City / County Digest

CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

February 08, 2007

Army withdraws Ft. Meade sewage incinerator plan

Facing a groundswell of opposition, Army officials announced last night that they are withdrawing plans to build a sewage sludge incinerator at Fort Meade.

"It's Fort Meade's intention to terminate the project because it no longer makes good business sense," said Clyde Reynolds, public works director at the Army post.

Fort Meade issued a news release stating its intention at a public hearing on the project held by the Maryland Department of the Environment. Reynolds said Fort Meade plans to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant, eliminating the need to burn the sludge.

The announcement occurred after an article in The Sun yesterday about the proposal. Community leaders sharply criticized MDE, which tentatively approved the permit Dec. 21, for failing to inform the public about it or the hearing.

Army officials said last night that they had reached a decision to kill the project late last week, though they did not disclose that before last night. A spokeswoman for Fort Meade told The Sun in an e-mail this week only that a decision on the project would be delayed six months.

County Executive John R. Leopold, a Republican, spoke yesterday afternoon with the post commander, Col. Kenneth O. McCreedy, about the post's decision, said Bob Leib, a member of Leopold's Cabinet.

Leopold had come out early in the day in opposition to the incinerator, which would have operated 24 hours a day during the week to process hundreds of tons of sewage. The county executive called it "outdated technology" that would "constitute a public health threat that has not been properly vetted."

Reynolds said expansion of Fort Meade's sewage system would not begin before spring 2008, with plans to complete work by 2011.

Phillip McGowan

Anne Arundel: Linthicum

Light rail train severs woman's foot

A woman lost a foot after being struck by a light rail train yesterday morning, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Transit Administration said. About 7 a.m., a pedestrian who appeared to be in her 30s stepped in front of a moving train at the BWI Business Park stop. The operator of the train blew his horn several times but the woman did not respond or move from the tracks, said Holly Henderson, an MTA spokeswoman. The pedestrian was dragged for 20 feet, and her foot was severed. The woman, whose identity was not released, was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where her condition was unknown.

Baltimore: Building code

Bill signed to make housing accessible

In her first public bill-signing since taking office three weeks ago, Mayor Sheila Dixon put her signature yesterday on legislation requiring that newly constructed houses that receive public assistance be accessible to the disabled.

The legislation applies to new houses that are financed in part with federal, state or city money or that receive subsidies such as payments in lieu of taxes or tax increment financing. It amends the city building code to require such houses to have at least one entrance and one bathroom that would be accessible to someone using a wheelchair.

Sponsored by City Councilman Robert W. Curran, the legislation is modeled after similar laws in Atlanta and Austin, Texas.

Dixon also swore in three new members of the Mayor's Commission on Disabilities.

Eric Siegel

Appointments

Dixon retains 3 more O'Malley appointees

Mayor Sheila Dixon said yesterday that she plans to retain three more members of former Mayor Martin O'Malley's administration. The three appointees include Alvin O. Gillard, executive director of the Baltimore Community Relations Commission; Sandra E. Baker, director of the city's Environmental Control Board; and David Tanner, executive director of the Board of Municipal and Zoning Appeals. "David, Sandra and Alvin are all great representatives of my vision for a more efficient and effective City government," Dixon said in a statement. "They've each not only brought innovative ideas to these enforcement and monitoring agencies, but they've quietly and appropriately implemented those innovations. For those sometimes subtle, but always significant, innovations, I'm glad that David, Sandra and Alvin will continue their work for the City of Baltimore."

Carroll County: Schools

Reading program hearing is today

The public hearing on the Carroll County schools' reading program, originally scheduled for Feb. 1, has been rescheduled for 6:30 p.m. today at the public schools' building, 125 N. Court St., Westminster. The Division of Instruction is examining the current reading program for all grades and will develop a two-year improvement plan. Information: 410- 751-3067.

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