Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ellicott City: Cursed by Legacy (Wednesday LINKS)

Ellicott City was founded as a mill town augmented by a railroad.  The river running through, and under, town provided means for manufacturing and agriculture, while the B&O Railroad connection allowed a back road mill to become one of the largest on the East Coast.

Between the flooding earlier this year and yesterday's derailment, we've been cursed by both.

Old Ellicott City has had a tough year.  Less than 12 months ago, we saw antique chairs floating down the street and cars crushed under a less-than-retaining wall.  In July, the power went out for almost all of Fourth of July weekend, forcing downtown restaurants to throw away thousands of dollars of food.  Yesterday, as if looking to join the conversation, the railroad tossed over a derailed train, tragically killing two girls in the prime of their life and shutting down Main Street for the day.

Sadly, this will not be the last time Ellicott City floods.  The support beam noting past overflows seems to serve as both a piece of history and an hourglass.  Just as Americans all over the "upper 47" wondered why anyone would live in New Orleans, a City below sea level, we may one day hear people around the State talk about "The City on Top of a River".  If you believe in Climate Change, and that the frequency of intense storms will increase over time, you must be concerned for the future of our County Seat.

What is most unfortunate is that there is little anyone can do.  I think we can all expect additional safeguards to be put in place along the train-tracks (with structure improvements to prevent anyone from sitting near the tracks), but the river stands.  It will prevent power lines from every going underground and cause any new merchant to think twice before moving a high end store into a flood zone.  Ellicott City is what it is.  And for most of us, that is a place we love and cherish.

I would propose that in light of the lost revenue from yesterday (and possibly today), we host a "Ellicott City Appreciation Night" this weekend.  Make a reservation at The Rumor Mill, Portalli's, or Cacao Lane.  Get your hair cut at Ooh La Lal.  Do something this weekend to put some money back into local merchants and let them know that you support them.  There may be one day where we don't have that chance.


The O's won a huge 5-3 game against the Texas Rangers last night off of a stellar performance by spotty-turned-solid starting pitcher Chris Tillman.  When Nate McLouth is hitting dingers (last HR July 2011), you can't help but feel...something magic made the magic happen...the magic of ORIOLES' BASEBALL!

HUGE props to the Columbia Patuxent Rotary who asked me to spread the word about their new Service Above Self Award.  In conjunction with this Award, the Rotary will grant $5,000 to the nonprofit of the recipient's choice.  For those involved in the local nonprofit scene, I think this is the largest award grant of its kind in the County.  Please consider nominating someone in your community for this soon-to-be prestigious local award.

Here's a great piece about how Paul Ryan's Medicare voucher program may not be as radical as some would have you believe.  I tend to think that the success of Medicare D is heavily skewed by those who choose to enroll, but the findings of the JAMA study should not be ignored.

Yesterday was a really weird day in the polls.  Romney may have made up serious ground on Obama in Wisconsin, but is slipping fast in Virginia.  Whether or not this election is already decided in the hearts and minds of Americans, I can't stop watching these poll numbers come in.

The General Assembly created a task force to look into Maryland's law addressing firearm access by the mentally ill.  I wish we lived in a Country were this bill could be one word: "Don't."

Amir Sufi has written a party neutral evaluation of the slumping economy in Bloomberg, noting that "The main factor responsible for both the severity of the recession and the subsequent weakness of the economic recovery is the deplorable condition of the U.S. household balance sheet."  Anyone else harken back to what it was that made Rick Santelli so mad on the trading floor nearly four years ago?  Hint: It wasn't the bank bailout.

Featured Blog Post(s) of the Day: Reaching back in the archives a tad, I wanted to make sure to recommend MM's posts on how Ken Ulman and Anthony Brown can win the Dem primary in 2014.  Very good insights into the race.

To close: Thank You.  I was going to make this entire post a "Thank You", but I know that bores some of you right off the digital cliff (feel free to click away now).  Last night was amazing and I appreciated the opportunity to thank all of you personally for helping us reach our $5,000 goal (++) last July.  Also thanks to Second Chance Saloon for hosting our crew on such short notice.  It really is hard to write out how much all of you mean to me.  That's mushy and corny, but also true.

An additional thanks to the fantastic comments that have been coming through recently.  You all may finally motivate me to get the Disqus comment notification fixed!  (No promises)

Have a fantastic Wednesday doing what you love.