Howard Week

October 13, 2002

Board approves plans for `routine' school, priced at $48 million

In Howard County, nearly $50 million buys 185 houses or the county's newest high school, one that experts say isn't particularly remarkable by today's standards. "There's not all that much that's ultra-glamorous about it," said architect Michael Lahowin, whose firm created the design for the county's proposed, multimillion-dollar 12th high school. "All these spaces seem pretty routine from school to school."

Plans for Northern High School, which is set to open in 2005, are based on those for Reservoir High School (which were based on those for Long Reach High School), and include similar features: discipline clustering, a darkroom, a TV studio, and three floors to accommodate 1,400 students.

The Board of Education has approved the design and estimated the project cost at $48 million. That includes furnishings, which will cost about $3.5 million. Project-manager fees will run about $6 million, and planning fees will total nearly $2.4 million.

Fatal shooting not linked to sniper, officials say

Authorities identified a man found fatally shot near the Patuxent River on Oct. 5, and said his death is not linked to the fatal sniper attacks in Washington, Montgomery County or Northern Virginia.

Leon Antwan Swain, 26, of the 2600 block of Rhode Island Ave. in Northeast Washington was discovered in a secluded residential part of southwestern Howard County. The Howard and Montgomery County police departments, as well as agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, investigated the killing and said it does not fit the pattern of the sniper killings in the region.

Swain, Howard County's sixth homicide victim this year, was found by a fisherman who was walking near the heavily wooded banks of the Patuxent River near Browns Bridge, authorities said.

Mold found in several areas of circuit courthouse

High concentrations of mold were found in three courtrooms and in office areas of the state's attorney and court clerk in Howard County's circuit courthouse, county officials said Tuesday.

Environmental testing on the old building revealed four fungi, none of which is dangerous but all of which might cause allergic reactions in employees who might be sensitive to the substances, according to an update circulated to building employees.

Mold was found in five samples taken from the three courtrooms, in two samples taken from peeling paint on a stairway wall in the state's attorney's office, and in two areas in Clerk of the Circuit Court Margaret D. Rappaport's space, according to the update.

Man found competent to stand trial in killings

A Columbia banker accused in June of killing his two young daughters before trying to hang himself has been found competent to stand trial.

The murder case against Robert Emmett Filippi had been in a legal limbo since state psychiatrists, who evaluated him after his arrest in the strangulation deaths of Nicole Filippi, 4, and her sister, Lindsey, 2, determined that he was incompetent.

But his status recently changed, Howard Circuit Judge Diane O. Leasure told lawyers Tuesday during a hearing to discuss Filippi's pending divorce from the girls' mother, Naoko Nakajima. Filippi's lawyers said they do not accept the ruling and might contest the state evaluator's findings.

County attempt to regulate adult store dealt setback

Maryland's high court dealt a setback Wednesday to Howard County's attempts to regulate an Ellicott City adult video and bookstore, ruling that county officials could not appeal a decision by a local judge that ultimately allowed the store to stay in business.

In its 18-page decision, the state Court of Appeals said that only the accused in a civil contempt case - in this case, the adult store Pack Shack - can appeal an unfavorable ruling under the law.

County officials had sought to overturn a July 2000 decision by Howard Circuit Judge James B. Dudley who found the store not guilty of violating his order to stop operating as an adult store after the business offered testimony that it had added substantially to its "nonadult" stock.

Agribusiness affected indirectly by sniper

The sniper hasn't fired a shot in Howard County, but businesses are being affected.

Agritourism operations that rely on school groups to visit their animals, pumpkin patches and corn mazes find that school after school is canceling at what should be their busiest time of year.

Sharps at Waterford Farm is seeing 60 percent to 70 percent fewer groups. Clarks Elioak Farm thought it would see 250 kids on Friday and saw none. Triadelphia Lake View Farm got last-minute regrets from everyone scheduled to visit last week. The schools in Howard and many points south have been in lockdown, field trips banned.

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