County's First 'Unsung Hero' Named
Since 1975 Melvin (Bud) Patterson Jr. has been coaching children on the ball fields of Howard County. His philosophy is simple but effective, teaching children to play by the rules and not to give up on themselves in sports or in life.
On Tuesday night he was named Howard County's first Unsung Hero, one of 23 persons in the state awarded this honor as part of the Maryland You Are Beautiful Program.
The award was created this year to honor Maryland's everyday heroes, those who quietly help others without expecting anything in return.
Whether coaching on the basketball court, the football field or the baseball diamond, Patterson has "influenced many youngsters and stressed a high level of sportsmanship," said Maggie Brown, a member of the selection committee.
Patterson, 39, said he loves working with children. "I hope I have touched their lives because they've touched mine," he said.
He was selected from almost 100 nominees for the Unsung Hero award in the county and he will be honored with other winners at a reception hosted by Gov. William Donald Schaefer on Jan. 7.
Patterson has been a printer at The Washington Post for 18 years, and lives with his wife and three children in Clarksville. School Chief Apologizes to Blacks
School Supt. Michael E. Hickey issued a public apology last week to black residents who were upset about an ink drawing in the 1987-88 Howard County school calendar.
"I apologize to all those in the community who were offended by the inclusion of the picture in the school system calendar/handbook," Hickey said at the school board meeting. "I will ensure a more careful review of school system publications in the future in an effort to preclude a recurrence of this nature."
Last month, about 30 black parents and students complained to school officials about the drawing, which they said was insulting and a racial stereotype.
The drawing, by a Mount Hebron High School student, was selected for the March entry of the calendar. The picture shows an African warrior leaping in the air with a clenched fist and rifle.
Included in the drawing are depictions of people of other ethnic groups wearing traditional garb.
Tebbie Stewart, a teacher at Wilde Lake Middle School, said she was pleased that Hickey apologized for the incident.
However, Stewart said blacks were disappointed that Hickey refused to ban the calendar from the school system during the month of March. The calendar, which is mailed to the homes of about 26,000 students, often is displayed in classrooms as well, school officials said.
Still, Stewart said she expects "few teachers" will display the calendar in March because of the complaints, which have heightened sensitivity and "understanding of the black perspective." Democrats Seek Funds for an Office
Howard County elected officials are asking for contributions from business and community leaders in an effort to open a full-time Democratic Party office in the county.
County Executive Elizabeth Bobo, state Sen. Thomas Yeager and County Council member C. Vernon Gray signed a letter to 180 people who have supported party candidates in the past. The letter asks for contributions ranging from $100 to $250.
The letter said Democrats are responsible for controlling growth in the county, and said contributions are needed to build a strong party to continue those policies.
David Marker, chairman of the county's Democratic Central Committee, said the committee's goal is to raise $34,000.
Marker said last week that the money would be used to open an office, conduct registration drives and promote Democrats during next year's presidential campaign.
Recent registration figures show Democrats with a nearly 2 to 1 advantage over Republicans in the county. Campaign Against Drunk Driving
County Executive Elizabeth Bobo and Police Chief Frederick Chaney have joined with the Central Maryland Chapter of MADD to urge motorists not to drive during this holiday season if they've had too much to drink.
Since 1980, 11 people have been killed in the county in December collisions linked to holiday drinking.
Bobo has declared Dec. 13-19 as National Drunk and Drugged Driving Awareness Week in Howard County. The executive's proclamation stresses the dangers of driving while under the influence of chemical substances.
The Central Maryland Chapter of MADD has distributed more than 42,000 red ribbons throughout the county.
Motorists are asked to tie the ribbon to their left car door as a reminder not to drink and drive.
County police cars will carry the red ribbons to remind as well as warn drivers not to drink and drive, and Chaney said officers will be extra vigilant about watching for drivers who appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs."It is our objective to get each drunk driver off the road before he injures someone and mars a family's holiday happiness," he said.