Howard Week

July 09, 2000

`Blues' won't be returning; fire-damaged building sold

Main Street Blues' fire-damaged building in the heart of historic Ellicott City will get new life, but the restaurant won't be there to see it. Restaurant owner Dennis Martin has sold the building to Michael A. Baldwin, a homebuilder who plans to refurbish it and rent it to commercial tenants. They didn't disclose the selling price.

Main Street Blues, a popular restaurant that also offered blues and jazz shows, was one of six businesses affected by the fire that swept through a block of Main Street in November. Fire officials think the blaze began when a discarded cigarette ignited trash behind the restaurant.

Martin had been renting space in the building before the fire. Hoping to salvage the business, he bought the building in January with plans to renovate it. But the structural damage was worse than he expected and the expense was more than he could afford, he said.

Bill to limit homebuilding in crowded areas passes

A bill that would temporarily halt homebuilding around several crowded elementary schools in western Howard County was unanimously approved Monday night by the County Council.

The council voted to close the Bushy Park and Lisbon school districts to new development in 2003, in addition to shutting off development around Pointers Run and Atholton elementary schools that year.

County enrollment projections put Pointers Run and Atholton over 115 percent of their designed capacity by 2003.

Signs appear protesting farewell money for Hickey

Several small signs have popped up around neighborhoods in Columbia protesting a monetary gift the Howard County Board of Education gave to former Superintendent Michael E. Hickey on his way out of the district.

The signs read, "Dr. Hickey Return the $16,000" with images of bags with dollar signs on them.

The signs are in reference to a $16,000 "retirement gift" the five-member school board voted to award Hickey at the board's most recent - and Hickey's final - school board meeting June 20.

River Hill jazz group joins music festival in France

The River Hill High School Jazz Ensemble joins the Count Basie Orchestra, Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, tenor sax player Michael Brecker, the Roy Hargrove Quintet, guitarist Pat Metheny and other musical luminaries at the Jazz a Vienne festival in France this summer.

The group is the only high school band chosen to participate in the seven-day international festival that began in southeastern France on Monday. The group is to return Saturday.

Band director Steven Wampler said no other Howard County jazz bands auditioned for the festival, but many other high schools nationwide did.

Zoning change sought for Palace 9 theaters

After 14 years, the Columbia Palace 9 multiscreen movie complex isn't so regal anymore. What was in 1986 the town's most modern, luxury megaplex is facing competition from the newer Snowden Square 14 theaters and plans for another complex behind The Mall in Columbia.

Now, Towson's Continental Realty, owner of the 7.7 acres off Route 108 on which the theater complex sits, is asking Howard County for a zoning change that would allow commercial retail development on the site.

The county Planning Board recommended approving that request last week. The final decision rests with the Zoning Board, which is composed of the five County Council members. J. M. Schapiro, Continental's vice president, said the rezoning request means "nothing. We've no plans to knock it down," he said, declining to comment further.

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