Week In Review

October 02, 2005

Guzzone says he won't run

Guy Guzzone, a two-term County Councilman and presumptive Democratic candidate for county executive, has said that for personal reasons, he will not run for the office, throwing the contest wide open.

County Executive James N. Robey, a Democrat, cannot seek re-election because of term limits. He is thought to be considering a state Senate bid next year. Democrats control the County Council by a 3-2 majority.

Guzzone, 41, who has three children and grew up an only child in Parkville, said his decision results in part from his 81-year old father's heart disease and tenuous physical condition, and the need to help his parents and his own family.

"I'm the classic sandwich generation person at this time," said Guzzone, who revealed his decision in a letter to supporters. "All we really have to give to other people is our time. I intend to do that."

The campaign for county executive next year is shaping up as a potentially bruising battle over a vision for wealthy Howard, where Robey has raised income taxes and expanded government over Republican opposition and criticism.

Guzzone, who said he would run for the House of Delegates in District 13, said he made the announcement when he did to give others a chance to consider a campaign and get organized.

The decision leaves the Democratic Party without a clear candidate for the top job. County Republicans appear to be united behind Ellicott City Councilman Christopher J. Merdon, 34, a two-term council member who has been campaigning for weeks.

Police helicopter to cost 15% more

The price of a new helicopter for Howard County police has increased 15 percent, to $2.3 million, since May, when the County Council approved, in concept, a $2 million purchase as part of the annual county budget process.

A bill providing $1 million in financing over seven years to help pay for the helicopter is to be introduced in the council this week. Another $1 million for the purchase was included in the annual county budget approved in May. County officials plan to use $311,000 in drug-seizure assets to pay the rest of the bill.

Jim Vannoy, an aide to County Executive James N. Robey, said electronics and communications gear on the helicopter cost $648,000.

In May, county officials defended the purchase of the Bell 407 helicopter to replace a 40-year-old military surplus OH-58 model based with two helicopters owned by Anne Arundel County at a facility near Fort Meade. Anne Arundel bought a Bell 407 last year.

Howard County Police Chief Wayne Livesay said Howard's helicopter logs about 300 hours a year, an average of about six hours a week. He said Howard needs the same model because the two counties often exchange pilots. Howard's helicopter also needs $300,000 in repairs and lacks modern wiring for electronic mapping to aid searches.

6th-grade teacher receives honor

Anshu Randhawa, a sixth-grade math teacher at Folly Quarter Middle School, has been recognized as an American Star of Teaching by the U.S. Department of Education for improving pupils' performance and making a difference in their lives.

A winner was picked in each state and the District of Columbia from 1,800 nominations, said Jay R. Moyer, a representative of the Education Department, who presented Randhawa with a plaque Tuesday .

Randhawa, 32, whose family emigrated from India when she was 9 years old, grew up in Ellicott City and graduated from Mount Hebron High School.

She studied biology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, intending to go into medicine, but decided against it her senior year.

After graduating with a degree in biology and education, Randhawa trained teachers in Kiribati, an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, as a Peace Corps volunteer. She returned home in 1998 and taught at Patuxent Valley and Mount View middle schools. In between, she spent a year in Arizona.

Ellicott City man gets volunteer honor

Michael A. Canet, an Ellicott City resident and a lawyer specializing in tax matters and financial planning, has been honored as Volunteer of the Year by the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service.

In eight years, he has taken on 54 of the nonprofit organization's clients for tax and guardianship matters.

Canet is the principal of the company for which he has worked since 1997, the renamed Prostatis Financial Advisors Group. It has offices in Glen Burnie, Towson and Columbia.

Proposal offered on development

Planning officials have proposed a compromise to end the continuing dispute over how to contain development in western Howard County.

The proposal attempts to protect property values and permanently preserve land, which has proven to be a difficult balancing act. It also represents a significant softening in the countys position.

The key elements would:

Prohibit properties of 50 acres or more that are zoned rural conservation (RC) from receiving building rights, or density. The county initially proposed an absolute ban.

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