Howard Week

March 03, 2002

Panel cautions county to borrow no more than $50 million

An advisory committee has recommended that Howard County borrow no more than $50 million next fiscal year, a $7 million increase from last year that members hope would balance the desire for fiscal restraint with the need for new schools, road repairs and other construction projects.

The Spending Affordability Advisory Committee's figure, unveiled Monday, was in the middle of the range that members considered. County Executive James N. Robey said $50 million "is about my limit" but noted that he might exceed the recommendation by a few million if essential projects require it.

Though they want to see the wish list, county Republicans have misgivings about the recommendation to borrow $50 million. Recent economic downturns worry them. "I'm not saying I'm going to vote against $50 million, but I am saying I'm going to be very cautious. ... It can come back to haunt us," said Allan H. Kittleman, the county councilman representing western Howard.

230 pupils may be moved from Pointers Run school

Howard County school officials have asked the Board of Education to consider moving 230 children out of Pointers Run Elementary School next year to free up space in the county's most crowded elementary school.

Although all 55 of the county's elementary and middle schools will be considered for redistricting next year, the board thought it necessary to redraw boundary lines for Pointers Run early because the school is so crowded. Pointers Run has a capacity of 666 pupils but has about 1,000 children enrolled. "They're severely overcrowded to the point where they need relief and they need it now," said David C. Drown, the district's coordinator of geographic systems.

McCrone plans 2nd run for state's attorney

Timothy J. McCrone, the Ellicott City Democrat who nearly beat incumbent Republican Marna L. McLendon in the 1998 race for Howard County state's attorney, has announced that he will make another run for the office.

"I find it very rewarding to be a part of doing justice, and being motivated only by that," McCrone, a 48-year-old father of three and former Howard prosecutor, said Tuesday.

Still unclear is how the rest of the race for top county prosecutor, a job that pays $100,474 a year, would shape up. County Republicans have had little success attracting an opponent for McCrone, a lawyer in private practice who also represents the Howard police union.

Two sentenced to prison in grocery store robbery

Two people were sentenced to prison Wednesday for their roles in the January 1999 robbery of the Wilde Lake Giant, a crime committed with an AK-47 assault rifle.

The state sentences for Duane E. Curtis, 25, and Angela Watkins, 31, came one month after the federal conviction of Armistead D. Myers for a string of robberies and robbery attempts in Maryland - including the holdup of the Giant grocery store. They also came as part of plea arrangements that required both to cooperate with federal authorities investigating and trying the Myers case.

Watkins was sentenced to 10 years, with all but seven suspended, and five years of probation. Curtis received an eight-year, 301-day term.

At his sentencing April 26, Myers, who was convicted of conspiracy and weapons charges, faces a minimum of 24 1/2 years without parole in federal prison.

Father indicted 2 years after 11-day-old girl died

The 32-year-old father of an infant girl who died nearly two years ago of head and chest injuries was indicted Thursday on murder and manslaughter charges.

A Howard County grand jury returned an indictment for second-degree murder, manslaughter, child abuse and related charges against Rodney Rozier of the 1700 block of 17th St. N.W. in Washington in the death of his 11-day-old daughter, Raven.

The baby died at Johns Hopkins Hospital on April 14, 2000, one day after emergency workers responded to a call in the 8800 block of Flowerstock Row in Columbia.

School board rejects plan for school near landfill

Howard County school board members have rejected the possibility of building a high school near the county's Alpha Ridge Landfill, making it all the more probable the school will be in the small Mount View neighborhood that has been fighting to keep it out.

Members voted against the site, even though school officials had not reported any environmental or topographical problems with it. Board Chairwoman Jane B. Schuchardt said she did not want to wait for the research.

"We had a very unfortunate and unpleasant situation with the landfill thing when we were talking about the northeast elementary school," said Schuchardt. "And look at all we're going through with Worthington [Elementary]. I just didn't want to put money into it and decide later not to do it."

Son of dogs' owner convicted of animal cruelty

A 42-year-old man has been convicted of 13 counts of animal cruelty and sentenced to probation yesterday, just more than a year after animal control officers found 20 dogs living in squalor in the Woodbine home he shared with his mother.

Howard County Circuit Judge Raymond J. Kane Jr. ruled Monday that while Joseph Francis Richards was not the dogs' owner - Richards' 78-year-old mother testified they were hers - he was still responsible for providing "sustenance" for the dogs. Thirteen of the 20 dogs were very thin or emaciated, according to testimony.

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