Between The Lines

BETWEEN THE LINES

August 02, 2004

Child-star treatment

The librarians were all atwitter at the Randallstown branch of the Baltimore County library one Wednesday morning this summer when a long, white limo pulled up outside.

But when the door opened, it wasn't a celebrity hoping to get out of his overdue fines, but a gaggle of 3- and 4-year-old kids headed for story time. Yvette Hurt, owner of Pooh's Corner Daycare in Randallstown, said her husband, Earl, owns a limo company, so a couple of years ago, he started occasionally picking the kids up from school or taking them on field trips.

"A lot of these kids have never been in a limo before and may never get the chance again," Yvette Hurt said. "It's no big deal for us, but they get a kick out of it."

-Andrew A. Green

Quorum quandary

Baltimore is a Democratic town, and last week, all the big Democrats were in Boston for the party's national convention.

That means some city business - including that of the Board of Estimates, which approves contracts and spending on big-ticket items - came to a screeching halt.

The board rarely takes a hiatus from its weekly meetings. Except for the week between Christmas and New Year's, and perhaps two or three other times a year, the board members gather every Wednesday morning on the second floor of City Hall.

But there was no chance for a quorum last week.

Three of the board's five members - Mayor Martin O'Malley, City Council President Sheila Dixon and Comptroller Joan M. Pratt - were delegates to the convention.

A fourth member, City Solicitor Ralph S. Tyler, also popped up at the convention Wednesday, even though he was not a delegate.

Public Works Director George L. Winfield was the only board member who stayed in Baltimore.

- Laura Vozzella

Unexpected attention

Speaking of the convention, Mayor Martin O'Malley might not have gotten as much attention as expected with his speech there Wednesday night.

The major broadcast and cable networks didn't air it. And many in the convention hall talked noisily throughout.

But there were some who took notice.

The Baltimore City Campaign for Bush-Cheney held a rally outside City Hall during the speech. The demonstration was organized by Joseph Brown Jr., a West Baltimore resident and former Republican City Council candidate.

-Laura Vozzella

Back `too' school

When Walbrook High School Uniform Services Academy seniors whose diplomas were invalidated last week begin emergency summer school today, perhaps some of the school administrators should be there, too.

Printed in boldface on a letter welcoming incoming freshmen to an orientation were the words "It is not to late to register your child!"

Hopefully, by the time the orientation begins Aug. 16, it will not be too late for students to learn that good grammar skills are an essential part of effective communication.

-Scott Waldman

Deal heads south

Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele must have been as surprised as anyone to hear last week that Ghana Airways had stranded hundreds of passengers at Baltimore-Washington International Airport after federal officials grounded its planes.

After all, it was little more than a month ago that Steele went on a 10-day trade mission to Ghana and South Africa.

The big accomplishment of his visit? According to the governor's office, Steele secured a promise from Ghana Airways to "increase direct international air service" from BWI to West Africa, including a flight that was to be added this summer and generate an additional $16 million for Maryland's economy.

As of the end of last week, it wasn't clear when - or if - Ghana Airways would resume flying.

"The administration still hopes that this accomplishment comes to fruition," a spokeswoman for the governor said Friday.

- Howard Libit

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