Week In Review

June 18, 2006

Annapolis

Bill proposes stricter sanitation

Concerned that food-service workers are not following uniform and sanitary procedures, an Annapolis city council member is proposing a city program for facility managers -- a requirement that, if approved, would give Annapolis the strictest restaurant regulations in the county.

The bill, proposed by Alderwoman Classie Gillis Hoyle, a Ward 3 Democrat, would establish a test covering proper sanitary procedures for food preparation, storage and handling. The Department of Neighborhood and Environmental Programs also would maintain a registry of certified managers.

"We really need restaurants to be aware of the importance of training," said Hoyle, who has received dozens of calls from constituents complaining about improper food handling. "Certainly not everyone is going to be certified, but we want to make sure that there is one person on board that is trained."

But Melvin Thompson, the vice president for government relations for the Restaurant Association of Maryland, whose organization has not taken a position on the bill, suggested restaurants aren't the problem.

"In the past, we've supported statewide legislation on these measures that covered restaurants and nonprofits," Thompson said. "Food safety is food safety, and many sanitation issues that we've had are the result of nonprofit events."

Hoyle's bill, introduced Monday, would require that, after July 1, 2007, a certified food-service manager be available for consultation during business hours at each of about 200 restaurants in Annapolis. After July 1, 2009, food-service managers would have to be on site during business hours.

Similar food certification programs have been adopted in Prince George's, Montgomery, Howard and Baltimore counties. But in Anne Arundel County, restaurants are allowed to decide how much training is necessary to be employed as a food-service worker.

Anne Arundel section, Wednesday

Pasadena

Man sentenced for dog-slashing revenge

A Pasadena man was sentenced Tuesday to the maximum term in jail for slashing a dog's throat and leaving the bloody animal on the doorstep of an ex-girlfriend's mother, who the man blamed for ending the relationship.

Robert Lee Grim, 26, said nothing as Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Joseph P. Manck acknowledged Grim's heroin problem and expressed concern that Grim's criminal activities had "progressed" to nearly killing a dog and using it to menace his former girlfriend's mother. Manck ordered Grim jailed for three years for the attack on the dog. He placed Grim on five years' probation for drug possession and barred him from contacting his ex-girlfriend and her mother.

Marjorie Cooke returned from taking her daughter, Sue Cantu, to an airport Jan. 3, 2005, to the sight of a bloody towel and drops of blood on the front step of her Millersville home, she said. Her car tires were slashed.

Grim and a friend had taken the mixed-breed dog from the street, cut a 3 1/2 -inch gash in its neck in the parking lot of nearby Baldwin Memorial United Methodist Church and left the animal for Cooke, said Assistant State's Attorney Kim DiPietro.

But the dog crept away and was discovered by a neighbor on her stairwell. She called police, DiPietro said. The dog, Casper, who has since recovered, belonged to a Baltimore woman who had left it with her nephew in Millersville, she said.

Maryland section, Tuesday

Anne Arundel

Citizens push for horse park

As the U.S. Naval Academy prepares to request proposals for 850 acres of Navy-owned farmland in Gambrills as early as this summer, horse lovers are mobilizing to support a horse park they say would invigorate Maryland's horse industry and be an economic boon for Anne Arundel County.

The newly formed Anne Arundel County Horse Council, or AACHC, has joined with the Citizens in Support of the Horse Park in a push to line up community and political support for the park. Since January, more than 3,000 people have signed a statewide petition to bring the park to Gambrills.

More than 200 people turned out for a forum Wednesday night, at which the organization presented the Maryland Stadium Authority's feasibility study of the horse park.

About a dozen candidates for office voiced their support for the park, prompting applause.

Anne Arundel section, Friday

Annapolis

Council members back Middle Years

Members of the Annapolis city council joined with parents and a few school board members this week in voicing hope that the Board of Education -- at last -- will fund the rigorous International Baccalaureate Middle Years program for middle school pupils.

Those in favor of the program, a precursor to the International Baccalaureate diploma program for high school students, have advocated for years, only to have their hopes dashed when the County Council cut the program from the budget for the three years in a row.

When the school board formally adopts its fiscal 2007 budgets Wednesday, members will have the discretion to fund the Middle Years program at three county middle schools for the coming school year, though the County Council cut $146,000 from the school budget for the curriculum.

However, the school board can shift funds around, and two school board members -- Eugene Peterson and Enrique Melendez -- previously have said that they would like to see that happen.

Anne Arundel section, Friday

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