15 teens serve council and community by distributing...

November 25, 2001

15 teens serve council and community by distributing $30,000

Scott Chahanovich's friends are astonished when the 16-year-old tells them what he does in his spare time: He's a philanthropist.

Chahanovich, of Ellicott City, and 14 other Howard County teens sit on a council charged with doling out $30,000 in grants.

"Do you actually handle this money?" Chahanovich says his friends ask. He proudly tells them, "Yes, I get to give it away. I'm in charge."

This project reflects an emerging national trend to engage teen-agers in philanthropy.

The grant money is from the general endowment fund of the nonprofit Horizon Foundation, Howard County's largest philanthropic organization, which promotes health among the county's residents. The foundation modeled the council after youth programs sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Michigan and the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation in Indiana.

High school students focus on lobbying

On many weeknights, when most of their peers are settled in for a restful night of Must See TV, these students are out at board or committee meetings in stuffy conference rooms, swimming in paperwork.

And when the biggest topic in school is which of the in-crowd will be voted "Best Dressed" or "Cutest Smile," these students are lobbying for policies that will make it more likely for them to succeed.

It's subtle differences like those in these enterprising teen-agers that some say are making this year's Howard County Association of Student Councils one of the most active and successful groups in recent history.

Made up of a group of five officers, an executive board and at least one delegate from each of the county's 10 high schools, work - for this lobbying group of future leaders - is the operative word.

Trial yields longer terms for three missionaries

Three Howard County missionaries who won a new trial after pleading guilty to smuggling youngsters into the United States to work in menial jobs were sentenced a second time in federal court in Baltimore on Monday - and got harsher terms.

U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis more than doubled the sentences he imposed in 1999 on Joyce E. Perdue and Robert C. Hendricks, and added three months to Elizabeth Brown's prison term.

Garbis said the evidence he heard during the trial in December worked against the missionaries, showing that they exploited the children they brought from Estonia under the pretense of giving them religious training.

Garbis sentenced Perdue, 57, to six years; Hendricks, 40, to 6 1/2 years, and Brown, 42, to 15 months.

County, library sued over cafe management

An Owings Mills coffee company is suing the Howard County library and the county government for picking the Daily Grind to manage its two library cafes, alleging that the Grind falsified information in its bid proposal and that library officials didn't properly check into the business.

Straight From Seattle Espresso Inc., which operates 10 sites in Washington and Baltimore, wants the library system to start the bidding again.

The lawsuit, filed Nov. 15, claims that officials with Baltimore-based Daily Grind failed to disclose that they had operated in the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing but - according to the lawsuit - were kicked out for poor service and other problems. The lawsuit also claims that the Daily Grind falsely told the library that it had a contract elsewhere with Hopkins.

Valerie J. Gross, the library system's director, insists that her agency did nothing wrong. "We complied with our procurement regulations, which requires the approval of our board of trustees, we followed all correct procedures ... and we checked references thoroughly," she said.

Robey taps O'Donnell for vacant school post

In what several Howard County Council members called a move to add diversity to the all-female school board, County Executive James N. Robey on Tuesday chose James P. O'Donnell, a retired Ellicott City business executive, to fill a board vacancy.

The opening occurred when elected board member Laura Waters resigned last month halfway through her six-year term, claiming that panel members disdained her opinions.

O'Donnell, who turned 65 Tuesday, has a background in finance and administration and served 10 years on an Illinois school board in a 5,000-student district during the 1980s. He has served as president of the Howard County Mental Health Authority's board of directors.

The County Council must confirm the appointment in a vote scheduled for Jan. 7.

Appeals board approves townhouse development

Howard County Board of Appeals members cleared the way Tuesday night for a much-contested project that will bring the first townhouses to the rural western county.

The Villas at Cattail Creek, an upscale development for active senior citizens, calls for 116 townhouse-style condominium units on 58 acres near Cattail Creek Country Club in Glenwood.

Three years after the board approved a similar plan, only to see it kicked back by an appeals court, members gave their blessing to an on-site dining facility that developer Donald R. Reuwer Jr. had added to the plan to meet a county zoning requirement.

Residents have fought the project through all its twists and turns, contending that such density is out of place amid western Howard's single-family houses. It's an argument that irks people involved with the development.

"All we're doing is what we're permitted to do by law," David Carney, Reuwer's attorney, said Wednesday. "You know something? People are going to be raving about this when it's built."

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