The Week That Was


News From Around The Baltimore Region

April 17, 2005

Assembly session ends

A proposal to spend state money on embryonic stem-cell research died as the General Assembly concluded its 90-day session, riven by the same partisan feuding under which it began. Lawmakers gave final approval for a constitutional amendment that would appear on the 2006 ballot, asking voters whether the Assembly should sign off on the sale of state parks.

Merriweather to stay open-air

The owners of the Merriweather Post Pavilion announced that the facility will remain open-air. The decision settles uncertainty that has swirled around the Columbia concert venue for two years.

Development plans announced

The area's development boom shows no signs of abating. Plans were announced for a 270-acre residential and commercial project next to Arundel Mills mall, about 170 condominiums in Reservoir Hill, two hotels near Baltimore-Washington International Airport and conversion of Baltimore's derelict Abell Building into shops and residences. Meanwhile, homeowners and businesses criticized plans for as many as four 290-foot residential and retail towers along Key Highway.

CSX safety measures implemented

Safety recommendations demanded by federal transportation officials after the 2001 train derailment and fire in a Baltimore tunnel have been implemented, according to Baltimore and CSX rail company officials. The city said it is communicating better with CSX and is better prepared for an emergency in a tunnel.

Academic racial gaps remain

Baltimore County students of all races are making academic progress by many measures, but wide gaps in the achievement and suspension rates of whites and minorities remain. According to a report, minority students are taking more rigorous courses and the college entrance exam, but suspensions for African-American students nearly doubled between 2000 and 2004.

Ruppersberger out of Senate race

After talking with his family and supporters, Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger said he decided he was better off staying in the House for now, and he will not pursue the seat of Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes.

City budget surplus forecast

Baltimore is projecting a $37.5 million budget surplus for the current fiscal year and will direct about a third of that money into programs to benefit children. The surplus is largely the result of increased revenue from the boom in the residential real estate market.

Baltimore County budget unveiled

Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. unveiled a $1.45 billion budget proposal that provides raises for county employees, money to eliminate a tuition increase at the Community College of Baltimore County and more than $37 million to help finish renovation of the county's middle schools.

Factory's sludge plan hindered

Carroll County officials put up a roadblock for a Union Bridge cement factory's plan to burn dried sewage sludge from Baltimore as a fuel alternative when the county zoning administrator said the law forbids storage of the sludge.

Fines issued on campaign giving

A state prosecutor issued more than $60,000 in fines to 15 individuals and companies he says violated Maryland campaign contribution limits. Prosecutor Robert A. Rohrbaugh found that all had contributed more than the $10,000 limit for companies in a four-year election cycle.

Suburbia's spread continues

Suburbia continued to spread out from Maryland's cities last year, with mostly rural Cecil and Calvert sharing top billing as the state's fastest-growing counties, according to Census Bureau estimates.

Miss N.C. takes crown

Donald Trump, Michael Phelps and 51 beauty queens graced the Hippodrome Theatre for the nationally televised crowning of Miss USA. The winner was Chelsea Cooley, Miss North Carolina.

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