Anna Around Town

Column at Essex.Patch.com

Anna Renault is a lifelong resident of eastern Baltimore County and a veteran community columnist. She will offer a unique perspective on life in the Essex/Middle River area.

Swim Helps Raise Money for Pancreatic Cancer Research

Anne Shimabukuro, a six-year pancreatic cancer survivor, was excited to participate in the swim. On a hazy, humid Sunday morning, several hundred people converged at Rocky Point Beach to support the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. The annual PurpleSwim event was founded by Tim Beatty in honor of his father, Bud Beatty, who was an avid swimmer, swim coach and all-around community supporter. Bud lost his battle with pancreatic cancer several years ago. In 2008, Tim decided to swim from Rocky Point Beach to Hart-Miller Island and back. His plan was to raise a couple hundred dollars for…Read More

Teachers Become Students Along Back River

A group of teachers from across the country learn about the cleanup efforts along the Back River watershed.The Back River watershed turned into a classroom last week for more than 30 teachers from across the country, who visited the area to learn about the cleanup efforts there with hopes of incorporating what they saw into their curriculum. Dale Bergerhofer, a Kansas School Designer with Expeditionary Learning (EL), was leader of the group of math and science teachers that visited the trash boom currently in place along Back River at Diamond Point. Bergerhofer said the program is part of the movement for a national…Read More

Knights of Columbus Induct New Officers

Grand Knight Michael Mank, Deputy Grand Knight Gary Heil, Chancellor Rick Fiorita and Warden Frank Schwarzman were among the new officers inducted recently into the Knights of Columbus.With family and guests in attendance, the 88th annual Knights of Columbus’ formal induction of officers took place in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.   The new officers include: Michael Mank, Grand Knight; Gary Heil, Deputy Grand Knight; Msgr. Robert Hartnett, Association Chaplain; Frank Schwarzman, Warden; Rick Fiorita, Chancellor. Also during the ceremony, Herb Kraft Jr. was sworn in as the new District 28 representative. “The Knights have always been a beacon of light in Essex-Middle River,” said…Read More

Mount Carmel ‘Graduates’ Gather for Reunion

Eighth grade graduates from Our Lady of Mount Carmel gathered recently for a reunion.Over the past several weeks, lots of graduation parties have taken place, as well as a few reunions to celebrate graduation milestones. There was one particularly unique reunion at the Golden Corral on Rossville Blvd. last week. Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish has been in the community for 124 years. For the last 51 years, the parish has incorporated a school for grades kindergarten through 12. And many alumni have celebrated reunions along the way.  Prior to the high school being built, students at Mount Carmel…Read More

Ms. Umoh Goes to Washington

Cassandra Umoh is a lifelong Essex resident and a community activist.Cassandra Umoh is a dedicated local community leader who has made it her life’s work to improve the lives of those in and around the Essex-Middle River community. As a member of the National Association of Commissions for Women (NACW), Umoh serves as a local commissioner on the Baltimore County Commission for Women. The NACW members receive information concerning leadership, new programs and services that impact local communities. In June, the NACW held its annual meeting in Washington,…Read More

Essex Boy Scout Honored for Saving Relative’s Life

Local Turkey Point resident Christopher Mundy put his scout training into action on Oct. 9, 2010, when his cousin was choking.  Performing the Heimlich maneuver on his cousin was a real act of heroism. Now age 11, Mundy was awarded the Arrow of Light and advanced to Scout status within Boy Scout Troop 355. During the Baltimore Area Council’s annual meeting on June 16, Mundy received the Heroism Award for his quick thinking and proper lifesaving action in October. Mundy used a skill he had learned…Read More

Cancer Fundraisers Make a Difference Over the Weekend

The Relay for Life event at CCBC Essex raised more than $90,000 for the American Cancer SocietyAs an eight-time cancer survivor, I have made it a mission to help others fighting the same fight I have for 34 years. Here are just a few stops I made over the weekend “around town” to events that benefited the fight against cancer.  Relay for Life Relay for Life was once again a big success at CCBC Essex. Through the end of the day Monday, the event raised $90,061.89 for the American Cancer Society. The event’s organizers have set a goal of raising $95,000 and are asking the public to help make that…Read More

68th Street Landfill Plans, Back River Cleanup, New Team in Town

The 68th Street Landfill in Rosedale is on the EPA's Superfund list as one of the nation's most-polluted sites.The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is continuing to keep the public involved as it develops cleanup and redevelopment plans for the  68th Street Landfill in Rosedale.  The project’s team held an information session at the Rosedale Library on May 23.  Local residents were invited to review property charts, reuse proposals, identified environmental impact statements and general cleanup needs of the landfill and surrounding waterways.  Throughout the presentations, project staff and partners…
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Bald is Beautiful for Area Women

Andrea Kelly raised more than $1,000 for St. Baldrick's and had her head shaved for the cause.The St. Baldrick’s Foundation has a legion of volunteers. It is committed to funding research to find cures for childhood cancers. Its goal is to give survivors long and healthy lives. It’s working to “conquer kids’ cancers.” Each March a fundraiser is held in our area to help fund research grants. Several doctors at the Johns Hopkins Hospital are recipients of funds that support promising research. At this year’s March 6 fundraiser at Martin’s East, Dr. Eric Raaber, a third-year grant recipient, was the guest speaker.…Read More

Community Meetings, STEM Awards, Vets for Pets

Local elementary students were recognized by Councilwoman Cathy Bevins for work on their STEM projects.It was another very busy week in the Essex Middle River area! There are so many people doing so many interesting things!  Here are a few highlights around town: Bevins Communicates with Local Community Groups Last Monday night, District 6 Councilwoman Cathy Bevins was the guest speaker at the Holly Neck Conservation Association monthly meeting. Bevins answered numerous questions posed by the local residents of the lower Back River Neck Peninsula.  Representatives from several other…
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Essex Students Learn Lesson; Political Debate Continues ‘Around Town’

Being in the second grade can be very interesting and exciting. This is especially true when a reading class works for several months with teaching intern, Ms. White (Stevenson University) to improve their writing skills and to increase their vocabulary. The goal for this particular group of students in Ms. Cathy Dietz’s class was to create their own book.  After learning to write with different types of sentences using descriptions, quotations, and correct punctuation along with other writing skills, each student accomplished…Read More

Art Exhibits, Clean Ups, Helping Youths, Improving Health Care

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz stands with elected officials, workers and volunteers as he announces plans to sign a "Trash Treaty" as a pledge to clean up the Back River.Sometimes life moves fast and furious with too many events happening without enough time to attend them all! My calendar is evidence to this since May arrived. Here’s a look at my latest observations from “around town.” Young Artists on Display in Essex Library There is some fabulous artwork on the walls of the Essex Library’s youth area. Through the efforts of some very special students from Holabird Middle School, the library is now the proud recipient of these posters. The library is looking forward to…
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Franklin Square Honors Top Volunteers

Franklin Square Hospital Center recently honored its top volunteers at a reception at Martin's East in Middle River.April is coming to an end. And as you may know, April is “Volunteer Appreciation Month.” Throughout the last week of the month an even more special emphasis is placed on honoring volunteers for “Volunteer Appreciation Week.” Throughout our area, there are many different venues for residents to donate their time. Some of the “Top Places to Volunteer in Essex, Middle River” were identified in my December 29, 2010 column. However, one of the largest homes to a cadre of volunteers is our local…Read More

Good People Making a Difference in Essex, Middle River

Boy Scout Troop 117 assisted Troop 355 in the “presentation of colors” at a recent Daughters of the American Revolution event honoring troops in Middle River.Traveling around town can be interesting and exciting as one meets new friends and some very special people. On a Monday evening, a visit to the Protestant Community United Church of Christ on Orville Rd., behind Mars Supermarket, introduced me to some very special folks. Scout Leader Rick Gambrill introduced me to Joe Fulker, an assistant scout leader. These men, along with some other very dedicated parents, coordinate the activities of Boy Scout Troop 117. This is one of 13 troops in Baltimore that are…
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Daughters of the American Revolution Support Local Troops

The local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution held its monthly meeting Saturday, April 16, at the Lamky Luther Whitehead Veterans Memorial (LLW Memorial) at Holly Hill Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Middle River. The meeting provided the organization the opportunity to honor local troops who were injured or died while protecting the United States. The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) was founded in 1890.  It is headquartered in Washington as a nonprofit,…Read More

Essex, Middle River Residents Take Time to Volunteer

Del. John Olszewski Jr. assists with the recent cleanup at Walnut Point. The effort is one of several this month during Volunteer Appreciation Month.April is Volunteer Appreciation Month, and there is no shortage of opportunities for those living in the Essex-Middle River area, especially with Earth Day coming on April 22. Kudos to all the fabulous volunteers who do so much for so many! The month kicked off in a big way on April 2 as volunteers gathered at Walnut Point, off South Marlyn Avenue, for the season’s first Back River Restoration Committee environmental cleanup. Jim Pollock, Hampden’s “Trash Artist,” joined the volunteers. Pollock also…Read More

A Labor of Love for Essex-Middle River Authors

Ken Rochon at Women's Expo 3 13 2011Essex resident Melody Ravert has had six books published in the last nine years. The single mother—her husband died in 2006—began her publishing career in 2002 with the first of a three-part series: The Shadow Stalker Series: Shadow of Death followed by Avenging Sword and Dying for Attention. This faith-based series of books is geared toward young teenage boys. It deals with domestic violence, gangs and stalking issues. Next, Ravert published The Nightwolf Series: Nightwolf:  In Search of a Hero…Read More

Local Soldiers, Girl Scouts Display Best of Americans

Local Girls Scouts helped collect 112 set of pajamas for Kami’s Jammies, a non-profit organization that collects new pajamas that are distributed to children who must spend time in hospitals.Traveling around town is always an interesting experience. Last Thursday, I had mixed emotions as I attended the deployment for a unit from the 175th Infantry Regiment of Maryland’s National Guard. Eric Friesl, an usher at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, is a member of the Towson unit that deployed 88 men. This is Friesl’s fourth deployment. Family, friends and parishioners are wishing him all the best. “I’m glad I have the special skills and training needed that keeps my name on the ‘available for deployment’ list,” Friesl…Read More

Baltimore Mariners Fans Continue to Support Players Even After Team Folds

Former Baltimore Mariners Scorpio Brown, Jermaine Thaxton and E.J. Nemeth pose with Mount Carmel softbll coach Harris Jessop. Don’t let the NFL lockout get you down. While there is a chance pro football in Baltimore could be missing this fall thanks to the NFL’s first work stoppage since 1987, there are still plenty of ways to get your pigskin fix. This includes indoor football. The game is a hard-hitting and fast action that will fill the void and give you an adrenaline rush not to be missed. In June 2010, the Ravens Nest 8 from Middle River adopted me in an effort to help me pay for mounting medical bills due to my most recent battle with…Read More
Women’s Expo Offers ‘Great Escape’

Sometimes it’s good to simply escape from the everyday routine.  It can be refreshing to get one’s mind relaxed, challenged or simply refreshed.  Several dozen women and a dozen or so men converged last week on the Aloft Hotel – BWI in Linthicum to do that by taking advantage of a “Great Escape” adventure.  Pickle Dell, newly published author of Through a Mother’s Pain, the Child Cries, Ginny Robertson, editor of Woman of Purpose magazine, and Vicky Richardson of the RAACE Foundation (Race Against Abuse of Children Everywhere) were all in attendance. Richardson is scouting the area for …Read More

Patch Columnist Details Her Amazing ‘Journey’

"Anna's Journey" details the life of Patch columnist Anna Renault, who is a multi-time cancer survivor and a victim of domestic violence.For many years family, friends, medical staff and a host of others have often said to me that my medical history is an amazing story. The number of trials and near-brushes with death read like a “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” story, including a half dozen bouts with cancer and a near-fatal car crash.  So many times, people have commented that I have inspired them in some way.  And, the most frequent statement has been, “You should write a book.” Well, I finally took all of that to heart and decided now was a good…Read More

Teams Across Essex Prepare to Relay for Life

The Essex Relay for Life event is set for June 10 at CCBC Essex.Relay for Life season is in full swing. The American Cancer Society hosts dozens of Relay for Life events in and around Baltimore from April to June.  Each event is unique, yet they all share commonalities, such as the first lap designated the “Survivors’ Lap,” and at dusk each event holds a “Luminaria Ceremony.” New teams are currently being formed. New and returning teams are busy raising funds as they strive to win prizes while raising as much money as possible for a good cause. Watch for announcements for…Read More

Ruppersberger Stresses Making Smart Spending Cuts

Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger is concerned that the push to cut federal spending will negatively impact national security.Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger understands this nation is in an economic crisis. The Maryland Democratic congressman is the first to admit that the U.S. has to control spending and reduce the national deficit. However, Ruppersberger also stresses that broad spending cuts are not the answer. He wants those in the federal governemnt to go over the budget with a fine-tooth comb and examine areas where spending can be reduced without impacting crucial programs that care for national security and…
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St. Stephens AME Church Continues to Make a Difference in Essex

So often, the news is full of negativity. But the Dream Makers youth forum, proudly sponsored by St. Stephen’s AME Church, is something positive the community should know about.  Its Office of Management and Technology put together an agenda of speakers and workshops for youth within the community who came together on their day off from school last month. These teens gathered to participate in a program that not onlyhonored Dr. Martin Luther King, but also gave them information about finance, public health, technology and careers.The program was held at the Stembridge Community Center. Teens…Read More

Essex Educators, Businessmen Sent to ‘Jail’ for a Good Cause

Baltimore County Sheriff's Deupty Leon Dixon "arrests" Stanley Beers, of Beers Tax and Accounting Service, last Wednesday as part f the MDA's "Lockup" Fundraiser at Ruby Tuesday's in Essex.Ruby Tuesday’s in Essex looked more like a police precinct on Wednesday as “jailbirds” were processed and bail was set before being released. The restaurant wasn’t home to a crime scene, but rather the Muscular Dystrophy Association “Lock-Up,” an annual fundraiser for the non-profit. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., MDA staff, along with Baltimore County Sheriff’s Deputies Leon Dixon and Sue Thompson, escorted the jailbirds to Ruby Tuesday’s restaurant, where they were treated to delicious bread and…Read More

Essex Principals Getting ‘Arrested’ for Good Cause

When I’m not covering stories for Patch, I work as a substitute teacher in Baltimore County schools. Recently, I had an assignment at Essex Elementary School and discovered something very interesting: the school principal, Amy Grabner, was being arrested, and the school couldn’t be happier. Grabner is actually participating with several other principals in the Essex-Middle River area in the “Behind Bars for Good” fundraising campaign to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The “Behind Bars for Good” campaign is an annual MDA fundraiser.  Local business and community leaders agree to be…Read More

Examining the Health Care Reform Debate

As a person with multiple medical problems, I have tried to stay up to date with all the changes being suggested and/or passed by Congress over the past two years. It is a difficult task weeding through the rhetoric of the politicians; impossible to read through hundreds of pages of the actual bill that passed; and, understanding all the ramifications the final bill will cause. However, it is important to learn what is good in the bill, what is bad in the bill, and what needs to be changed. In talking with Mary Turner, it is quite obvious that she is extremely anti-health care reform.  Her …Read More

Weir Jr. Continues Family Tradition in Annapolis

Del. John Olszewski Jr., left, along with Del. Joseph "Sonny" Minnick and Del Mike Weir Jr., all Democrats, are running for reelection in the state's Sixth legislative district. The district includes Dundalk, Rosedale and parts of Essex. As the 90-day General Assembly session kicked off on Wednesday, Del. Mike Weir provides a reminder of how a local boy continues to give back to the community he has called home his whole life.  Weir is a life-long Essex resident, having been born and raised on the Back River Neck Peninsula.  His father, Mike Sr., moved into the area when he was about 5 year old. Eventually owning a large parcel of land off Cape May Road, there are now three homes there – there are family residences of two sons, one on…Read More

Friends Offer Valuable Reflections of the Past Year

As I traveled around town during the last few days of 2010, it was interesting to hear people’s comments about their year.  It was also exciting to hear their plans for 2011. Trying out Jad’s Restaurant’s for breakfast, John Sussley expressed how glad he was to see 2010 go away.  His reasons were few: 1. He was laid off; 2. He managed to find another job, but that company closed down just six months later; 3.  His truck was struck by a hit-and-run driver. No, he is sure that 2011 has to be a better year. During a quick stop in the new Family Dollar Store in Country Ridge Shopping Center, …Read More

Top Places to Volunteer in Essex, Middle River

Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland delivers more than 800,000 meals a year. The organization is looking for additional volunteers.Sometimes an editor will ask a writer to do the impossible. This was the case this week when I was asked to write about the top places to volunteer in the Essex-Middle River area. Needless to say, there are probably 100 top places. And what constitutes a great place for me to volunteer and a fantastic place for you might differ greatly. So, in an effort to accomplish this difficult challenge here’s what I have discovered around town. Finding your niche in the world of volunteering is a very individual and unique…Read More

Local Troops Help Celebrate Boy Scouts’ 100th Anniversary

There are opportunities to participate in Boy Scout for those in grades first through 12th.Essex celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2009. For most of its history, the Boy Scouts of America have played an integral role in helping others and making a positive impact in the community. The Boys Scouts celebrated a century in existence this year and while times have changed, the youth organization still boasts more than 4.5 million members. In its history, the Boy Scout have had 110 million members, including many from Essex and Middle River. Here is a look at the work of some of the local troops over…Read More

Sandalwood Elmentary Students Travel ‘Around the World’

Fadumo Muse, Micaela Gutierrez, teacher Keri Nelson, Imani Motley, Joseph Ward traveled "around the world" at Sandalwood Elementary School as part of a third-grade project to learn about Christmas customs in other countries.Sandalwood Elementary School is nestled on S. Marlyn Avenue on the west-side of the Back River Neck Peninsula in eastern Baltimore County.  However, on Thursday their third graders reported to school, were issued a “passport” and prepared to take a quick trip around the world.  They “traveled” to three foreign countries.  They gottheir passport stamped as they accomplished their mission in each country as part of a class project. Their travels gave them some insight into different aspects of the holiday…Read More

Essex Displays its Holiday Spirit

Like a magic wand has been waved over our little town, the area has come alive with holiday decorations. From simple displays to extravagant presentations, you can find them all without going too far afield. While the majority of residents still hold to a bit of the true reason for the season – the birth of Jesus – many others simply want to celebrate goodwill toward all and have a good time showing it with the abundance of decorations.  Some do a little decorating; some do a lot.  Some neighborhoods hold contests…Read More

Christmas Comes Early for Essex Children

More than 300 youngsters turned out to Eastern Regional Park in Chase for the fifth annual Baltimore County Candy Cane Hunt. Christmas came two weeks early for many Essex and Middle River children. That’s because Santa Claus showed up spreading holiday cheer to more than 300 youngsters who came out to Eastern Regional Park in Chase for Baltimore County’s fifth annual Candy Cane Hunt. Sitting in his sleigh, Santa visited with children from infants to age 11.  Parents took photographs as the line snaked down the snow-lined path, which was closely watched over by a pair of Santa’s Toy Soldiers. Keeping a close eye on the line…Read More

A decade preserving pristine Holly Neck Peninsula

Holly Neck Conservation Association members plant tulip bulbs. A decade ago, Essex  residents concerned about encroaching development banded together to fight a “clearcutting” plan to eliminate most or all of  nearly 500 acres of trees in one of Baltimore County’s biggest forests.  They formed the non-profit Holly Neck Conservation Association and preserved  a huge chunk of the forest on Holly Neck Peninsula, located on the lower end of the Back River Neck Peninsula. The group negotiated with the property owner, who eventually donated more than 300 acres to the state through…Read More

Local Charity in Need of Assistance

Christian Community Church is the home to the Eastern Interfaith Outreach, which assists families in need in eastern Baltimore County.More than two decades ago, area churches had their own food pantries – or some semblance of this service. Unfortunately, due to growing demands more assistance was needed than could be handled by the small “food closets” that were being maintained at individual churches. More than a dozen local churches decided to pool their resources and organize into one main location. In 1987, the Eastern Interfaith Outreach was formed and is now a fixture within our community.  A local activist donated the use of his…Read More

Jackie Nickel Gone But Not Forgotten

Local author and community activist was on a first name basis with famed Baltimore producer John Waters. Nickel passed away from cancer in 2007.Did you ever have an attack of nostalgia? You know when you feel a little wistful, have a little longing for what was, and where you want to stop and just reminisce about those good old days, those really fun times while remembering those great friends you spent time with? Well I had just such an attack recently! While pulling into the parking lot at Waterview Center on Eastern Boulevard, my mind flashed through its mini-slide show of memories.  A clear picture of the original Mars Supermarket was right…Read More

Making a Difference in Eastern Baltimore County

More than 100 people showed up to the Essex Middle River Civic Council's candidates forum in October.Both Ken Holt and Kevin Kamenetz knew that for either to win the race for county executive, they would need broad support. So, when the Essex Middle River Civic Council called and invited the politicians for its traditional candidates forum in October, they both answered. More than 100 people turned out for the event at the Middle River Rec Center and the council proved its importance to eastern Baltimore County. The Essex Middle River Civic Council consists of representatives from two dozen neighborhood…Read More

Honoring Those Who Served

Al Clasing helped lead a Veterans Day ceremony at Holly Hill Memorial Gardens  in Middle River.Thirty years ago, Holly Hill Memorial Gardens donated land to Lamky Luther Whitehead Veterans Committee to honor our veterans, providing the land necessary to erect the monuments.  The committee worked diligently to raise the funds, obtain the donation of materials and services, and as the saying goes, the rest is history.  As you enter The Avenue of Honor, five large monuments are the focal point at the center of the Memorial.  They contain the names of veterans who served honorably and gave their lives…Read More

Town’s Abuzz With Beer Ad

Bengies Drive-In was one of several locations selected to be part of a national Yuenling Lager advertising campaign. With miles of waterfront property and cozy taverns, Essex/Middle River has a rich history and an intoxicating allure. Now, appropriately enough, it has attracted a national advertising campaign—for beer. “Middle River is a place where U.S. presidents came to hunt; city residents came to enjoy the shore, and local residents showed their fortitude to survive and rebuild after Isabel visited in 2003. Now, Pavone Ad Agency of Harrisburg has discovered its beautiful resources,” said Baltimore County Executive Jim…Read More

For more, read Anna’s column at The Essex Patch

The Radio Show

A variety of topics will be covered, interviewing guests locally and across the county --- 2014 will feature exciting new shows about cancer, the environment, networking, entrepreneurs, and special broadcasts with special guests Book authors, doctors, small business entrepreneurs, and so much more!