Thursday, September 29, 2016

Composting For City of Frederick Residents

The City of Frederick is selling compost bins to residents ($21.50). See their press release.  I dropped off my order form on Wednesday afternoon and by Thursday morning a bin was delivered to my door!

As soon as I heard about the bins, I asked Linda Norris to write a post on this subject to help us get started. Linda  provides compost education through The Hungry Redworm,   an environmental education organization. Here is her report.

Linda Norris:  I’ve been composting for 25 years, and use a bin very similar to the one the city is selling. While the idea of composting may be attractive, there are some things you should think about before jumping in. Here are some questions to consider:

How large is your household and property?
While there is no minimum size household to make a compost project work, what you’re generating will determine how successful you are in making compost. To have a compost pile that is large enough to heat up and break down weed seeds and odorous material, you’ll need to build up to 3X4 feet of material in your bin within 3 months. If you are in a small grassy yard that doesn’t produce a lot of scrap organic materials, you will have a hard time building up an active pile unless you have other sources of feedstock.  Feedstock is the material you put  into your compost bin.

Am I an active gardener? What will I do with my finished compost?
Some of us are content to compost because it reduces waste, and are not worried about how soon we have a finished pile. But for those of you who hope to use your compost on your garden and lawn (active composters) you’ll need to put more work, feedstock and time into your pile. Be realistic about what your expectations are to avoid disappointment later.  You’ve thought about it and you're ready to give it a try with the city’s new compost bin. Congratulations!

Where do I put my bin?
I’ve had success with my pile in both sun and shade; sun will heat your pile which is a good thing for ACTIVE composters who want compost more quickly. Do Not put your bin directly  next to your house, wooden fence or other structure; while this style bin encases our materials, the  purpose of the microbes and critters in active compost is to break down organic material. Don’t risk any damage to your wooden structures. Siting it in your back or side yard is recommended for aesthetics; and if you plan to incorporate food scraps, remember that it should not be too far from your kitchen door for a weekly trip to the compost bin to be practical.

Rodents and odors - how to avoid them
Ready to Compost!
This is a good time to introduce this topic;  the bin the city has purchased has a twisting lid, screws to fasten our bin securely to the ground and other features that will help to keep mice, fruit flies and other creatures uninterested in your bin but only if you use them. Follow the assembly instructions for all the flaps and attachments and be sure to keep them closed and the lid on your bin during use to keep unwanted pests from becoming interested in your compost! More on this to come…

Materials to inaugurate your pile
If you are just buying your bin (it is October now), assemble your bin and wait…for the fall leaf drop. This is because successful compost is a green/brown (nitrogen/carbon) balance. For me, three to one ratio in volume is ideal. BUT, do not start only with greens. (For brown/green examples, see the chart in the handbook that comes with your bin). Greens, the nitrogen source, are the “ gasoline” that feeds and breaks down your carbons—but putting only greens in without carbon is just asking for odor problems—so wait to have the proper mix! If you don’t have leaves as a source, you can use straw, or even shredded paper, as a starting carbon source.

Once you have the equivalent of a couple wheelbarrows of leave or other Browns, you are ready for your first addition of greens, which will be addressed below. But, as you add more greens, be sure to keep up exponentially with three times that many “Browns” or you will have an overly nitrogenous pile that will cause odors for you!

Green materials: the nitrogen source for your pile
The no-brainier source of green materials is grass clippings, though you may be getting your bin just as the lawn mowing season is ending. If that's the case, other greens you can begin with are chicken, cow or horse manure (I don not recommend pet manure or litter due to  potential heavy metals in their food, unless you do not plan to use the compost on a vegetable garden); or food scraps. If you are starting your pile in November/December, you can always fill it with leaves/straw for the winter and begin  adding greens when lawn mowing season begins again, if you wish. The carbons will break down slowly but will not have the odor issues that the greens would if they are composted alone.

Food scraps
If you are in a dense, small lot area,  begin using  this source of nitrogen in a small way so as to discover on your own the best balance of Green to brown. Vegetable scraps are a good safety bet to begin with, using primarily the leftovers from your vegetable cook/canning/chopping. Do not add cream or oil soaked vegetables leftover from your meals, whose smell may attract curious pests. Coffee grounds are fine as well (and the filters as well). Once you have integrated vegetables, you can begin to add egg shells, bread crusts,  rinds and other scraps.

Meat, fish, dairy products, cheeses and ones should be avoided in suburban compost piles or those that are not growing sufficiently hot (130 degrees in their early stage) because they will cause odors, draw critters and not break down well with your carbon sources.

There are many, many more nuances to composting, but this should get you started.  In late next spring, I’ll write a column on turning and harvesting your finished compost!
Linda Norris

Good luck!  To contact  Linda Norris-Waldt, email her at

Related Links


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

26th Annual Solar & Green Home Tour 2016 October 1 - 2, 2016

October 1-2, 2016  This weekend is the 26th annual Solar and Green Homes Tour. It takes place throughout the region but there are homes in Frederick County and Montgomery County to visit. It gives you a chance to see the latest technology and also solar designs.  Click on the map to see the home locations and download the Solar Tour Guide PDF for a full description of the home designs and features.   Solar Tour Guide PDF

Related links:
Solar Tour Home Page

YouTube Video of Homes:

Solar Tour Guide PDF

Facebook Page:

Saturday, September 17, 2016

100 Women Who Care - A New Collective Giving Group in Frederick Maryland

We are each strong in our own right, but together we are stronger.
Founded in January 2016, 100 Women Who Care Frederick is one of more than 400 actively operating chapters located throughout the world. The first 100+ Women Who Care chapter was started in 2006 by Karen Dunigan, the former mayor of Jackson, Michigan, who organized friends and acquaintances to each give $100 to help an organization buy portable baby cribs for needy new moms. Their mission is to bring together at least 100 women in the Frederick area who will contribute $100 four times a year to a local charity.  Their donations have been given to the Heartly House and Supporting Older Adults Through Resources (SOAR).

Join them at their next orientation and meeting to find women with like interests who are having a positive impact within our local community.  If you have questions, contact Pam Tompos at

When:      Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Time:        New Member Welcome 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
                  Meeting 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
 Where:    C Burr Artz Public Library, Community Room,
                  10 East Patrick St., Frederick, MN 21701

Read more & contact us on FB


Frederick Residents Speak Up: Traffic Issues: Speeding Through Downtown Frederick, One Way Streets, Line Painting, and others

The Neighborhood Advisory Council 11 held their monthly meeting last night at Brewers Alley in downtown Frederick. There was a full house despite a competing meeting for resident input for the downtown Post Office Redesign.  One of the guest speakers at the NAC11 meeting was the City of Frederick's New manager of Traffic Engineering Cherian Eapen. Mr. Eapen was invited to speak to the NAC11 because at previous meetings residents voiced their concerns about cars speeding through the downtown residential streets, alleys and going the wrong way down one way streets, faded lines, truck traffic and others. Residents spoke up about a number of issues.  The issue of alley speed limits was raised. Currently the city has no speed limits under 25 mph but residents voiced their opinion that 25 was too fast for narrow alleys that had frequent pedestrian traffic and cars backing out of garages into the alley. Tracy Coleman from the Department of Public Works, Engineering was on hand as well. Both guests took notes on issues raised by residents and we will invite them to return to the November 2016 NAC11 meeting to give their findings on the concerns raised at this meeting.   Residents who did not make this meeting or who may wish to continue their discussions about traffic issues may contact Cherian Eapen at  Phone: 301-600-1443. 

NAC 11 meetings are forums for residents of downtown Frederick to voice their concerns and meet with city officials and other local organizations of interest. NAC11 meets on the 2nd floor of Brewers Alley [Thanks Brewers!] every 3rd Tuesday of the month. All are welcome!   
City of Frederick website for Neighborhood Advisory Councils. 
NAC11 map, facilitators,  and archive of meeting minutes.   Find your NAC.

Monday, September 12, 2016

September eNews from the City of Frederick 2016: In the Street, Car Free Day, Freecycle, Culler Lake Renaissance

Here is the September 2016 eNewsletter from the City of Frederick. This newsletter is packed full of useful information!   It is re-posted here by permission. If you have any questions or suggestions, direct them to Patti Mullens, the city's NEW Public Information Coordinator, and author of the newsletter: The topics for this month's newsletter are shown below and the articles follow. See the e-Newsletter archives for other issues.    ~ Darcy Richards

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In This Issue
Festival Time: In the Street
Weinberg Center Season
Car-Free Day
Talk to the Mayor Tuesday
Sustainability News
Frederick Municipal Airport
Frederick Police Department
Culler Lake Renaissance
Chinese Delegation Visits
City Community Survey
Job Opportunities
Homebuying Assistance
Stay Informed by Watching City Cable Channel 99 for the latest City news!
View the City's

Click on the links below to view the following videos produced by The City of Frederick's Audio Visual Department.  

City Issues: Chief Hargis

City Board/Commission Vacancies

Airport Commission "Citizen Representative"

For more information, contact Amber Grimes at 301-600-1453  
or email.   
Downtown Frederick Partnership 
It's what's happening!
To find out what the
Downtown Frederick Partnership has planned for the 2016 season
Fun in Downtown
Upcoming Events

Every Thursday
May 16 - September 8
5-8 PM
Carroll Creek Ampitheater
Well-behaved dogs are welcome 
Carroll Creek Linear Park Update

To follow the progress on Carroll Creek, visit
the DED blog.

Stay tuned for exciting news about the opening of the more fountains and sections on Carroll Creek!

Share your favorite photos of Carroll Creek on Instagram at   
 Shopping, Dining and the Arts

Frederick...The Key to the Heart of Maryland.
For more information visit
Quick Links
Sign Up for Alert Frederick County
Sign up for weather, traffic,
and other important alerts and updates at
For video assistance on how to sign up, visit
Alert Frederick

61st Administration

Connect with The City
September 2016

In the Street
September 10, 2016

Party, running, music, food, craft beer and wine: The annual In the Street festival will entertain from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.,  Saturday, Sept. 10.  
The all-day event, presented this year by DARCARS Toyota of Frederick, features 15 bands; spans Market Street from Carroll Creek to 7th Street.

Weinberg Center for the Arts

 Season 2016 Lineup

The Midtown Men and Paula Poundstone will open the Weinberg Center for the Arts' 38th season of live entertainment on Sept. 23 and 24, respectively. 
Featuring four stars from the original Broadway cast of "Jersey Boys," The Midtown Men combine authentic choreography and costumes with favorites from The Beatles, The Four Seasons, and more. Poundstone's been recognized by The Boston Globe for "wry, intelligent and witty comedy," and is a panelist on NPR's "Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me."
Additional 2016-2017 Live! Series highlights coming soon include:
* Shatner's World: We Just Live In It - Oct. 12, 2016
* David Sedaris - Oct. 15, 2016
For information and the rest of the season lineup, visit

Car-Free Day
September 22, 2016

On national Car-Free Day, Sept. 22, the City of Frederick encourages by proclamation and practice using transportation methods other than cars. Participants are eligible for prizes taking a pledge to go car-free or car-lite, by teleworking, walking, taking mass transit or car pooling.

Talk to the Mayor Tuesday  
September 27, from 2-6 p.m.

Mayor McClement sets aside time each month to meet informally with citizens to discuss topics or issues of their choice. The September Talk to the Mayor will be held on the fourth Tuesday, Sept. 27, from 2-6 PM.
The Mayor's office is located in City Hall at 101 North Court St.  No appointment is necessary, and citizens meet with the Mayor on a first-come, first-served basis.  For details, contact Nikki Bamonti: 301-600-3835 or 

Sustainability Committee News
Plant and Be Counted

The Sustainability Committee announces OpenTreeMap, where planters may document their trees. 
To further the 5 Trees For Me initiative, the OpenTreeMap project helps those who plant trees get counted.
If each resident plants five trees, the city will be well on the way to meeting its 40 percent canopy goal. 
The public is invited to enter their own trees on the map:
Marylanders Plant Trees provides coupons for $25 off a new tree if the tree is on a recommended tree list and comes from a participating nursery. 

Freecycle Day
October 15, 2016

The City of Frederick has turned a bulk trash problem into a freecycling bonanza. At the Freecycle event, you can swap, unload or pick up bulky items in need of a new home.  
The next Freecycle day will be Oct. 15., from
8 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Harry Grove Stadium, 21 Stadium Drive, Frederick. For information about other sanitation and trash removal, contact: Department of Public Works, 301-600-1440.

Frederick Municipal Airport
Come Check Us Out!

The Frederick Municipal Airport is wrapping up a project to decommission a Washington Gas transmission line that ran down Bailes Lane and relocate it along Bucheimer Road.  The area of the previous gas line will be graded to a lower elevation to clear the way for the runway extension and future development.  This project continues the airport's progress on the runway extension program, while ensuring no loss of coverage for Washington Gas customers.  

You can 'Like' the Frederick Municipal Airport Facebook page for the latest news, updates, and event information.

Frederick Police Department

Socially oriented: Armed with frozen treats, Frederick's finest brought smiles to hundreds of youngsters toward the end of summer.

More social than ever -- Did you know the Frederick Police Department is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Nextdoor?

Follow to receive departmental updates and news!


Culler Lake "Renaissance"

Culler Lake Dredging of Culler Lake dried it up over the summer, in order to remove some 6,552 cubic yards of sediment buildup. 

Water is back; progress continues: 
Recent features include fountain reconstruction, and installing young aquatic plantings.   
To follow the project, visit Culler Lake Renaissance 
For more information, visit FAQs  
The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016.  

Chinese Delegation Visits 
Exchange of cultural, economic ideas

Chinese Delegation
Mayor Randy McClement and Secretary Jimmy Rhee (second from right) meet a Chinese delegation.
Mayor Randy McClement and Jimmy Rhee, Maryland special secretary of Minority Affairs, discussed economic policy Aug. 30 with a delegation from Wujiang, China.
The visitors presented information about the Chinese city of 300,000, a tourist destination known for fine dining and textile manufacturing. 
They heard from Richard Griffin, Frederick's director of Economic Development, the mayor and Rhee concerning government's relationship to and with entrepreneurial ventures. 

City Community Survey
Your Input Is Valuable

The City of Frederick wants your input in the Community Survey to identify the priorities, needs, and concerns of the community. 
The survey is available here or on the City's website,  under "Community Survey" in the left hand information section of the website. 
Those without access to a computer can make arrangements to take the survey at City Hall, located at 101 North Court Street.  Call 301-600-1380 to make arrangements.  

Employment Opportunities
The City of Frederick 

The City of Frederick values diversity in its workforce and is an equal opportunity employer.  For information on employment with The City, visit Job Opportunities & How to Apply
Applications and current job descriptions are also available inside City Hall by the security desk on the first floor. 

Homebuying Help

The City of Frederick is a participating local partner in the Maryland Community Partners Incentive Program administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. Income-eligible first-time homebuyers may be eligible for up to $5,000 to help purchase a home in the City of Frederick (i.e., a maximum loan of $2,500 from the Maryland DHCD and $2,500 from the City of Frederick). 
Interested homebuyers should begin the process by contacting an MMP-approved mortgage lender to ask about qualifying for a CDA/MMP mortgage loan.  A list of approved lenders is posted on the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development's website. The Frederick Community Action Agency offers Homebuyer Education Program - the classes are free and open to the general public. Contact:  301-600-3966.
The City of Frederick, City Hall, 101 North Court Street, Frederick, MD 21701