Between The Lines

December 20, 2004

Ready for duty, again

Harford County State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly is happy that some top Maryland Republicans have endorsed him for the position of U.S. attorney for Maryland. Being flattered is one thing, but wanting the job is another. Cassilly wants it.

"This would be a sacrifice for me, giving up a good job that I enjoy and driving back and forth to Baltimore each day," said Cassilly, who has been a prosecutor for 27 years. "But young people are risking their lives for us every day overseas so it's time for everyone to realize we must pull together, whether it's performing jury duty or giving ourselves in other ways."

In that department, Cassilly knows whereof he speaks.

He uses a wheelchair, permanently disabled from a combat injury he suffered in the Vietnam War while serving as an Army Ranger. That has not kept him from a full and active life.

"I have learned to view sacrifice and opportunity in ways different from some people," Cassilly said. "And this is an opportunity - I truly hope it works out for me."

- Joe Nawrozki

Then he grabs his luge

At the first "snow readiness" news conference of the year, Tim Burgess, chief of Baltimore County's Highways Bureau, was asked by a television reporter which stations he relies on for weather forecasts. Burgess said he watches them all when there's a hint of a storm. "It's like the Olympics," he said. "I throw out the high and the low and take the middle."

- Laura Barnhardt

Better never than late

The advertisement in The Sun's classified section appeared urgent, warning that the Four East Madison Orthopaedic Associates medical practice has gone out of business and urging patients to quickly call to retrieve their records.

"All records not retrieved or forwarded by December 23, 2004, will be destroyed," warned the ad that appeared Dec. 13.

But callers to the phone number of the Towson-based medical practice quickly learned it was already too late.

"The records that were of Four East Madison were flooded at Physicians Pavilion East when there was a water main break," says a recorded voice.

"There is no way that we can get your records from any of the computers, as they were damaged. We are very sorry about this.

"The flood took place Oct. 23. Even though we put the ad in the paper, we assumed we could still get to those records, but we cannot. We're very sorry. Thank you."

- Howard Libit

A signing of success

When a bill becomes law in Baltimore County, it usually happens with little fanfare: The executive quietly signs the legislation and sends it back to the council.

But Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr.'s signature legislative proposal got the signature treatment.

With county employees and others crowded into his office and television cameras recording his every movement Tuesday, Smith, flanked by four of the county's seven councilmen, sat down to sign the "renaissance redevelopment" legislation - a zoning effort aimed at revitalization for older neighborhoods.

County officials say they can't remember the last time there was a formal bill-signing - or whether there has been one.

In fact, even if the executive, who has veto power, forgets to put his John Hancock on a piece of legislation, it still becomes law.

- Lisa Goldberg

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