Howard Week

March 18, 2001

Januszkiewicz allowed to review CA's legal bills

A Columbia councilwoman who fought for six weeks to see the Columbia Association's legal bills said a review of the records proves that the hunch behind her crusade was right - Chairman Lanny Morrison has been privy to more legal advice on association matters than the rest of the council.

Two and a half months after she asked to see the association's legal bills, Councilwoman Cecilia Januszkiewicz of Long Reach won permission from the council to review records accounting for $433,000 in fees paid to a private law firm.

"August 30, there's an entry, `Revise memo per Mr. Morrison,'" Januszkiewicz said Wednesday, the day after she spent six hours poring over billing records.

Morrison said he would not respond until this week, when Januszkiewicz plans to make a full report of her findings to the council. But he questioned whether she had turned anything up.

"Where's the smoking gun?" he asked. " ... It seems like the appropriate thing would be to ask for an explanation, rather than making accusations."

Youthful protesters seek 12th high school

Howard County Executive James N. Robey knew what to do at Monday night's annual budget hearing when he saw dozens of children wearing placards and carrying balloons promoting construction of a $41 million, 12th high school.

"Come down right now with your balloons so that everybody can see," Robey beckoned, knowing that the hearing was being broadcast live over the county's cable television station. "Now say `12th high school!'" Robey instructed the children, who got a brief moment of fame. Their parents smiled approvingly, though Robey has said he hasn't decided if the school is needed, or whether the county can afford to build it.

The well-organized Citizens Committee for a 12th High School dominated the crowd of about 250 people, who sought to influence Robey to fund their pet project when he presents his budget to the County Council next month.

Event to raise awareness of colon cancer risks

Almost a year to the day after Brock Yetso lost his mother, the 24-year-old soccer coach is organizing an event he hopes will break the silence and save others like her.

Yetso is the coordinator for Columbia's Cure, a 5K run/walk and 15-mile bicycle ride to be held March 25 in Columbia's Centennial Park. He said the event is more about raising awareness of colon cancer, which took his mother's life, than about raising money.

"That's the thing about the disease," Yetso said. "No one really knows how deadly the disease is, and no one really gets tested."

Business, community leaders discuss U.S. 1

For the past several months, business and community leaders have been meeting to discuss how to improve Howard County's U.S. 1 corridor.

Yesterday, the Route 1 Revitalization Committee was to hold a five-hour "Quality Community Survey" at Savage Mill to solicit the views of residents and business owners on how best to revamp the beleaguered 10-mile corridor, from Elkridge to North Laurel.

Participants' views will play a major part in the final recommendations of the committee, which hopes to issue its initial report by June, said Dace Blaumanis, a county planner who is assisting the panel.

Robey must decide: increase or kill fire tax

As he ponders his choices for next year's budget, Howard County Executive James N. Robey is confronted with a difficult choice: increasing or eliminating the county's two-tier fire tax.

Each option beckons with different charms, as Robey - beset with requests that are $30 million higher than expected income - makes final budget decisions in what he has called his most difficult year in office.

"I definitely don't envy Jim Robey this year. He's in a tough position," said County Councilman Christopher J. Merdon, an Ellicott City Republican.

With the annual budget presentation scheduled April 17, Robey said last week he is considering both options and that no decision has been made yet."

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