Week In Review

October 08, 2006

Jessup

Two inmates could face death penalty

Anne Arundel County prosecutors will seek the death penalty for two prisoners charged with the July stabbing death of a correctional officer inside the Maryland House of Correction, the county state's attorney announced Friday.

The decision was made after consulting with prosecutors, Maryland State Police investigators and the family of David McGuinn, the 42-year-old correctional officer who was slain the night of July 25.

"The family is very supportive of the death penalty in this case," said State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee.

Charged in the slaying are Lee E. Stephens, 27, and Lamarr C. Harris, 35, who both have been charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. They currently are serving life sentences and both have pleaded not guilty.

Maryland section, yesterday

Millersville

Group plans for Muslim high school

Right now, it's just 20 acres of exceptionally green, overgrown vegetation and a few mounds of red dirt. But in the middle of the wide, lush field, near the junction of two highways in Millersville, is a large sign that's difficult to miss. It reads: Future Home of Makkah Learning Center. It might take several years, and several million dollars, say members of the Annapolis Islamic Society, but here will stand the Baltimore region's first Islamic high school. Next to it will be a media center with radio and TV stations, sports fields and a library. And, maybe one day, a small college.

The Makkah Learning Center - named for Islam's holiest city - has been a dream of the society's members for more than a decade. But the vision gained urgency after the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

"This is our way in the Muslim community to fight back against terrorism - by education," said Mohammad Arafa, president of the society.

Hoping to open the prayer center later this month, during the holy month of Ramadan, organizers say they want to create a place of solace and learning for local Muslims while building a bridge to the community at large. The planned high school will accept non-Muslims and the library and sports fields will be open for public use. Interfaith activities are planned for the center as well. Maryland section, Friday

Fort Meade

County to sell methane to post

Anne Arundel County will sell methane gas produced at its landfill to Fort Meade as a new energy source to serve a massive expansion at the Army post, officials announced.

County Executive Janet S. Owens and Col. Kenneth O. McCreedy, commander of the West County installation, signed a memorandum of understanding at the Millersville Landfill on Tuesday that opens formal discussions over the next 12 months on how much methane the facility can produce, how much the county would charge for it, and how it would get transported to the sprawling post. McCreedy estimated that the county's price for methane would be cheaper than a utility company's.

A contract would not go into effect until construction of a pipeline between Fort Meade and the landfill - which are about 5 miles apart - was completed.

This dedicated energy source could provide power for one or more of Fort Meade's new tenants, such as the 4,000- employee Defense Information Systems Agency, arriving as part of the base closure and realignment process, also known as BRAC. One possible use is to supplement natural gas for steam generation.

Anne Arundel section, Wednesday

West River

Council votes, 6-0, to preserve farm

Convinced that the 84-year-old landowner knew what she was signing, the County Council has approved a lease agreement that protects a 400-acre dormant farm in West River from private development.

With the council's 6-0 vote Monday night, the Anne Arundel Soil Conservation District, a quasi-state agency that advocates for and assists farmers, will effectively take over the prized South County tract for the purpose of expanding cattle operations and creating a demonstration farm.

Just one of a flurry of bills and resolutions taken up during the council's penultimate meeting of its four-year term, the approval of the West River lease preserves the good will established with the family of Mary Kinder, who agreed to sell the farm to the county for $2.8 million.

Anne Arundel section, Wednesday

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