Baltimore County News
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: email@example.com; 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: firstname.lastname@example.org; Fax: 410-853-8999).
The County will be submitting the plans to the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on June 17.
Get An Orgnic Free-Range Chicken for You and One to Share
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz helped provide a very special chicken lunch to clients of the County’s Westside Shelter this afternoon. The chicken came from one of the first deliveries of poultry raised at the County’s Maryland Agriculture Center and Farm Park in Cockeysville, through a community-supported agriculture program that provides farming education while helping those in need.
“I congratulate our County staff and partners for coming up with this dual-purpose program that helps teach people the value of farming, and, at the same time, provides much-needed food for hungry people,” said Kamenetz. “This is the kind of smart, innovative thinking that turns problems into solutions.”
A Poultry Partnership
The County departments of Planning and Recreation and Parks partnered with the non-profit organizations, Maryland Agricultural Resource Council (MARC) and Community Assistance Network (CAN) to develop this innovative program that combines social responsibility with agricultural education. Poultry for the People enables anyone to purchase a free-range organic chicken, raised at the 149-acre Center for Maryland Agriculture and Farm Park, and have a second chicken donated to help feed individuals in Baltimore County homeless shelters.
A Chicken for You and One to Share
The non-profit Maryland Agricultural Resource Council (MARC) offers a “buy one-gift one” purchase plan where anyone can purchase a chicken for themselves and one will be donated to a Baltimore County homeless shelter. Purchasers also receive a tax deduction for the majority of the purchase price. Prices and details are available on the MARC website.
Money raised through the sale of the chickens is used to help fund education programs at the farm park as well as at the County’s homeless shelters. The addition of chickens to the farm also serves to enhance existing educational programs and the overall farm experience of visitors to the park.
“It’s a win-win-win-win” says Richard Watson, President of the Maryland Agricultural Resource Council (MARC). “We get to expand farming operations, enhance our educational capacity, connect people to agriculture in a meaningful way, and provide homeless shelters with a consistent source of high-quality protein.”
A fundraising campaign sponsored by MARC on the Kickstarter web site raised $8,000 to cover the infrastructure necessary to care for the chickens including a 4-ton feeder bin, bringing water and electricity to the coop, and making the coop as fox-proof as possible.
Program Offers Nutrition Boost for Homeless Shelter Residents
Protein represents the largest component of any shelter’s food budget. For the balance of the menu, shelters rely on donations made by local churches and other charitable organizations, grocery stores, food pantries, restaurants and bakeries. While the shelters strive to provide well-balanced meals, the donation-based food supply makes meal planning difficult. Chefs work with what they have and are often forced to stretch meals by adding bread, rice or noodles.
Baltimore County Homeless Shelter Administrator, Terri Kingeter explains, “I am excited about the potential of this program to significantly enhance the overall quality of food being served at the homeless shelters. The protein provided by the Poultry for the People program will free up each shelter’s food budget which will help management purchase more fresh produce. We also cannot wait to engage our shelter youth, who comprise 27% of the shelter population, in hands-on experiential learning activities at the shelter and at the farm.”
Teri Rising, Historic Preservation Planner
Baltimore County Department of Planning
If you have ever visited the Baltimore County Council Chambers in the Historic Courthouse, you may have been intrigued by the handsome sculptures of historic figures that line the mahogany walls.
The sculpture subjects span the millennia - representing a sampling of people who have influenced human law throughout history. Some highlights include the Babylonian ruler, Hammurabi, who created one of the first known codes of law; Chinese philosopher Confucius; Moses who presented the Ten Commandments; King John, signer of the Magna Carta; 18th century English lawmaker, William Blackstone and many more. You can read brief write-ups about these influential leaders on the County Planning Office website at http://resources.baltimorecountymd.gov/Documents/Planning/historic/thelawgivers.pdf (Just scroll down to the “Lawgivers” section.)
A “Temple of Justice for all Admirers to See”
Here’s some interesting background on how these esteemed gentlemen came to reside in the County’s Historic Courthouse…
On October 19, 1854, Coleman Yellott told the crowd gathered to witness the laying of the cornerstone for the new courthouse at Towsontown that he hoped it would always stand as a temple of justice for all admirers to see. When the courthouse was expanded in 1958, the judges of the Baltimore County Circuit Court may have had this idea in mind when they commissioned a series of sculptures called “The Lawgivers” to occupy the mahogany walls of their new main courtroom.
Shortly after Towsontown was officially chosen to serve as the County Seat, work began on the necessary courthouse. Designed by Dixon and Baldwin, Baltimore County held its first session of court on January 5, 1857. Along with the courtrooms, the three County Commissioners occupied an office space measuring 17 feet by 25 feet. As the County grew, the need for government staff and services increased. To meet the demand, additions were made to the courthouse in 1910, 1925 and 1958.
The 1958 addition included 3 large courtrooms which were considered to be the most modern and spacious in Maryland. The main courtroom was designed to have a capacity of 120 seats, a far different setting than the original Courtroom Number 5, which had long served the needs of the County’s judicial system. Designed by the architectural firm Gaudreau and Gaudreau, the main courtroom featured a series of twelve carved figures called “The Lawgivers.” The figures were those who influenced our present day concepts about law and justice and included well known men like Confucius and Caesar. Carved over a four month period by Baltimore County resident Matthew Peloso, each wood figure is 32 inches high, 2 inches thick and 10 inches wide. Peloso, who studied for 6 years at the Maryland Institute College of Art, previously worked as a model maker for Black and Decker. He also designed life-sized figures for the Smithsonian Institution and eventually joined the Engraving Department of the United States Mint where he designed many medals and coins.
When Charter Government was adopted in 1957, it meant that legislative space for the newly elected 7 member Baltimore County Council needed to be found. Originally housed in the County Office Building on Chesapeake Avenue, space eventually became available for the Council in the old Courthouse when the Court Building on Bosley Avenue was constructed. In 1975, as part of an extensive renovation of the 2nd floor of the old Courthouse, the main courtroom was reconfigured to serve the needs of the Baltimore County Council. While some changes were made to the space, “The Lawgivers” continue to silently watch over the affairs of the Baltimore County government at work as they have for more than fifty years.
Click here to learn more about the men chosen for the carvings.
Revised April 6, 2016