Welcome to 2019! As we enter this new year, the Avenue News is continuing to look back on all the biggest headlines of 2018 with a recap of July through December.
By just nine votes, John Olszewski Jr. officially snagged the Democratic nomination for county executive following a tight primary election against Sen Jim Brochin. “If this election has taught us anything, it’s that every vote matters. I can’t point to just one thing we did. Every door knocked on, every call made, every dollar raised, every community association visited, it all added up,” Olszewski said after the results were tallied.
The New Essex Day Festival Association announced that for the first time it has partnered with Starleigh Entertainment, who sponsored the event’s Main Stage and provided the musical acts for the 43rd Annual Essex Day Festival. The popular rock/country/hip-hop band Kanye Twitty is the first of Starleigh Entertainment’s acts to be confirmed for the Essex Day Festival.
The largest American flag in Essex, a 20 foot by 30 foot one located at Trinity Temple Interfaith Church, was once again flying high after being repaired following damage sustained during that year’s earlier wind storm. The flag was replaced just in time for Flag Day and the Annual Pause for the Pledge Ceremony.
With a 9-2 vote, the Baltimore County Board of Education voted to extend interim superintendent Verletta White’s term into the upcoming school year. Her term officially began on July 1, 2018 and will extend to June 30, 2019. This final contract allowed White to re-apply for the permanent superintendent’s post on July 1, 2019.
Baltimore County’s Rat Eradication program targetted 10 new neighborhoods, including Foxcroft and Country Ridge in Essex and Ballard Green in Middle River. As part of the program, the targeted neighborhoods received two eight-week extermination treatments, extra trash pick-up and educational outreach on ways to limit rat infestation in neighborhoods.
The Wilson Point community celebrated the 4th of July with a parade of patriotically decorated vehicles that departed from the Middle River Volunteer Fire Company hall on Wilson Point Rd, the Cockpit in Court Summer Theatre at CCBC Essex went under-the-sea with a fanciful production of ‘The Little Mermaid’, and a Summer Meals Celebration was held at the Rosedale branch library to raise awareness and support for the Summer Food Service Program which provides free meals to Baltimore County children during the summer.
Avenue News contributor, Back River resident, and community activist Anna Renault passed away at the age of 68, following a 40-year long fight with cancer. “Anna Renault was a steadfast champion of the community and a daily example of perseverance for many to follow,” said Councilman Todd Crandell (R-7). The community mourned the loss with a memorial service which looked back on her decades of work and inspiring stories.
The newly-formed Essex Community Association hosted a packed first meeting. Residents gathered to discuss the issues they believed the association should focus on in the future, including crime prevention, residential speeding, and code enforcement.
Essex was officially recognized as a Maryland Sustainable Community after the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) approved an application sent by the Baltimore County Department of Planning, the Eastern Baltimore County Task Force and the Chesapeake Gateway Chamber of Commerce. The new designation allows the organization to apply for more grants benefitting the Essex business corridor on Eastern Ave.
At the start of the new school year, the first ever classes entered the brand-new Victory Villa Elementary School. Construction of the building began in August of 2016 and was prompted due to overcrowding. The new building on Compass Rd. welcomed in approximately 735 students, nearly doubling its capacity.
The 7th annual installment of the Rockin’ on the River event held at the Wilson Point Men’s Club brought out thousands of residents to celebrate the summer day and listen to music.
The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) awarded $7.55 million in state funds to 485 schools selected to participate in Maryland Meals for Achievement (MMFA), an alternative breakfast delivery program designed to provide students with free, in-classroom breakfast. Local schools participating included Deep Creek Middle and Elementary, Glenmar Elementary, Golden Ring Middle, Hawthorne Elementary, Mars Estate Elementary, Martin Blvd. Elementary, Middle River Middle, and Middlesex Elementary.
The 400-500 blocks of Eastern Blvd. were filled with residents, music, food, vendors, rides, and more for the 43rd installment of the Essex Day Festival. As part of the “new and improved” celebration, the festival featured live music on the main stage and dozens of vendors and attractions all while promoting the rejuvenation of the Essex business corridor and honoring those who helped make the community what it is, including late County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and community organizer George Wilbanks.
Orems Elementary celebrated International Day of Peace by making pinwheels promoting positive messages and placing them on the front yard of the Middle River school.
For the first time, a lottery was held to choose hunters to participate in a deer hunt at North Point State Park. During a community meeting explaining the lottery, Del. Bob Long (R-6) said he promoted the lottery after hearing concerns about the destruction the deer were causing in neighboring communities.
Grace Henninger, a 93-year-old Middle River resident and member of the Baltimore Chapter of the American Rosie the Riveter Association, crossed an item off her bucket list as she took a ride on a helicopter thanks to Grandview Aviation of Martin State Airport.
Gov. Hogan today issued a proclamation declaring September 11 through October 10 as “Day to Serve” month in Maryland.
The community gave back to BCPS during BCPSfest held at White Marsh Mall which collected school supplies for those and need and highlighted some of the initiatives and projects going on in area schools.
The 12th Annual 2018 Get Ready! Get Set! Get Fit! 5K Run–Walk and 1-Mile Walk to support older adult health and fitness was held at the campus of CCBC Essex.
Two Middle River students were honored by the Baltimore County Commission on Disabilities during their yearly awards ceremony. 12-year-old Alyssa Rhine took home the Middle School Student of the Year for saving the life of a 3-year-old who was drowning. Alana Bartholow was honored for her work as a community leader, often helping others with special needs.
The Heritage Society of Essex and Middle River, Inc. celebrated 50 years of preserving the community’s history for current and future generations. A celebration featured the children and grandchildren of the organization’s founders. The museum was founded in 1968 and held its first meetings in the cafeteria of Essex Elementary School.
Cox’s Point Haunted Mansion celebrated 50 years of bringing frights to the community during the Halloween season as the oldest non-profit haunted attraction in Baltimore County.
The brand-new 18,000 square foot White Marsh Volunteer Fire Company station on the 10000 block of Philadelphia Rd. officially opened. The new space was designed and constructed with the area’s current and future needs in mind, including new special features like a fitness center and training mezzanine and six other dorms capable of sleeping 18 volunteer personnel and a more modern kitchen and conference room.
The Kenwood High girls soccer team handily defeated visiting Dundalk 12-0 to clinch the Baltimore County Division II title, finishing with an 8-2 record, and 8-0 in the division.
Senator Johnny Ray Salling, Delegates Bob Long and Ric Metzgar, and Councilman Todd Crandell attended the Delaware & Maryland Legislators White House Conference to discuss a partnership between Federal Government and State Government on how these two governments can work together to solve problems.
Current and past members of Boy Scout Troop 355 of Essex gathered to celebrate the organization’s 80th year serving the community. Former member Thomas D. Jones, Ph.D., a scientist, author, pilot, and veteran NASA astronaut gave a speech during the ceremony, praising the troop for its longevity.
Eastern Tech High School junior, Tiffany Thomas, was selected as a delegate to represent the state of Maryland at the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Boston, Massachusetts.
Democrat John Olszewski Jr. was elected the new Baltimore County Executive, defeating Republican Al Redmer Jr. State Sen. Johnny Ray Salling and three incumbent delegates, Bob Long, Robin Grammer and Ric Metzgar easily held off Democratic challengers to secure another term. Gov. Hogan also defeated Democratic challenger Ben Jealous.
Several Essex projects received $250,000 total through the Community Legacy program for beautification and renovation projects in 2019. Two separate grants of $125,000 were given to fund space enhancements at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel School campus and the Chesapeake Gateway Chamber of Commerce also received $100,000 for streetscaping projects at the Essex business corridor on Eastern Blvd.
Officer Joseph Comegna, the school resource officer of Eastern Technical High School in Essex, fatally shot himself in his office, shocking the close-knit school community. Comegna was the permanent SRO at Eastern Tech for 4 years but had been working as a resource officer for 12 years total.
CCBC Essex officially cut the ribbon on its new Veterinary Technology Center. The upgrade and expansion of the 5,000 square foot space at the base of the school’s Math & Science Hall have allowed the school to double the program enrollment capacity from 25 students to 50.
Baltimore County Department of Aging Senior Centers were recently recognized as “Best Senior Programming” by Baltimore Style’s Readers’ Choice Contest.
Local veterans gathered on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month at the base of the Lamky, Luther, Whitehead Memorial located at the Holly Hills Memorial Gardens in Middle River for an annual Veterans Day prayer ceremony
General Motors announced that they will not be allocating any production to their transmission and electric motor plant located at White Marsh on Philadelphia in 2019 as part of nationwide cuts which includes a 15% reduction of its salaried staff. This closure would leave approximately 300 employees without jobs next year.
Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler announced plans to significantly expand the County’s emergency mental health system by funding overnight hours for the Mobile Crisis Team that responds to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis, including those addicted to opioids.
Democrat John “Johnny O” Olszewski, Jr. was officially sworn in as Baltimore County’s fourteenth County Executive. In the first month of his term, he appointed several agency heads and initiated a national search for a new Police Chief to succeed Chief Terrence B. Sheridan.
The Heritage Society of Essex and Middle River kicked off the holiday season with their Essex Tree Lighting and Holiday Open House which brought out a crowd of over 300.
CCBC Essex was awarded two grants totaling over $7 million to replace existing switchgear equipment that is critical for maintaining their normal operation. In addition, the college would renovate and expand the Essex Carol Eustis Center for Health Professions.
The Baltimore Santa Launch event saw a group of Santa Clauses and decorated motorcycles depart from the Harley Davidson store in Rosedale. The band of riders traveled throughout Baltimore before coming to their final stop, the famous 34th street in Hampden.
Kenwood High School inducted the baseball team to win the first and (so far) only state title in school history nearly 40 years ago into their Hall of Fame.
Baltimore County Fire Chief Kyrle W. Preis III announced he would retire on December 31, 2018 to begin a new career in the private sector. County Executive Olszewski named Assistant Chief Jennifer L. Aubert-Utz to serve as Acting Fire Chief beginning January 1, 2019.
The Civil Air Patrol’s Glenn L. Martin Composite Squadron celebrated National Wreaths Across America Day by laying wreaths at the graves of veterans buried at the Holly Hills Memorial Garden. The event was sponsored by local organizations such as the Gunpowder VFW Post 10067 of Middle River which single-handedly sponsored 220 wreaths.
The 175th Wing of the Maryland Air National Guard, located at the Warfield Air National Guard in Middle River, hosted their 2018 Airman of the Year where they honored the educational and fitness achievements made by local members during the past year.