A Westminster man, whose involvement in county government started when he wanted a gym in which to play wheelchair basketball, has convinced the County Commissioners to start a citizens panel on disabled issues.
Dennis E. Bozzell, 28, of Ridgeview Chase apartments, told commissioners that such a panel could help disabled people when they have trouble getting landlords, neighbors and others to comply with laws on access to everything from apartments to parking spaces.
"Or if the county's designing a building or something and they want information on access, it would be better to get it before the fact," said Bozzell, who has helped advise the Parks and Recreation Department on a disabled-access playground it wants to build in Westminster.
Bozzell is a member of the Therapeutic Recreation Council andcoaches disabled children in sports.
"This is all new to me, getting involved with the county," he said.
However, he made an impression on commissioners Donald I. Dell and Elmer C. Lippy --Julia W. Gouge was absent.
Dell agreed with Parks and Recreation Director John Little that federal laws will be requiring more of the county in making facilities accessible to the disabled.
"For us to have a good, strong committee already in motion will help us," Dell said. "Dennis has definitely got some goals in mind; let's let them do it."
Anauto accident left Bozzell paralyzed from the middle of his chest down when he was 16. He uses a wheelchair and lives in an disabled-access apartment.
Bozzell, a Taylorsville native, said he has had trouble getting the apartment's management to solve problems with the sink and toilet in his home, with the ramp outside, and with enforcementof the parking spaces for the disabled.
To get help with those issues, he said, he had to call three government offices before he was finally advised to call the governor.
"I think the committee can help in this way and give the citizens a place to go with problems instead of getting the runaround," he said.
Also, he said, he and other disabled people can help point out access issues to the county.
"I don't want to just be a thorn; I want to help," he said.
HEAT CLOSES SCHOOLS
Carroll educators on Friday closed county schools two hours early, canceled kindergarten classes, field trips and the graduation ceremony at the Carroll County Career and Technology Center.
Brian L. Lockard, assistant superintendent of instruction, said officials decided to close schools early because the heat index was well over 100 degrees and about half the district's schools do not have air conditioning.
"The message we were giving earlier was that we try to avoid closing early because of heat at all costs," Lockard said."But the weather picture was so ominous Friday. It was the hottest ever in May, and because of the combination of heat and humidity, we decided we should close early."
School officials said they made thedecision as early as possible so parents could make other child-carearrangements.
Lockard said closing schools early because of heat is not something educators want to do often.
"It's something we look at each day," he said. "This case it was a combination of temperature and humidity."
Field trips were canceled because the district needed the buses for transportation. The vo-tech graduation ceremony will be tomorrow.
Nursing and adult graduation ceremonies planned for Friday were still scheduled to take place.
Carroll school officials suspended a 16-year-old boy for five days after he brought a hand grenade to North Carroll High School last week.
School officials confiscated the grenade and turned it over to bomb technicians with the state fire marshal's office. The grenade, which was to be destroyed by bomb technicians, was not armed.
School officials did not know what prompted the boy to bring the grenade to school. The grenade was reportedly purchased by the boy's father at a military surplus store.
MANAGER POST ADVERTISED
TANEYTOWN -- The mayor and the City Council have advertised for a new city manager to replace Neal W. Powell, who plans to retire July 1.
The city manager is appointed by the mayor with the approval of the council. The manager serves as the chief administrator officer for the city, which has a population of 3,526.
Powell, 70, who has served as city manager for about 13 years, informed the mayor and the council last month that he would begin his retirement in July. But he has stated he will be available to assist with the training of a successor.
A Kansas native who has lived in the city since 1945, Powell formerly served as mayor and councilman. He was elected to the council in 1957 and served as mayor 11 years.
City officials have set June 11 as the application deadline for the manager post. A salary has not been set for the position. City officials will set the salary based on the selected candidate's experience.
TALKS REMAIN AT IMPASSE