Archive for Frederick

SCOD Flora Survey Project

Posted in Nature Studies, Organic Development, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2019 by Drogo

Volunteer efforts to make a ‘Washington DC Metropolitan Area’ survey map of identified flora species will be documented by SCOD over the course of several years, starting in a few local areas the team can access easily. Frederick and Thurmont are the first areas we are beginning with because of access and pre-existing information by naturalists.

Methodology:  Data Collection (field & archives); Digitizing Process; Database Analysis for Uses (historic land use, planning, locating existing species)

The SCOD Frederick Area Flora Species Mapping project has begun! Node 1a Block 1 of Spiral 1b is surveyed in my notebook. It will take several years to complete the region map, but more than 3 people will be working on it (Drogo, Christine, & Drumwise), and will focus on trees and shrubs estimates, but will include any info donated.

Please contact Drogo Empedocles, Chris Drumwise Ousse, or Christine Maccabee if you are interested in helping or contributing to our project. We are searching for partners to help us with GIS about trees and other plants. Find us on Facebook or leave a comment below. Thanks for your support!

References so far include: Frederick County MD Property Explorer, Arbor Pro USA, Science Direct Procedia, MD Department of Natural Resources, MD Forest Service, Garden Clubs, Nature Clubs, Park Groups, …

Arbor Pro USA – urban forest management for municipalities, universities, and you. 15 years of GPS tree inventories for risks and planning. Team members: Scot, William, Jeff, Ken

Science Direct – Procedia social and behavioral sciences: GIS for benefits and hazards of urban trees.

Tree-Keeper GIS for Frederick, MD – PDF11,158 Calculated Trees; Total Yearly Eco Benefits = $692,169

Frederick City of MD, Park Division Urban Forestry Program – Arborist

Maryland Manual On-Line: Plants & Trees

Frederick County Government, Maryland – GIS / Public Safety

Maryland I-Map – Mapping & GIS Data Portal

Frederick County, MD – Parks & Recreation Locations

Frederick County, MD – Property Explorer

 

Frederick County GIS Data [from email]:

  1.       We have Forest Polygons, they are available here:  https://www.frederickcountymd.gov/5969/Download-GIS-Data

The latest Forest Polygons are from 2017, we have and will update them about every 2-3 years, we started in 2005.

  1.       We have a Forest Canopy layer, made in 2011 by NASA and U of MD.  It is available for everywhere in the State of Maryland, https://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=f70ada30bd29428395186ce5f3a618c5 .  I have a copy of the data if someone needs a copy of the GIS files feel free to send them my way.

 The County Tree Canopy Report can be downloaded by the link below  There are others for example Frederick City and Brunswick available here: https://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/urban/utc/pubs/ .  I also included in the download a map of our Green Infrastructure.  If you have further questions feel free to reply or email me. Download Link:  https://frederick.sharefile.com/d-s13e6f8f52834481a

Mary McCullough – GIS Analyst / Interagency Information Technologies

Frederick County Government Office: 301-600-2324

Website: Frederick County GIS

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Evan Keto  – Maryland Licensed Tree Expert #2221, ISA Certified Arborist SO-6594AM, and Owner / Fruitful Trees and Gardens, LLC  240-763-0764

The options are limitless, although resources always are. Personally, I think a handful of people in Frederick could have the greatest impact by plugging data into existing systems, like this map where you can document edible plant species: https://fallingfruit.org/

Even if you only focused on public areas where foraging would be allowed (or at least not prosecuted), documenting all the walnuts, hickories, persimmons, pawpaws, blackberries, serviceberries, etc. would still take quite a long time. But by trimming your plants list, geographical area, and eliminating the technological issues, you could just start creating a very valuable map, and perhaps get other people on social media to volunteer to add to your efforts. In the end you’d have a resource that would help increase environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Just one of many ideas.

A map of trees and shrubs in Frederick or the greater DC area would take dozens of volunteers years to complete. For example, Casey Trees has been working on a map of the trees in DC, and that has taken many volunteers many years, and as they keep it updated, it will never be finished:  https://caseytrees.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=932aa4d49bfa45b39ecf3321cbb6cdbc

Eventually, hyper-spectral satellite imaging will be able to tell us what every tree is by its unique light signature. That way, we could instantly identify each tree species for an entire region, but that’s not going to be available for a while: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s40490-018-0123-9

For instance, if you wanted to ask, “What species of trees and shrubs are growing in the DC area?”, that could be more of a list than a map, and can be compiled by cross referencing multiple resources, including – The City of Trees:

https://www.amazon.com/City-Trees-Complete-Washington-Center/dp/0813926882/ref=asc_df_0813926882/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312065538926&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=4121470300927145656&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9007790&hvtargid=pla-493397652405&psc=1

Maryland Champion Tree Listing

http://www.mdbigtrees.com/view_tree.aspx

C&O canal species lists: https://www.nps.gov/choh/learn/nature/plants.htm

 (Monocacy battlefield, National Capital Parks, and other NPS units would also likely have species lists)

Towson Arboretum: https://www.towson.edu/campus/landmarks/glen/trees.html

National Arboretum: https://www.usna.usda.gov/

University of Maryland campus arboretum https://arboretum.umd.edu/

In the end, I think you’ll find hundreds of different species of woody plants, as I learned 200+ and those were just on the UMD campus. If you widen your interest to all plant species, then be prepared to learn to identify thousands and thousands of potential species in this area: https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderProfileResults.aspx?z=7 

Or, if you did want to create a map, you might want to focus on a particular geographic area, such as some of the local parks, and perhaps with focus on the largest and most interesting trees. It might be worth contacting the city’s Sustainability Coordinator and the County Forestry Board, who may already have some items mapped and/or resources to help:

http://www.cityoffrederick.com/891/Sustainability

https://sites.google.com/view/fcfcdb/bigtreeprogram#h.p_vluyI_xWVRDU

Also, you might be interested in seeing the USFS iTree Tools suite, which is all free:

https://www.itreetools.org/

Hope this helps,

Evan

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Frederick County Planning Dept. – Tim Goodfellow (600-2508) spoke with me on the phone and mentioned more contacts:

DNR MD Forest Service, Local Forester at Gambril Park – Mike Kay

DNR MD Wildlife & Heritage Service

Frederick County – Office of Sustainability

Frederick County – OSER (Office of Sustainability) Shannon Moore SMoore@FrederickCountyMD.gov

Tom Rippeon – Arborist, Parks & Recreation, Frederick MD – 301.600.1233; C 240.409.4410

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SCOD Flora Project will be updated here as more data is processed.

To be continued…

Arts & Literature Seasonal Gathering

Posted in Education / Schools, Events / Celebrations, Individuals / Members / Monsters / Creative Writing, jobs, news, Services, Sales or Trade, Society Clubs or Social Groups, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2018 by Drogo

Day, Month, Year, Time – Arts & Literature Seasonal Gathering – You are invited to the Victorian Townhouse of the Honorable S.P. (near Market Street) __ Third Street, downtown Frederick, MD; to read anything of your choice for apx.10 minutes, and our informal group will discuss for about the same time as the reading. Tea will be served.

Democratic voting on name of group, which selections to read, whether to record, and date of next meeting.

[for actual current details contact SCOD members]

WAR WEARY : Turning to Nature for Solace

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Homesteading, Memorials / Obituaries / Epitaphs, Poems, Rhymes, Riddles, Spiritual with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2014 by Drogo

August 2014

There is no one on this earth who is not affected by all the wars, and rumors of war, these days. Of course, all through the history of mankind there have been wars and rumors of war, and according to some thinkers and writers this is how it will always be, forever.

However, that is not what I want to debate, or discuss. I only wish to convey a few of my personal feelings about how war is affecting people, all people, and the natural world upon which we depend for survival. Whether people are aware of it or not, those in the muddle of the Middle East countries, or here in the USA where we are not hearing air raid sirens daily, we are all affected. There is not one thing on this earth that does not affect another.

Now how can I say that ? Aren’t we insulated from the worst of it here in America? Actually, we are not. “Whatever happens to the least of these happens to us”. Some very wise person said something like that 2,000 years ago. Actually, the words are more like this: “Whatsoever ye do to the least of these, ye do also unto me.” No wiser words were said.

Most natives of America thought along the same lines. They were natural ecologists, born and bred with “all our relations” in mind as a way of life. Some wise native said that we are all connected, that what befalls one part, affects another, and more…that a great sadness would befall us, as human beings, when there are no more sounds of nature and we loose the company of wild creatures. They are here for our use, but also to uplift our spirits with their amazing beauty and diversity. The earth and all of its inhabitants are a profound miracle! So, as I look around at what war and materialism have done to the natural world, and are doing, I feel a great sadness that I cannot seem to shake.

Such is the sadness we all feel on different levels, whether we are conscious of it or not. We are all war weary. Weary of wars between each other, and war against the natural world. The earth itself is weary too, its water, its air, its swamps and rivers, its plants, its butterflies, bees, birds, the polar bears, and on and on. Shall I list every remaining species?

As I wandered my gardens this morning, picking dried peas for next years planting (now there is an act of hope) and herbs for a healthy tea I need to make, my thoughts were solemn. What if there comes a day, due to rampant human ignorance upon the face of this beautiful earth, what if someday, there is no pure air to breath, or clean water to drink, or swampy breeding grounds for myriad birds and amphibians to thrive and procreate. In Syria, Gaza and Iraq,and many other places around the world they are already experiencing serious problems, and my heart bleeds for them. Innocent, hardworking people, with children and old people, all suffering due to the ignorance of their leaders. There is no clean drinking water and poor sanitation is pervasive. Swamps are drying up, rivers and lakes polluted. The inhabitants are war weary, and so am I, and so are we all. So is the Earth….

Yet, there is always hope. There are people doing their best to keep the balance between … and I will say it as it is…good and evil. To water it down, between dark and light, life and death , is stoically philosophical, though true. But this is not a philosophical exercise. This IS a war, another sort of war, a genuine fight for survival, and not just for survival of humans, but for the entire delicately balanced ecosystem.

So, how not to groan and lament the demise, the poisoning, of such a gift? Why are we throwing this precious gift back in the face of the Giver, the Great Spirit, as well as our OWN spirits. Doesn’t , shouldn’t, everyone know that without the purity of the earth, we will all sicken and die, together, some sooner, some later? I suppose some people simply do not care enough, or think, or feel for that matter. If egotistical ignorance and materialism continue as they are, and if misguided leaders feel only hate and fear, then we are doomed indeed.

Am I war weary.?… You bet ya I am. So are you. Now, what to do about it ?

I say, turn to the purity of nature, and fiercely protect and nurture it, wherever, however you are able. That is our only salvation, our only hope. Then someday, when we are truly weary of this life, and it is our time to say farewell; with forgiveness in our hearts for those who knew not what they were doing, we will die in peace knowing in our hearts that we did the best we could.

Walk Lightly, but with a strong walking stick…

~ Christine SCHOENE Maccabee

CSM 3

Waiting on the Chickens

Posted in Organic Agriculture & Horticulture, Poems, Rhymes, Riddles with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2014 by Drogo

It was late afternoon, the time of day I make my 2nd trip down to the chicken pen to feed my three birds a 2nd time. It had been raining, torrentially, off and on all day, but I decided to get my attitude straight as I put on my long German cloak and rubber boots. Those things, along with my large pale blue umbrella, kept my clothes perfectly dry, and I was happy to feel the wind and mist against my face. Breathing deeply of the purest air, there was nothing going to bring me down on my afternoon jaunt to the chickens.

Opening the door of the coop, there they were, all wet and happy. It surprised me when I first observed years ago that chickens like to stay out in the rain, scratching in the mud to find that last little worm or bug. They some tough ladies ! As soon as I opened the door, they scooted out into their yard thinking I would be throwing the sunflower seeds and cracked corn out there in the puddles. However, today my new plan on this rainy day was to keep the food in the coop. So I poured it clanging against the side of the metal feeder, hoping they would hear the noise and come running back in to eat. That way I could then close their little hatchway door and they would be in for the night, earlier than usual. Unfortunately, chickens are just like children. They don’t want to come inside until it is nearly dark, and trying to force them in is practically impossible without a lot of squawking.

Patiently I leaned against the door jam, and waited. One came in, Ma Belle, but she didn’t stay long. Darn, I thought, it is pouring out there, the food is in here, and still they play. I did not fancy having to come back down again by dark, in the rain, putting all my stuff back on again so as not to get wet, being more chicken than my chickens ! And so I waited, calling to them in a high pitched, chicken-like voice, but they refused to walk up their little plank and into the nice dry coop.

Then it struck me. I was waiting on the chickens, in more ways than one, and I do this everyday, twice a day ! I am their dedicated waitress. I bring them leftovers from breakfast , lunch and dinner, things like cold oatmeal, apple cores, rice and beans, greens, chicken bones from the rotisserie, just about everything their little hearts desire…except the brussels sprouts. The other day I put several little cooked brussels into a hollowed out cantaloupe half, and all they ate was the cantaloupe, leaving a very thin rind. Somehow I didn’t think they would care for the b.s. any more than most people, but this was only an experiment, so I was not surprised or upset. Most children don’t like brussels sprouts anyway. I eat them because they are good for me and I am one of those rare individuals who actually likes them. Children and chickens, on the other hand, are not so easily convinced !

Back to waiting on the chickens. I had the revelation about my servitude position while waiting for the chickens to come in out of the rain, but then I grew tired of waiting. Going out into the yard with them, I nonchalantly and very slowly, went around behind them and gently shooed them in the direction of the ramp. Happily it did not turn into a fiasco, with no success, as it frequently has in the past. Likely they were considering going in anyway. Or perhaps it registered in their little brains that there was no food in the yard, so it must be inside the coop.

Whatever they were thinking, or not thinking as the case may be, they all ran quickly, squawking as they ran, up the tiny ramp. Quickly, I closed the little door, saying “gotcha ! “ Whew, that was easy, I thought. Thank God, as it was beginning to pour down rain again, and I was getting hungry. All wet and happy, the three little imps began to discover the food in the dispenser, and I was happy too. I said “Goodnight girls, thank you so much girls for your eggs.” (I always thank them) and then “see you tomorrow”, as I closed the main door.

Whoever said captive birds aren’t happy ? They are no more imprisoned than I am. We might as well be happy together. I don’t mind waiting on the chickens. I serve then and they serve me. Their large brown eggs are the best, and their manure helps my organic gardens to flourish. Plus, everyday they give me a reason to get outside one more time, rain or shine, and take a walk down the hill, sometimes wading through wet grasses with the feel of mist on my face. I might even have a little adventure besides.

Who could ask for more?!

– Christine Schoene Maccabee of Mystic Meadows

chickens 1

Savannah Drum Circle

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Music Reviews, POB Audio, Spiritual with tags , , , , , , , , on February 6, 2014 by Drogo

While I was earning my Masters Degree in architecture from Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), in Georgia, I lived on Forsyth Park during the 3 years. Forsyth Park was the largest park in the City of Savannah, and I was very lucky to have such a luxurious ‘yard’. I enjoyed walking and biking through it to classes, running around it and practicing martial arts in it for exercise, and wondering at the beauty of the spanish-moss in the live-oak trees, flowers, and green grass every day. Sometimes I would hear the drums calling to me, from across the fields of the Park, and I would find the free and open Forsyth Park Drum Circle. For a few months it was every Sunday at the Park for hours, but it would also happen randomly.

There were usually at least 2 or 3 drummers that would bring djembes and start drumming. Once they started the call to mass, others like myself would seek them out and join them. There was a tall blonde dreadlock guy named ‘Lion’, and some other hippy-type guys. My best friend in the circle was a hippy vegan girl, who kept a dog. I do not remember her name, but she always smiled a lot and lived a free and alternative life. I think many of the drummers were homeless to various degrees. I did not have a large drum, so I played my native american flute from Alabama (Llama Reed).

Sometimes other SCAD students came to play with us, and that is how some of us formed a ‘pan-ethnic music band’ called ‘The Lance Simmons Quintet’. Our college band was formed by a film student who played drums and chanted vocals. We also had a guitarist, a didgeridooer, and another percussionist. Our Quintet played at college events like ‘Battle of the Bands’ and ‘Pool Parties’, besides playing randomly outside in parks or at the beach. We recorded music in a SCAD sound studio, and made the soundtrack for a short film.

After I graduated in 2000, I was not able to find a similar drum circle in my home area, nor in all my travels; until 13 years later in Frederick Maryland. I would not even have found them probably, if not for Facebook and the ability for networking to find out about other locals. If not for Facebook it may have been a few more years before chance-fate allowed me to have a random encounter again outside in the Park. Drum Circle has changed my life.

Now that I am back with a drum circle on a regular basis, I feel a renewed sense of self-expression and common new-age communal values that have been so rare in Commercial American culture. Many of the mutual behaviors in drum circles, I have tried to express in my own life works (such as SCOD). Perhaps my spiritual belief in drum circle is deeply rooted in past tribal lives and my alternative Montesorri schooling; as my need for the ritual of drum circle is similar to the way many others must feel about attending a church or a more ‘professional band’ practice. Yet there is an alternative difference to drum circle that is very lacking in conventional traditions, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Some of the general ethics of drum circle groups include: freedom to join and play, bring your own instrument or respectfully play someone else’s, bring instruments to share if you want, and the desire to bliss out and allow others to do their thing.

Walton Drum

Frederick Artist Laura Higgins

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Crafts, Services, Sales or Trade with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2013 by Drogo

laura 2

Frederick independent artisan website for Laura Higgins who is owner, maker, designer, curator:

Market Street Broads

“Making Bad Ass Jewelry for Bad Ass Broads – I have been making jewelry for about 15 years now. Along with various types of creative outlets, I enjoy making jewelry as both a stress relief and a fun pass time.” – from her Etsy site.

Laura makes modern gothic-rock jewelry, dynamic psychedelic graphic art,  and expresses herself publicly with tattoos, her own fashion style, even occasionally costume and dramatic make-up art!!

“I never really think about that stuff. All the things the buyer wants to know I have trouble even explaining haha My style can change day to day depending on how I’m feeling and I make such a wide variety of stuff it’s hard to narrow down any of the influences, subjects etc… My medium changes all the time as well. I could be making jewelry one minute then get the urge to paint and I just kinda go at it and paint what I’m feeling whether it be a picture or just abstract emotional stuff.. I’m all over the place lol.”  – Laura Higgins

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Musician Austin Litz

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Interviews, Music Reviews, Organic Development, POB Audio, Spiritual with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2013 by Drogo

Local area musician Austin Litz is from Gaithersburg, MD; but actively plays and tours with many other musicians from Frederick, Baltimore, and DC. He plays a multitude of instruments, including keyboard, saxophone, his own voice and digital equipment.

“Balance is the key to the cosmic dance of vibrational intentions. ϕ . In music, balance can be measured with tangible, quantitative evidence (volume, tonality). In life, and in music, balance is also subjective matter. Thats where listening to your mind body and soul comes in. All three voices (mind,body,soul) function like a chord and must be tuned accordingly to resonate with the highest purity and beauty (whats beauty? a question for another day I suppose). When observing the majority of the American people, I do not hear a beautiful chord. The body and soul are hard to tamper with directly but can be de-tunned threw manipulation of the mind. Thats where we come in, to send a message of opening your mind. Your body and soul will soon follow. Organizations like Monsanto and Exon exist due to an abundance of ignorant contentment. Commodified love. Tune yourself into a technicolor chord, try 528Hz! In the Spring I personally can’t wait to plant a dank Garden in the backyard of the Litz house, ride my bike everywhere I can, and learn as much as possible with an unbiased, open mind.”

–  Austin Litz

1005132331

Seeking Tristate Local Eclectic Band Members

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Music Reviews, POB Audio with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2013 by Drogo

I am hereby searching for musician band members to form a local band of some sort, here in the Tri-State area (Frederick Maryland, Harpers Ferry West Virginia, and Leesburg Virginia). I am more concerned about dedication to collaboration, rather than musical “talent”, since talent is relative. Quality is important, and we must be the arbiters of achieving mutual satisfaction. I am an eclectic musician myself, open to various styles and genres; and am searching for other creative people willing to negotiate musically in order to record and play for fun.

Prospective Band Members :

1.   Must live locally and have means of transportation.

2.   Must have phone or internet means of communication.

3.   Must have at least one musical instrument they can play.

4.   Must be willing to record or play live cooperatively and have fun.

5.   Must be open to almost any style or genre of music or sound.

* NO AUDITIONS

I play keyboard, native american flute, primitive drums, vocals, etc…

Hear some of my past collaborative recordings with SCOD on Soundcloud.

Please contact me via email if interested: drogo76@hotmail (com)

Air Ear Audio

Frederick Water Quality Report

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 30, 2012 by Drogo

Frederick Water Quality – Report received by mail

 

New Design Road Treatment Plant

 

Regulated contaminants detected

Contaminant parameters detected

 

Barium industrial drilling waste deposit erosion

Beta Radionuclides decaying material

Dalapon Herbicide runoffs

Di-ethylhexlphthalate Chemical Factory discharge

Ethylene Dibromide Petroleum refinery discharge

Nitrate Fertilizer runoff, Septic System leaching, etc

Turbidity soil runoff

Disinfection by-products artificial toxic chemicals from cleaners

Haloacetic Acids Chlorination by-product

Flouride regulated dental additive

30 Million Tons of Free Food!!! Want Not, Waste Not America

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2011 by Drogo

Americans waste an estimated 27 percent of the food available for consumption (according to a government study). Unopened food waste happens at supermarkets, restaurants, cafeterias and home kitchens. For every citizen of modern America a pound of perfectly edible food is thrown out every day. That means 30 million tons of food is wasted each year (according to the EPA). Donating excess food to Civic Cooperatives is SCOD, because it may sustain civilization in your area a bit longer against hordes of starving ex-consumer victims of the perpetual Recession/Terror-War!

Frederick City Soup Kitchen

Feeding Those In Need

Free Food in Frederick, Maryland

Frederick Community Action Agency
100 South Market Street
Frederick, Maryland 21701
301-600-1506

Food Donations:

Frederick Soup Kitchen accepts FOOD donations (including bread): The building is open Monday-Friday 8-4 and Monday and Wednesday evenings 6-9pm; but 24/7 drop off on loading dock.

Soup Kitchen Operation:

The Soup Kitchen Program provides a full evening meal, seven nights a week from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. to anyone in need of a hot, nutritious meal. Most of the men, women and children using the Soup Kitchen are homeless, but some are very low-income renters (including senior citizens) who come to the FCAA for a free meal in order to help make ends meet. The Soup Kitchen Program has been in continuous operation by the Frederick Community Action Agency (FCAA) since 1984. Volunteers are needed Monday through Friday from approximately 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. to set-up and serve meals (we have a paid cook during the week) and then to clean up the dishes and kitchen area after the meal is finished. Groups of volunteers (e.g., religious institutions, civic groups, companies, and other organizations) are used to staff the Community Kitchen on weekends (Saturdays and Sunday) and on major holidays. Groups are responsible for cooking, serving and cleaning-up after the evening meal.

Directions:

Route 355 (Market Street); bear left onto Market Street and turn right at the fourth traffic light onto East All Saints Street. The Frederick Community Action Agency is located at the corner of East All Saints and South Market Streets. one block before Carroll Creek intersects Market Str.

Just pull into the parking lot and the loading dock is on the right.

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Additionally:

Foodbank Program

The Foodbank Program operated by the Frederick Community Action Agency (FCAA) provides a 3- to 5-day supply of food to families and individuals who are facing an economic crisis and cannot afford to buy their groceries. The FCAA Foodbank serves between 300 to 400 households each month ranging from very low-income families who use the foodbank on a regular basis to moderate-income families who are facing a financial crisis and need food assistance. Volunteers are needed to: 1) sort food and re-stock the foodbank shelves; 2) hand-out groceries to families using the foodbank; 3) perform data entry on the computer system to track the number of families using the foodbank; and 4) perform light maintenance around the foodbank (e.g., wiping down shelves, recycling cardboard boxes, etc.).

 

* information from website and email from Coordinator Sarah McAleavy

Murder He Wrote Part 1.6

Posted in Fictional Stories with tags , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2010 by Drogo

~ (from 1.5)

I woke up in complete darkness. I smelled rotting manure again! I didn’t believe it! We were back in the Spanish room of Bonner! John shined a flashlight in my eyes. My bones ached as I got up. “What the heck was that all about?” I asked. No one answered me.

Joe grabbed the haunted Bonner Sweat-shirt from the wall, and we left. As my eyes adjusted to the light outside, I turned and saw Bratt climbing out of the window with a cheery smile. “I can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow!” he said.

Almost no time at all had passed from the time we first disappeared. The sun had not yet set, and our parents arrived to pick us up; as though nothing had happened. We all went home, and called other kids to tell them what happened. Believe it or not, not many people believed us. Alan did because he was an official ghost bagger, but no one else at Bonner believed our experiences.

Soon after these happenings; the school was repaired, classes returned to normal, Laurel’s novel was published, and Asher found Zimbabwe. The murder mystery was never solved, but this was not the last time our school would be haunted by paranormal activity. Everyone lived happily ever after, until Murder He Wrote Part 2, “Revenge”!!

THE END

Murder He Wrote Part 1.2

Posted in Fictional Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2010 by Drogo

~ (from Part 1.1)

When I awoke, my head ached. I strained my eyes to see around me. Joe & PJ were standing over me calling me silly names, and telling me to get up. We laughed. I asked them what happened. “Well it was ok ‘til the ceiling caved in on the people upstairs. Then Mac told us about the axe, the walls turned weird, and a giant frog pulled Alan through the ceiling,” Joe said pointing to a large hole in the ceiling. “But everything’s alright now. Mr. Echo wants us upstairs.”

I followed Joe & PJ upstairs through Mrs. Yonder’s room. We had to crawl over the fallen ceiling. When we got to the Assembly Hall, many of the younger kids were scared and crying. We sat down on the brown folding chairs. Bryan passed me a note.

Mr. Echo said “Please everyone calm down. You are all cool dudes and dudettes! Now I want to make this quick, I would like to say that for the rest of the day school is out,” and there was a roar of cheers, clapping, and gasps of joy!!! “Unfortunately I cannot say that, because school is must go on. So first, we all want to know what is going on. Mac, would you mind bringing the axe that you found, up here. Does anyone know about this?”

From the back of the room, John stood up. He had been a student at Bonner longer than anyone. “Yes, 3 years ago, there was a murder here. I was a sneaky kid back then. One night, after school, I broke into the Social Studies room to get my homework. It was pitch black. I felt the tables. I grabbed my pencil and paper. I began to go, when suddenly I heard something! I turned around and saw Bratt running down the stairs. I tried to follow him but got lost in the dark. The next day, I heard that Jake was missing. It took me all these years to figure out that the person I saw was Bratt.”

“No way! I didn’t murder anyone! I was doing my homework,” Bratt said meekly.

“If there was a murder, why was I never told?” Mr. Echo asked confusedly.

“Because Bratt secretly hid the axe and his shirt, then got rid of the body. He hid both the axe and the Bonner green sweat-shirt behind the radiator. If we burn the cursed Bonner Sweat-shirt, it might stop the ghost of Jake from messing around,” John said.

There was great commotion among the students, but when Mr. Echo said “We will talk about this more later, now everyone go to classes as usual.” We all got out of our seats and there was much confusion. The older kids went outside. While outside, Bratt was complaining to John that he didn’t even know there was a murder. Joe, PJ, Timmy, John, Boston, Mac, Bryan, Bratt, and I finally decided to sneak back in after school, that afternoon, and find the Bonner School Sweat-shirt. Classes were more agonizing than usual that afternoon.

Finally, when school was out, and everyone else had left, a bunch of us opened a window. We crawled through into the Social Studies room. Joe kept watch in the alley as we each entered. Joe saw Laurel pass by the corner, and he signaled us. It was too late, everyone but Joe was through the window. Laurel dropped her sweater nearby the alley. Joe grabbed the sweater so that she wouldn’t come back to get it. Unfortunately she saw him take the sweater, and ran after him, through the window and into the haunted school.

Laurel confronted us, and so we were forced to tell her what we were doing. Joe gave her sweater back to her, and in a huff she headed back towards the window to leave. However the window had other ideas, and slammed down shut. Laurel quickly changed her mind and decided she would hang with us.

So our little group headed down the stairs into the dark basement. With Bratt in the lead, we carefully passed the Science room. Everything was still a mess. “I guess John meant that the sweat-shirt was behind the radiator in the Spanish room,” I whispered as we entered the room a’ la Espaniola. Bratt turned on the fluorescent lights, which flickered on and off like special strobe lights. We gathered round the hole in the wall where the radiator was. Laurel saw the sleeve of the shirt hanging out from the plaster, and lunged for it. A cold wind blew us all to the back of the room, into a pile against the wall.

A ghostly figure appeared in front of us. A pair of green jogging pants, and Nikes were all that it wore. It held out it’s hand. It was holding a gleaming diamond. A cold chill ran through my spine, and I knew it was a ghost. I rubbed my hands and turned my head. Timmy loosened his jacket and backed up, holding his fingers in a cross shape. You could see right through  the ghost! It’s eyes were glowing like sapphires. The air smelled like rotting manure. There was a faded smile on his face, and a split across his forehead. It was the ghost of Jake! The wind stopped blowing.

Bratt’s eyes were fixed on the diamond that the ghost was holding. Bratt leaped up. We called for him to stop, but it was to late. Bratt grabbed the diamond away from the ghost! In an instant we were transported.

~ (continued in 1.3)

Ballenger Creek Park Nature Trail

Posted in Nature Studies with tags , , , , , , on April 26, 2010 by Drogo

The Ballenger Creek Park Nature Trail is in Frederick, MD

Alternative & Renewable Free Advertising!

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2010 by Drogo

Free Advertising for Alternative Power Businesses!

Please list any companies that help support alternative power on this blog page (reply below). 30 states (including Washington DC) have legislation requiring utility companies, distributors, and suppliers to include some power from renewable sources. Many small companies are focusing on helping clients with state energy program credits. Currently most of our electricity continues to come from burning coal.

Here are some small companies that are making a difference in Frederick County, Maryland: FITCI Incubator, US Photovoltaics, UR Solar, TimberRock, SES Frederick, Potomac Wind Energy, Chesapeake Green Fuels, and Nelson Commercial Plumbing.

Each small company only manages about 300 client households, compared to the entire population, but it is a start.

2003 BP Solarex Tour

Posted in Alternative Architecture, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2010 by Drogo

The BP Solarex Facility SCOD Tour in Frederick,  MD

November 2003 – These are my SCOD notes I took after organizing a SCOD tour.

Jefferson County, WV residents toured the BP Solarex facility in Frederick, Maryland. In attendance were John Henry Dale, Michael Shor, and Walton Stowell Jr. & Sr.. The following information is based on notes taken during the tour and official Solarex publications. Special thanks to Public Relations representative Debby Burgon. They did not allow photographs inside.

Although Solarex is now owned by British Petroleum, the Solarex plant was owned by Amoco & Enron in the 1980’s.  Now BP Solar boasts that their “Projects Group designed and supplied over 50,000 systems (totaling 70MW) and managed over 25,000 installations (nearly 15MW).”, and “completed installations in more than 150 countries (a record unmatched by any other company in the industry)”.

First on the tour was the Casting Room and the Sizing Room.  Michael asked what Silicon cost per # . The ‘crystalline operations’ and ‘tech center’ contained blocks of ingot, crystalex controllers, and a large cutting room  1=> 25 bricks / casting station vats.  An ‘ingot crusher’ machine cranked away as a loud speaker echoed in the docking bay.  Terms such as ‘silicon powder’ and ‘top-cut’ were discussed and cylinders were cleaned with corrosive chemical bath.  Next was the ‘hot form block melting room’.

The ‘wafer cutting room’ contained many purple, pink, orange ear plugs; white suits, grey slop gloves goo, and blue slippers.  This is where ‘template calibration’ for the solar cells took place also.

Next an Airlock leads into a blue floor, where wafer separation, cleaning, and setting begin.  Automated cleaning and etching stations occurred in glass tanks.  (SiN) Silicon Nitride  240 microns = 3-4 sheets thickness.  A violet / dark blue wafer coating with “silver paste” was then baked in aluminum.  These would go to a drying furnace in front and back lines with automated tooling systems.

multi- & mono- solar cells  (multi-cells are darker, absorb more sun, more efficient)  “silicon is dangerous”

A large final room housed machine plates that mounted bar stripes (bus bar) with tabbing ribbons, and negative / positive copper wire with silver coating.  Then there were assembly-soldering operations for the complete solar panels; which were then laminated, and ‘cassettes’ were loaded into a matrix machine with roller knobs.  Contained in soldered back-matting is dios wiring and label black caulking buettle. Current / voltage testing / reading SPI sun Simulator BP 380U. The panels are cleaned, flashed, and boxed in argon @ 23.8 degrees.  NRE National Renewable Energy

The cost of a solar system is directly proportional to how much energy you require.  Small cabin systems start at a few 1000 dollars.  A typical household system could cost anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000. “Clean Power Estimator” = evaluates $ saved contact section to discuss design with a distributor. Array combo – Inverter – Utility kw/h meter.

Currently prices are still not economically feasible or comparable with grid power in most states. Illinois has a very limited subsidy program for homeowner, like in Japan and Germany. Skylight connector modules have (leads) silicon-nitride covering over wafers.

Some questions remain:

“What percentage of energy used to produce solar panels in the plant, is provided by solar energy?”

“Why is taking so long to open more plants?” and “Why do you now have a barbed wire fence?”

“Why did you cut over half of your workforce in 2010?” (update)

2010 BP Solarex Job Cuts