Howard Week

April 04, 2004

Lawmakers aiming to craft acceptable methadone measure

After legal concerns recently derailed two General Assembly bills seeking to limit where methadone clinics can operate in Howard County, a county councilman and two state legislators separately said they will try to craft legislation that will pass muster.

To ease concern, members of the Howard delegation unanimously supported bills that would prohibit clinics within 1,000 feet of a school or residential neighborhood. The House and Senate versions of the bill were referred for summer study when the Maryland attorney general advised legislators in a letter that it is illegal to restrict the clinics under federal laws prohibiting discrimination.

Councilman David A. Rakes, an east Columbia Democrat, said he is working on ways to overcome that limitation, although he would not elaborate last week.

Meanwhile, the bill's sponsors, Del. Neil F. Quinter and state Sen. Sandra B. Schrader, said they hope to find a legally acceptable way of rewriting their bills.

Guard stabbed at HCC; Baltimore man charged

A Howard Community College security guard was stabbed in the head as she was reporting to work Monday afternoon in a rare incident of violence that stunned administrators and students on the Columbia campus.

The attack occurred about a dozen steps from the college security office about 4 p.m. in a main campus building, college and police officials said. After stabbing her several times, the attacker ran to a vehicle and drove away, police said. The victims was taken to Howard County General Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.

Gilbert Lee Redmond Jr., 29, of Baltimore, was arrested Wednesday by Baltimore police and charged in the assault.

North Laurel man gets 25 years in rape, assault

A 46-year-old North Laurel computer specialist convicted of taking sexually explicit pictures of his girlfriend's preteen daughter and raping the child's young friend was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison.

Two Howard County Circuit judges imposed sentences -- five years for child pornography and assault convictions in one case and 20 years for second-degree rape in the second -- during separate hearings. The sentences will run consecutively.

Judge Diane O. Leasure, who imposed the five-year sentence, called Burrell A. Abram's actions "reprehensible." Judge Dennis M. Sweeney noted a psychologist's report that diagnosed Abram as a pedophile addicted to pornography.

Students' marrow donor bill shelved in Assembly

A few Columbia high school students learned a tough lesson about politics last week when their General Assembly bill to lower the age requirement for bone marrow donors was shelved for this session.

The measure, which would have lowered the minimum age for donors from 18 to 16 with parental consent, was referred for summer study because of "technical problems" in it, said Del. John Adams Hurson, a Montgomery County Democrat and chairman of the Health and Government Operations Committee. He refused to be more specific.

Jade Vaughn, Monica Holloway, Cherise Carpenter and Kimberly Sealey -- students at Oakland Mills High School and members of the Sister to Sister Club -- went to Annapolis on March 10 with Joslyn Wolfe, their faculty adviser, to testify for the bill they conceived and worked on for two years.

Md. denies pact extension for schools chief Cousin

State School Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick last week denied a contract extension for Howard County's interim superintendent, telling the Board of Education it has to at least try to find a permanent replacement before she will sanction the unusual request.

"Somewhere around June 1, she'll make that determination," said Bill Reinhard, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Education. "In the meantime, the local board, under statute, is supposed to launch a search for a new superintendent."

Proposed capital budget would defer new school

Despite proposing record high spending on schools, Howard County Executive James N. Robey's $198.4 million capital budget would push back a new northeast elementary school another year, if the County Council agrees.

The budget includes money to build a new fire station in west Columbia; renovate the Savage station and Howard High School; widen a section of Route 108; start all-day kindergarten; and continue developing a new police and fire training facility.

Officials agreed that with money tight and no firm site for the new elementary, it made sense to defer it.

County hearing examiner dismisses appeal on store

A New York developer's effort to bring a Wegmans grocery store to an industrial site in east Columbia suffered a setback last week after the Howard County hearing examiner dismissed the developer's appeal.

The delay will slow, but not kill, Staten Island developer Timothy C. Harrison's attempt to attract the mega-grocery store to the location.

Harrison had appealed a letter from the county Department of Planning and Zoning, which stated that zoning for the 10-acre site -- across McGaw Road from Apple Ford -- does not allow for a grocery store.

Hearing examiner Thomas P. Carbo dismissed the case Monday, ruling that the county's letter was not an "appealable event" because the letter did not make a decision regarding a permit or license application.

Harrison had not submitted plans for a grocery store on that site.

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