Week in Review

October 30, 2005

Executive unveils his smoking-ban bill

County Executive James N. Robey has unveiled his long-awaited bill that would ban smoking in all Howard County bars and restaurants.

The bill, portions of which would not take effect until 2008, also would ban smoking within 15 feet of any main public building entrance, at public athletic and entertainment events and in or near areas of private homes used for business or day care. Civil penalties would be as high as $500 for businesses.

Robey's proposal is broader than Montgomery County's two-year old law, which covers only restaurants and bars.

Kari Appler, director of the Smoke Free Maryland Coalition, is hopeful the Maryland General Assembly will enact a statewide ban this winter.

"We think there's an excellent chance. We're getting closer and closer. There's broad public support across every demographic," she said.

Since 1996, when current restrictions took effect, Howard law has required physically separate smoking and nonsmoking areas in restaurants. Robey's bill, which excludes some private clubs and hotel rooms, is scheduled for formal introduction at the council's next legislative session, Nov. 7, and a vote in December.

If the bill is adopted, establishments that now have smoking in separately ventilated areas would lose that exemption Jan. 1, 2008. The rest of the bill's provisions would take effect 61 days after it is signed into law.

Howard County Section, Oct. 26, Page 1G

Guardsman killed in Iraq is mourned

Nearly 200 friends and family of Spc. Samuel M. Boswell of Elkridge turned out for the funeral Monday for the Maryland Army National Guardsman who was one of three National Guard soldiers of the 243rd Engineer Company based in West Baltimore who were killed in a Humvee crash in Iraq on Oct. 14.

Boswell was promoted posthumously to the rank of corporal. Boswell, who grew up in Fulton and joined the Guard in June 2003, had been in Iraq since mid-August.

Maryland Section, Oct. 25, Page 3B

Salary increases favored for elected

Howard County's next executive and County Council members should get substantial pay raises, according to preliminary discussions of a citizens committee readying salary recommendations.

The executive elected next year should be paid $147,000 to start -- $11,000 more than executive James N. Robey's final-year salary -- and should get annual raises matching the consumer price index, six of the seven committee members tentatively agreed this week.

County Council members elected next year should get about $48,000 to start -- a $14,200 raise -- with a matching annual escalator, five members agreed, though one, Frank Kitzmiller, felt that might be too high. Member Carline Cazeau missed the meeting.

The group is to discuss and likely vote on final recommendations at a meeting Nov. 9.

The commission, which is required under county charter, will submit its recommendations to the County Council, which has the final say.

Howard County Section, Oct. 28, Page 1G

Teacher charged with shoplifting

A Howard County schoolteacher was arrested and charged with shoplifting Oct. 22 after what police said was the theft of several pieces of clothing from a store at The Mall in Columbia.

Nadia Eliasson, 53, a foreign-languages teacher at Mount Hebron High School in Ellicott City, is accused of stuffing several pieces of merchandise valued at nearly $850 into her purse at the Lord & Taylor store.

Maryland Section, Oct. 25, Page 3B

Cousin offers redistricting plan

An elementary school redistricting plan recommended by Howard County Superintendent Sydney L. Cousin offers no significant changes to an earlier proposal drafted by the school system's planning office.

Cousin's recommendations for filling a new elementary school in Dayton, opening in August, and relieving crowding at neighboring schools follow the boundary adjustments suggested by David C. Drown, the school system's manager of school planning, and a citizens advisory committee.

This year's redistricting process affects mostly elementary schools in the western region of Howard County.

The school system is also making moderate changes at the middle school level -- particularly to relieve crowding at Patapsco Middle and to fill open seats at Burleigh Manor.

The school board has scheduled three work sessions, beginning with one at 7 p.m. Thursday, at the Board of Education building. A public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 8. The school board is set to make its decision Nov. 22.

Howard County Section, Oct. 28, Page 1G

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