Psychic under investigation closes office

March 10, 1997|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

An Ellicott City psychic adviser -- whose business is under investigation by the Howard County Office of Consumer Affairs after a customer complained that she had been defrauded of $1,310 -- has closed her shop on U.S. 40.

Sally Ely of Catonsville, who also owns shops on Main Street in the historic district and on Frederick Road in Catonsville, said the business closed because of financial reasons, not the investigation.

"It was too much overhead," she said. "There's no sense in holding on to something when you're not cutting it."

Stephen D. Hannan, consumer affairs office administrator, said the U.S. 40 shop's closing would not affect the investigation.

"Our attempts to resolve the situation and get the woman's money back will continue," he said.

Alese Burton of western Howard County filed the complaint with the consumer affairs office in December. She alleges that she was defrauded out of the money by one of Ely's employees working in the U.S. 40 shop.

Burton said that one of Ely's employees told her in November she had an evil spirit that could only be cleansed by several psychic sessions that would cost $2,900. After paying nearly half, Burton backed out of the arrangement.

At the time, Ely denied that any of her employees would charge that much.

"I've never received any complaints since I've been in business," Ely said at the time. "This complaint is ridiculous. I don't have anything to hide."

State contributes funds for study of watersheds

A study of the health and stability of Tiber-Hudson watershed in Ellicott City and Deep Run watershed in Elkridge received a financial boost from the state.

The state Board of Public Works approved a $185,000 grant for the engineering study last month, bringing the project's funding to almost $1 million, said Marsha McLaughlin, deputy director of the Howard County Planning and Zoning Department.

The Army Corps of Engineers and the county also are financing the effort.

The watersheds -- which are tributaries of the Patapsco River -- are suffering from erosion, McLaughlin said.

Preliminary research suggests that degradation of the water supply began in the 1800s, when the populations of Elkridge and Ellicott City soared.

The intent of the study is to identify specific problems, rank them and begin restoration, she said. Options include replacing or creating wetlands, improving wildlife habitat and restoring damaged stream channels.

The study began in November and should continue until June.

Pub Date: 3/10/97

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