that flow through the watershed.  Flooding from major natural events significantly impacted and shaped character of the community by creating nature park that have inviting walking trails. The charm and unique characteristics of Villa Nova is enhanced by forest animals and water fowls that live in the forests near the stream.  Over the past few years more diverse forest life and water fowl are returning to the area. 

-What do you love about your community?

In addition to the natural beauty of the area, Villa Nova has culturally, racially, religiously, and politically diverse residents who value, appreciate, and tolerate each other because they realize we have more in common than we have differences.  There are no “cookie cutter” properties here; each property is wonderfully unique in appearance and character. The location is ideal because it is close to outstanding public transportation, major interstates and state roads

-What drives your passion to serve as the President of the Villa Nova Community Association?

I serve as elected president of the Villa Nova Community Association (VNCA) at the request of the community residents.  It is inspiring to work with the talents, experience and efforts of the association members and residents to protect, improve, and enhance our community.  It is wonderful to be a part of the efforts to empower residents to effectuate change by becoming more responsible for actions not just relying on officials to take care of our communities.  This means residents are participating in community clean ups, attending governmental hearing and meetings, and sharing concerns with elected officials. 

-As President, what is your biggest accomplishment thus far and what would you like to accomplish going forward?

VNCA works vigilantly to preserve and protect the unique character and monetary  values of the properties. Over the years many Villa Nova trees have been removed because of age, disease, and storm damage.  We need to develop a plan to plant many trees and other forestation in order to restore the tree canopy and ecological balance in this portion of the Gwynns Falls Watershed, as well as, improve the environmental attributes of the community.   We are also seeking to preserve open space for community enjoyment rather than allowing new housing and business developments that changes suburban areas to urban areas. 

School System Updates

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District 44B welcomes two new principals to the district.

Ms. Michelle Webster, previously an Assistant Principal at Hillcrest Elementary School, was promoted via an administrative appointment to be Featherbed Lane Elementary’s new Principal. Additionally, James M. Marthe, formerly Teacher/Resource Lansdowne Middle School, will be joining Ms. Webster as an Assistant Principal at Featherbed Lane Elementary School

sydnor-principal2.jpg Additionally, Phillip Robinson, previously an Assistant Principal Pikesville High School was promoted via an administrative appointment to be Meadowood Education Center’s new Principal.
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We would also like to thank Ms. Georgina Aye, who recently resigned as principal at Woodlawn High School, for her service to the community. Ms. Aye was appointed principal during the 2016-2017 school year. Ms. Aye is credited with reducing Woodlawn’s chronic absenteeism rate from 55 percent in the 2016-17 school year to 41 percent during the 2017-2018.  Additionally, she has been a good partner with me, as we added heating, air-conditioning and plumbing classes to Woodlawn which will provide students with a marketable skill that could lead to work soon after graduation. 

With her departure, BCPS is seeking a new principal for Woodlawn. The job description can be reviewed here.

Additional job openings with schools within District 44B or that serve students from District 44B include Catonsville MiddleDogwood, Edmondson Heights, Featherbed, Milford Mill, Powhatan, Woodlawn Middle.


In The News

I appeared on an edition of ‘State Circle’ earlier this month to debate the issue of MVA-collected personal data being accessible to federal agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). I am a strong proponent of supporting citizens’ rights to privacy and due process and look forward to advancing legislation that will bolster our constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms. 


In The Capital

Progress on PANDAS

A workgroup commissioned by the Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) to gather public feedback on mandated insurance coverage for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS) continued its public meeting schedule last month. I look forward to advancing the dialog on this critical topic in Annapolis during the next session and working with parents throughout Maryland striving to gain equitable healthcare for this rare and debilitating disorder. 

Oversight for Maryland’s Correctional Programs

I will be joining members of the Judiciary Committee this week on a tour of the state’s correctional institutions in Jessup. While the tour is not open to the public, details about the tour agenda an upcoming activities of the committee are available here

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