Howard Week

October 03, 2004

Allan Kittleman selected to succeed father in Md. Senate

Howard County Councilman Allan H. Kittleman was unanimously chosen by the Howard and Carroll Republican central committees to replace his late father in the Maryland Senate - an act that unofficially opened competition for his County Council seat.

"It's bittersweet," he said later, referring to the circumstance - the death Sept. 11 of his father, Robert H. Kittleman.

The councilman, a West Friendship Republican who represents western Howard county, was the only candidate for the Senate seat.

He told Carroll members he is somewhat familiar with their issues in the third of the district that covers part of south Carroll County, saying, for example that "my gut feeling" would be not to support a transfer tax increase there.

If Kittleman is named by the governor, his vacant District 5 council seat would be the sixth elected office occupied by a Republican that would change hands by appointment in Howard since early 2002.

Four people have declared an interest: former three-term council member Charles Feaga, 71, Councilman Kittleman's special assistant, William A. Theis Jr., 45, Gregory Fox, 37, a GOP candidate for County Council in 1998, and Steven H. Adler, 51, the Republican nominee for county executive in 2002.

Anthony C. Wisniewski, a member of the central committee, might be interested.

Cedar Lane School gets $15,000 grant from Boeing

Cedar Lane School in Columbia, which educates severely disabled Howard County students, will offer more training and development opportunities to its teachers and support staff this school year thanks to a $15,000 grant.

The donation by the Boeing Co. will enable the school to equip teachers with the latest research and techniques for educating students with physical and emotional needs, school officials said.

"We have a staff who are second to none," said Principal Nicholas Girardi, who accepted a check from Boeing officials Thursday. "But there is always room for growth. It allows us to grow."

The school serves 96 profoundly disabled students ages 3 to 21, whose disabilities range from autism to cerebral palsy to mental retardation.

The unique needs of each child make it crucial for the nearly 80 teachers and staff members, including physical therapists and behavioral specialists, to keep abreast of the latest research and studies on physical and mental disabilities, said Dr. Lois Pommer, the school psychologist who also oversees professional development.

"Boeing is sending a message that our students are important, their education is important and the work done by the staff at Cedar Lane matters to the parents, families and the community at large," Pommer said.

Boeing's $15,000 grant is the company's largest gift to a public school in the Baltimore-Washington region, officials said.

Firm operating pavilion opposes enclosing it

The management of the Merriweather Post Pavilion is lobbying for the venue to remain an open-air amphitheater, despite the Rouse Co.'s assertion that it will be an enclosed theater.

Seth Hurwitz, co-owner of I.M.P., which was hired last fall to manage the Columbia amphitheater, said an enclosed facility would be a money-losing venture because it would not attract the larger acts that pay the bills.

The pavilion has cleared almost $140,000 in a 12-month period that began in November last year because of sell-out shows for the Dave Matthews Band and Kenny Chesney, who likely wouldn't play at a smaller theater, he said.

The venue's final concert for the season is scheduled to be Incubus on Oct 11.

"There's no reason in the world to build a smaller, enclosed facility," Hurwitz recently told a citizens panel studying whether Howard County should buy the pavilion from Rouse. "If this was simply an enclosed facility, it would go out of business real fast."

Dennis W. Miller, a Rouse vice president and general manager of Columbia, said that Rouse has renewed I.M.P's contract to manage Merriweather for a year.

Hurwitz said he is operating as if it is business as usual and is working on lining up acts for next season.

Randall Griffin, chairman of the citizens committee, said the group is in the early stages of its studies. But he said, "I think that all indications seem to be that having a smaller, enclosed facility is not as economically viable as one might think."

The panel is scheduled to meet again Oct. 20, when it will hold a public hearing in the Banneker Room of the George Howard Building.

Rouse officials maintain that Merriweather, which was built in 1967 as one of the planned community's original amenities, is not profitable because it is no longer host to 50 shows a year.

Rouse has offered to sell Merriweather to the county as an enclosed, year-round theater.

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