Carroll Digest


August 17, 2004

Area fire companies to install dry hydrants

Two Carroll County volunteer fire departments were awarded a total of $3,000 through the Department of Natural Resources' Dry Fire Hydrant Grant Program.

The money will go toward installing four dry fire hydrants in areas serviced by the Winfield and Mount Airy fire companies. The hydrants will give firefighters easy access to ponds and streams in previously hard-to-reach places. The money will pay for PVC pipe and connecting equipment.

Winfield Fire Chief Greg Dods said two hydrants will be installed near Salem Bottom and Bloom roads, and at Braddock and Skidmore roads, where he said 1,300 gallons a minute flow, even in drought conditions. The hydrants will help protect the Woodbine Road area and Taylorsville, as well as other communities.

Although the departments have until March to complete the project, Dods expects the work to be done by the middle of next month.

Mount Airy fire company spokesman Doug Alexander said his department is in the process of acquiring permission to install a dry hydrant at Harrisville Road and another at Old National Pike, where Alexander said there are few water sources. The pond that is available is now accessible only through a private driveway.

Health officials revising county emergency manual

The Carroll County Health Department is revising its emergency operation manual, condensing the cumbersome document and making it more readable, said Larry L. Leitch, department director.

"The current plan is more than 700 pages of fairly useless information," Leitch said. "The first draft is about one-seventh of the old one and more user-friendly."

Leitch expects to have the draft to the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and to area emergency responders soon. He has scheduled a Sept. 8 meeting at the Health Department to discuss the manual.

County to offer training on open-meetings rules

The county will hold a training session for employees on the ramifications of the open-meetings law.

"We are focusing on the changes to the law which are minor in nature, but important to go over," said County Attorney Kimberly Millender. "The No. 1 priority is recordkeeping."

Steven Powell, the commissioners' chief of staff, urged employees to read the newest booklet on the law and to attend the session Sept. 13.

"The cornerstone of this administration is to be as open and sharing as we possibly can," Powell said.

County schools consider amendments to calendar

Carroll County school officials are soliciting public comment about proposed changes that would affect the 2005-2006 school calendar.

The proposal calls for eliminating one professional development day for teachers to add a parent conference day in the spring. The 2004-2005 school calendar provides a conference day only in the fall.

The proposal also includes seven inclement-weather days.

"The last few years we've had to add days to the calendar because we had to use more than" were allotted for inclement weather, said schools Superintendent Charles I. Ecker. "It's very difficult to add days because teachers have plans and parents have plans. It's much easier to take [days] out."

If schools need fewer makeup days for inclement weather, then the school year would end earlier, Ecker said.

The proposed calendar may be viewed at Comments and suggestions may be submitted to Jimmie Saylor, director of human resources, at by Sept. 17.

The school board is expected to vote on the calendar proposal at its October meeting.

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