Week In Review

September 10, 2006

Anne Arundel

County seeking election judges

Anne Arundel County officials are scrambling to fill 100 election judge vacancies with less than a week before Tuesday's primaries.

Barbara L. Fisher, director of the county Board of Elections, said that dropouts over the past week prompted her to issue a public plea for help from county employees and others. She expressed worry about long lines at the polls and potential confusion caused by the lack of staff. She said the impact could be felt countywide. The county relies on between 1,800 and 1,900 election judges to serve nearly 190 voting precincts.

"There is nothing we can't do," Fisher said of the projected shortage. "If we don't fill a polling place, they will have to do the best they can."

Fisher estimated that many of the county's election judges are in their 60s, and they are dropping out because they are intimidated by the electronic voting machines. She also said the pay - $140 for a chief judge and $110 for check-in judges, for a 15-hour day - is not attracting younger residents.

Maryland section, Thursday

Annapolis

Fights erupt at Annapolis High

Four fights over two days at Annapolis High School resulted in the arrest of 18 students, Anne Arundel County police and school officials said. The fistfights were attributed to clashes among students who live in different neighborhoods, but Principal Don Lilley said he is confident that with the arrests and suspensions of the students, the clashes are over.

"We will have a very uneventful end of the school year," Lilley said. "I don't think it's going to continue."

The first fight broke out shortly after school started Wednesday at 7:30 a.m., said Lt. David Waltemeyer of the Anne Arundel County Police Department. The school resource officer radioed for assistance, and three students were arrested and charged with assault.

Two more officers were sent to the school for the rest of the day, but the fighting continued, Waltemeyer said. A second fight at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday resulted in three arrests on charges of disorderly conduct, and a third fracas at 12:46 p.m. resulted in assault charges against three more students.

Thursday, a police sergeant and five officers helped patrol the school, but another fight broke out about 7:15 a.m. That time, nine students were arrested and charged with assault, two of them adults and at least one of them female, Waltemeyer said.

Maryland section, Friday

Anne Arundel

Life sentences upheld in murders

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals upheld Wednesday the life-without-parole sentences for a former National Security Agency cryptologist whose two previous death sentences for the 1993 murder of his ex-fiancee and her friend had been overturned.

The families of victims Betina "Kristi" Gentry, 18, and her friend Cynthia V. Allen, 22, had asked Anne Arundel County prosecutors not to pursue a death sentence against Darris Alaric Ware, 35, after a capital verdict was twice erased. In 2004, Ware was sentenced to two life sentences without parole for the murders in Gentry's home and 20 concurrent years for gun violations.

Maryland section, Friday

Anne Arundel

Alternative energy gets local interest

Anne Arundel County will research the viability of converting horse manure, wood waste and gas emissions from landfills into electricity and fuel for cars, the first effort of its kind in Maryland, the state's top agricultural official said this week.

The $85,000 study of renewable energy alternatives has drawn the interest of state and federal leaders who are wrestling with the rising costs of electricity and limited supply of oil. County, state and federal agencies are funding the study.

Local officials see the additional benefits of reducing nutrient flow into the Chesapeake Bay, conserving landfill space and attracting energy-related businesses.

Northern Shore Energy Technologies Inc. of Annapolis will spend the next 12 to 18 months at the former Sudley Landfill in the southern end of the county to determine the feasibility of building a plant there for the energy conversion of biomass, such as animal waste and plants. The pact signed with the county followed a year of talks.

Business section, Thursday

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