Carroll Digest

Carroll Digest

April 03, 2003

Carroll schools relax security-related ban on out-of-state trips

Less than two weeks after they canceled out-of-state field trips because of security concerns, Carroll County school officials reversed course yesterday and relaxed the travel restrictions. Only trips to New York City and Washington will be prohibited.

Superintendent Charles I. Ecker said he decided to ease the restrictions after checking with other area school systems and re-evaluating the threat to students.

He said he also realized that his broad restrictions would prevent students from attending long-planned contests and conferences in places that he suspects are unlikely terrorism targets, including Hanover, Pa., the site of a band competition.

"That's only a stone's throw away" from Carroll County, Ecker said, "but they wouldn't be able to go because it's outside Maryland. I'm afraid that fear is worse than the risk itself sometimes. You can't put yourself in a shell. I thought, `Why not let kids go to Gettysburg?' You never know when or where something is going to happen, but you can't let it control your life."

Sykesville blaze displaces families, injures firefighter

An early-morning fire yesterday at a Sykesville apartment building that displaced three families apparently was caused by an overloaded electrical outlet, according to the preliminary investigation by the State Fire Marshal's office.

The two-alarm blaze in the 7200 block of Springfield Ave. was discovered at 2 a.m. in a second-floor bedroom. It was brought under control in about 30 minutes, although companies were on the scene for more than three hours, fire officials said. Sykesville firefighter Caroline Brown sustained a minor injury when she fell through the second floor.

A dozen tenants were displaced. The fire marshal's office estimated the damage at $100,000, primarily in the apartment where the fire started. Smoke and water damaged the rest of the converted three-story wood-frame house.

Prettyboy Reservoir area to be focus of conference

The Prettyboy Reservoir watershed will be scrutinized next week by environmentalists, state and county officials and residents.

A Stewardship Exchange Week will begin Monday with an overview of watershed issues. Most of the five-day conference, which is funded through a $90,000 federal grant, will be held at Westminster United Methodist Church.

"We have to start a serious effort to protect the tributaries and stream heads that feed the reservoirs," said Julie A. Enger, project manager for the Trust for Public Land, a national, nonprofit agency focused on environmentally sound land use. "Preservation of these watersheds is important to almost 2 million people who rely on the reservoirs for drinking water."

Prettyboy is one of four watersheds nationwide targeted for the survey and the preservation effort.

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