WEST COUNTY--Crofton * Odenton * Fort Meade * Gambrills

February 24, 1993

Surplus land transfer finished at Fort Meade

More than 17 months after receiving approval from the U.S. Senate, the final 500 acres of surplus Fort Meade land has been transferred to the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, ending a dispute on who was responsible for cleaning up the property.

The transfer means 8,100 acres that originally were going to be sold will remain undeveloped.

"I have long opposed development of this property," said Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, a Maryland Democrat who was a key figure in negotiating the land donation with the Bush administration three years ago. "Local residents want open space, not another industrial park or housing development."

Another 500 acres -- which includes a landfill, a sewer pumping station and land deemed unusable because it is littered with old shells dating back to World Wars I and II -- will remain a part of Fort Meade.

And Army officials still must decide what to do with the 400-acre parcel that is Tipton Army Airfield. The state and county have expressed interest in running a general aviation airport.

But the nearby National Security Agency, worried about encroachment near its top-secret listening post, wants the Army to keep control of the facility.

A private company has been sweeping the land for several months, trying to remove as much ordnance as possible.

A dispute over who would pay for the cleanup -- the Army or the Department of the Interior -- held up the transfer last fall. Senator Sarbanes said the Army has agreed to pay for the cleanup.

Police aide lauded for preventing suicide

A police dispatcher has received a commendation from the department for talking a man out of shooting himself.

Joan Rhodes, a communications operator, fielded a 911 emergency call Sept. 9 from the man, who is an ex-police officer and a known sharpshooter.

The man called 911 while officers were outside his Crofton home attempting to contact him. He told Ms. Rhodes that he had a gun to his head.

Ms. Rhodes talked to him and got him to relax and acknowledge he needed help. She instructed the man to throw his gun out of the house and then walk out the front door.

Ms. Rhodes was honored along with other employees of the department during the annual awards banquet last week at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie.

POLICE LOG

* Severn: Burglars took an undetermined amount of money from Telegraph Station Liquors in the 7700 block of Telegraph Road Monday. Police said they were called to the store at 5:30 a.m. because the alarm had gone off. They found the glass front door had been shattered.

* Crofton: Burglars forced open French doors on the rear of a house in the 2100 block of Chainbridge Court between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Thursday and stole more than $3,000 worth of appliances.

XTC

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