Tickles given life term for murder of Elkridge woman...

July 16, 2000

Tickles given life term for murder of Elkridge woman

Ardale D. Tickles was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday for the murder of an Elkridge woman, but Howard County Circuit Judge Dennis M. Sweeney did not impose the "without the possibility of parole" clause that prosecutors sought.

Tickles, 20, will serve that sentence after completing a 25-year sentence in Baltimore County on unrelated attempted murder charges.

The earliest Tickles could be eligible for parole is 2024.

Tickles was convicted of killing Sara J. Williamson Raras, 35, on Nov. 14, 1998. In April, Sweeney sentenced 64-year-old Emilia D. Raras -- Sara Raras' mother-in-law and the woman who hired Tickles -- to life in prison without possibility of parole after she was found guilty of first-degree murder.

Councilwoman questions bonuses given by McCarty

A Columbia councilwoman is raising questions about thousands of dollars in bonuses that she says Deborah O. McCarty awarded to three employees in the final days of her tenure as Columbia Association president.

Councilwoman Barbara Russell said McCarty awarded $6,000 to acting Association President Charles Rhodehamel, who also serves as the association vice president for open-space management. Russell said a total of $2,000 went to two other association's employees, whom she declined to identify.

Comcast asks Council to extend its franchise

Offering free movie channels, digital cable and Internet service and cheaper rates to western Howard residents, Comcast Cable Communications Inc. is asking the county government to approve a deal that would lengthen its franchise in that area by seven years.

Comcast officials made their case to the Howard County Council at a meeting Wednesday but had no estimate of how long it would take to complete the $10 million upgrade in the western county. A council resolution approving the merger of the county's two cable franchises -- thereby lengthening the western franchise by seven years -- could be introduced as early as September.

Comcast recently bought the former Mid-Atlantic Cable television company, which had a franchise for the roughly 3,000 western county cable customers. Comcast already had the franchise for the eastern county.

Police watch for speeders on Homewood Road bridge

Now that the rebuilt Homewood Road bridge has reopened the popular link between western Howard County and Columbia, officials are worried that eager drivers might speed on the wider, repaved road.

After 11 months of detours, some people who live near the bridge were so eager to begin driving on it that they didn't wait until it was finished.

So don't be surprised to see a police car or two, said Jay Steimetz, project engineer.

Where an unencumbered Middle Patuxent River flowed in March now stands a high, wide $1.8 million bridge.

The new bridge was finished after the original target date of May but earlier than subsequent estimates, which called for completion of the bridge in late summer or fall.

Colleges turn attention to `overlooked' students

Responding to a need for more workers trained in the sciences, Howard Community College and two others are banding together to tap what they consider overlooked resources -- women, minorities and people with disabilities.

Officials of Howard, Anne Arundel Community and Montgomery colleges are sharing their best initiatives, looking for grants and preparing to increase their involvement in public schools so more of these students attend college to study math, science and technology.

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