Week In Review

August 27, 2006

Anne Arundel

Callahan blasts Johnson's work

Former Anne Arundel County parks Director Dennis Callahan questioned the leadership of Sheriff George F. Johnson IV, pointing to a backlog of thousands of warrants in the sheriff's office as proof that his fellow Democrat is ill-qualified to be county executive.

In the sharpest broadside yet among the seven candidates seeking to succeed Democrat Janet S. Owens, Callahan sought to gain ground on Johnson, the perceived front-runner for the party nomination. Callahan noted statistics from a recent article in The Examiner, which reported that the sheriff's office had failed to serve more than 11,000 warrants. He said the Baltimore County sheriff's office had a backlog of fewer than 3,000.

In a hastily called news conference at his Eastport townhouse on Wednesday, Callahan suggested that county residents are less safe because these warrants have not been served, and he called Johnson's department "in disarray."

While acknowledging that his department has a backlog of 11,000 to 12,000 warrants each month, Johnson said that Callahan distorted the statistics, mentioning that Anne Arundel serves warrants for Circuit Court and District Court, where the majority of warrants are issued, largely for minor traffic offenses.

Baltimore County's deputies serve warrants mostly for juvenile-related cases; Baltimore County police handle warrants for criminal cases. Johnson said that, all told, the backlog of warrants in Baltimore County is nearly identical to that of Anne Arundel.

Maryland section, Thursday

Anne Arundel

Owens signs pact to buy, revive farm

County Executive Janet S. Owens signed a preliminary agreement Monday to buy a 400-acre farm in West River and, in a unique move, revive the long-dormant cattle operations there.

"It's one thing to preserve agricultural land, and another thing to preserve active agricultural land," said Owens, who grew up on a South County farm.

The County Council must approve the $2.8 million deal with Mary Kinder, and passage is expected as early as Sept. 5. The acquisition would push the county's holdings of preserved farmland to 12,000 acres, with 6,600 of those claimed during the Owens administration.

The T-shaped property would help form a contiguous area of nearly 1,000 acres of protected farmland. The agreement would prohibit private development of the farm but would allow future conversion of the land for a school, a hospital or formal parkland if the farming operation becomes no longer viable.

Maryland section, Wednesday

Anne Arundel

Navy woman blazes trail to rear admiral

Michelle Howard was 5 years old the first time a classmate called her a name using a racial slur. She ran home crying to her father, an enlisted man in the Air Force and a strict disciplinarian.

"My father picked me up and shook me," says Howard. "He shook me and he said, `You get used to it, little girl. You've got to toughen up. That's just the way it is.'"

It was not the tender comfort she had sought, but Howard, now the first female Naval Academy graduate to be promoted to rear admiral, would need just that kind of resolve to make it through Annapolis.

She would need it later, too, as she blazed a trail for women and African-Americans in the Navy, taking on difficult engineering assignments in the fleet and commanding men who had seldom worked with a woman, let alone taken orders from one.

But Howard, 46, attributes much of the success in her career to luck, since her Navy assignments have always come on the heels of change in what women were allowed to do in the military. She jokes that her parents deserve thanks because they had a daughter at just the right time.

"April 1960 was a good time to come into the world," she says. "But really, you've got to thank the leadership for saying, `Yeah, we can do this, we can move women into these kinds of ships.'"

Next month, Howard will be the keynote speaker at a conference celebrating "30 Years of Women at the U.S. Naval Academy," an opportunity she will use to talk about her love of being a Navy leader.

A section, Tuesday

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