Howard Week

April 06, 2003

Capital budget blueprint would delay high school

An eagerly awaited new high school in northern Howard County will be delayed at least a year in County Executive James N. Robey's $148.5 million capital budget.

Faced with a financial crunch brought on by the lagging economy, lower revenues and state school construction funds, Robey proposed borrowing a record $71.7 million for schools, but delayed the high school and a northern elementary school as a way to save money next fiscal year.

6 Main Street stores close in Ellicott City

Six Main Street Ellicott City stores have closed in recent months, the result of a frightful winter and a shrinking economy, but merchants hope spring will bring better business.

Web design firm Esavio closed its office along Main Street because of cutbacks made at the company's headquarters in Philadelphia. The five other stores - two Foxfire locations, Holy Cow, Main Street Baskets and Cauble Stones Avenue - all sold antiques, gift items or arts and crafts. At least two of the stores say they are hoping to relocate to other areas.

County schools' goals at risk, NAACP fears

The Howard County chapter of the NAACP told school board members last week that if they didn't mend ailing relationships among staff and community, the school system's achievement goals would never be met.

"There is a real need for the board to set a model," said Natalie Woodson, chairman of the NAACP's Education Committee. "If you allow the negativism to penetrate the system, it will tear down the system, and that cannot be tolerated."

Woodson and the other members of the chapter called the meeting to laud the county's Comprehensive Plan for Accelerated School Improvement and to air their complaints.

Training center funds plan is praised, questioned

Howard County firefighters applauded Howard County Executive James N. Robey's proposal last week to fund a new training center in Cooksville, saying it could help them recruit employees and save time.

On Monday, Robey proposed allocating $6.4 million toward the $17.2 million safety training center, to be on a 30-acre site at the edge the county's Alpha Ridge Landfill.

Some politicians are questioning whether the money could be better spent for other purposes. Asked about the training center, state Sen. Robert H. Kittleman said, "Maybe a school is more important."

Del. Warren E. Miller, a western county Republican, said, "Right now, I have to question the approach."

Patapsco Valley's past is on display at HCC

Dorothy Baker remembers opening an Elkridge beauty shop in 1945, when World War II limited her ability to get hair clips, bobby pins or other metal equipment.

Louise Fields Blackstone remembers when she was 17 and earned $6 a week cooking, caring for two children and serving three meals a day for a family in Elkridge.

These and other recollections from life in the Patapsco Valley are on display with photographs of the storytellers at Howard Community College through April 26.

Columbia neighbors vow to challenge house plans

Residents on Flowertuft Court in Columbia are vowing to challenge a decision by the Wilde Lake village architectural committee, approving the construction of a triangular home on their traditional street.

Bob Velke, who lives next door to the lot where the house is proposed, said the village architectural committee's 3-2 decision March 27 to approve the house plan failed to uphold covenants governing construction in the village. "We're certainly hoping and planning to do anything we can to appeal through the county ... to get an injunction or restraining order against the owner," said Velke.

Citizen planners tackle commercial zoning in west

Howard County's citizen planners grappled Thursday with the thorny question of whether new commercial zones could be added in the west without chipping away at those communities' rural character.

The local Planning Board, a panel of five volunteers, will recommend ways to comprehensively rezone the county - a process that started with professional planners late last year and will end with a County Council vote about December.

65-year term imposed in attack on teen-age girl

A 28-year-old man whose brutal attack on a teen-age girl last summer was stopped by an officer searching for the source of screams was sentenced Thursday to 65 years in prison.

Howard Circuit Judge Lenore R. Gelfman said Malcolm Scott's actions the night he sexually assaulted and stabbed the 17-year-old girl in woods off the 5600 block of Columbia Road were "extraordinarily violent." Gelfman imposed a 100-year sentence for attempted murder and rape convictions, suspending 35 years.

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