Howard Week

March 04, 2001

$2.7 million house of lottery winners set for auction

The house that Powerball built is on the auction block. Three years after Alonza J. and Shirley A. Richardson built Howard County's biggest home with part of their $20.9 million lottery winnings, they are offering it to the highest bidder.

When the house was finished in 1998, it became an instant tourist attraction in a county where $700,000 homes hardly turn heads. Carloads of gawkers still drive by to marvel at the modern, gray stone-and-stucco castle sitting in plain view on Gaither Farm Road in Ellicott City.

If the April 5 auction results in a sale, the Richardsons will have lived in the $2.7 million, 23-room, 25,000-square-foot house for about as long as it took to build it.

Police departments eye new colors for cruisers

As Baltimore city police prepare for a change from white patrol cars to black, Howard and Anne Arundel County police are also planning changes. Baltimore County's force flirted with the idea but has not pursued it.

"If you look around, most people have gotten away from white," said Howard County's police chief, G. Wayne Livesay, who is preparing a new black patrol car to mark the Howard department's 50th anniversary next year. If the black car proves popular, the county might consider switching colors, Livesay said.

Anne Arundel County has joined the trend and plans to move from white to two-tone blue police cars this summer.

Ilchester teachers to work at dog race checkpoint

It's been a cold, cold world at Ilchester Elementary School for the past month or so. At least, it has been for the first-graders in Robin Sharp's class. The fourth-graders in Julie Bartel's class might say that for them, it's been somewhat of a dog's life.

But that changed this week as the two teachers left the shelter of the school for Anchorage, Alaska, where they will participate in the snow-covered state's best-known sporting event: the Iditarod sled dog race.

Race organizers wanted teachers to be a part of the race this year, Bartel said, because they hoped that teachers, by talking about their experiences in classrooms across the United States, could quell critics who say that the Huskies used in the grueling race are treated cruelly. Bartel and Sharp will return Wednesday.

Robey counseled to borrow maximum of $40 million

Nervous that the economy could continue to cool, an advisory committee has recommended that Howard County Executive James N. Robey borrow no more than $40 million for capital projects during the next fiscal year - which, when combined with other funds, would give him about as much money to hand out countywide as the school system alone is asking for.

Robey estimated that if he issues $40 million in bonds and uses county surplus money and state funds, he might have $70 million or $80 million to put toward capital projects during fiscal year 2002, which starts July 1.

School officials, who want to build five schools and add space to a handful of older ones, have asked for $69.9 million. The county has an extra $50 million in capital requests from other agencies.

Columbia man sentenced for assault on his family

Saying "enough is enough," a Howard County Circuit Court judge sentenced a 43-year-old Columbia man to 18 years in prison last week for terrorizing members of his family for the second time in less than a decade.

Judge James B. Dudley handed Kenneth Robert Welk Jr. three consecutive five-year prison terms for assault, plus a three-year prison term for resisting arrest - a sentence greater than recommended by state sentencing guidelines but less than the 30-plus years maximum allowed by law.

In imposing sentence, Dudley noted the first incident, in 1991, during which Welk held his former wife and her co-workers at an Ellicott City bank hostage at gunpoint. For that offense, Welk served 14 months in prison.

Preservation group plans auction for Victorian home

If walls could talk, the handsome Victorian house on Route 108 in Howard County probably would be rejoicing like a pardoned death-row inmate.

The 100-year-old house, with its broad porch and high-peaked roof, was earmarked for demolition to make room for a gas station in Clarksville, near the newest Columbia village, River Hill. But Preservation Howard County has received more than 300 calls from people interested in buying the house and relocating it, and has scheduled an auction for March 24.

The group will use the proceeds to relocate endangered buildings in the future. The bidding is expected to start low, and the group has no target price.

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