Week In Review

January 21, 2007

Gambrills

Navy seeks ideas for former farm site

As the Navy begins accepting lease offers for an 857-acre former dairy farm in Gambrills, the director of the Maryland Stadium Authority told state lawmakers last week that it is still determining whether to seek approval for a horse park on the property.

"We have a new County Council, new county executive and a new governor," Alison L. Asti, the authority's executive director, told a House of Delegates subcommittee Thursday. "We need to make the rounds. We do not know their views, so we would need guidance on what direction to take."

The authority's 2005 proposal to build a state horse park at the site led to speculation about the use of the Navy-owned property in western Anne Arundel County. Federal law requires that the use be rural and agrarian.

The cost of building a horse park on the Gambrills site has been estimated at $114.2 million, according to a feasibility study submitted last year by the authority. The horse park would include a visitors center, a museum, a climate-controlled equestrian show ring with 2,500 fixed seats and stables for 840 horses.

Maryland section, Friday

Annapolis

Rape charges against Mid dropped

The Naval Academy has dropped rape charges against a former football player who was accused of drugging and assaulting two midshipmen, marking the second time in recent months that a high-profile sexual misconduct case brought by the Annapolis military college has come apart.

Kenny Ray Morrison, 24, will face a court-martial on four lesser offenses in connection with the two separate incidents after expert witnesses testified that the female midshipmen had not been given a date-rape drug, according to charging documents released Thursday.

Meanwhile, a vice admiral reviewing the military trial of former Navy quarterback Lamar S. Owens Jr. has upheld the court's finding of not guilty of rape and sentence of no punishment for two minor offenses, Navy officials said.

The academy will hold a private, internal hearing to determine whether he will be allowed to graduate and receive a commission or be kicked out and forced to repay the $140,000 cost of his education, a school spokeswoman said.

Maryland section, Friday

Annapolis

Navy dismisses appeal by student

A top Navy official has rejected the appeal of a Naval Academy midshipman who was kicked out for failing a running test by 20 seconds, exhausting his options for readmission and forcing him to repay the $127,000 cost of his education.

Waiving Frank Shannon's financial obligation "was not in the best interest of the United States," Navy Assistant Secretary William Navas wrote in a Jan. 4 letter. "Based on the evidence, the U.S. Naval Academy provided you ample opportunity to meet the minimum physical fitness standards required of each midshipman," Navas wrote. "Your multiple physical fitness failures over your U.S. Naval Academy career, including the last one, justified your disenrollment."

He also denied Shannon's request to repay the government through service in the enlisted ranks, where Shannon served for two years to achieve his goal of attending the Annapolis military college.

Shannon, who was expelled in April, six weeks before graduation, said that he and his family will fight the military's attempts to recover the money.

Maryland section, Thursday

Edgewater

School to house King program

With the statue of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in place at Anne Arundel Community College, the committee that pushed for the memorial is turning to another effort, an education program based on King's philosophy of nonviolence.

Officials at Sojourner-Douglass College recently agreed to house the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Institute on Non-Violent Studies and hired an assistant to research how to make it a reality.

"We are excited to do it. It fits right into our mission," said Charlestine Fairley, site director for the Edgewater campus. "In this time there is certainly a need for an institute that would teach our young people how to solve problems without indulging in violence."

Carl O. Snowden, the newly appointed director for civil rights in the office of Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, said King's credo of peace continues to be relevant and could be useful in the primary and secondary school system.

Anne Arundel section, Jan. 14

Anne Arundel

Police to acquire noise-level monitors

Anne Arundel County police plan to use a new sound-monitoring device to respond to complaints about and enforce laws concerning excessive noise.

County Executive John R. Leopold is taking advantage of legislation that he sponsored last year as a state delegate requiring the Maryland Department of the Environment to provide sound meters to local jurisdictions. The state has approved a request by Anne Arundel for a sound-measuring device, which will enable police to determine whether a person or business is violating noise standards.

Anne Arundel is the fourth county to apply for the equipment. The others are Garrett, St. Mary's and Howard.

"This equipment will allow an officer to basically document the violation and use it for court," said Lt. David Waltemeyer, a spokesman for the Anne Arundel County Police Department.

Leopold said that as the county becomes "more urbanized, noise is becoming a vexing problem." He added that high noise levels affect people's health and can be an indicator of crime.

Anne Arundel section, Wednesday

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