Lordy I got me some squatters

house real estateAlthough some squatters move into vacant homes to live rent free, others do so to take advantage of adverse possession laws. The squatter movement has grown, not just in the U.S. but significantly in Europe as a means of social change. Activists advocate squatting as a response to Europe’s high unemployment, austerity, decreased public housing and declining living standards. Currently touted as “alternative housing,” squatting in the U.S. increased during the time when foreclosures and vacant homes skyrocketed after the financial crisis.


Signs, signs everywhere a big ole sign


gavel2Maryland common law traditionally has held that an owner of property owes only a very limited duty to a trespasser on that property. There are statutes or regulations that the State or Counties have enacted that may regulate owner’s use of property, particularly for safety reasons. How these principles interact was explored by Maryland’s highest court this week in a case called Blackburn Limited Partnership v. Paul.


Lincoln Park celebrates Black History Month by honoring its athletes

Seventeen new members were inducted into the Lincoln Park Athletic Hall of Fame last fall including former Richard Montgomery standouts Kevon Calhoun, Tavares Cooper and Anthony “Gumby” Williams along with Steve Weedon and his father, also named Steve.
The Lincoln Park neighborhood, a historically Black neighborhood in Rockville, is celebrating Black History Month by honoring its many athletes.
The elder Weedon was a two-sport star at Richard Montgomery who played on the Rockets’ state championship football team in 1981.
The brainchild of Lincoln Park native Donald “Duck” Davis, the Hall of Fame provides an opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate athleticism and sportsmanship in this historic Rockville neighborhood.
“I wouldn’t change where I came from for the world,” said Cooper, a former high school football and basketball star. “It means a lot [to be inducted].”
Former basketball star Will Allen was also enshrined along with James Blassingame, Mark Crutchfield, Nathan Dimes, Jeff Harris, Spencer “Spinny” Johnson, Tori Moten, Vincent Sewell, Billy Thompson, Jackie Young and Jay Summerour.
“I don’t care what nobody says,” Davis proclaims, “this [neighborhood] produced the best talent in Montgomery County. Case closed.”
Davis, a former standout basketball player at Rockville High, received a surprise induction and deservedly so.
“Everyone knows he definitely should have been in there,” said Williams, who starred in football and basketball at Richard Montgomery in the late 1990’s before playing basketball at Pfeifer University in North Carolina.
Williams, who played professional basketball overseas in Germany, also recently co-founded the Rockville Victors semi-pro league team.
The first Lincoln Park Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held in 2006 and three years later, 22 new members were enshrined including Rick Dorsey, Ernest Neal, Wayne Ferrell and Diane Thomas Hill.
Hill, a former Richard Montgomery student who earned a golf scholarship to college, is among a handful of female members currently in the Lincoln Park Athletic Hall of Fame.
In 2006, Jackie Israel Thomas, a former basketball standout at Holy Cross who played collegiately at the University of Richmond, was the first female member inducted into the Lincoln Park Athletic Hall of Fame.
Other notable Hall of Fame members who are well known in Montgomery County include Warren Crutchfield, Billy Gordon, Brian Howard, “Butch” and “Pint” Israel, Ken Jenkins, William Joppy, Watson Prather and Ricky Summerour.
Gordon , a longtime Montgomery County Public Schools administrator, was once drafted by the Seattle Supersonics. Jenkins enjoyed a stint in the National Football League with the Washington Redskins and Summerour was the first high school football player in Montgomery County to earn Parade All-American honors.
Howard was a three-sport star at Rockville High who went on to play college basketball in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Crutchfield, a former track and field athlete, has made a name for himself in county coaching circles by once guiding the girls basketball programs at Sherwood and Holy Cross among others.
Prather, a former football star at Richard Montgomery, has also enjoyed a successful coaching career at the Rockville school. He’s the winningest girls basketball and softball coach in school history.
“Pint” Israel played professional baseball in the Negro Leagues and Joppy became a World Boxing Association middleweight champion.

Cooper, an RM graduate who played basketball at MC-Rockville and Pfeifer University, was inducted last year with several familiar faces.
“It’s an honor,” said Cooper. “We all grew up together playing sandlot ball, competing with each other. We get into the Hall of Fame class the same year, it’s like a great thing. All that hard work we put in didn’t go to waste so it’s an honor.”

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All Hail Ra!

popeBWhat can you say about a man who was a member of the Hitler Youth and protected men who abused little boys?
You can say, “Hi Pope!” At least you can until the end of the month. Then we can thankfully at last say goodbye to Pope Benedict the XVI.
Hard to say the first Pope in more than 600 years to resign will be missed and even harder to believe the church will embrace any significant changes to its taciturn and disastrous philosophy of burying its head in the sand and pretending the world is the same as it was during the Inquisition.
As the Catholic population of the world enters Lent, the time of sacrifice and penitence, many lay Catholics may be tempted to give up Catholicism as currently practiced and sanctioned by the old guys wearing red in Rome.
To briefly review; The Catholic Church has routinely protected pedophile priests, while it preaches against the “Godlessness” of homosexuality. It venerates Mother Mary while denying women the priesthood. It teaches “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” while it rails against other religions.
In short, the Catholic Church is filled with hypocrisy and most practicing Catholics know it. There are none so blind as those who fail to see the signs of moral inferiority.
Instead of prosecuting and purging the pedophiles from the priesthood, The Church has instead opted to install glass doors in the offices of its pastors, in the confessional areas and other vital areas were priests might be alone with small children. Meanwhile the church administration shuffles and hides the pedophiles behind other, closed doors.
Instead of allowing priests to marry women, we’re told priests are “Married to God,” which begs the question who takes out the garbage? Or, who left the toilet seat up?
Nuns are also supposed to be married to God, which isn’t so good for God because women never lose an argument with their spouse.
As for women being priests, this scares the gray beards more than anything else. The musty old men’s club in Rome would never be the same once women got involved. Women look better in the vestments, though one could argue the gentlemen look more feminine.
But seriously folks, the Catholic Church has crossed the line from the sublime to the ridiculous.
While one can make a very serious argument all religions have lost their relevance in the modern world, the Catholic Church goes out of its way every day to drive home the point.
A Paternal hierarchy based in Rome makes as much sense as having an aging monarch sitting on a throne and passing judgment on his or her subjects. It doesn’t work.
The Church had a chance to stray in the world of relevancy the last time smoke blew up the chimney in Rome, but the Cardinals opted for the former Joe Ratzinger (a comedic classic for a last name) who became Pope Benedict the XVI.
When I heard he would be Pope I misheard the last name and for some reason thought the old men had elected the actor who played Cliff Clavin on “Cheers” to serve as Pope. But old Cliffy (John Ratzenberger) turned out to be a better choice had they actually moved in that direction.
Instead the College of Cardinals opted to elect a man who held the title of Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as their new Pope.
If you don’t recognize the title, perhaps you should know the title has changed. The new Pope was in charge of maintaining and defending the integrity of the faith in an office once called the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition. It is the oldest Congregation established in 1542 by Pope Paul III and the office Ratzinger held was once called “The Grand Inquisitor.”
Yes sir. Our Pope. They called him Primus inter pares, or the first among equals, and he has been the most influential Cardinal in the church for years.
A conservative man, he has preached for the return to conservative values and has doused any hope of bringing the Church into the current century. While in office he has appointed other, similar thinking men to high posts in the Church. He has also preached Catholicism as a religion of not only faith, but reason.
Reasonably this is not exactly true.
Now reason dictates The Church should take a more proactive approach to the adherents of the faith or risk finally being flushed in the same manner as those who used to worship Ra.