1991 the year the recession arrived in Howard County. People were laid off in previous years, but in 1991, everyone seemed to have a problem with personal budgets as well as the county, state and national budgets.
County Executive Charles I. Ecker's budget problems top the Howard County Sun's 10 most important stories of 1991. The second story,the schools' budget problems, could just as easily be numbered 1A.
And by no means are the problems over. If 1991 was the year the recession arrived, 1992 may be the year it takes root.
But the yearwas not just about budget gloom. Growth, and control of it, is stilla primary concern to county residents. The Waverly Woods proposal, Route 100 and western county rezoning were three stories that made thelist; other topics -- the approval of River Hill and talk of plans to expand low-income housing -- could easily have been included.
With growth come the issues of crime and safety. The arrival of a new police chief, the clearing of two officers charged in a 1990 incident,and the conviction of a man for killing a state trooper were key events. For others, the arrival of a drug treatment center in Columbia was either a welcome addition to the community or a threat to its health.
And then there was the thrill of victory. Eight county high school teams won state championships this fall; six won titles on a single Saturday.
The accomplishment of county athletes may never balance the budget, but for many students, parents and others, those victories provided good cheer in an otherwise rocky year.