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Morningside-Skyline column for July 25

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Mary McHale

Published on: Wednesday, July 24, 2013

By Mary McHale

On vacation and getting water-disaster news from home

I was enjoying a week in a beach house in Southern Shores, between Duck and Kitty Hawk, N.C., when the phones began to ring. Callers warned me that a water main, between Morningside and Suitland Parkway, was about to fail. They said it would leave the area bordered by Southern Avenue, Suitland Parkway, Joint Base Andrews and parts of Clinton without water — possibly for four or five days. Included in the shutdown would be all of Andrews and National Harbor with its many hotels.

My first thought was, “Wow!  I picked a great week to vacation!” Then I realized I’d come home with no water to shower or wash clothes. Coming with me would be my daughters Therese, from Texas, and Kathleen and her son from Ohio. It’s no fun having visitors when you don’t have water. So, my grandchildren came to my house and filled every possible container with water.

The Morningside Volunteer Fire Department announced, “The station will remain open and continue to respond to emergencies in the area — even without running water.” A tanker from the Baden Volunteer Fire Department relocated to Morningside to assist with fire protection.

Hotels and other businesses shut down. Our local daycare cancelled. Meanwhile, down in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, the calls kept coming in with the latest news. Then, two days later, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission announced there would be no shutdown. WSSC thanked residents for conserving water during the emergency.

We came home and I could take a shower after all.

Homeless students need school supplies — you can help!

Homeless Outreach, Inc. is hosting its annual Back-to-School events Aug. 9, Aug. 10 and Aug. 17 to benefit school-age children, teens and adults enrolled in an educational program. The events will feature worship and music, crafts, a meal, a clothing/hygiene items giveaway and distribution of school supplies such as 3-ring notebooks, folders, spirals, composition books, scissors, glue, glue sticks, school boxes, crayons, pencils and pens. High-quality backpacks have already been purchased.

If you wish to donate such items, they can be dropped off at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, 4915 St. Barnabas Rd., on Tuesday or Thursday mornings (ring the bell) or at 4109 27th Avenue in Temple Hills (behind Macy’s).  Checks may be mailed to The Homeless Outreach, Inc., 4114 27th Ave., Temple Hills, MD 20748. For information, call 301-423-6466.


I enjoyed the annual Morningside Fouth of July parade from under the tree at Suitland Road Baptist Church. Members of the church provided folding chairs and water. God bless them for that! I also passed my thanks on to the pastor, Dr. Kelvin McCune.

Among the walkers and watchers were Sister Luciana, who hails from Eritrea, waving an American flag; a saluting David Chambers in a super-patriotic shirt, with his dog Ester; Sheriff Melvin High, waving as he walked with fellow officers and a canine; guitar-playing Steve Dameron, singing as he followed his decorated van; the Skyline Citizens’ float carrying Skyline School students as king and queen; Morningside officials waving from sedans and throwing candy; and kids racing to retrieve candy.  It was a good time.

Former Morningsider Rose Hoffman came from Prince Frederick for the parade. Then I joined her for lunch at Mama Stella’s. She was bemoaning that, for the first time in 70 years, the old Marlboro High Class of 1941 hadn’t had a reunion lunch.

Board of Education member Carletta Fellows, District 7, has resigned because she “could not give the school board the necessary time commitment.” Too bad. She attended several of our Skyline Citizens meetings and seemed like she’d do a good job.

Agnes Koch was born at home in Minnesota on July 26, 1913. Now she is celebrating her 100th birthday in Bothell, Wash. Years ago she lived in both Morningside and Suitland, where she developed many lifelong friends. I’ll celebrate her birthday with a column next week. I invite those of you who know her to send me your thoughts on Agnes.

May he rest in peace

Robert Sterling Ruskin, 67, a 1963 graduate of Suitland High, died June 16. He was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Hillcrest Heights. He graduated from Washington College, received a doctorate in psychology from West Virginia University in 1971 and had a distinguished career in education. He is survived by his wife Rebecca Ruskin and a son.


Happy birthday to Jennifer Booth and Dottie Erhardt, July 26; Floyd Shields and Connie Robbins, July 27; Matthew Gryskewicz, Kenny Hunt and Jason Nichols, July 28; Gary Barnes, July 29; Helen Rawlett and Helen Cordero, July 30; John Short, Paula Boxley and Howard C. Booth, July 31; and Carolyn Dade, Aug. 1.

Happy 38th anniversary to Lawrence and Helen Majors on July 26.

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