To the BoBots, Sean Roelofs, Chris Bainbridge, Nathan Daciuk and Katie Koerner, who, along with their alliance partners, were recently crowned the 2016 world champions at the International FIRST Robotics Competition in St. Louis. All four Bo Manor High students from Earleville mastered the competition that requires teams to build and program a robot that meets 80 pages of specifications and can maneuver through a timed set of complex challenges, such as hitting small levers, putting objects in certain buckets and performing a full pull-up. Although they all attend school together, the team is independent of the school and funds itself with private donations. The teammates spent hours practicing maneuvers with their robot and fine-tuning its mechanics ahead of important competitions. What’s truly impressive is how these teens devised their robot for the tasks, learned how to operate it and all developed roles on the team to ensure their success. Now they’re already looking ahead to defending their title in next year’s tournament. The BoBots are clearly among the brightest of Cecil County’s future; congratulations to their success.
To the efforts of North East residents Mark Dobbins and Jim Wolford, who installed a bio-retention island outside North East town hall to help reduce stormwater runoff and flooding in the parking lot. Work on the 1,200-square-foot island started with town workers excavating an existing grassy island in the parking lot to create a roughly 3-foot deep hole. The bottom was then filled with a perforated PVC pipe and rocks followed by layers of pea gravel and soil. The island was completed on Saturday with help from the Cecil County Master Gardeners, who planted native plants to give additional help with filtration. The project satisfied requirements for the Watershed Stewards Academy, a program that works to educate and empower county residents to improve the water quality of local streams and reduce the harmful effects of polluted stormwater runoff, but the duo took their work a step farther. As part of that education effort, a sign will eventually be installed in front of the bio-retention island explaining how the project works and how people can do similar, smaller-scale projects on their own properties. “We can’t solve big problems like the sediment buildup behind the Conowingo Dam, but we can all work on smaller projects that still make a difference,” Dobbins said. Kudos to them, and hopefully more follow their lead.