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Baltimore County Now

Stay informed of what's happening in Baltimore County.
Date: Aug 2013

apple on teacher's deskKevin Kamenetz
County Executive

To Dr. Dance and his administrative team:  Thank you for creating such a positive school climate all across Baltimore County.  Team BCPS is a reality, and it’s making a difference in our children’s lives.

To all of the administrators, teachers and support staff:  Thank you for all you do for Baltimore County’s students each and every day.  I know that many of you worked all summer preparing for the 2013-2014 school year, and as I drove by schools this weekend, I saw the parked cars of many educators who were putting the finishing touches on classrooms and getting ready for the most exciting day of the school year.

To our students:  I know that many of you are very nervous, particularly our kindergarten students, 6th and 9th graders.  Thank you for taking school so seriously.  As I go from school to school, I’m always incredibly impressed by how hard students are working.  Keep up the good work!

And finally, to our parents:  I want to thank you most of all. You have been there from the beginning. You were the first to teach your sons and daughters their numbers and letters. You read them their first books. You take them to band practice and pick them up from student council. You take them to the zoo, science center and aquarium. You make them do their homework, make sure they have a good breakfast, and you work hard to teach them the difference between right and wrong. You are the foundation upon which BPCS rests.

I hope all of you have a wonderful year, and let’s continue to make the Baltimore County Public School System one of the best in the nation.


Skywarn logoSteve Welzant, Senior Emergency Management Planner
Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Even with all of the Doppler radar and state-of-the-art technology in the world, there is no substitute for a real person with "boots on the ground" giving up-to-the-minute observations of developing hazardous weather conditions.  If you are a Weather Channel addict or just want to help your community, have we got a great volunteer opportunity for you!  

The National Weather Service (NWS) and the Baltimore County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management are teaming up to offer a weather spotter class.  This class will be held on Monday, September 16th from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Baltimore County Public Safety Building in Towson. This program is free and anyone is welcome to attend. 

The Skywarn® spotter program is a nationwide network of volunteers trained by the NWS to report significant weather.  The introductory Skywarn® class is entitled "Basics I" (see description below). This program is designed to educate the public on hazardous weather threats in our area, as well as, strengthen the ties between the NWS and the local community. The more spotters the NWS has out there, the faster vital “ground truth” information gets to the NWS forecasters who make the decisions to issue life-saving weather warnings. 

Upon completion of the course, you will be registered in the program by the NWS and perform an invaluable service for the NWS. Your real-time observations of tornadoes, hail, rain/snow totals, wind and significant cloud formations will provide a truly reliable information base for severe weather detection and verification. You will receive a spotter code from the NWS within 6 weeks. The Basics I course is a prerequisite for all other Skywarn® courses. 

Training in Basics I includes:

·       The basic organization of the National Weather Service

·       The role and importance of the Skywarn spotter

·       NWS Products and the Watch/Warning/Advisory system

·       Thunderstorms

·       Thunderstorm threats:

o   Lightning

o   Flooding

o   Hail

o   Tornadoes

o   Downbursts

·       How to report vital info to the NWS

·       The role of amateur short-wave (HAM) radio in the Spotter Program

If you would like to participate in this class, please RSVP to Donna Welsh at 410-887-5996 or email dwelsh@baltimorecountymd.gov by Thursday, September 12th. Hope to see you there!


image of pedstrian crossing road signLieutenant Stephen Troutman
Support Operations Division, Crash Team
Baltimore County Police Department

As the leader of Baltimore County’s Crash Investigation Team, I see a lot of pain and suffering that simply didn’t have to happen.  Possibly the most frustrating and heart-wrenching part of my job is responding to crashes involving pedestrians. This year alone there have already been 17 people who have died in pedestrian crashes in Baltimore County and pedestrian error was the cause in a majority of the cases.

On May 30th, I was interviewed on the cable program, “Hello Baltimore County.”  I talked about this increase in fatal pedestrian crashes and offered some advice on how to avoid becoming a victim. Off the air, I mentioned to the show host that during the month-long airing of the show, we would surely have additional pedestrian crash fatalities. Such was the case on 6/14/2013 when a young child stepped in front of a motorist and was killed. On 7/20/2013, we experienced yet another pedestrian crash fatality on the east side of the County involving an adult.

Unfortunately there is usually no rhyme or reason to the crashes. The fatalities range from young children to older adults and occur in all areas of Baltimore County, from the interstates to low speed rural roadways and neighborhood streets.

One constant theme, however, is pedestrian error.  I cannot emphasize enough the need to use caution and pay attention when walking on the roads. You need to realize that you are no match for a 3,000 pound vehicle and must follow some simple but critical basics:

-         Use crosswalks and obey traffic signals.

-         Don’t be distracted by cell phones and musical devices.

-         At night, leave the dark clothing at home.

-         Don’t take unnecessary chances.

-         Driving drunk is dangerous and so is walking while inebriated.  “Arrive Alive” and “It can wait” counts for pedestrians too – call a cab instead.

-         Take in your surroundings and don’t be in a hurry to cross a busy road.


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