On March 1st, 2018 the Howard County Planning Board unanimously approved the site development plan for construction of a New Cultural Center in Downtown Columbia. I’m jumping ahead a bit to be naming it after Toby and Hal Orenstein. She, of course, is the founder of Toby’s Dinner Theatre, the Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts (CCTA), and has been a seminal figure in the Columbia arts scene for 45 years. What other name could we possibly give this center that will be the new home for Toby’s and CCTA, other performance spaces, and has been a dream of Toby and Hal’s for decades?
Since 1979 Toby Orenstein has been the Artistic Director and owner of Toby’s Dinner Theatre in Columbia, MD.
Toby is also the Founder and Director of the Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts, Inc. (CCTA). In 1972, at the invitation of visionary developer James Rouse, she created a school for young people who possessed an interest in the performing arts. A special group of those students, The Young Columbians, were invited to the White House and performed a musical tribute to America during the Bicentennial Year (1976). The Young Columbians still perform today at special programs all over Maryland.
Born and raised in the Bronx, Toby attended New York’s famous High School of Performing Arts and graduated from Columbia University with a split degree in education and theatre. Toby received early inspiration from her work on Eleanor Roosevelt’s All Day Neighborhood School Project, a program designed to motivate and stimulate disaffected, under-privileged, inner-city youth to learn through the arts. She continues to work with students, parents and educators to “inspire with action, creativity and change through the arts.”
Over the years, as a respected leader and advocate for children and the arts, Toby has been regarded as the matriarch of the performing arts in Howard County and all of Maryland receiving countless honors. Among these are Columbian of the Year, Arts Advocate of the Year, Outstanding Woman in the Arts (MD State Department of Education) and is a Helen Hayes Award winner for Outstanding Direction in a Musical for her production of Jekyll and Hyde at Toby’s Dinner Theatre.
She was also selected as a Marylander of Distinction by Maryland Life magazine and was inducted into both Howard County and the State of Maryland’s Woman’s Hall of Fame. Recently she was honored by the Howard County Commission on Disabilities with the Leadership Award for Accessibility.
In operation for 38 years, over 200 productions with over 90 Helen Hayes Award nominations, Toby has so much to be proud of and thankful for but nothing more so then her husband, two children and four grandchildren.
Proposed multi-purpose arts center envisioned as ‘crown jewel’ of Columbia [Excerpts]
by Fatimah Waseem (Columbia Flier) July 27, 2016
A plan to grow the arts on nearly three acres of downtown Columbia is underway as the town chases a vision of becoming a vibrant, urban core.
The concept proposed by Orchard Development Corp. would create the county’s first cultural arts center — a $130 million facility that integrates art organizations under one roof, caters affordable housing to artists and creates a year-round laboratory for artists and art lovers alike.
“This is something that has been a long time coming and will be sort of a crown jewel for downtown Columbia,” said Scott Armiger, president of Orchard Development Corp. “It’s a gateway spot into Columbia or will be when the Crescent [neighborhood] gets developed.”
As proposed, the center would relocate Toby’s Dinner Theatre, the Howard County Arts Council, the Columbia Festival of the Arts and the Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts. The center, proposed in the Crescent neighborhood, would include a parking garage, a visual arts center, a performing arts space, black box theaters, studios and a cafe.
The proposal fills a gaping void in the arts community, said Toby Orenstein, owner of Toby’s Dinner Theatre and founder of the Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts. “I have three buckets full of plans for centers or for buildings that I was going to use. They’re all in my house,” Orenstein said. “This is the furthest we’ve gotten with this dream. And these are hopes and dreams that have been around for ever and ever and ever.”
Orenstein has run Toby’s for 35 years. Under the proposal, the theater will join other organizations as a tenant in the center.
Artist flats geared for artists who may be part of the center are included in the proposal.
The plans for housing, part of a proposed binding agreement with Columbia’s master developer, Howard Hughes Corp., create 209 [192 in the approved plan] one- and two-bedroom apartments atop the cultural arts center, around 100 of which would be affordable by targeting people who earn about half of the county’s median income of $110,133.
“The plan is to make Columbia a vibrant arts district. The arts are a symbol of that urban lifestyle,” West [Coleen West, Executive Director, Howard County Arts Council] said.
The second hearing on the Howard Hughes Corporation proposal for Phase 1 of development of the Lakefront Core Neighborhood, is before the Howard County Planning Board on Thursday March 15. Here’s a collection of images and diagrams that illustrate what Hughes is proposing, along with Columbia Association’s preliminary thinking about how the existing Lakefront Plaza might be enhanced. And an analysis of what the development could mean for Columbia.
The Vision for Lakefront Core
As stated in the Downtown-wide Design Guidelines, the vision for the Lakefront Core Neighborhood is to bring community life and activity back to the water’s edge. Lakefront Core should be a lively, walkable neighborhood connected and oriented to Lake Kittamaqundi. New development should be designed to incorporate outdoor corridors to enhance visibility and access to existing amenity spaces.
The Lakefront Core should be revitalized with new development that may include cultural, retail, restaurant, office, residential, and hospitality uses. The Lakefront Core and the surrounding Lakefront Neighborhood are envisioned to be the potential location for new signature building(s), in addition to the existing former Rouse Company Headquarters’ signature building.
The existing Lakefront Plaza amenity space shall retain its identity as an important historic and symbolic gathering place in Columbia. Iconic sculptures such as the People Tree and The Hug are landmarks in the community and should be retained within the Lakefront area. Revitalization of the existing amenity space should include updating and refreshing the existing Plaza to encourage more active use on a daily basis as well as become an improved setting for performances, festivals, and other special events.
Urbanizing the Town Center of Columbia, Maryland [Excerpts]
by Will Macht (Urbanland Magazine) March 12, 2018
As a city planned to have a town center with a broad mix of retail, office, hotel, entertainment, educational, cultural, and civic uses within its central zone, Columbia is different from many suburbs. But the planning decisions—to forswear a rectilinear street grid, to break up the downtown with multilane parkways, to concentrate the retail heart in an enclosed mall, to have a paucity of urban housing, and to build at an automobile-centered, set-back building scale—present Columbia with challenges common to many suburbs seeking urban retrofits. The mall, lakefront, and pavilion remain physically and functionally separated.
From Columbia’s inception, the ten-story American City Building, an office structure located at the lakefront and flanked by restaurants, a hotel, a cinema, and a shared parking lot, signaled that a mixture of uses would be sought reasonably near each other, unlike in typical suburban centers at the time. However, the only pedestrian link between the downtown civic and economic centers is a slender pedestrian bridge that starts at the American City Building, traverses the six-lane Little Patuxent Parkway, and climbs the elevation rise to link to a path that goes around another office building, then crosses the inner-ring road to reach a tertiary mall entrance.
HHC’s decision to buy the American City Building opposite the mall only to demolish and replace it with larger-scale urban mixed-use projects substantiates the company’s strategy to intensify lakefront development. And because GGP, not HHC, owns the mall, HHC’s strategy is to create vibrant new urban cores on the southern and eastern flanks of the retail core, then link those back to that core.
From a development perspective, creating and controlling new urban cores on open land is more productive than trying to overcome the physical, legal, and financial challenges of developing on more restrictive properties. Moreover, those intermediate properties will become more valuable later when alternative cores flank them, which will make it easier economically to develop them in later phases.
This blog must go on hiatus for a time. This blogger has esophageal cancer. I am scheduled for surgery January 31 and anticipate a 3 month or so recovery.
I’ve thought of myself as a reasonably healthy guy, supported with regular doctor visits. And I’ve popped Tums for nearly 30 years. This is me in front of the Tums Building, St. Louis, Missouri, in 1991.
Who knew that antacids, constantly promoted by Big Pharma, could be masking important symptoms my body was trying to message. Or that cigarettes and alcohol in my younger years had created a rich breeding ground for esophageal cancer.
Sh*t happens. And I’ve usually learned a lot in the process. Seems the cancer was caught very early. I feel that I am in good hands with the surgical team at University of Maryland Medical Center. And I’m looking forward to a resurrection in the Springtime. In the meantime, here’s a science lesson to help prevent the next guy from getting esophageal cancer.
The digestive system breaks down food for the body to use. The esophagus is part of this system. It is a tube-shaped organ, almost 10 inches long, that moves solids and liquids from your throat to your stomach. It is located toward the back of your chest just in front of your spine.
The wall of the esophagus has four main layers.
The inner layer that has contact with food is called the mucosa.
The second layer of the esophageal wall is called the submucosa. It consists of connective tissue and blood and nerve cells. It also contains larger lymph vessels.
The third layer is called the muscularis propria. It is mostly made of muscle fibers. These muscles help move food down the esophagus.
The fourth layer is called the adventitia. It is mostly made of connective tissue. It covers the entire esophagus and connects the esophagus to nearby tissues.
Esophageal cancer occurs when cancer cells develop in the esophagus, a tube-like structure that runs from your throat to your stomach. Food goes from the mouth to the stomach through the esophagus. The cancer starts at the inner layer of the esophagus and can spread throughout the other layers of the esophagus and to other parts of the body (metastasis).
There are a number of factors which increase a person’s risk of developing esophageal cancer. They include:
Smoking or other use of tobacco
Heavy alcohol use
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which contents and acid from the stomach back up into the esophagus
Barrett’s esophagus, a condition that affects the lower part of the esophagus and can lead to esophageal cancer; Barrett’s esophagus may be caused by GERD. Over time, stomach acid in the esophagus can cause changes in the cells that increase risk for adenocarcinoma.
In addition, certain groups — men, the elderly, and people who are obese — are at greater risk for esophageal cancer. Risk of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus is higher in white men, but squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus is more common in Asian men and men of color.
Esophageal cancer is deadly and increasing rapidly
The type of esophageal cancer caused by reflux disease is increasing at a faster rate than any other cancer in the U.S. Sadly, only those who catch their cancer at the earliest stages are likely to be cured. So finding the cancer early is very important.
Only one in five patients diagnosed with esophageal cancer will survive five years because it is most often caught at late stages. The disease is often only discovered when patients have a hard time swallowing because of a large tumor in their esophagus.
Though considered a rare disease, esophageal cancer takes more American lives each year than melanoma skin cancer or cervical cancer.
In 2007, LIVESTRONG executed a global cancer research study intended to give people affected by cancer a chance to share their cancer experiences and their perspectives on the cancer problem— a problem that is too often shrouded by stigma and silence.
Six “lessons learned” were derived from the global research results:
Around the world, cancer continues to carry a significant amount of stigma; however, there are opportunities to capitalize upon shifting perceptions and positive change.
Awareness of cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, and survival are on the rise; however, too many people still report that they feel uninformed when it comes to cancer.
Communication is critical to decreasing cancer-related stigma, raising cancer awareness, and disseminating cancer education. People with a personal history of cancer—especially well-known or celebrity survivors—and multiple mass media channels are key resources for dissemination.
The school system represents a potential venue for cancer education, and increasing cancer awareness among children may be an investment with high returns.
When facing cancer, people around the world want information and emotional support for themselves and their families.
Tobacco use and poor nutrition are widely acknowledged as cancer risks. Programs and policies that help people translate this awareness into action are needed.
Howard County has developed a comprehensive Bicycle Master Plan, called Bike Howard, and “the Bikeway” has been identified as the top priority for jump-starting the project. But funding to implement the Plan has been minimal and suggests a serious lack of commitment to encouraging bicycle travel in the County. Here’s what you need to know about Bike Howard and the Bikeway. At the end of this post, there’s a link to tell County Executive Kittleman and the County Council of your support for the Plan.
Howard County Bicycle Master Plan
In April of 2016, Howard County adopted its first Bicycle Master Plan. The Bicycle Master Plan provides guidance for both transportation and recreational bicycling, both on-street and off-street. Recommendations are provided in the general areas of infrastructure improvements, policy and programs.
Goals and objectives are:
Identify and develop countywide system of bicycle facilities to foster connectivity within and between the following: villages, communities and neighborhoods throughout the County, as well as neighboring cities and counties, parks and recreation centers, schools and educational institutions, commercial and employment centers, and regional and local transit facilities.
Facilitate recreational and transportation trips by bicycle in the County and improve safety for all types of bicyclists.
Recommend County policies that will support bicycling, including bikeway facility design.
Build public support for implementation of the Plan.
The Bikeway is a proposed network of safe, accessible bicycle routes that extends from Clarksville to Elkridge and Laurel to Ellicott City. The Bikeway includes 10 percent of the county’s Bicycle Master Plan.
More than half of county residents, schools and parks ‒ as well as MARC stations and park and rides ‒ are within one mile of these routes. It is a core network that we can build off in the future to bring safer bicycling to every neighborhood.
The Bikeway is underfunded
In 2016, we requested $9 million for three years and 31.6 new miles. Unfortunately, the county funded only $600,000 in its FY2018 budget. At this rate, it will take over 12 years to fund the Bikeway. The Bike Master Plan will take decades longer than promised.
Howard County is falling behind.
Other communities are putting far more funds into bike routes and seeing the benefits. Montgomery County is putting more than $23 million of county funds into bicycling routes this year. In Salisbury, which has a population that is one-tenth the size of Howard County, the budget includes $750,000 for the city’s bike plan.
Excerpts from copies of selected letters submitted to County Executive Kittleman in late 2017.
Howard County Association of Realtors
“Multi-modal transportation options are an increasingly important factor in the home-buying process. According to a 2015 report by the Urban Land Institute, half of US residents and nearly two-thirds of Millenials want to live in areas where they do not have to rely solely on auto transportation. In addition, a joint National Association of Realtors and National Association of Home Builders study found that a path for biking, walking, or jogging was ‘the second most important neighborhood amenity in a home search’.”
“The Bikeway has the potential to make a great impact on alleviating environmental harm caused by cars and greenhouse gas emissions. A Rail to Trails Conservancy analysis found that increasing the share of all trips in the US made by biking and walking by just 3 percent would yield fuel savings of 3.8 billion gallons a year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 33 million tons per year.”
“Many families Enterprise supports, both nationally and locally, cannot afford a car and struggle for reliable, convenient transportation. . . . . Enterprise is excited that some of the local affordable housing properties we have developed are near the proposed Bikeway. If fully built, the Bikeway would enable these residents to safely bicycle to jobs, services, transit, and over half of the county’s parks and schools. The Bikeway would improve quality of life, economic prospects, and health.
The Bikeway is truly a public good for all people in our community – for people who have children and people who have no children, for people who go to work and people who are retired, for people who are younger and people who are older, and for people who are facing financial challenges and people who are financially secure. The Bikeway is an opportunity to create safe and convenient bike routes for residents now and in the future.
We need $3 million for the Bikeway in next year’s budget to get us rolling. Join 1,500+ people, and tell the County Executive and County Council to increase funding for the Bikeway now. Click on the link below for an easy transmittal form.
Kimco presented their plans for the revitalization of the Hickory Ridge Village Center to the Howard County Planning Board on January 4, 2018. Many Hickory Ridge residents, including long-time denizens, support Kimco’s proposal. The Village Board and most citizens that testified at the hearing oppose it. But the issues raised by the proponents are central to the future of Hickory Ridge, Columbia, and Howard County. To further the conversation, following are excerpts from the testimony of several supporters who testified at Thursday’s hearing.
Eric Stein, Hickory Ridge
Owner, Decanter Fine Wines, Hickory Ridge Village Center
I am in favor of the plan, because I believe the Hickory Ridge Village Center is failing. When the Giant opened in 1992, it was advertised as a gourmet Giant. It isn’t. Not today, and hasn’t been for many years. Today, we have 4 empty bays in the center representing 65% of 1 building, and likely more to come. Contrary to belief, Kimco, the landlord, hasn’t forced these businesses to leave. They have left for many reasons, but they will not be replaced until a decision is made on our future, and we’re suffering. Once this plan is approved, we will still have several years of an under-performing center.
Do we remain an outdated design where the merchants face inward and can’t be seen, or do we accept one that gives us a chance to compete with contemporary concepts. The apartments are not an option, but a necessity. You can’t do anything without people, and those that have left the center aren’t coming back. At least not until we offer them an array of businesses that appeal to a newer audience as Columbia’s growth continues.
George Clack, Clemens Crossing
Hickory Ridge resident since 1984; Spokesperson, Citizens In favor of a Vibrant Village Center (CIVVC)
In my view the Community Response Statement (CRS) shows a serious lack of leadership and vision on the part of the Village Board. The Village Board claims in the CRS to reflect the views of Hickory Ridge residents, but I do not find my views or those of my fellow CIVCC members represented in the document. The Village Board appears to have listened only to the quite vocal and highly predictable responses of the NIMBY’s of Hickory Ridge. The resulting CRS is far from a balanced, credible report; it nitpicks every possible detail to make what sounds like a lawyer’s brief against Kimco’s plan.
In brief, I care far more about having a viable village center 10 years down the road than I care about the height of any building at that center. Over the years we’ve seen Columbia village centers at Long Reach, Wilde Lake, and Oakland Mills turn into near ghost towns because their grocery-store anchors were no longer competitive. And, in recent years, with the addition of Walmart, Costco, Trader Joe’s, Wegmans, and Whole Foods, the grocery-store environment in Columbia has become much more competitive. Kimco’s basic argument – that the Hickory Ridge Giant needs a “captive audience” of apartment dwellers nearby to provide a sustainable base of customers – makes sense to me.
In summary, I am deeply disappointed in the Village Board’s CRS and the Board’s inability to see the virtues in a $30 million private-sector offer to redevelop a village center that could use help right now. Much experience elsewhere in Columbia and the country as a whole has shown that maintaining the human scale of a small-village retail center nowadays requires mixed-use development and that means apartments nearby.
Jerry Weinstein, Hawthorne
Resident of Columbia for over 40 years
I applaud Kimco for thinking long term in their desire to maintain Hickory Ridge Village Center as a dynamic, viable establishment. While the VC certainly functions well now, it’s clear that trends in retailing and residential rentals have been and are changing.
Kimco deserves credit for trying to say ahead of the trends instead of being left behind. Given that Kimco is a publicly-traded corporation, with concomitant fiduciary responsibilities to its shareholders, any decision on Kimco’s part to invest substantial sums of money into an updated Village Center must make sense economically.
More retail space, combined with more residential presence, can only benefit the community. On the assumption that the county takes adequate consideration of infrastructure needs, the net result will inevitably be an increase in property values. And that means a more desirable community in which we live.
Harry Schwarz, Clary’s Forest
I support the Kimco proposal. The people opposed to it want to keep things as they are, without acknowledging the changing world that we must grow into. The County is expected to grow by 14% between 2010 and 2035, an increase of about 40,000 people. We can create more suburban sprawl, eat up more of our open spaces, build more highways, and ignore environmental impacts, or we can implement smart growth and meet the challenge of more people by accommodating them in an ecologically sound way. I like to think that we are forward looking people in Howard County.
Increased densities in appropriate locations throughout Columbia, such as the Crescent and the Village Centers, is smart growth for Hickory Ridge, for Columbia, and for Howard County as a whole. Kimco’s proposal helps assure the continued viability of our community. It improves the fiscal health of the County by reducing the need to duplicate infrastructure elsewhere. Putting housing on land that currently serves as a parking lot helps reduce our consumption of land elsewhere and allows us to protect valuable open space, farmland, and habitat. Expanded transportation options become possible with higher ridership.
Columbia has always been a model of smart growth. From the beginning, it has been committed to creating “complete neighborhoods” by integrating multiple uses within close walking distance in order to accommodate people’s varying needs. By increasing the density of neighborhoods, Columbia retained more of our land for open space. Mixed land use and varying density are the cornerstones of smart growth. Kimco is offering a great place to live, with all the amenities we are used to, and the option to walk, drive or ride transit. Kimco’s proposal serves the interests of Columbia and Howard County for smart growth.
Susan Clack, Clemens Crossing
Howard County resident for 54 years; 34 in Clemens Crossing
I wholeheartedly support Kimco’s plan to redevelop the Village Center. I am in favor of progress, and I’m delighted we are fortunate enough to have an experienced national developer anxious to invest $30 million dollars to improve our center. Quite frankly seeing the center revitalized before it’s on its last legs is in my best interest as a property owner.
Having initially attended Kimco’s community outreach meetings about their plans for the Center, I was appalled by a few, but very vocal, residents’ objection to apartment dwellers. Several residents made statements such as “Apartment dwellers do not share our values.” My jaw dropped and I could hardly believe what I was hearing. This wasn’t the inclusiveness embraced by the Columbia I moved to 43 years ago.
What I witnessed was Kimco’s continued graciousness while a few residents spewed hate and personal animosity. Kimco listened and responded to residents who had more rational requests and modified plans accordingly. We’ll get a much more attractive center.
Jonathan Wilson, Cedar Acres
I wish to voice my support for diversity of housing and more housing choice. It makes us a more inclusive community. In 1986, the developers of Columbia were planning the new Village of River Hill. The developers brought forward to the County Zoning Board a proposal to zone roughly 90 acres of land near what would be the River Hill Village Center as non-single family detached housing.
The existing community members pushed back stating this was not the vision of River Hill; it was just supposed to be single family homes. The Zoning Board largely accepted the arguments of the community and approved only 33 acres for non-single family housing. Today, this land is now condominiums and townhomes. There are no apartment buildings in River Hill. Members of our community now question why River Hill is so exclusive.
No one really knows what the economic makeup will be of the proposed rental apartments at the Village Center. On paper, these will be luxury, high end units. Maybe they won’t bring more economic diversity to our community. But they will bring opportunity for people who don’t have money for a down payment in our high cost community. Rental units offer choice and the prospect for more diversity of income levels. I believe there are many people in our community who would view this as a good thing.
Ellen Levin, Clemens Crossing
Resident of Clemens Crossing for 30 years
I love living where I do. And I love the Village Center. It is wonderful having an excellent grocery store nearby as well as some necessary and enjoyable small businesses. Before too long it looks like we may have a new look to our Village Center. We may have additional small businesses. And we may have high end apartments, new places for people to live.
Different people have different housing needs and preferences. A young professional couple may not need or want a house with many rooms to clean and care for. An empty nester couple may be looking to downsize, to make their lives simpler. One day those of us who live in townhomes or single family homes may want to join them.
Change is hard. We are not used to having an apartment building in our midst. So we don’t know what to expect or how these apartments and their occupants will affect us. But I do know that Columbia has always prided itself on being a welcoming place to live, a welcoming place to all. Let’s welcome our new neighbors and discover some additional businesses while we continue to support the businesses we have always loved.
Steve Sternheimer, Hawthorne
37-year Columbia resident; Officer in home owners’ association of 18 homes
I was a member of the subcommittee that discussed/drafted the Hickory Ridge Village Center Community Plan, 2009-2011, so I feel qualified to speak about the concerns and intentions of the subcommittee and put the Village Community Plan in context.
The starting point was to ensure a thriving retail center for the decade to come. The “threat” seen by those on the subcommittee was not too many residents in the Village Center, but empty space in spread-out and mostly vacant parking lots; incursion by fast food & convenience stores in pads in the same area; and possible competing retail development in vacant land across Freetown and Cedar. Discussion in the subcommittee and subsequent comments on drafts by residents included many who did not oppose a Kimco-type plan with increased on-site housing density.
Comments in the published Plan favored offices & residential structures in the Center, up to 5 stories, with a priority on more foot traffic for merchants. The Subcommittee’s discussions re: the height of buildings in the Center were nowhere definitive nor result of modeling but a sense that the highest roof gable of Sunrise Assisted Living (about 4 stories) might be a standard.
Bob Duggan, acupuncturist, teacher, and visionary, died a little over a year ago. In the time since, the world has changed by his absence. We are all deprived of his wisdom and his leadership. Acupuncturists, patients, SOPHIA students (School of Philosophy and Healing in Action), the community at Penn North Neighborhood Center, to name a few, have lost a mentor. I learned a different way of being in this world when I worked with Bob for many years at Tai Sophia Institute (now MUIH).
Bob’s accomplishments were many, but his impact was in how he changed the world for the better, one person at a time. His promise to all of us was that in his presence, “life will show up as a warm, creative, vision of the future.” Here is a small glimpse of that vision, a selection of Bob’s writings and speakings, and a couple stories about him.
Bob Duggan, Founder and President Emeritus, Maryland University of Integrative Health [EXCERPT]
Bob was a true pioneer in the field of integrative health and an assertive voice for wellness in America. He served as an educator, acupuncture practitioner, author, thought leader, and advocate, as well as an advisor to policymakers and organizations. . . .
Bob earned a master’s degree in human relations and community studies from New York University and a master’s degree in moral theology from St. Joseph’s Seminary in New York. His master’s qualification in acupuncture was from the College of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture in the United Kingdom. Before focusing on health as a profession and a calling, Bob served as a priest in the U.S. and abroad.
Mentored from an early age by Ivan Illich, Bob often attributed his ability to challenge common assumptions and remain curious to Illich’s influence. This quote from Illich was highlighted in one of Bob’s books and was evidenced in much of Bob’s work: “In every society the dominant image of death determines the prevalent concept of health.”
Throughout his career, Bob advocated for patients and for the shifts necessary to create a wellness model of health. He testified before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, spoke at the National Institutes of Health and the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and presented at the first TEDx MidAtlantic Conference. He also served as chairman of the Maryland State Board of Acupuncture and as a board member for Howard County’s Horizon Foundation. He pioneered relationships with universities and health systems including Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania.
A trailblazer for the acupuncture profession, in 1974, Bob and Dianne Connelly co-founded one of the first acupuncture clinics in the country, The Centre for Traditional Acupuncture in Columbia, Maryland. Joining them in this ambitious venture were their esteemed colleagues J. R. Worsley, Jack Daniel, Haig Ignatius, Erica Lazaro, and Warren Ross. From this early beginning, the Centre evolved into the Traditional Acupuncture Institute (TAI). TAI launched the nation’s second master’s degree in acupuncture in 1981, which then became the first to be accredited in 1985.
Bob went on to practice traditional acupuncture for 44 years. Over that time, he provided tens of thousands of treatments for patients who came to see him from around the nation. Bob also worked with Tai Sophia’s Community Health Initiative (CHI), which began by treating people with addictions at the Baltimore Detention Center and expanded to additional sites, including Penn North Neighborhood Center in inner-city Baltimore. Bob continued his work with Penn North until he became unable to do so. The work lives on through his family, alumni of Tai Sophia/MUIH, and others.
10 things I learned directly from Bob that make my life, and the lives of those around me, better every day.
by Lance David Isakov, M.Ac., L.Ac., (Village Wellness) October 7, 2016
1. Upset is optional: Choose not to live in the drama. We have a choice in how we relate to what’s happening and the perspective we take on it. The idea that we have a choice with how we respond to life’s circumstances brings freedom.
2. Allow yourself to be a beginner: It’s okay to make mistakes. In fact, that’s how we learn. At any stage of life, allowing oneself to be a beginner opens up a bigger world of possibility, progress, and change.
3. Is it a problem or an opportunity?: This question provides a simple shift in perspective that gives you power to grow and learn rather than suffer.
4. Your symptom is your teacher: What if the body is wise? When it’s out of balance it sends a signal, or symptom. When we learn to listen to our symptoms we can truly heal. Understanding why you have a headache, for example, can lead you to empowered self awareness and healing. Often taking a medication masks the symptom but doesn’t grow your soul.
5. Will this serve the future generations?: This question reminds us to think big and remember that we matter. When speaking or acting, ask yourself “would this word or act make my ancestors proud?” and “will my words or act serve the future generations?”
6. Where do you feel it in your body? When you have an upset, ask yourself “where do I feel this in my body?” and allow the feeling. This is a simple and effective way to foster the connection between your mind and body and listen to it’s wisdom.
7. Listen: To truly listen means to pay more attention to the speaker than the thoughts in your own head.
8. Acknowledge others and be acknowledged. If someone said something nice to Bob, he would say, “I am practicing taking in acknowledgement, would you say that again so i can really take it in?” This is a powerful and challenging practice that creates so much beauty in the world – try it!
9. Word as Needle: Bob taught that the right words can have the same power of any acupuncture needle, medicine, herb, or drug.
10. Be who you are: How dare you not share the gifts you have with the world?
Common Sense for the Healing Arts, Essays by Robert M. Duggan (2003) [Selections]
I write this book to share the thought that our main task as we move between our birth and our death is to learn to live peacefully day-by-day. . . Living peacefully day-by-day demands common sense: eat moderately, breathe deeply, drink wisely, get plenty of sleep, accept life as it comes. And as we move through life, we have a marvelous resource — our symptoms, which remind us to slow down, be peaceful, to care for ourselves. It’s wondrous to me to think of the symptoms my body creates as my teachers. What especially keeps me going is knowing that life is about love, family, friends, community; about reaping the wisdom of the ancestors, then passing it on to our children and grandchildren.
Being an Observer
I have written and spoken frequently about the importance of being an observer, of seeing life exactly as it is and then bowing to it, accepting life fully, just as it is. The Tao, the Oneness of life, calls us to accept life, to live in the presence of life living us. It affirms that life is perfectly okay just as we find it. . . Living fully may simply be the the act of balancing two side of what seems a paradox, of balancing effort and effortlessness, being and doing, action and inaction, giving and receiving.
As I write, our nation in in the midst of a conflict in Kosovo. We are in opposition. Us versus Them. The people of our tradition versus people of another tradition, of one language versus those of another. . . Wonderful possibilities emerge as we begin to see the oneness. Most of the time, though, we dwell in an illusion of separateness . . . It’s generally accepted in our culture that we separate out who’s wrong and who’s right, who’s bad and who’s good. It’s hard for us to imagine how we would behave in a world where we didn’t place blame. What would it mean if we began looking for how one action begat another action begat another action? In such a world, how would we view the guns and addictions in the inner city? Would we see them as a call to the oneness?
Our nation’s founders . . based our democracy on respect for life as it appears, in diverse faiths and ideas, on compromise, and on service of the future. Now, however, more and more politicians ignore this heritage; they use oppositional tactics; they govern with an either/or, win/lose mentality in which those with the most power win. Many excellent leaders are recognizing this shift and are leaving the political arena in disgust or despair. Democracy is diminished when we become impervious about our own ideas and fail to accept life as it presents itself in others.
Evolving as Healers — An Interview with Bob Duggan of Tai Sophia Institute [EXCERPT]
Be Well World Staff, 2009
. . . Everyone is a healer. Because every word we speak . . . everything I say to Tim is either going to inspire Tim and open Tim up, or, if I get mean with Tim, Tim will contract and feel tight. But if he feels open and inspired, I think it is well-documented that his immune system is going to be stronger. If he’s upset and tight, he’s going to be much more vulnerable to closing down and to disease.
So, I think of the obligation of everyone to be a healer . . . everyone. The parents, the people in your office, and you with the people in your office. Yes, there are sometimes when a specific technique can be helpful. When I tore the quadriceps muscles on my knee, it was important that there was a surgeon to put it back together, and an anesthesiologist to keep me quiet while he did. But I did look to see that those individuals had healing qualities before I went to the surgery.
So that’s point number one, we all have to be healers. The technique is secondary to the healing. I take the tools, the acupuncture needle or the surgical scalpel, as an extension of the doctor. I take the herb given by Rebecca as an extension of Rebecca’s words and life force. I take the homeopathic preparation given by my daughter to my grandchild as empowered by her healing presence.
Breaking the Iron Triangle: Reducing Health-Care Costs in Corporate America
by Janene Holzberg (Baltimore Sun), December 30, 2012 [ABRIDGED]
Bob Duggan frequently refers to “our national disease-care system” when he talks about his new book, employing a term he has used across his 40-plus years as a healing-arts clinician and educator.
“We are spending fortunes and still not giving quality health care, and 40 million people have no access [to care] at all,” he said. “There would be no ‘fiscal cliff’ if unnecessary health-care expenses were eliminated.”
To bolster that argument, he quotes estimates that $1.2 trillion of the country’s annual health-care expenditures could be avoided if individuals made common-sense lifestyle changes.
Life expectancy in the United States is ranked 50th in the world, below most developed nations and some developing nations,” he said, attributing his statement to data published on the CIA World Factbook website.
Yet in 2009, U.S. federal, state and local governments, corporations and individuals together spent $2.5 trillion, or $8,047 per person, on health care, he writes, quoting National Health Expenditures 2009 Highlights.
“We must turn the medical conversation away from a war on disease and fear of our bodies, and expand our focus on learning and understanding ways of living well,” he writes.
“Moving from abstraction to embodied consciousness” with Robert Duggan
From the Audio Set: “Mysteries of Consciousness” Teleseminar Series, by Institute of Noetic Sciences, June 22, 2011
Abstraction may be our Original Sin. And “Consciousness” may be one of our most destructive abstractions. It seems odd to me to discuss consciousness when most individuals whom I encounter do not have an embodied sensory conscious awareness of their own body. A “headache” automatically becomes a problem to be tended with a pill rather than a moment of conscious awakening in which to remember that we have a “head” and that the complaint that it makes to us when we have our Observer awake may be teaching us to get more sleep, or water, or better quality food or less judgment about our neighbor or whatever. Is sensory awareness of the daily phenomena of life the only real consciousness . . . and when we are awake to that, we are awake to the whole?
The Howard Hughes Corporation shared additional renderings of the proposed development of Merriweather District (the Crescent) in downtown Columbia to the Howard County Planning Board on November 17, 2017. Simultaneously, they announced that the headquarters of the international cybersecurity company Tenable would be relocating there.
A look at these images and stories gives us a glimpse of what the Merriweather District is becoming.
Tenable to relocate to new building in downtown Columbia [EXCERPTS]
by Meredith Cohn and Christopher Dinsmore (The Baltimore Sun) November 17, 2017
Tenable, the fast-growing cybersecurity company based in a Columbia office park, plans to relocate its headquarters to an urban-style campus in downtown Columbia [Merriweather District] and add hundreds of employees in the next few years.
The Howard Hughes Corp. has pitched the area to Amazon for its highly prized second headquarters. Tenable plans to occupy the top six floors, or 150,000 square feet, of a 12-story building on the so-called Crescent property.
Tenable’s relocation and expansion will be a key piece for Howard County as it works with Howard Hughes to establish an urban-style downtown and redevelop the area around The Mall in Columbia.
The Merriweather District, where the Tenable building will rise, is planned to include 2,300 residences, a 250-room hotel, over 1.5 million square feet of office space and 314,000 square feet of retail with a central park.
It’s designed to appeal to the “creative class,” such as cyber workers and other high-tech workers, said John DeWolf, Howard Hughes’s executive vice president.
“The redevelopment of downtown Columbia is a transformative development for our state, creating a true urban core in the heart of the celebrated suburban area, nestled between the city of Baltimore and the nation’s capital,” Hogan said.
Tenable™, Inc. is the Cyber Exposure company. Over 23,000 organizations of all sizes around the globe rely on Tenable to manage and measure their modern attack surface to accurately understand and reduce cyber risk. As the creator of Nessus®, Tenable built its platform from the ground up to deeply understand assets, networks and vulnerabilities, extending this knowledge and expertise into Tenable.io™ to deliver the world’s first platform to provide live visibility into any asset on any computing platform. Tenable customers include more than 50 percent of the Fortune 500, large government agencies and mid-sized organizations across the private and public sectors.