City/county Digest


July 07, 2006

Arundel OKs cable service contract with Verizon

Verizon Communications will be the third cable provider in Anne Arundel County now that the County Council and executive have approved a 15-year deal with the telecommunications company.

County Executive Janet S. Owens signed legislation yesterday approving a cable franchise agreement with Verizon to provide cable service to two-thirds of the county initially - and about three-quarters of Anne Arundel within seven years. The council unanimously passed the measure Wednesday night. The contract will go into effect in 45 days.

Verizon will join Comcast Corp. and Millennium Digital Media in providing cable to county residents. Anne Arundel is the second Maryland county, after Howard, to grant Verizon a cable franchise.

Under the deal, Verizon will provide free basic cable service to county schools, libraries, police and fire stations and other municipal buildings, and five channels will be reserved for public access. The county will receive 5 percent of all cable revenue from Verizon.

The company has been laying fiber optic cable in Anne Arundel for about a year, and it has been offering high-speed Internet access in the county since last fall. Verizon plans to offer "bundled services" that include phone, high-speed Internet and cable television. Comcast and Millennium are marketing similar combined services.

Though the contract was approved, the County Council still has to vote on issues related to the contract - how often the company will be audited and how much Verizon will pay for those audits, according to council Chairman Edward R. Reilly.

Anica Butler

Harford: Interstate 95

Children on mend after bus accident

The children hospitalized for injuries suffered in Wednesday's bus accident on Interstate 95 showed improvement yesterday, as one was released and two others were upgraded to fair condition, according to a Johns Hopkins Hospital spokeswoman.

The fourth child was listed in good condition, the hospital said.

They were among about 60 children on a bus that flipped on the interstate near Aberdeen on the way back to Philadelphia from a trip to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. The accident occurred when the bus and a truck tractor sideswiped each other in the northbound lanes about 5 p.m. The bus, one of six transporting children on the trip, swerved into the median and back across the road before turning over and coming to rest on its side.

A Maryland State Police spokesman said yesterday that the investigation into the accident was continuing and that no charges had been filed.

The accident shut down I-95 in both directions, with southbound lanes reopening about 7:40 p.m. and northbound lanes about 10 p.m.

The children were from the Norris Square Civic Association Beacon Program at the Hunter School.

Nick Shields

Baltimore: Schools

Aides to be provided for student workers

Baltimore school system officials said yesterday that they will provide all the staffing needed to supervise 13 developmentally disabled high school students at their summer jobs.

The system will pay about $15,000 for a teacher and three assistants to supervise the students, most of whom have mental retardation or brain damage. Twelve of them attend the special-education Claremont School in East Baltimore.

Claremont teacher Nancy Malone arranged for the students to earn minimum wage this summer working as janitors, classroom assistants and linen-service employees at a day care center and Johns Hopkins Hospital. But their jobs were jeopardized when the school system did not provide money for Malone and aides to supervise the students at their jobs.

For the past two weeks, Malone, an aide and parents have volunteered their time to supervise while they scrambled to find the money they need to get through the summer. Malone said yesterday that the school system has agreed to give her and the aide two weeks of back pay.

Sara Neufeld

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