Cumberland Times-News

October 17, 2009

Meatless Mondays hit the spot

Dietary experts have long preached that children should be taught healthy eating habits early on. Baltimore City schools have hit on an approach that would work well in school systems throughout Maryland.

Meatless Mondays is a campaign to teach students the value of healthy eating. Instead of a meat entree on Monday, the schools serve vegetables, cheese sandwiches, no-sugar-added peanut butter and pasta dishes.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the school system has its own organic farm, where children visit or help to grow vegetables. The idea is to show kids healthy eating can be fun and different.

Until the mid-1960s, Catholic school children, as well as their parents, routinely went without meat on Fridays because of church guidelines. But the rules were relaxed and today Catholics are asked to refrain from eating meat only on Ash Wednesday and Fridays during Lent....

Maryland lawmakers have lost a small perk in the midst of state budget cuts. The legislature is ending its free E-Z Pass program that allowed lawmakers to go through toll booths for free.

The issue of free tolls came to light in the Maryland Politics Watch blog recently. The blog noted that the passes were still in use even though the Maryland Transportation Department had just imposed additional monthly fees on everyone else....

Uniontown, Pa., is another community struggling with fire department cutbacks. Thirteen paid firefighters may lose their jobs and the mayor, Ed Fike, has said a total of 25 furloughs may be needed to balance the budget, according to a report by FireFightingNews.

In Manitowoc, Wis., city officials are considering whether to charge car owners a fee if their vehicle spills chemicals on the road that the fire department cleans up....

Cape Air commuter service officials in Hagerstown are more than happy with the results of its shuttle between the Hub City and Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshal Airport.

From March 24, when the service began, through Aug. 30, 2,750 passengers took the trip (counting each one-way trip separately). “As far as the initial response, we couldn’t be happier. The community support has been terrific,” spokeswoman Michelle Haynes said.

The Hagerstown Herald-Mail said the service is part of the Essential Air Service program, which provides a federal subsidy to link rural communities with larger hub airports. The subsidy was set to expire at the end of September but has been extended through March 2010....

TV viewers who are annoyed at the loud volume of some commercials may soon get some relief. Congress is considering the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (CALM), which would establish standards for commercial volume levels.....

The Times-News will publish its annual Homecoming Memories and Rivalries section on Tuesday, Oct. 27.....

While Cumberland still is in need of permanent restroom facilities for Friday After Five and the many other activities, Hancock recently saw delivery of a pre-fab bathroom building for the town’s Joseph Hancock Jr. Park....

Seen on the Internet — Funny newspaper headlines:

• Cold wave linked to temperatures

• Kicking baby considered to be healthy

• New study of obesity looks for larger test group

• Child’s death ruins couple’s holiday

• Never withhold herpes from loved one

• Milk drinkers are turning to powder

Jan Alderton is managing editor of the Cumberland Times-News. His email address is