So, before I get into meatier issues, I would like to tell the story of how I got interested in local blogs. In order to tell the story, I'll have to give some biographical details about myself. I've noticed many of the local bloggers are quite secretive with their identities. You already know my first name, and with other info I'll tell about myself, it shouldn't be too hard to figure out who I am. In fact, at some point, I think HCR posted a link to my businesses webpage, complete with a picture and personal biography.
In 2007, after graduating from our respective grad schools and getting married, my wife and I decided it was time to buy a townhouse. We were living in Owen Brown, getting used to life together. My wife grew up in Hickory Ridge, and I grew up in Long Reach and Kings Contrivance. Our parents still live in Columbia. Many people, upon getting married, have a tough decision to make. "Should we live near his parents on one side of the country or her parents on the other, or should we live in between?" My wife and I had it easy. It wasn't a matter of where in the USA we were going to live, it was a matter of, "Where in Columbia are we going to live?" We settled on River Hill, a decision I am proud to say, we do not regret in the slightest bit.
I felt we were so lucky to live in such an awesome place that I decided I had to give back in some way. I decided to join the River Hill Village Board, and try to do my best to help our community continue to maintain its status as a positive, great place.
I am the type of person who goes into nothing half-hearted. Before I do a fantasy football draft, I study players for literally weeks. Prior to joining the Village Board, I wanted to make the same commitment to understanding Columbia. Even though I am a life-long Columbian, I still needed to study more.
My first step was reading "Better Places, Better Lives: A Biography of James Rouse." This book is the most comprehensive, in depth, and well written book on both Rouse and the development of Columbia. I feel this book should be required reading for any HoCo Politico from a Village Board member, through a local blogger, up to the County Executive and state representatives.
Once I understood Columbia's past I needed to understand Columbia's present and it's future. I started a quest to read local blogs. The first blog I found was Tales of Two Cities. From Wordbones, and frequent commenters on his blog, I learned about the passionate and heartfelt debate that has been going on for several years on the topic of the downtown Columbia development. I also learned about the local HoCo political scene, such as which local politicians are working hard to make our community better and which politicians are working hard to make people want to vote them out of office.
After finding Tales of Two Cities, I came across HowChow. I freakin' love HowChow. It has changed our lives for the better. My wife and I consider ourselves foodies. We have been so many places now because of recommendations from HowChow. We joined the Gorman Farms CSA this year. I eat at Bon Fresco once a week or so. I have become friendly with the owner of Bon Fresco, Gerald, as we commiserate together about the travails of being new business owners. I would support any of the small, family owned businesses HowChow recommends over the big chains any day. Thanks to HowChow, I can now easily find these smaller places, and enjoy their offerings.
Third, I came across HoCoRising. HCR, is my one shop stop for all the local news. Rather than going around finding local news on various websites or in the paper, I know I can go to HCR every morning on my Iphone, and get all the news I need for the day. Thanks to HCR putting this post on his blog, I have met several great individuals that I believe will improve our State immensely if elected, and I have volunteered my time to help their campaigns.
There are several other blogs of note that I read at least once or twice a week. Freemarket offers an interesting take on local issues. This video of Trent and Ken is hilarious. Because of Freemarket, I now know to keep my fingers away from any desks when Shane Pendergrass is around. Frank Hecker offers incredibly in-depth and thorough commentary on today's issues. To be honest, Frank clearly spends more time researching his discussion topics than any other blogger around. Sarah Says provides another perspective on local topics, with a more lighthearted and practical view. I appreciate her CSA reports, as it gives me some ideas of things to do with our produce from Gorman Farms.
I have learned so much from the HoCo blogging community. There are those out there that say that bloggers have no influence. I strongly disagree. It is because of the hard work of all these HoCo bloggers that I have become more involved in our community, and have worked to make Columbia and Howard County continue to be a great place to live. Keep up the good work!