Look­ing back at the old year and ahead to the new

The Dundalk Eagle - - OPINION - By NI­COLE ROD­MAN nrod­[email protected]­pub.com

Well, here we are — the last is­sue of the year.

In this, the hazy, un­fo­cused pe­riod known as the week between Christ­mas and New Years, I thought it would be a good time to look back at the some of the big­gest sto­ries of the year, and ahead to 2019.

This year, 2018, was dom­i­nated, of course, by elec­tions.

From the pri­mary in June to last month’s gen­eral, elec­tion sea­son lasted the en­tire year and saw us elect a new county ex­ec­u­tive and school board mem­ber as well as re­elect­ing our county, state and fed­eral leg­is­la­tors for an­other term.

Bal­ti­more County saw three ex­ec­u­tives in 2018 — Don Mohler stepped in to fill the shoes of for­mer ex­ec­u­tive Kevin Kamenetz, whose May death was one of the year’s most shock­ing sto­ries. Dun­dalk na­tive John Ol­szewski Jr. was sworn in to of­fice ear­lier this month.

Trade­point At­lantic’s re­de­vel­op­ment of the for­mer steel mill site also dom­i­nated head­lines this year — from the re­lo­ca­tion of a steel­worker food bank to the site in March to to the re­lo­ca­tion of the Trot­ten fam­ily graves in May. The year also saw sev­eral open house events, de­bates over dredg­ing off the penin­sula, TPA’s pur­chase of the ad­ja­cent Spar­rows Point Ship­yard, a cel­e­bra­tion of the Tin Mill Canal cleanup and the con­sid­er­a­tion of a pos­si­ble TIF for pub­lic in­fra­struc­ture devel­op­ment at the site. As the year ends, 2019 prom­ises to bring more big changes to the site — from more ten­ants to progress on the cleanup of the site and con­tin­u­ing work on in­fra­struc­ture on the par­cel.

Busi­ness devel­op­ment was also a key story in 2018, with the re­de­vel­op­ment of the Dun­dalk Plaza shop­ping cen­ter on Mer­ritt Boule­vard and the ad­di­tion of sev­eral busi­nesses, in­clud­ing a re­lo­cated Aldi and an in­com­ing Five Guys restau­rant. The Po­plar Inn fi­nally re­opened af­ter ex­ten­sive ren­o­va­tions and the Mer­ritt Sta­tion apart­ments opened its doors. Mean­while, Lo­gan Vil­lage fix­ture Geres­beck’s (for­merly Box N’ Save) closed its doors in June af­ter 20 years.

There was no short­age of ink spilled about ed­u­ca­tion is­sues in 2018, with the in­dict­ment, trial, sen­tenc­ing and in­car­cer­a­tion of for­mer Bal­ti­more County Pub­lic Schools Su­per­in­ten­dent Dallas Dance oc­cur­ring within the year.

His re­place­ment — in­terim Su­per­in­ten­dent Ver­letta White — faced a rocky road as the school board at­tempted to make her the per­ma­nent re­place­ment, only to be turned down by the state su­per­in­ten­dent.

Con­tro­versy em­broiled the school sys­tem on sev­eral fronts this year, from out­rage over the han­dling of fi­nances and dis­clo­sure to anger at over­crowd­ing in lo­cal schools.

But there was some good news as Dun­dalk, Col­gate and Berk­shire are all on track to get new schools in the next sev­eral years.

There were a num­ber of prom­i­nent deaths this year — from the afore­men­tioned death of the county ex­ec­u­tive in May to the pass­ing of Sis­ter Mary Lam­bert Rossi in June. Other no­table pass­ings this year in­cluded lo­cal ath­letic booster Bob Berk­shire and Boule­vard Diner owner Sam Tsakiris in July, Av­enue News con­trib­u­tor/com­mu­nity ad­vo­cate Anna Re­nault in Au­gust and com­mu­nity ac­tivist Lou Grum­bach in Oc­to­ber.

The year was a time for cel­e­bra­tions as well. March brought the an­nual St. Pa­trick’s Day Pa­rade, while April and May were a time for awards across the area. The Dun­dalk Cham­ber of Com­merce hon­ored ex­cel­lence in teach­ing, while the DRC rec­og­nized com­mu­nity vol­un­teers with their Mile­stone Awards. In May, Shirley Gre­gory and Emory Wil­liams were hon­ored by the Op­ti­mist Club of Dun­dalk as Cit­i­zen and Hu­man­i­tar­ian of the Year, re­spec­tively. Sum­mer brought the an­nual Fourth of July ex­trav­a­ganza and Con­certs in the Park. The North Point-Edge­mere Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment Fire­men’s Pa­rade/Car­ni­val wrapped up the sea­son in Au­gust.

Fall was also a busy sea­son for cel­e­bra­tions in Dun­dalk, with De­fend­ers Day in Septem­ber, the Haunted Dun­geons at Fort Howard in Oc­to­ber and Mak­ers Mar­ket street fairs con­clud­ing in Oc­to­ber.

As the year ended, com­mu­nity mem­bers braved wet weather for the DRC’s Hol­i­day Hoopla, as well as vis­its to beloved lo­cal train gar­dens at the Dun­dalk-Pat­ap­sco Neck His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety and the Wise Av­enue Vol­un­teer Fire Com­pany. As for what’s ahead? The year 2019 prom­ises to be an ex­cit­ing one for Dun­dalk, with a new homegrown county ex­ec­u­tive, a fresh Gen­eral Assem­bly ses­sion start­ing next month and the open­ing of a new Dun­dalk Ele­men­tary in Au­gust 2019.

Trade­point, hav­ing se­cured fund­ing for in­fra­struc­ture im­prove­ments from the county ear­lier this month, is poised to con­tinue grow­ing.

What else will the new year bring to our com­mu­nity, poised now at a cross­roads in its his­tory?

Only time will tell.

Opin­ions ex­pressed are those of the writer and do not rep­re­sent the opin­ion of The Dun­dalk Ea­gle or Adams Pub­lish­ing Group.

PHOTO BY BILL GATES

John Ol­szewski Jr. ad­dresses his sup­port­ers gath­ered in a ball­room of the Tow­son Sher­a­ton Ho­tel af­ter he was de­clared win­ner of the race for Bal­ti­more County Ex­ec­u­tive.

PHOTO BY JEN­NIFER LYNN MARONEY

A young cit­i­zen saluted the Dun­dalk Amer­i­can Le­gion Post 38 Honor Guard as they made their way through the Dun­dalk St. Pa­trick’s Day Pa­rade on March 17.

This year’s WAVFC Christ­mas Train Gar­den.

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