ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY: — Boat may have killed whale
A 10-ton humpback whale that washed ashore near Ocean City last week died of internal injuries after being struck, probably by a boat, said Jack Kumer, a wildlife biologist with the National Park Service at Assateague.
"There was apparently some trauma to one side of the animal that indicated it may have been struck by something large like a boat," Mr. Kumer said. "But there's not enough evidence to confirm that."
The whale washed ashore Thursday along Assateague Island National Seashore, south of Ocean City. Scientists from the Smithsonian Institution and Maryland officials examined the carcass.
Although the whale did show signs of bruises and a jaw appeared to be dislocated, Mr. Kumer said there were no external injuries to show what may have struck the animal.
County Executive Robert R. Neall's early-retirement incentive package, designed to save $3 million, will be introduced tonight in the County Council.
By sweetening pension benefits for 400 county workers eligible to retire, Mr. Neall hopes to encourage 100 retirements. However, some council members, union leaders and other officials suspect the county could lose more workers than that.
Employees, forced to give back 3 percent of their pay this year, are being asked to forgo raises for a second straight year. Union leaders say morale is at an all-time low, and many workers eligible to retire probably will do so if the council approves the enhanced pension deal.
The program calls for increasing the pension package by one additional month of benefit credit for each year of service. Employees would be able to choose whether they want the money in a lump sum, in an annuity to be paid annually until age 62, or as a bonus added to their pension checks for the rest of their lives.
Under the plan, a 60-year-old employee with 30 years of service earning $45,000 would get an annual pension of $29,250 instead of $27,000. Or, he could take the $2,240 annual increase in a one-time payment of $24,750, or an annuity of $13,500 for two years until reaching age 62.
If the county loses 100 workers as expected, it plans to eliminate half of those jobs, saving between $2 million and $3 million a year for the next five years.
Also on tonight's council agenda:
* Hearings on bills to provide $1.58 million for portable classrooms and releasing planning money for construction of an addition to Broadneck High School.
Patuxent Boulevard in Annapolis will be renamed for a prominent Annapolis politician and state legislator who helped pave the way for other blacks.
Patuxent Boulevard will become the Dr. Aris T. Allen Boulevard after its completion this fall.
Dr. Allen had backed the road construction before he committed suicide in February 1991 after being diagnosed with cancer.
State Transportation Secretary O. James Lighthizer approved the change April 17.
"I'm very touched," said Dr. Faye Allen, Dr. Allen's wife. "I think it's a wonderful tribute."
More than a dozen of Dr. Allen's friends and former co-workers approached the State Highway Administration this year about renaming the road. The group also plans to post a sign and a monument in the grassy median of the road between its intersection with Chinquapin Round Road and the Route 2 exits, committee member Sheila Finlayson said.
Dr. Allen served two terms in the House of Delegates, returned to the General Assembly as a state senator from 1979 through 1982 and campaigned once for lieutenant governor.
He also was active in dozens of civic projects over the years and ran his own medical practice with his wife after moving to Annapolis.
Ten months after the largest bureaucratic shuffle in eight years, the county commissioners are due to review their handiwork.
But budget woes and the drafting of recycling and reforestation ordinances have prevented the three leaders from addressing whether the reorganization has been effective. The commissioners had promised to review the changes after six months.
"Two weeks ago, we talked intensely about reorganizing," said commissioner Elmer C. Lippy. "We had just about finished deliberation, but we have not been able to get together on this since then."
The change downgraded four departments to office status and reduced the number of departments reporting to the commissioners from 12 to eight. Nevertheless, several of the former departments report directly to the commissioners as well.
Reorganization also created an umbrella agency to coordinate human services, shuffled worried employees among agencies, gave increased responsibilities to some administrators and split recycling efforts among four agencies.
The county's adequate facilities legislation is now official.
Opponents have failed to meet the deadline for obtaining the necessary number of registered voters to sign a petition that would have put portions of the law on the ballot this fall.