Howard Week

September 30, 2001

Enrollment estimates for schools may slow home construction

Construction of homes in Howard County will be significantly slowed in coming years by new, higher school enrollment estimates and the resulting tighter controls on development around crowded schools, developers and officials predict.

"Development will be really constricted," said builder Donald Reuwer.

"What we're seeing is almost a double-whammy. It's pretty obvious the projections have been undercounted," said Courtney Watson, a parent activist who has pushed hard for a new northeast elementary school and a 12th county high school.

But while community activists applaud the tighter controls that they think should have happened years ago, county officials face a suddenly tougher challenge - providing thousands more seats to relieve crowded classrooms while the cost of construction escalates.

Robey, council members discuss salaries at meeting

There's little as sensitive for elected officials as publicly discussing their salaries, but Howard County's executive and County Council did exactly that Monday night.

Meeting with the seven-member Compensation Review Commission, County Executive James N. Robey and four of the five council members said they love their jobs so much that the pay doesn't matter, but there were a few little catches. Robey said he works 80-hour weeks and has spent more than $10,000 out of his own pocket for his wife's tickets to charitable events.

He refused, when asked directly, to say how much the next county executive should earn. After Robey left the room, commission member Frank Bloom mentioned a salary of $125,000 to $130,000. Robey, a Democrat, is expected to run for re-election next year. In December, Robey will get a raise to $98,500, slightly less than his pay as Howard County's police chief in 1997.

2 sisters from Clarksville killed in 200-mph tornado

With storms bearing down Monday evening, F. Patrick Marlatt of Clarksville hustled his daughters out the doors at the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute on the University of Maryland, College Park campus, urging them to leave before the torrential rains and ferocious winds hit.

Within minutes, Marlatt would be buried under the rubble of the trailers that housed the institute, and his daughters, both students at the College Park campus, would be dead, victims of a swirling wind that grabbed their car as they drove away. Even before the College Park fire chief came to Washington Hospital Center to tell him the news, "I knew," Marlatt, his face scarred, said Tuesday.

The tornado that raced through Prince George's and Howard counties just before dinnertime Monday, blowing roofs off buildings and felling trees with winds that gusted to more than 200 mph, destroyed two promising lives - one dedicated to safeguarding nature, the other to helping others, family and friends said Tuesday.

FCC approves location of tower in Ellicott City

Ending a seven-month wait, the Federal Communications Commission decided Thursday to allow a 340-foot-high emergency radio tower just outside historic Ellicott City - an announcement that relieved Howard County officials and dismayed neighbors.

The tower, a key part of an upgrade to the county's public safety communications system, attracted controversy as soon as local officials announced the site, which is next to Howard District Court and overlooks the quaint 19th-century mill town. The state intends to build the tower and share it with the county.

For more than a year, residents and preservationists have urged project managers to use county-owned land less than a mile away, the site originally slated for the tower. But officials insisted the District Court parcel was superior.

The FCC agreed and in its 12-page memorandum opinion and order, it refused to accept the residents' contention that the tall structure would harm the historic district.

Loews Palace 9 closes after 15 years in Columbia

The Loews Palace 9 movie theater in Columbia closed Thursday and stands empty after 15 years in business, theater officials said.

The move, anticipated for weeks, will leave Columbia with one movie complex, the Snowden Square 14 - the type of high-tech, stadium-seating facility that has spelled economic doom for older theaters across the country in recent years. Meanwhile, demolition has begun on Columbia's first theater, the General Cinema three-screen building near The Mall at Columbia.

"Unbelievable. Boy, they sure don't give you much notice," said Kathleen Nolan, a Glenelg resident dismayed with the local movie scene.

Jessup man, 21, acquitted of charges in hotel slaying

A 21-year-old Jessup man was acquitted of first-degree murder and related charges by a Howard County Circuit Court jury late Thursday evening.

The man, Shamal Ira Chapman, was accused of firing a semiautomatic pistol through two closed doors at a chaotic birthday party in a Columbia hotel in January. The bullets killed Long Reach High School senior Andre Devonne Corinaldi, 18, and seriously injured Lauren Nicole Perkins, 18, of Elkridge.

The jury deliberated for more than eight hours before finding Chapman not guilty. Chapman held his head down while the verdict was read and then grinned widely and hugged his attorney.

Prosecutors had no immediate comment.

The defense argued successfully that the Jan. 13 shooting at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel on Stanford Boulevard could have been committed by someone other than Chapman, who lives in the 6700 block of Old Waterloo Road.

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