Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Grapeheads Spotted!

I found Grapeheads along time ago while at a video arcade in theTowson area. Grapeheads are firm with some give, blue dried blueberry shaped candies. Addictive. 25 cents a box. These candies are also available in lemon, cherry and apple flavors at the Cradlerock Mart in Owen Brown. I thought it might weird the owners out if I started taking pictures of the candy isle even though I go here weekly.

May Crime Map

Residential Crimes, Commercial Crimes, Vehicle Thefts.

View Columbia Crime Map in a larger map

April Crime Map

Commercial Crimes, Residential Crimes, Vehicle Thefts.

View Columbia Crime Map in a larger map

Better late than never, here's the Columbia crime map updated for the month of April, 2009.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Graduation

video

I'll bet you can't watch this just once. "Oh Shit"

Dmitry Kalikhman: iReporter

I use Facebook to talk to friends. Dmitry reports on the condition of the internet connection at Supreme Sports Club in Columbia. People talk better when they don't know they're being recorded but I asked him anyways, after the fact.

My guess is he was trying to load pages or refresh a page, who knows. The gym itself hasn't changed since Wednesday night so no worries readers.

9:44pmDmitry

connection is fucked im at the pool
alright im out man enjoy ur graduation night!
i'm at the gym and they're shit's fucked up.

9:45pmRaoul
how?
what's closed, describe it?

9:46pmDmitry

lol haha, naw the connection is retarded
I keep trying to post shit, but it logs off at the one at the gym

9:46pm
Raoul
thanks for the tip

9:46pmDmitry

np man tips are good my man

9:46pm
Raoul
mind if I quote you on that?

9:46pmDmitry
it's not the prettiest quote my man can i tryu a new one

9:47pm
Raoul
I guess but I thought itd be sweet just to post the last five lines of dialogue
gimme something:
a quote preferably:
its 9:47 PM Friday Night
you're the reporter right?
I can't pressure you into saying yes or no

9:48pmDmitry

you can quote whatever u want.

9:48pm
Raoul
that's all I needed thanks man

Friday, May 22, 2009

News And Notes

Howard County General Hospital hiring. 6 hours ago, Explore Howard - Derek Simmonsen, dsimmonsen@patuxent.com reports. Starts hiring 220 now-June 21, 2010, 7:23 a.m. EDT.

jobs include: nurses, patient care technicians, receptionists, housekeepers. Majority of hires staff new hospital wing due to be completed summer 2010.

[“We’re doing this expansion to meet the demands of our community,” said Dorothy Brillantes, senior vice president of human resources for the hospital. With Baby Boomers aging, the demand for services is just going to increase, not decrease.”] Derek Simmonsen, 05/22/09.

Brillantes says Howard General Hospital is adding 43 beds = 140 new jobs. 1st unit opens 07-08/09, openings staggered until wing completes. About 80 jobs added to the existing hospital staff positions.

Reference to Health Care economic analysis. The Camden Group's annual report. Howard General provided services for more than 165,000,more than 76,000 patients in the emergency department, almost13,000 surgical procedures and delivered over 3,200 babies.


View Howard General Hospital. in a larger map
Hospital Job Fair seeks experienced nurses and patient care technicians.
5755 Cedar Lane, Columbia, MD.
June 2: 10 a.m. to noon.

Personally, I don't believe aggregating is a substitute for writing but it makes a great news writing exercise to pick, shorten & improve an article. These are my notes.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Which Lots Are Best For Tots?

In Owen Brown, behind the historic church I found this tot-lot nestled between the treeline and houses. The wood is in good condition, the swings have seats and the lot is graffiti free. The one thing that stood out though is the square-springy-thingy. I'm at a loss for words as to what it is exactly but I like it.

There are numerous tot-lots in the nine villages, some old, others new. So I'm asking readers, which tot-lot is your favorite? Factors in your decision should be location, surrounding environment and variety of play for children. Good hunting! I'm eager to hear back from you.

Follow The Reader's Lead

I received two wonderful emails tonight from two readers of this blog. I have to say its a great feeling to get such a positive reaction from residents. I've always believed journalism to be a public service and with a blog as my platform, it can be.

As I gear up for a summer of interviews and investigation I'd like to know what readers are thinking. As you (the reader) drive or walk around Columbia, what do you wonder about? What would you like me to go out and cover? Think of yourself as part of the production process because in fact, you are!

Look at these Hunteresque tea shades. Imagine wearing them around town. These shades will show you stories waiting to be told. Pretend you're wearing them for a day and think about something post-worthy. Hold that thought . . . and tell me about it.

I scribble notes everyday on ideas for posts or people I'd like to interview, so if you know someone who'd make a good interview or something interesting that's happening in Columbia, drop me a line at thegonzojournalist@gmail.com If you'd like to tell me how I'm doing or how I can improve, same deal, send an email to my gmail.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Behold: Bon Fresco

There's a new sandwich shop in Snowden called Bon Fresco. As I walked past the brick box building, I peeked inside and snapped a picture. One of the contractors told me they'd finish in a week or so.

Immediately, I thought of Atlanta Bread Company. Both as a journalist and a former sandwich shop slave wage I feel that I have a valid perspective on the fiscal future of this venture. When Atlanta Bread Company hired me, they were still building the place, so I got to walk around with a nail gun and electric screwdriver! Competition they said, what competition? Panera Bread, Three Brothers and several Subways later, they caved after one year.

I'm not a pessimist, I'm a realist. We don't need another sandwich shop concept. I can't believe I'm saying this but we don't need another Indian restaurant either. The building of Bon Fresco in Snowden seems almost as pointless as installing a Vocelli's pizza in the Owen Brown village center across from Jerry's pizza.

I predict that Bon Fresco will flare up like the flame on a candle and flutter out. Hopefully the place will employ competent management and a staff comprised of more than hispanics and high schoolers but realistically, they'd be fighting entrenched concepts that have done well without them.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Skate Spot

Though not technically in Columbia, there's a sweet skate spot in Centennial park in Ellicott City. Technically its not a skate park but if your looking for smooth concrete ramps and slick rails, look no further than Skate Spot.

No waviers, no pads, no helmets and no entry fee! About the size of a basketball court, the park contains a 5 x 20 quarter pipe at one end and a bank with a stair set at the other end. A hip in the center, picnic table, pole jam and a slider rail complete the setup.

Here's a video clip to show you what Skate Spot looks like.

video

And for all of you old schoolers out there, this trick is for you!

video

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Somewhere Around Barstow

Barstow is that fictional place between college and the real world. If you've ever played the game of LIFE you'll understand that you can enter the job market immediately or go through college first. Well, I've done it.

In less than a week, I'll have a degree. Having never experienced senioritis, I was too focused on the present to care about the future. The semester is over, the experiment known as Columbia Blog Project has concluded, the results analyzed. If you're curious, here is the list of blogs generated by the other students in my class.

Over the course of the semester I've learned a great deal about blogging and even more about Columbia. If you've read this blog in the past, you be assured of great content in the near future. I have to say I've missed the late night posting sessions. I've missed having my ear to the ground but its good to be back.

Oh and Wordbones if you're reading this, I'm looking forward to your offer, I'd like to sit down and have a beer with you sometime, E-mail me.

Just to close one minor cliff hanger here, I'm starting a paid internship next week, so to all of you graduating seniors out there, what are YOU doing after graduation!?

-Jack Cole-

Friday, May 8, 2009

Housing Boom in Owen Brown

Despite a contracting economy, housing is booming in the village of Owen Brown. Just off the sidewalk from the historic Episcopal church, ants are building clusters of new homes. Sources say plans are underway for the construction of a microcosmic village center.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Blackout And Back Soon

Hello readers,

I've noticed some of you have continued to check up on me while I'm in the trenches. Under normal circumstances, I probably wouldn't go more than a day or two without blogging, its become something of a passion. But right now, my passion is graduating Towson University with a degree in journalism.

The last week of April and the first week of May is the so called crucible of graduating spring seniors. If you're even remotely curious why I've been so quiet, I've been shooting, editing and reshooting a video package on The Names. When I wasn't lugging around a 30lb light kit, I was studying for a final exam in mass communications research, (20 page research project due May 11th). I've also been interviewing Chinese international students for said project, writing a final exam blog on how-to-blog and creating two complex HTML pages from scratch.

Sounds like a lot, right? Well I appreciate your patronage. Thanks for stopping by. If you can give me one more week, I promise to send great content your way. You can look forward to more interviews and original reporting.