Howard Week

April 14, 2002

County won't give cost-of-living raises to workers next year

Sharp tax revenue declines will mean no cost-of-living pay raises for Howard County employees in the fiscal year beginning July 1, based on three tentative contract agreements reached the first week of April.

Police, fire and 911 emergency telephone workers have tentatively agreed to contracts with the administration of County Executive James N. Robey, as county teachers have with the school board, said Robert S. Lazarewicz, the county's chief labor negotiator.

County workers due longevity "step" pay raises will get them, Lazarewicz said, and anyone not eligible for that will get a minimum, one-time $500 payment.

Bank opens loan program for U.S. 1 development

Citizens National Bank announced Tuesday a $10 million, low-interest loan program designed to spur development along U.S. 1.

Howard County leaders had long hoped to attract such a program to provide economic support for the road, which the county has targeted for redevelopment.

The program, which was announced at a meeting of politicians and business leaders Tuesday, will continue until all the money has been allocated or Dec. 31 of next year - whichever comes first. The interest on all loans will be half a percentage point below the prime rate. Below-market, fixed-rate financing will also be available.

Police investigating death of man in custody

The death of an Annapolis man in Howard County police custody has raised questions about the department's policies and its officers' conduct the night of the arrest.

With the man's family considering a lawsuit, everything from whether the man was driving that night to how police handle suspects who are not drunk but are behaving erratically is being investigated internally by police.

A county police spokeswoman said Monday that officers followed procedures in the case of Michael Keliher Donahue, 32, who was arrested Friday evening on suspicion of driving under the influence. He was pronounced dead less than 12 hours later.

Family members, awaiting an autopsy report, questioned the Police Department's handling of the case. Howard County Police Chief Wayne Livesay and the police union president said, however, that they believe officers acted appropriately.

I-95 accident kills two children, both 7

Two 7-year-old children were killed and six people were injured early Monday after the Richmond, Va.-bound minivan in which they were traveling struck a guardrail on Interstate 95 near Elkridge and flipped over several times, Maryland State Police said.

Shaday Idlet, who police said was one of three children thrown from the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene. Alexander Roberts was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he was pronounced dead later Monday morning.

The driver, Tina M. Idlet, 35, was in fair condition, and front-seat passenger Melissa M. Roberts, 25, was in serious but stable condition at Shock Trauma, a hospital spokeswoman said. Four other children, ages 18 months, 2, 4 and 10, were injured; the 18-month-old was discharged from St. Agnes HealthCare on Monday.

Family, friends mourn teen killed in car crash

A 2 1/2 -pound weight sits at the base of a 6-foot-tall, flower-covered cross on Homewood Road in Ellicott City - a tribute to a 17-year-old who died there in a two-car accident April 5.

John Scott Droege, an avid weightlifter, was less than a mile from his Oakspine Court home when he lost control of his 1987 Porsche convertible as it rounded a curve.

River Hill High School students, teachers, family members and friends squeezed into almost every pew of the 900-capacity Church of the Resurrection in Ellicott City for his funeral Wednesday.

Many talked about how strong - physically, emotionally and spiritually - the River Hill senior was. He could bench-press more than most teens weigh, was far more self-assured than many of his peers and encouraged others to commit themselves to God as he had.

Parent is honored as `Friend of Education'

When budgets get slashed, tempers flare.

When Howard schools are crowded, overwhelmed by mounds of red tape, some people wring their hands in frustration.

When plans for improvement are delayed, many sigh in exasperation, "What is that school board doing?"

And then there are those who appear perpetually calm, whose helping hands are always busy, and whose favorite question seems to be, "What can I do to make things better?"

Thursday night, the Howard school board recognized PTA parent and volunteer Terry Chaconas as one such person - and, amid dozens of smiles and a standing ovation, called her a "Friend of Education."

County to decide fate of dogs seized at house

The fate of 19 dogs, including 10 pudgy, playful tan and white puppies and their mother, Roxy, will be determined by Howard County officials in a clash with a 78-year-old woman who says she loves living with the large brood.

Animal control officers, who seized the dogs March 7, say they don't want to return them to Katherine Richards of Woodbine because they say she can't give them proper care.

People who want to adopt the puppies await the county's decision. It is expected to be issued by May 2.

Howard officials have seized dogs from Richards before and have repeatedly visited her isolated, rural home - an unkempt white frame house on 40 acres, off a dirt lane in the 15200 block of Frederick Road. In 1997, records show, the county seized 37 animals - dogs, cats, rabbits and chickens - from the property.

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