Howard Week

October 20, 2002

Roland Howard Sr., elections official and pastor, dies at 76

The Rev. Roland L. Howard Sr., president of the Howard County Board of Elections Supervisors and founder of Banneker Christian Community Church in Columbia, died Oct. 13 at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Baltimore a month after suffering a heart attack during a tense daylong count of absentee ballots. He was 76.

A lifelong resident of Elkridge, Mr. Howard was remembered yesterday as a tireless community activist and voting-rights champion.

On Sept. 12, after tense exchanges about whether to allow several late-arriving absentee ballots to be counted, Mr. Howard collapsed from a heart attack. He had passionately argued against voiding the ballots, contrary to instructions from the board's attorney.

CA board votes to close Hobbit's Glen for repair

The Columbia Association's board of directors has voted to proceed with a plan to close Hobbit's Glen Golf Club for one year to rebuild 16 damaged greens.

Seven board members supported the construction, which would begin in August, in a straw vote Oct. 12. The remaining three board members - Joshua Feldmark of Wilde Lake, Barbara Russell of Oakland Mills and Wolfger Schneider of Harper's Choice - abstained.

Board of Education adds $8 million to budget plan

During the Howard County Board of Education meeting Tuesday night, members theoretically granted the wishes of those seeking new schools by tacking an additional $8 million onto the already staggering $78.4 million in the proposed capital budget for fiscal year 2004.

If the budget is approved as passed, three new elementary schools would open in 2006, and the fiscal year 2005 proposed capital budget would have to total $112 million to accommodate construction costs.

Construction of bicycle path in Patapsco hits snag

A hotly debated project to build a mile-and-a-quarter-long paved bicycle path through Patapsco Valley State Park along the border of Howard and Baltimore counties has hit another snag that could significantly delay its completion.

Construction of the path was approved in August by the Maryland Board of Public Works after a long fight between supporters, who favor opening the valley to more users, and opponents, who fear the effects of increased traffic and water runoff.

But the state Department of Natural Resources has stopped work on an upstream section of the path while it attempts to get permission to use one-17th of an acre owned by an Ellicott City man.

Construction vehicles need to use that tiny property - the former site of the Ilchester Road post office - to assemble a new span that will carry the path across the Patapsco River, using old Patterson Viaduct railroad bridge supports.

Robey proposes creation of county drug czar

Howard County needs a drug czar to raise the profile of the county's drug-fighting efforts and to better coordinate prevention and treatment programs, County Executive James N. Robey said at a candidates forum Wednesday.

"I want to create a position in the Department of Health to oversee all drug programs," he said at Owen Brown Interfaith Center. The job would be at the level of a deputy health officer.

The proposal is the latest effort in the fight against substance use since the release in January last year of the Delta Project study - a comprehensive assessment of the county's substance-use problem.

Rancor over school lines affecting council races

Lingering bitterness from last year's fractious redrawing of Howard County's high school district boundaries has sunk one County Council candidate and is hurting another's campaign in west Columbia's District 4.

The phenomenon is keeping alive tensions between River Hill, Columbia's newest and most affluent village, and older areas such as Wilde Lake and Atholton.

River Hill's different nature has been mentioned several times in candidate forums between Republican Joan Lancos, an Atholton-area resident, and Democrat Kenneth S. Ulman, a lawyer who lives in River Hill.

Lancos and Democrat Mary Kay Sigaty, who lost to Ulman by 36 votes in the Democratic primary, were volunteers on the school boundary committee that redrew lines to create a district for Reservoir High in Fulton, which opened this year. The returns in one River Hill precinct, in which Ulman got 283 more votes, sealed Sigaty's fate.

Resentment in River Hill about the roles of Sigaty and Lancos on the 28-member committee - which placed some River Hill neighborhoods in the Atholton High district - remains strong, observers said.

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