Week In Review

February 11, 2007

Crofton

Approvals delayed for Route 3 project

New concerns about the environmental effects on the Patuxent River watershed -- including those that would be caused by a proposed Wal-Mart in Crofton -- have prompted state and federal agencies to delay approvals on the long-awaited overhaul of Route 3, state highway officials said.

The Maryland Department of the Environment, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have begun re-examining state plans to construct a bridge over the Patuxent River and a "flyover" ramp linking Route 3 with Route 450.

State officials had previously expected to secure approvals by last fall and start construction by 2009 on the nine-mile stretch between Gambrills and Bowie, but they say now that federal highway officials might not approve the proposal until the summer of 2008.

On that timetable, construction might not begin until 2010, and then only if funding is found for the $700 million project.

Plans, which will be presented to the Greater Crofton Council on Tuesday, call for building a pedestrian-oriented boulevard on the Anne Arundel portion of Route 3, which is about 6 1/2 miles long. The remainder, in Prince George's County, would be constructed as a freeway. Talk of a Route 3 upgrade dates to the 1970s.

Anne Arundel section, Friday

Fort Meade

Army withdraws incinerator plans

Facing a groundswell of opposition, Army officials announced 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 Wednesday night 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 followed an article in The Sun about the proposal. Community leaders sharply criticized the MDE, which tentatively approved the permit Dec. 21, for failing to inform the public about it or the hearing.

Maryland section, Thursday

Annapolis

Annapolis High principal reinstated

The fight to save Annapolis High School was hatched in a chat room. Over two weeks, the after-school movement grew in the din of Annapolis coffee shops and pizza parlors. What started with three students swelled to 20, then 50.

In their first public act, more than 40 students began a campaign Wednesday to stop Superintendent Kevin Maxwell from forcing all 193 staff members to reapply for their jobs.

Wearing neon-green armbands and waving signs, they told the Anne Arundel County school board that Maxwell's Jan. 24 proposal would crush a demoralized school. Minutes later, the teens' emotional pleas gave way to cheers as the board unanimously reinstated Principal Donald Lilley.

"It's a small victory, but it's only the first step," said sophomore Molly Horton. "Now, we have to figure out how to keep our teachers from leaving."

The students are planning walkouts and a letter-writing blitz, and are gathering support from students at neighboring Broadneck High School.

Maryland section, Thursday

Glen Burnie

Woman gets 12 years in death of baby

A Glen Burnie woman who fatally beat her 2-week-old daughter and blamed her toddler son for what an Anne Arundel County judge called a "vicious and horrendous assault" was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

On Monday, Judge Joseph P. Manck sentenced Arkia L. Douglas to 30 years in prison and suspended 18 years, complying with the terms of a plea agreement that said prosecutors could not request more than a dozen years' incarceration in the death of 13-day-old La'Monica on Aug. 2, 2005.

"I feel really bad. If I could bring her back, I would give myself for her," Douglas, 23, whimpered when she addressed Manck.

La'Monica suffered several skull fractures, hemorrhaging around the brain, the type of eye damage that signals shaken-baby syndrome, and a fingernail partly pried from the nail bed. Doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital stopped cataloging her injuries because there were too many.

La'Monica's death was among five killings of youngsters in a 20-month period in the county, accounting for nearly one-fifth of the homicides. That spurred prosecutors to start working with a hospital to add abuse prevention to a prenatal program.

Maryland section, Tuesday

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