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April 11, 2005|By Larry Carson

Talk about your misplaced modifiers.

Middle River residents recently received from the Baltimore County Office of Planning a packet of information and a map about a proposed housing development on Bevans Lane off Bird River Road. As part of the community input process, officials described building 31 homes and a nearby "detention facility."


"Everyone was just beside themselves with that news," said Bill Wright, a resident of Bird River Road for 39 years. "A county police officer was troubled that the department had not been notified about a jail being built here. Other neighbors were thinking about moving."

Not to worry.

"Folks can rest assured that we will detain storm water and not criminals at that proposed site," said Arnold F. "Pat" Keller III, director of the county Office of Planning. Keller said someone "forgot to put `water' in the description of the proposed facility.

Said Wright: "With all the upscale development going on along the east side, we were thinking about naming the new housing site `Penitentiary Estates.'"

- Joe Nawrozki

Use the executive bush

Carroll County's director of citizens services reported to the county commissioners last week that one agency in the building finally has its own bathroom.

"Where did they go before this?" asked Commissioner Dean L. Minnich.

"Outside," replied Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge.

The commissioners' staff erupted in laughter and offered comments such as "This is the country." Minnich added, "If I worked there, I sure would be excited about this."

Gouge explained that a few employees had to take a few steps outdoors to reach the main part of the building, where they had access to ample facilities.

"I guess I should have finished my thought," Gouge said.

- Mary Gail Hare

Bipartisanship at last

Recognition of National Crime Victims Week this week is hardly a mirthful subject, but before his brief speech on Howard County's commitment to the county's 81 victims of homicide and drunken driving since 1979, State's Attorney Timothy J. McCrone, a Democrat, did allow himself one momentary smile.

Howard County's victim-witness assistance program aided 4,130 people last year, and the assembled group pledged to keep trying to cut that number and help those who need it.

"Justice isn't secured until crime victims are," McCrone began, standing next to County Executive James N. Robey, also a Democrat, on the county government complex plaza in front of two trees adorned with 81 white paper doves, each bearing a victim's name.

But then he explained that the week has a dual purpose - including one that brought a slight smile to his lips and had Robey shifting slightly on his feet.

In addition to honoring the cause, the week this year also honors the late President Ronald Reagan, the Republican who began the annual commemoration in 1981.

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