WESTMINSTER — One of the cleanest restaurants in the county serves meals to a captive audience.
The kitchen at the Carroll County Detention Center consistently earns excellent marks from health department inspectors, including a 100 percent ratings several times in past years, said acting warden Capt. Steve Turvin.
Flora Few and the other jail cooks -- Janet Gates, Becky Livesay and Judy Sherfey -- are accustomed to feeding 90 or more people threemeals a day.
"My theory is I wouldn't serve anything that I wouldn't eat myself," she said. "Everyone gets fed the same amount."
Maintaining the inmates' diet of 2,300 to 3,100 calories a day, the jail cooks regularly prepare spaghetti, cheeseburger subs, chili, peppersteak, cold sandwiches and hoagies.
"I think (detention center inmates) get fed quite good here," said Few, a Taneytown resident.
The meals are perhaps the most conspicuous marker of passing time in jail: breakfast at 6 a.m., lunch at 11:30 a.m. and dinner at 4:30 p.m.
Most of the food now comes to the 120-bed detention center precooked. However, the cooks frequently take time to prepare meals such aspancakes, stews and chow meins from scratch.
A few special meals are prepared, as required by law, to provide the kosher, low-salt or low-sugar dietary needs of certain inmates. Bag lunches are made for inmates spending the day in court.
In addition to the cooks, five inmates are given the positions of trustees and work in eight-hour shifts in the kitchen.
Seven days a week, the trustees prepare food,serve the meals and clean up afterward in exchange for 10 days off their sentence for every month they help out.
"Feeding close to 100people every day, that's a lot of work," said Daniel Ealy, one of the three trustees currently on the afternoon shift.
"It makes the day go faster," he said. "It just breaks up the monotony."
STAFF MEMBER CLEARED
A staff member at Mechanicsville Elementary School has been cleared of allegations of sexually abusing a student there.
The investigation, conducted by state police and the Department of Social Services, found no basis for the allegations.
The staff member has been transferred to another school, school officials said.
The investigation was confirmed last week, but state police and school officials declined to provide many details.
The staff member was removed from duties, and it was not clear whetherhe or she received any pay while under investigation.
Brian Lockard, assistant superintendent for instruction, said last week that theinvestigation was internal.
"We can do an internal investigation,and that is what is going on," he said then.
The investigation included questioning of possible witnesses, the staff member and the student making the charges.
Also, authorities said, the staff membertook and passed a polygraph examination.
The school's principal and a guidance counselor have been talking to students over the last two weeks, telling them to come to officials any time they believe they are being abused or if they are made to feel uncomfortable in any relationship with their teachers or other school employees.
BIKE SALE ANNOUNCED
The Westminster Police Department will have its annual bicycle sale at 9:00 a.m. May 9, at police headquarters at 11 Longwell Ave.
Abandoned and unclaimed bicycles, ranging from 20 inches to 26 inches in size, will be sold for $10 and $50, depending on their condition.
Police are asking anyone who lost or had a bicycle stolen in the past year that has not been returned to call headquarters and arrange an appointment to examine the bicycles in storage. The number to call is 848-4646 or 876-1300, 8 a.m. to 4p.m. Monday and Friday by May 2.
Police said they will also be selling a car phone, answering machine, radio, tools and sports equipment.
SOLVE CRIME OF WEEK
Crime Solvers, a volunteer group that assists area police, is asking resident help the solve the crime of the week.
This week, the group is targeting the theft of a Ford backhoethat took place sometime between Sept. 27, 1991, and Oct. 1, 1991.
The 1970 model 4500 backhoe was stolen from a construction site on Prospect Way in Sykesville. It was painted yellow, with rubber tires,and did not have a cab. At the time, it had a rear digging arm. The serial number is C-32788, and the vehicle identification number is VIDC373684.
If you have any information about this crime or possiblesuspects, call Crime Solvers at (800) 562-8477. You do not need to give your name, and if your information leads to an arrest, you could earn up up to a $1,000 reward.
Here is a compilation of some of the crime reported to local and state police:
Houcksville Road: Maryland State Police reported that a 1988 Yamaha motorcyclewas stolen from an unlocked shed on April 1
Nicodemus Road: Maryland State Police reported that a burglar entered a house by forcing the front door and stole cameras, jewelry, clothing anda VCR on March 24.