Between The Lines

BETWEEN THE LINES

January 26, 2004

Language barrier

An ad on the Baltimore Board of Elections' Web site reads: "Earn up to $150 being an Election Judge!"

What does it take to become one? Not much. You have to be a registered voter in Maryland, and you can't be a candidate or a candidate's manager or treasurer.

It's the third qualification that may give applicants pause: "You must be able to withstand at least a 14 hour day of work, read, write, speak, and understand the English language."

-Doug Donovan

Scouting out a role model

Members of Boy Scout Troop 462 got more than they bargained for when they came to lead the Pledge of Allegiance before the Baltimore County Council meeting Tuesday.

As Catonsville Scouts were getting the nickel tour of the councilmen's offices, Dr. Peter C. Agre, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine researcher who won the 2003 Nobel Prize for chemistry, was being feted by the council and County Executive James T. Smith Jr., who were to issue proclamations of congratulations later that night.

When council Chairman Stephen G. Samuel Moxley brought the Scouts into the room, Agre, an assistant Scout leader himself, shook the boys' hands and scrutinized their badges. Then he showed them a merit badge of his own.

Agre's wasn't so much of a badge as an 18-carat gold medallion from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

"Remember, boys," Agre said. "If you do really well in Scouting, you too can get one of these."

- Andrew A. Green

Bad-mood morning

Baltimore Circuit Judge John M. Glynn, who is in charge of the city's criminal docket, walked into his chambers last week in the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse, agitated and exasperated from dealing with the daily demands of judges and lawyers.

When his loyal law clerk walked in, Glynn scowled at him in an affectionate way and explained his foul mood.

"Isn't it Bart Simpson who said, `Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand?' " the judge asked.

- Allison Klein

A rapid Republican

If a recent Baltimore County Council work session was any gauge, Republicans apparently do make government more efficient.

With the council barely scraping together a quorum, the body's lone Republican, T. Bryan McIntire, got a rare chance to lead the meeting.

The council is usually a no-nonsense group, but McIntire managed to set a land speed record - gavel to gavel in six minutes flat.

- Andrew A. Green

Hot pursuit of permits

Careful readers of The Sun's classified advertisements may have spotted a public notice seeking Department of the Environment permits for a pair of large boilers to be installed in the new Baltimore City Juvenile Services Center building on North Gay Street.

But the new juvenile services center opened in October. If the permits are only now being sought, does this mean there's no heat at the center for the dozens of detained youths?

No, say spokesmen for the Department of the Environment and the Department of General Services (which oversaw construction of the $45 million center).

When the center opened after two years of construction delays, the boilers were operating, but neither General Services nor Juvenile Services had gotten the necessary permits.

The advertisement in The Sun seeks "After-the-Fact" permits.

"Usually, these kind of permits are done in an emergency situation, where a boiler needs to be suddenly replaced and we don't want a facility left in the cold until the permitting process is completed," says MDE spokesman Richard McIntire.

But a state building that has been delayed two years isn't exactly an emergency, is it?

- Howard Libit

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