March 03, 2001

So many classes ...

ALL IN FAVOR of a longer school day, raise your hands.

Ah, we see a few arms in the air, and we understand why. There's never enough time.

The constraints are getting tighter in Anne Arundel County, where the school board recently voted to double the time sixth-graders spend on reading instruction - a necessary move in light of slacking reading performance on standardized tests.

Now, Superintendent Carol S. Parham and her middle school principals must face a new challenge: how to carve out time for extra reading instruction without debilitating arts education.

Dream house

THE FOUR-CAR garages have 20-foot ceilings. Each of the six bedrooms has a refrigerator. There's a laundry room on each of the three floors. It takes four weeks to wash the windows at a cost of $4,000. There's a wine cellar, a tasting room, a butler's pantry with warming drawer and a pair of winding staircases.

Dude ... Welcome to a really cool crash pad built by Powerball winners. But building these things is most of the fun so they'll have it on the auction block, April 5. Value according to Howard County tax records: $2.7 million.

Realtors call it a "trophy home."

You could think of it as Ellicott City's answer to The Breakers, the opulent 70-room summer cottage of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt in Newport, R.I. Or, Hearst's San Simeon in California.

Or maybe Versailles on the Patapsco?

Lineboro triangle?

FOLKS COULD be excused for thinking that Lineboro may be Carroll County's version of the Bermuda Triangle.

In four years of searching, officials still haven't been able to solve the mystery of the northeastern area's communications "dead spot." The latest hope is to explore the possibility of sharing a Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. tower located south of town. But a whole new radio frequency study would be needed, given the past miscalculations.

Meanwhile, the county is budgeting $750,000 for an engineering survey to locate the best spot for building a new antenna tower to fill the gap. That's after trying and failing to buy several sites for the tower in past years - without benefit of a new frequency study.

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