Carroll County Digest

CARROLL COUNTY DIGEST

August 27, 2004

Plans to be drafted to decontaminate office at high school

Maryland Department of the Environment officials said they will visit South Carroll High School today to draft a plan with an environmental cleanup company to further decontaminate the science teachers' office where mercury from a broken barometer was discovered late last week.

The office is the only area of the school that remains restricted, said MDE spokesman Richard J. McIntire. "MDE still doesn't want anyone in the [office]. It's a secured area we're monitoring," McIntire said.

During a four-hour inspection Wednesday evening, MDE officials determined that the classrooms and hallways near the office are safe to use. "The levels [of mercury vapor] are dropping very significantly in that room ... but not to where we want them," McIntire said.

Meanwhile, school principal George Phillips held a new-student orientation yesterday. He said about 600 students and parents attended. School officials also said yesterday that the school, which has about 1,150 students, will open Monday as scheduled.

"Although the area where the spill occurred will be restricted, this will have no impact on instruction taking place in other parts of the school," said Harry Fogle, assistant superintendent of school management.

Map for cyclists details county routes

The Carroll County Recreation and Parks Department is offering a new map to cyclists pedaling through the region.

Researched and drawn by cartography students from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, the map details slopes, elevations and distances, and suggests 10 routes with their respective mileage.

The county's cost was about $3,000 for printing 10,000 copies of the map, said Richard Soisson, director of recreation and parks.

"A lot of cyclists come to Carroll County for the more rural, less traveled roads," Soisson said. "This map is a mixture of the scenic and safer routes and a neat addition to what we have to offer them."

The maps are available at the County Office Building and at bicycle shops throughout the county.

Sheriff provides update to county commissioners

In a meeting with the county commissioners yesterday, Sheriff Kenneth L. Tregoning said his department has placed one person in the home detention program, which started about two weeks ago.

The department has also reached an agreement with Maryland State Police that will allow deputies to collect DNA samples from inmates at the county Detention Center.

"This could help the state police reduce its backlog of DNA cases," Tregoning said.

Tregoning reported that the detention center earned $451,000 last fiscal year, which ended June 30, from bed rentals to the former Immigration and Naturalization Service.

County agencies urged to clean out office space

The county is desperate for office space that is taken up by records it no longer needs, said Ralph Green, director of the county's Department of General Services. He has asked each county agency to purge unneeded records and "make usable space."

The county estimates that it would cost about $2 million for a record-management system, a project the commissioners plan to discuss.

"Space is getting expensive, and that will make this project a priority," said Commissioner Dean L. Minnich.

About 250 acres added to preservation programs

The county has added about 250 acres to its farmland preservation programs.

The commissioners approved the purchase of easements yesterday for nearly 83 acres on Stone Road in Westminster for $447,230. The board also signed a 20-year installment purchase agreement for $799,000 that will place nearly 170 acres on Winters Church Road in New Windsor in the Little Pipe Creek Rural Legacy Program.

By selling the easements, farmers give up their development rights in perpetuity but continue to work the land.

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