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Fame at Westland
DC DANCE COLLECTIVE
To update my report on permit parking from the last Bugle, a number of "blocks" are in various stages of establishing the permit system. Some petitions are in and others are being circulated. Even after an official petition has been properly submitted to the County, it takes weeks for the signs to go up. (One time-consuming step is to notify residents of the block in question in order to allow them to buy the permits.) Expect soon, however, changes in the parking allowed north of River Road. To repeat, check our website for general policies on permit parking, and talk with your vice president about establishing permit parking on your block.
Most of the recent action affecting Brookdale has been behind the scenes. In one broad area, I have been talking with County officials about infrastructure: Within the next few months, work on storm drain inlets should help the drainage problems that many residents have noted existing in the streets north of River Road. Although we are now "in the queue" for repair of existing curbs (along the few streets that have them), the queue is long and we cannot expect action before 2006. In association with drainage, the question of new curbs has come up, but a concerted push from the Brookdale Association would be necessary to change the general County policy that installation of curbs on old streets occurs only in conjunction with capital improvement under a master plan. (Please talk with me if you have strong feelings about adding curbs to your street.) Other "work in progress" includes discussions with GEICO about reduction of litter at the shared Western Avenue bus shelter.
Other low-level activity concerns management of the Community Center that is planned to be on the Hecht's site (more formally, "Wisconsin Place"). I think the Planning Board has accepted the principle that, whoever manages the center, user fees will be no higher than those charged by the County Recreation Department.
|Much effort was spent by many of us on the issues surrounding County legislation to increase
MPDUs (Moderately Priced Dwelling Units). No one contested the need for MPDUs; the
controversy pertained to the means for encouraging them. We soon gave up on fighting that part of
the proposal (sponsored by a majority of the Council members) that developers would be encouraged
to build MPDUs by allowing an increase in building "density," that is, increases in height and
decreases in green space. Our big concern was over the possibility that so-called Zoning Text
Amendments would allow adverse changes in the development of the GEICO site from the
conditions of the Sector Plan. Thanks to letters and e-mail to the Council from many of us and the
hard work of Bob Cope, in the final Council action, developers will not be able to reduce amenities
promised under a Sector Plan. In short, Brookdale Park is safe again.|
This spring, time will run out on the approval of GEICO's "preliminary plan" for development of that site. GEICO has requested an extension of the approval beyond the expiration date. As I write this, uncertainty remains over the implications. We are talking with GEICO and Planning Board staff about the extension, and you will learn more in the next Bugle and on our website.
Other action by your Association officers has affected restricted regions of the neighborhood. Suffice it to say that we are aware of requests for variances and amendments to site plans within Brookdale boundaries.
Finally, let me remind you to use the Brookdale website: www.capaccess.org/brookdale/. [You are here.] That site recorded 889 visits during 2004. If you have questions about the neighborhood or the County generally, try the site for answers. Information about joining the "listserv" that started in 2004 is given on the site. The listserv is a means for fast sharing of information/concerns. My impression is that the activity is about right: you would not be over-burdened by e-mail if you sign up.
-- Barbara Ingersoll
[Dr. Ingersoll, a past VP of Brookdale S, is a child psychologist in private practice.]
In our area, winter storms often result in school closings and power outages. At first, it's fun. Yay, let's go play in the snow! Can we go sledding? Let's build a snowman! Even our all-too-frequent power outages are exciting and challenging at first. Round up the flashlights and the kerosene lamps. Bring in more fire wood and snuggle around the fireplace. Cook hotdogs on the gas grill and make hot drinks from what's on hand.
All too soon, however, the initial excitement wears off and serious cabin fever sets in. Bereft of the ability to work, to watch television, to use your computer, you're bored. Even worse, your kids are bored. And bored kids quickly become automatic whine-machines, tormenting their siblings and the family pets, and ultimately driving parents to the very brink of madness.
What, if anything, can you do to turn this down time into quality time for the family?
Board games are an old standby. Most of us can remember sitting around the kitchen table playing heated games of "Clue," "Monopoly," and "Scrabble," as well as favorite card games such as "Hearts," "Crazy Eights," and "War." But traditional board games and card games, for all their merits, have some drawbacks as well. Most are suitable only for players who are fairly closely matched in age and ability. If your group consists of two adults in their mid-thirties, a 10-year-old, and a 5-year-old, you're pretty much out of luck unless you have an unusual passion for "Candyland" (yuck) and "Chutes and Ladders" (double yuck).
Traditional board games are also highly competitive: by their very design, there is only one winner -- everyone else loses. This means that, if you play such games with your children, you face inevitable sibling squabbles, cries of "No fair!" and "He cheated!" and tantrums when someone goes bankrupt or has all of his armies destroyed. Obviously, none of this does much to promote family harmony in trying times!
One company, however, offers an array of games that can be enjoyed by players of all ages. And, since their games are cooperative instead of competitive, you avoid the carping, squabbles, and meltdowns that can turn family fun night into family fight night.
The company, Family Pastimes, is a mom-and-pop outfit in Canada started by Jim Deacove as a hobby in the '60s. Deacove began making cooperative games for his own family because he wanted to foster values such as helping others, sharing, and working cooperatively. As he explains, "The initial impulse to play a game is social. We bring out a game because we want to do something together." Yet, he notes, it is ironic that in most games, all effort is expended on trying to destroy one's opponents. Instead, he thinks, people of all ages and abilities should be able to play side by side, each contributing to the overall outcome.
That others share Deacove's values is attested to by the fact that his hobby grew into a small business in 1972. The website (www.familypastimes.com) describes the growth of this family-built business, along with providing ordering information for all of the Family Pastimes games.
Deacove's games are suitable for players of all ages; some can even be played by four-year-olds. Even games aimed at the youngest players hold an element of interest and challenge for older players. They also offer parents the opportunity to work together with their children on brief, time-limited projects where gentle guidance can be offered (and rejected, if that be the case) with no harm done to anyone's ego.
For younger children (ages four and up), my own favorites are Round Up, Secret Door and Harvest Time. For children ages seven and up, I like Amazing Illusions, Eyes of the Jungle, and Investigators.
We don't offer Deacove's games as a cure for the winter blues. But it sure wouldn't hurt to have a couple of his games tucked away for snowy days. (Hint: If you want these games to form a core of special time for parents and kids together, as I think they should be, put them away in a high closet and only bring them out when you are there to share them with your children.)
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