Baltimore County News
Hundreds cheer honorees at awards luncheon
At today’s 26th annual Baltimore County Commission on Disabilities Awards Ceremony, an enthusiastic crowd recognized the achievements of ten individuals, employers, advocates and organizations for their outstanding achievements and contributions.
About 200 people attended the ceremony and luncheon hosted by the Baltimore County Commission on Disabilities. The Commission provides support and advocacy for County residents with disabilities and works to ensure that County programs, buildings and services are open equally to all persons, regardless of their disabilities. In addition, the Commission provides resources and referrals on obtaining services not only from the County but through programs offered by the state and federal government.
“Life is full of challenges, but no matter what those challenges may be, one thing remains true – it’s best not to face them alone,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “That’s why we’re so pleased to recognize the remarkable efforts of people living with disabilities in our communities and the people who help them in their journey.”
This year’s honorees include:
- Kelli Szczybor and Michelle Strekfus of Angel Park, winners of the Accessibility Award;
- Julia Stockburger of Perry Hall Middle School, winner of the Student of the Year Award;
- Pamela Saterlee-Williams of Baltimore County Public Schools, winner of the Teacher of the Year Award;
- Alban CAT Company in Rosedale, winner of the Employer of the Year Award;
- Maggie Hutson of the Timonium Edible Arrangements, winner of the Employee of the Year Award;
- Marty Sweeney, Head of School for the Odyssey School, winner of the Educational Advocate of the Year Award;
- Ed Pfaff, winner of the Volunteer of the Year Award, is an instructional assistant at Parkville High School and football coach at Towson High School who volunteers with the Challenger Softball Program;
- Gary Madigan, Penn-Mar Organization, winner of the Employee Advocate Award;
- Kathy Vecchioni of By their Side, winner of the Family Support Award;
- Paralympics gold medal winner Larry Hughes; the first recipient of the new Community Service – Courage Award.
A few interesting stories…
Kelli Szczybor and Michelle Strekfus are accepting the Accessibility Award on behalf of the four thousand volunteers their group inspired to help raise $1.5 million to build an all-inclusive playground and amphitheater in Perry Hall that is specifically designed to be the largest and most accessible playground in the Baltimore region for children with special needs.
Student of the Year honoree, Julia Stockburger of Perry Hall Middle School, is an outstanding Braille reader who has won national competitions, is an avid piano and trumpet player and computer techie, and she loves attending Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.
Employee of the Year Award recipient, Maggie Hutson, is known by her co-workers at Edible Arrangements in Timonium as an ace at cutting and skewering fruit, not to mention her chocolate strawberry dipping finesse. They credit her enthusiasm and positive attitude as a daily morale boost.
Larry Hughes, a paralyzed Vietnam veteran and 1996 Paralympics gold medal winner in the discus throw, is the first recipient of the new Community Service – Courage Award. He has translated his love of athletics into a devotion for physical fitness training, coaching, and motivational speaking and is the founder of Maryland Wheelchair Athletic Promotions.
Marianne Bishoff and her colleagues at Alban CAT’s Pulaski Repair Shop in Rosedale take employee mentoring to a whole new level, empowering their Arc Baltimore supported employees, treating them like family, and striving to help them grow, learn and succeed.
Historic Log Cabin Receives Interpretive Treatment
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz joined with dozens of East Towson community leaders today to celebrate improvements to the Carver Community Center and the installation of interpretive sign panels at the historic Jacob House.
“East Towson is a unique, historic community that has always worked to preserve its heritage and maintain a high quality of life,” said Kamenetz. “I am very pleased to support the community’s goals by vastly improving the exterior of the Carver Community Center and its grounds,” he continued. “I am also pleased that we have enhanced the public’s ability to appreciate the community’s history by installing interpretive panels that tell the story of the Jacob House and East Towson’s origins.”
Baltimore County invested $670,000 in a complete exterior renovation of the Carver Center’s stucco finish, installed new concrete walkways, significantly improved all landscaping features of the property and installed new fencing. The County also undertook painstaking research and design to articulate the history of the Jacob House, which naturally touches upon the origins of East Towson.
Project enhances historically significant structures
Both the Carver Community Center and the Jacob House are historically significant. The Carver Community Center was originally built in 1939 and served as a segregated school for African Americans. The building lost its purpose as a school after the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision in 1954. It was ultimately converted to a community center and is now home to a daycare facility, recreation offices and community leadership offices.
Research indicates that the Jacob House was originally built as a log cabin in the 1840s by an emancipated slave. In modern times, it was attached a larger home and was little noticed. The East Towson community rallied to save the cabin when the house to which it was attached suffered a fire and was threatened with demolition.
Honoring another community treasure
County Executive Kamenetz presented an Executive Citation honoring Adelaide Bentley for her years of dedicated service to the East Towson community. Bentley serves as director of the Carver Center and president of the Northeast Towson Improvement Association.
Public comments accepted through June 13
Baltimore County invites interested citizens to comment on its proposed five-year Consolidated Plan and other plans that focus on community development and housing.
The plans can be viewed at the County Department of Planning website, at County libraries, and at two County government offices: the Consolidated Plan and the one-year Action Plan are available at the Department of Planning, 105 West Chesapeake Avenue, Towson, Maryland, 21204; the County’s Public Housing Agency Plans are available at the Housing Office, Drumcastle Government Center, 6401 York Road, Baltimore, MD, 21212.
The County will hold a public hearing to receive comment on the plans at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25, at the Department of Planning Hearing Room, 105 West Chesapeake Avenue, first floor.
Public comments on the plans will be accepted through June 13, 2016. Citizens or groups may submit written comments on the Consolidated Plan and the Action Plan to Andrea Van Arsdale, Director, Department of Planning, 105 West Chesapeake Avenue, Suite 101, Towson, Maryland, 21204 (email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Fax: 410-887-5862). Comments on the Public Housing Agency Plans should be sent to: Marsha Parham, Executive Director, Housing Office, Drumcastle Government Center, 6401 York Road, Baltimore, Maryland, 21212. (email: email@example.com; Fax: 410-853-8999).
The County will be submitting the plans to the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on June 17.
Revised September 26, 2016