March 8, 2014 2:02 pm ET
During the years I have been blogging, I have covered a lot of community events. They’ve run the gauntlet from the sublime to the ridiculous. Everything from love fests to slug fests.
So, unequivocally and with little doubt, I can say that—based on the meeting I attended—the Eastfield/Stanbrook Community Association (ESCA) is one of the best run organizations in Dundalk. ESCA events tend to discuss all of the activities that will occur throughout the year, so I figured this was one that I wouldn’t want to miss.
Needless to say, my instincts were correct, and I would not be disappointed.
You might say that the ESCA is “ground zero” for the Government Center issue. This is where the voices of the community have been heard—or, in this case, just plain ignored. But I’ll have more on that latter.
Karen Cruz and her husband Rick run a tight ship on the protocol of the ESCA meeting. The rules are followed to the letter—even at times when the discourse might be heated, the sprinklers never activate.
The meeting’s first guest speaker was Mr. Kevin Carney, who spoke on the progress of the Sheltered Harbor project. Originally, Mr. Carney planned on building condos, but he found that the market would not support such a venture. With that in mind, he decided to focus on building 69 townhomes in a waterfront community; the homes ranged between $285,000 and $350,000, with 40 of the 69 homes built on the waterfront. These homes will have boat 35 boat slips and be aimed at young first-time home buyers. He hopes to start the project soon, but—as you know—the severe winter weather has not exactly been conducive to building homes.
(Let me interject that it is nice to see someone raising the property values of our area instead of the opposite…)
Next on the guest speaker list was longtime Baltimore County Judge Bill Evans, who I thought gave a very enlightening talk on a variety of topics that dealt with the Orphans Court in Baltimore County. Judge Evans told the audience some fascinating information about wills. (It was stuff that many of us in the room had no idea about, which made it more fascinating.) The judge said that, in writing a will, there are three important requirements: Writing the will, signing it, and having it witnessed by two people. That is the crux of the whole process. No need for the Johnnie Cochran Law Firm on this one.
Judge Evans went on to say a living will is a little more complicated, so it would be wise to consult with an attorney. He said simple wills runs about $250. He said on the issue of an inheritance tax is that the inheritance must be above $5.6 million before the taxman cometh.
Now here is something interesting. If by chance your current will includes an “ex” wife, friend, or anything in between, you don’t need to jump through hoops to change your will; just write a new one. Yep, it’s that simple. No complex forms or legalese—just a straightforward new will written by you, provided that you follow the three steps from up above.
Right after Judge Evans spoke, Joe Tusa from Eastfield’s Parks and Recreation talked about the ball fields and the impact the sale of the Government Center will have on those fields. That was an interesting transition, as the audience went back and forth between a “below ground” topic and one that discussed playing above ground.
Mr. Tusa spoke about the Vanguard plans and the input of the rec council in making sure the community still would have access to the playing fields. Also, regarding the rumor that the planned amphitheater is out of the picture, I was surprised to learn that it was the rec council that made the request to do away with that aspect of the project. The reasoning is that the theater would create a gathering point of juveniles and possibly others, like the homeless, which could lead to many issues not conducive to the overall development.
Last, but not least, since this is an active political time, I figured I should mention the political candidates who appeared at the meeting. Running for county councilman on the Democratic side was Joe DiCara. Jake Mohorovic, who is running for state delegate as a Democrat, was also present. And recent entry into the crowded Democratic field, Brian Weir, also appeared.
Again, let me reiterate that the ESCA event was a very informative and well-run meeting. One can only hope that other meetings will take a cue from the ESCA.