Regional Digest


August 04, 2004|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

In Maryland

Court upholds conviction of Egyptian grandmother

ANNAPOLIS -- The state's highest court yesterday upheld the convictions and sentence of a wealthy Egyptian woman for helping spirit her grandsons to Egypt.

Afaf N. Khalifa was paroled halfway into her three-year sentence and deported to Egypt in May, where she joined her family, including an American-born daughter and the two grandsons she helped take to Egypt three years ago.

The unanimous ruling by the Maryland Court of Appeals will likely stop her from re-entering the United States but is of no immediate help to Michael Shannon, the Millersville man seeking the return of his two sons.

The goal of prosecuting Khalifa was to pressure the Egyptian family into returning Adam and Jason Shannon to their father, who won custody of the youngsters in 2001. Adam is now 7, Jason is 3.

In Anne Arundel

Judge rules in favor of Sojourner Douglass

ANNAPOLIS -- An Anne Arundel Circuit Court judge has rejected a neighborhood's claims that plans by historically black Sojourner Douglass College to build a new branch in Edgewater violate a covenant governing land use in the area.

Circuit Judge Ronald A. Silkworth ruled that the college's planned branch conformed with a 16-year-old covenant, which says the 6-acre parcel in question must be used for education facilities in conjunction with the county Board of Education. The space will be offered to the school system during the day.

The dispute had racial overtones, with college supporters saying they were concerned that residents of the predominantly white neighborhood in Edgewater did not want Sojourner Douglass as a neighbor. Some nearby residents said they merely wanted to protect the agreement. The ruling clears the way for construction to begin.

In Howard County

Rouse Co. will proceed with Merriweather plan

COLUMBIA -- Thwarted in its attempt to build a residential development behind Merriweather Post Pavilion, the Rouse Co. is moving ahead with plans for a commercial complex of offices and stores on land that includes the parking area for the popular concert venue.

Rouse wants to sell the Columbia amphitheater and favors conversion to a year-around enclosed concert hall.

The company has filed a request to assign a designated use to the 51 acres and indicated that the development will include 800,000 square feet of office space and 400,000 square feet of retail space.

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