Week In Review

November 06, 2005

Fewer bus shifts; some still feel pain

The areawide restructuring of Maryland Transit Administration bus routes that threatened three lines to Howard County has largely been rescinded, although route changes still have inconvenienced some commuters.

Maryland Transportation Secretary Robert L. Flanagan, a former Howard delegate, said at a recent meeting that the changes were made to save money by cutting lightly used routes, while strengthening service on others.

"Unfortunately, we're dealing with 200,000 riders a day," he said. "I regret anyone inconvenienced."

Beth Kreider, director of operations, planning and scheduling for the MTA, said the agency cut the most lightly used trips to Howard County.

Richard Kirchner, president of Transportation Advocates, a private county group pushing for more public transit, said he is grateful that Flanagan did not eliminate the No. 150 line, and did not cut the No. 311 commuter bus or reduce service on the No. 320 route on U.S. 1 -- the other proposed changes.

Howard County Section, Nov. 2, Page 1G

Senegalese coaches visit the county

Five basketball coaches from Senegal visited Centennial High School this week, talking to Howard County students about how to better combine sports and education in their country.

The coaches are in the United States for three weeks as part of a program sponsored by the U.S. State Department, said Matthew Robinson, the University of Delaware professor in charge of the program.

Robinson took the Senegalese coaches to Howard County because of his longtime friendship with Mike Williams, the county's coordinator of athletics.

Visiting with them Monday was George Muresan, a former Washington Wizards player from Romania, who was there as part of an NBA program called Basketball without Borders, which promotes good will through sports.

Howard County Section, Nov. 2, Page 1G

Kaufman is running for school board

Joshua M. Kaufman -- a relative unknown when he was appointed to the Howard County Board of Education two years ago -- has announced his campaign to seek a four-year term on the school board next year.

Kaufman, of Elkridge, filed candidacy papers with the Howard County Board of Elections on Tuesday , making official his intention to seek a seat in what is expected to be a crowded nonpartisan race.

With the five-member board expanding to seven members in December 2006 and terms of three current members expiring, including Kaufman's, voters will elect five members next November.

Board member Patricia S. Gordon said she is not seeking re-election, and Chairman Courtney Watson, though she has kept mum about her future, is likely to seek another office. That means at least four members could be new to the school board next year.

Howard County Section, Nov. 2, Page 7G

Turf Valley hearing moved to Centennial

Because of what is expected to be a large turnout, a hearing Thursday on the proposed expansion of Turf Valley has been relocated to Centennial High School.

Although the application by the developer, Mangione Family Enterprises, is widely regarded as routine, opponents have attempted to greatly broaden the review of the proposal.

The first hearing was held in August, and has twice been continued by the Planning Board.

The hearing is scheduled to resume at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

Howard County Section, Nov. 2, Page 7G

Aquatic facilities face space limits

Columbia Association staff will need to take a hard look at scheduling at the association's four indoor pools this fall and winter to make sure groups have enough time to use limited space at the aquatic facilities now that the association's board apparently has backed away from plans to enclose the Stevens Forest pool to provide more indoor swim space.

Robert D. Bellamy, the associations operations manager for the sport and fitness facilities divisions, said some space will be freed up in January when the hot-water therapy pool at the Athletic Club is completed. Still, the problem of limited indoor swimming remains, some say.

Tony Mazzarella, chairman of the associations aquatics advisory committee, said as the county population increases, the use of indoor pools will rise. One answer, he said, is to build another indoor facility.

The lack of adequate pool time has some swim teams going outside Howard County to conduct practices and other teams limiting the number of members they can accept, he said.

A recent proposal to add a fabric bubble to seasonally enclose the Stevens Forest pool was rejected by the Columbia Association board of directors.

The bubble, a short-term solution for freeing up space for lap swimmers at a cost of $627,000 for the coming fiscal year, was voted down as members noted limited usage for residents and the need to restrain the capital budget with plans for the associations headquarters on Wincopin Circle undetermined.

Howard County Section, Nov. 2, Page 5G

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