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Rally (with Christmas Carols) to Ban Fracking – Bel Air Town Hall

Gathered outside the Town Hall in Bel Air, MD, concerned townsfolk and friends from around the county and neighboring Cecil and Baltimore counties called for a statewide ban on fracking in Maryland.  After some rousing Christmas carols, the group heard from Tracey Waite, President of Harford County Climate Action, Brooke Harper of Chesapeake Climate Action Network and Steve Mogge of Citizen Shale in Garrett County which would be one of the first to be affected if the Maryland moratorium on fracking was allowed to expire without a ban to replace it.  Immediately afterwards, they, along with concerned citizens from the area, spoke to the town commissioners and the mayor at the Town Council meeting.

Here we are singing before going in to the meeting:

And here Brooke Harper talks about the campaign to ban fracking in Maryland and Steve Mogge talks about the potential impacts in his county, Garrett, where fracking would begin if allowed.   We sing once more at the end, “We wish you a Frack-Free Christmas.”


Don’t Frack Maryland – Growing Awareness in Bel Air

Harford County Climate Action is working to support a Maryland State ban on fracking.  In response to the call from the Sierra Club and Don’t Frack Maryland to post and tweet pictures for Frack Free Friday, aka #FrackFreeFriday, some of us gathered at the Ma & Pa Trail for a photoshoot.   We collected our posters; Lizzie, Amalie and Allie made some new ones, and Pam brought along a portrait of Smokey the Bear saying “Only YOU can stop faucet fires.”  Her friend painted it based on a design spotted at the People’s Climate March of ’14.   Lucky for us, Kari brought along her camera!

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Bleeding Hearts on Idlewild Street

Yes, that’s us!  And here are the bleeding hearts …bleeding-hearts1


Well one thing was abundantly clear as well cleaned a stretch of roadside along Moore’s Mill Road this morning. Read more…

Will Harford County keep the Chesapeake Bay clean?

We all live downstream – and it seems water issues are everywhere. Catch water where it falls is not a motto for the drought affected alone. Here in Harford County we are facing problem of managing stormwater runoff entering the Chesapeake Bay. Only recently have I come to understand why this is such a problem that the Environmental Protection Agency has called upon every state and county to come up with a plan to reduce stormwater runoff.

Hartford County Of course it is much harder for a city like Baltimore, which is 50% paved and will have to remove pavement to reduce the runoff. In Harford County the projects are things like reforestation and stream restoration. But when I asked County Council Member Richard Slutsky about this, he was noncommittal to say the least. He said that the courts would likely be involved. Does he mean that the EPA will have to sue the county? I hope not! Read more…

2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 310 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Saturday at Festival … Take Home a No Bel Air Walmart Sign as a Souvenir and Prepare for Next Phase

This just in form Bel Air South Community Foundation.

NB:Unfinished business – Big Box stores located in residential areas can overwhelm a community’s character and infrastructure. It is imperative that the county move quickly to pass Big Box legislation so that controls are in place to limit the impact of future developments.

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“All That Standing in the Cold Paid Off”

“All that standing in the cold paid off,” said Khiyali when I shared with her the news that Walmart is NOT coming to Bel Air.  She was talking about all the public meetings and protests we have been carrying out ever since we heard that Walmart, which already has a store near Bel Air, planned to close that store and open a new one in Bel Air, just 3 miles from downtown.


NO Bel Air Walmart Rally October 2012

Of course we still have to watch what they do, but this is a clear victory for people’s collective action.  How many county council meetings we packed to standing-room-only, how many people spoke, waiting for hours for their turn, how many protests we held on Main Street / Emmorton Avenue, how many late nights we spent at public meetings learning about traffic studies and the details of ways we could challenge the plan and keep Walmart out of Bel Air.

Here’s the story from Brian Goodman at the Dagger: Read more…

Harford County Climate Expo!

Truly amazing that we could make this happen in Harford County.  Hats off to Tracey & George, Bill, Brooke and so many who have been working intensely behind the scenes, making it possible for the rest of us to show up and take part.  I am also glad that we did some of the door-to-door and phone outreach, the good old-fashioned way.

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The Importance of Being Black … in a White Novel

The Importance of Being Black

… in a White Novel

To some readers what I have to say will be so painfully obvious that they would not even justify it with a “duh!”   Others will need evidence.  It is for them – and I was once one of them- that I write the details of my rude awakening to the role of whiteness in contemporary fiction.

What awakened me?  An talk by Damali Ayo?  A rap heard at a poetry slam?  No.  Nothing so glamourous. Just a couple of books I read in my book club at the public library.

Look, it’s not as though I haven’t ever before read books with only white characters.  But, to quote Justin Trudeau, “it’s 2015.”  

What I am reading in the books is more segregating than mere absence of black (or brown or any other colored) characters.   Read more…