Week in Review

October 23, 2005

Police captain charged in assault

Howard County Police Capt. Tara D. Nelson, the county's first and only minority female captain -- is charged with six counts of assault, accused of trying to run over her husband, Larry W. Nelson, 45, and his friend with her car Oct. 16. She has been placed on leave and her police powers suspended while an investigation is under way.

Nelson, 43, supervised a staff of 70 people who investigate robberies, assaults and homicides in the county.

In 2004, she served on a statewide task force on parking for people with disabilities, and since September 2002 has volunteered as a board member of the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, a Columbia homeless shelter and emergency services provider to people in crisis.

In a 2004 interview with The Sun, Nelson acknowledged that she was an example for other women and minorities in the department.

Larry Nelson told police that Tara Nelson also tried to run him and his friend over with her car, according to the charging documents.

In her statement to Baltimore County police, Tara Nelson said that while cleaning the garage Sunday, she found a receipt from a restaurant for two meals and found another receipt for a hotel with room service for two.

Police said that when her husband arrived home, she confronted him about the receipts. He responded that he didn't have to tell her anything. Nelson told police that she ordered her husband to back away from the car before slamming the Lexus into the motorcycle.

He and his friend refused to give written statements after Sunday's incident.

Maryland Section, Oct. 19, Page 1B

Elkridge man, 20, is killed in Iraq

Spc. Samuel M. Boswell, 20, of Elkridge, was one of three members of the Maryland Army National Guard killed in a Humvee crash at the Al Taji area of Iraq on Oct. 14.

Boswell was on his way to meet his brother, a civilian contract worker based in Baghdad, when he was killed.

"He was only a couple of miles from me," said Michael Boswell, 29, who has worked in Baghdad for the past 11 months as a security specialist for Honeywell International Inc., and who gathered with the rest of the family -- there are seven surviving siblings -- at his father's home on Pindell School Road in Fulton.

A 2003 graduate of the Technology Magnet program at River Hill High School in Clarksville, Samuel Boswell was a computer whiz who also enjoyed playing video games, his brother said.

After high school, Samuel Boswell was focused on getting a college degree but also decided to join the Army National Guard. As violence in Iraq continued, he was deployed and traveled to Iraq with a different National Guard unit from the one that he had joined, his family said.

"He didn't get called up; he volunteered," Michael Boswell said. "He told me that he was enjoying it. He liked being over there, thought it was a neat experience to see different countries. He was having a hell of a good time."

Maryland Section, Oct. 18, Page 1B

Howard takes part in Readiness Week

A mock disaster scenario, the rollout a readiness-awareness mascot for children and a variety of other exercises were among the activities this week as part of Howard County's Community Readiness Week.

The week's activities were coordinated by Howard County government and the Community Emergency Response Network, a group established after Sept. 11, 2001, to develop a communitywide disaster response plan.

The network's functions include interagency coordination, shelter planning, communications enhancement and exercise development. A discussion Thursday about handling dam breeches, for example, drew representatives from police and fire departments as well as state, county and local agencies.

The county also introduced several new preparedness efforts.

The Community Notification System enables authorities to notify every resident and business in the county within hours. The system, which is being tested, is expected to deliver nearly 100,000 recorded phone messages.

In addition, the activation of the county Medical Reserve Corps Unit was announced. The corps is seeking volunteers -- health professionals and ordinary citizens -- who will be called upon to aid the public health infrastructure in case of an emergency.

Howard County Section, Oct. 21, Page 1G

Clarksville school's mascot mystery

Clarksville Elementary School's mascot -- a life-size sculpture of a cougar commissioned by the fifth-grade Class of 2003 -- was stolen this month, leaving pupils and teachers baffled.

The 275-pound concrete sculpture had been chained to a bench at the entrance of the school. The Howard County Police Department had no solid leads as of week's end and had closed the case for now, said Pfc. Jennifer Reidy, a police spokeswoman.

A fixture at the school for two years, the sculpture was in place Sept. 30. But when students, teachers and administrators returned Oct. 3, it had vanished.

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