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Advertise on the Tentacle

June 26, 2002

Talk of the Town

Norman M. Covert

GRIDLOCK. A neighbor said it's easier and less expensive to buy products "on line" rather than take a chance on the afternoon traffic at Evergreen Point and the Route 85 mess. The summer heat challenges even the most dependable auto cooling system. If you never tried buying on line, it's easy and safe if you use a known company with appropriate security.

Of course, many young families just head out to WalMart, Costco, Sam's Club and other discount stores in the Route 85 corridor looking for bargains and perhaps a pleasant evening out of the house. Personally, shopping is the last thing on my to-do priorities. Who knows, one day The Tentacle might be your bridge to on-line shopping.

DOWNTOWN. We hear some folks complaining about "problems" downtown, but there seem to be pleasant crowds frequenting the restaurants and saloons on our own Great White Way. Patrons are apparently finding parking and other amenities to satisfy their forays into Georgetown North. Despite the "old Geezers" who meet for coffee each day near the Square Corner, there hasn't been much impact from the controversial noise ordinance downtown, and we haven't had a report from Mizmayor on X-hale.

ARTICULATION. Speaking of Mizmayor, she certainly handles herself well with an audience. She and Del. Sue Hecht (D. 3rd) spoke on behalf of Dr. George Smith when he announced his candidacy for county commissioner. They both know how to work a room and that's a prerequisite for a successful politician. Mizmayor is also doing better trying to control the board of aldermen sessions, especially knowing that she has a majority most of the time with Bill Hall and Dave Lenhart the consistent minority opinion.

Sue Hecht is undoubtedly a capable legislator with great connections in Annapolis. She has a real grasp of legislation and how to get it through the political system. Of course, being a Democrat helps, too. Ask anyone what kind of a Democrat she is and you'll get the full gamut from raging liberal to the more palatable moderate-to-conservative. She's pushing the moderate end of things right now.

WHERE'S ALEX? We heard Sen. Alex X. Mooney (R., 3rd) speak to a group of senior citizens last week. He's no slouch when it comes to speaking "down-home" and communicating with the voters. With his determined mother acting as campaign manager, Alex had been knocking on doors most of the day because he knows that's how you get elected. Coupled with his right answers on issues for the seniors, Alex doesn't look so vulnerable. When his talk concluded there was unanimous consent to place a sign, take a bumper sticker, and sign on for other help.

CITY FACTIONS. The voting split on the city board of aldermen is most noticeable on the issue of the Ten Commandments Stone in Memorial Grounds Park. If they went to a vote on retaining the stone and the status quo today, you'd probably see 3-2 vote against, that's assuming my friend Joe Baldi goes along with the mayor again. I guess we should be happy that he is considering alternatives to a court fight, that's good fact finding, but at the same time we wish he would step out and proclaim that moving the stone would be flat out wrong. It's a matter of principle here.

COUNTY COUNT. The commissioners appear to my surprise to be probably at least a 4-1 vote in favor of keeping the status quo on the inoffensive stone. Commission Rick Weldon rebuked this column in a pleasant way last week because it said only Commissioner Jan Gardner expressed her support of the stone.

We admit to having missed Rick's supportive comments on Cable 10's News and apparently missed John (Lennie) Thompson's published comment to "chain himself to the monument." In addition, Rick assures us that Terre Roy Rhoderick has also stepped up to the plate in defense of the stone. We apologize to these commissioners and hope they will not let the city take precedence in the decision.

NO TURN UNSTONED. We hope all will turn out for the public meeting on the Ten Commandments Stone July 25 at Winchester Hall. There is an interesting ownership deal with Memorial Grounds Park, which was deeded to both the city and county in 1924 by the Evangelical Reformed Church. The Rev. Fred Wenner of the former High Dutch Church says he doesn't want the former cemetery back, but The Rev. Robert Manthey of Calvary United Methodist Church, across the street, is willing to take ownership of the stone and place it in the church courtyard. It would get lost there.

UNDERSHIP. The Veterans Committee for Memorial Park, Inc., of which I was, and remain, a member, might lay an ownership claim to at least a major portion of the park and therefore offset claims of it being 100 percent government property. The committee worked hard in 1997 and 1998 to raise money (more than $130,000) to completely refurbish the park, install new sidewalks, a memorial bell tower and patio monument. To honor the history of the park and cemetery we co-located the small Washington Elm Stone, the Ten Commandments Stone and the legally required stone and Bronze Tablet containing the names of those who were originally buried at the site, some remains of whom are still there. We can't pinpoint it, but recollect the Ten Commandments was moved from City Hall to the park at the time of construction of the World War II Monument, dedicated in 1985.

CERTIFICATION. The committee met with the commissioners and aldermen on separate occasions to gain their acceptance and approval of both the committee and its plans for the park. Even the city Planning and Historic District commissions took a critical look at plans, as a courtesy, and gave approval. Both boards were pleased that the veterans had taken the initiative to fix up the aging cemetery, which showed its age by contrast with the beautiful new monuments installed by veterans.

The park committee came together with representatives of each of the monument committees, who have their own finances and maintain their sites. We were disappointed that the Korean War Memorial Committee's then-chairman chose not to participate. The late J. Alfred Cutsail, of the World War II committee, was elected president, serving until his death when vice president Donald Null, a Normandy/D-Day vet like Mr. Cutsail, was elected president. Current president is Vietnam Veteran Thomas Nikirk.

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