Howard Week

September 12, 2004

Columbia man, 22, charged in shooting of teen last month

Howard County police officers arrested a 22-year-old Columbia man Sept. 4, charging him in the shooting of a teenager in Harper's Choice village.

Sedrick "Rico" Legaspi, 22, of the 5900 block of Grand Banks Road, has been charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault, and weapons violations, police said. A judge set bail Tuesday at $500,000.

The shooting occurred shortly after 10 p.m. Aug. 31 in the 6100 block of Turnabout Lane near the Harpers Forest Apartments.

Police officers and Fire Department medics found the victim, 17-year-old Melvin Sanchez of Columbia, lying near a playground with a gunshot wound to his lower body.

Police then found Legaspi lying nearby in the 11000 block of Berrypick Way with a gunshot wound to his leg.

Robey administration backs Turf Valley plans

The Robey administration is supporting a plan that would allow construction of more homes and larger commercial areas at Turf Valley -- one of several of recommended zoning changes being considered in a new round of land-use decisions.

Called "Comp Lite" after last year's larger comprehensive rezoning of the county, this limited list of leftover issues ranges from ways to prepare the U.S. 40 corridor for the future to new ways of encouraging affordable housing for seniors.

The county Planning Board has scheduled a public hearing Oct. 7, and the County Council is likely to hold hearings in November.

On Tuesday, a residents committee examined revised plans by the Mangione family to develop its 809-acre Turf Valley golf course community.

A county study showed that with changes the family wants in the 18-year-old zoning, the project would likely contribute up to $4.35 million a year in new revenue beyond the cost associated with 385 more students expected to enter classrooms from those homes, county and schools officials said.

Councilman proposes temporary trailer parks

As residents of the Ev-Mar Mobile Home Park in Savage continue their fight against eviction, Howard County Councilman David A. Rakes has prepared legislation to allow the creation of temporary trailer parks for displaced people.

The bill, subject first to county Planning Board scrutiny, would change zoning laws to allow new parks within 50 feet of an existing one -- but only for 15 years, with residents' stays limited to a five-year maximum.

State Sen. Sandra B. Schrader, a Howard County Republican, said she is researching a possible General Assembly bill that could give mobile-home park residents the first option on the park's land if an owner decides to sell.

The county zoning measure is designed to provide breathing room for middle- and low-income people forced out of long- established trailer parks along U.S. 1. The owners want to sell because of sharply rising land values and zoning changes, approved by the county last year, designed to spur revitalization.

Columbia churches plan own interfaith campus

Columbia's interfaith centers are symbols of the planned community's ideals of diversity and tolerance -- members of different religions sharing a worship space under one roof.

But in Kings Contrivance, two churches -- the Orthodox Church of St. Matthew and the Cornerstone Community Church of God -- are stretching that philosophy by constructing two buildings next to each other to create an interfaith campus that should open next year.

The church leaders say the separation is for practical reasons. St. Matthew is adorned with religious icons that cannot be removed to accommodate other religious services, and the Cornerstone Community Church wants its parishioners to feel a sense of ownership.

Columbia's four interfaith centers are part of town founder James W. Rouse's concept to bring people of different backgrounds together.

Committee to begin work on school calendar

A committee will begin working on the 2005-2006 Howard County school calendar, focusing on reducing the number of half-days and possibly shortening spring break to allow for more instruction and flexibility toward the end of the year.

The county Board of Education offered few suggestions at a meeting Thursday so the school calendar committee could propose broad recommendations for the board to consider.

The committee will also discuss the schools' start date. Ten systems in Maryland began school before Aug. 30, the first day for Howard County students this year.

The panel will start meeting this month and focus on several issues, including eliminating two of the three half-days at the end of the year if the high school exam schedule is changed, and shortening the weeklong spring break to increase instruction days, said Patti Caplan, the committee chairwoman and a schools spokeswoman.

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