Week In Review

February 18, 2007


Academy has rise in alcohol infractions

The Naval Academy has recently seen what a high-ranking midshipman called an "unacceptable" increase in alcohol rules infractions, despite the launch last fall of a strict policy that put the school at the forefront of efforts at colleges nationwide to curb binge drinking.

In a memo sent Wednesday to all 4,400 midshipmen and obtained by The Sun, senior Rachel Barton, the drug and alcohol education student officer, said that in the past six weeks, midshipmen had violated the new rules as much as they did in the previous six months. "The number of alcohol incidents within the Brigade lately has been unacceptable," she wrote, urging them to be responsible during the coming long weekend. "Have fun, but think about what you are doing. Have a plan when you go out and look out for each other." Barton also reminded her classmates that if they are found to be alcohol abusers, many of the prestigious Navy communities such as pilots or SEALs would not accept them.

The Naval Academy defended the policy yesterday, noting that of the 6,219 Breathalyzer tests administered last fall, 6,080 were negative for alcohol use. Of the 139 that detected alcohol use, more than 100 were within the range the academy has deemed responsible. Only 0.4 percent, or about 25, showed a 0.08 blood-alcohol level or higher. A spokesman said previous years' statistics were not available.

Maryland section, Thursday


Alderwoman seeks ban on honking

It all started with a honking cabdriver outside the apartment complex of an irritated Annapolis alderwoman.

Words were exchanged, complaints were lodged, meetings were held, and now the alderwoman is mounting a charge against an annoyance familiar to every city dweller. She is drafting a bill that would make taxicab drivers subject to fines for honking their horns to pick up passengers.

"I'm looking at what we can do. I'm living in a community that has been besieged," says Alderwoman Julie M. Stankivic, who declined to discuss the bill's details. She attended a hearing today with city officials and some of the offending drivers.

"To pass a law that says you can't honk your horn if you are picking someone up, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me," said Alfred LaGasse, executive vice president of the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association a national organization based in Kensington. "Actually, it makes no sense to me."

He couldn't think of any city that attempted to ban honking, excessive or otherwise.

Maryland section, Thursday


Proposals would bring back ferry

Fifty-five years ago, the grand Bay Bridge sounded the death knell for the Eastern Shore's fashionable and fast ferry service. Now two proposals for resurrecting waterway travel have been floated - one to connect Baltimore, Kent Island and Annapolis, and another to connect Baltimore to Rock Hall.

Though both are far from a certainty, the idea is attracting interest as a way to curb traffic on the often congested Bay Bridge, possibly reducing the need for a third bridge, and to reopen the bay as a viable mode of transportation.

On Thursday, a volunteer committee in Annapolis, made up of city officials, former naval officers, urban planners and ferry enthusiasts, met to discuss the concept for the high-speed, passenger-only ferry that would possibly land at the downtown City Dock.

The initial proposal calls for a two-vessel service from downtown Baltimore to Kent Island and then to Annapolis City Dock, with fares ranging from $7 to $12 each way, and a travel time of 20 to 90 minutes, depending on the route. Ferry commuters would feed into shuttle and bus services in Baltimore and Annapolis.

Maryland section, Wednesday


Academy seeks to expel midshipman

The Naval Academy is seeking to expel Lamar S. Owens Jr., a former standout quarterback who was acquitted in July of raping a female classmate, after he rejected several offers aimed at persuading him to resign.

Owens, who had volunteered to quit last summer to avoid prosecution, will appeal the recommendation by Vice Adm. Rodney P. Rempt, the academy superintendent, to the secretary of the Navy in hopes that he can graduate and be commissioned a surface warfare officer, sources close to Owens said yesterday. That would set up a battle between the alumni who backed Owens and Rempt, who has staked out an aggressive stance against sexual misconduct at the academy.

After meeting Feb. 9 with the superintendent, Owens was served Monday with the administrative charges that Rempt said warrant his dismissal, including having sex in the academy dormitory and downloading pornography onto his computer.

Unlike other former midshipmen who have been kicked out in recent years, Owens would not be forced to repay the $130,000 cost of his education, a development that sources said was a product of negotiations. But neither would he be granted a diploma or a commission.

A section, Wednesday


Riviera Beach fire chief suspended

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