Week In Review

March 25, 2007

Annapolis

Hospital given Hopkins boost

Anne Arundel Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Medicine announced a strategic alliance, giving the Annapolis hospital a chance to take advantage of Hopkins' cachet and programs, and providing Hopkins access to more suburban patients.

The affiliation will mean that Arundel Medical can offer new services and that the two institutions can share the cost of developing satellite medical centers and other initiatives. It also means AMC will send some patients to Hopkins' giant East Baltimore campus for complex treatments.

The two have begun collaborating, with Hopkins agreeing to provide primary care doctors to staff a new facility Arundel Medical will open early next year on Kent Island.

And the two have started working together on some clinical trials for oncology patients, such as testing a new way of irradiating breast cancer. That gives AAMC patients access to experimental treatments without traveling to Baltimore and provides Hopkins researchers with a larger base of patients.

Business section, Friday

Bay Bridge

MdTA promises smooth deck work

The Maryland Transportation Authority is getting ready to work on the Bay Bridge again. And this time, it intends to get the job right on the first try.

The authority plans to resume its redecking project on the westbound span starting in September. It has revised its engineering techniques and its approach to contract management, hoping to avoid the excruciating delays that troubled the first phase of the work - much of which had to be done twice.

Officials don't want the type of miscommunication that infuriated bridge users during the first phase of the project. So they are redoubling their efforts to inform Marylanders of the plans for Phase 2. They have produced a video with sophisticated graphics explaining the techniques they will use when the work resumes. It will be shown at a public meeting Tuesday in Annapolis.

The $120 million redecking project, which began in 2001 and is expected to be done in 2009, is the first full replacement of the surface of the westbound span of what is formally known as the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge. The three-lane westbound bridge opened in 1973; the original, two-lane eastbound bridge carried its first traffic in 1952.

A section, Thursday

Hanover

Medical Center to add Hanover site

Baltimore Washington Medical Center has signed a deal to open a clinic with an ambulatory surgery center in Hanover to serve the growing market in western Anne Arundel County, hospital officials announced.

The center, which will also include a radiology suite, physical therapy center and primary care and specialty physician offices, will be in a 150,000-square-foot building at Route 100 near Arundel Mills mall. The project is expected to be completed by fall of 2008.

Maryland section, Thursday

Crownsville

State makes tract available for park

State leaders approved the free transfer of 547 acres of the former Crownsville Hospital Center to Anne Arundel County, which intends to preserve the environmentally sensitive parcel as parkland with hiking trails.

The Board of Public Works' unanimous vote to declare the state land west of Interstate 97 as surplus is a critical step in the county's effort to build a nearly continuous strip of open space stretching from the Patuxent Research Refuge in Laurel to Waterworks Park, just outside Annapolis.

County Executive John R. Leopold said it would also serve as a "prelude" for the county's acquiring the full Crownsville campus of nearly 1,200 acres, the future of which has been in limbo since the state closed the psychiatric hospital in 2004.

Leopold has expressed formal interest in taking control of the larger 648-acre parcel that includes the hospital's 61 buildings. That tract, on the east side of I-97, has been under review by the state for possible sale or transfer.

Then-County Executive Janet S. Owens had balked at taking over the 648 acres because of the estimated $25 million environmental cleanup cost, but Leopold said his administration is trying to strike a deal with the state to fund it over several years.

Maryland section, Thursday

Anne Arundel

Balance of taxes, cuts cited in survey

The majority of county residents support a mixture of tax increases and cost cuts to tackle looming budget challenges, yet about the same number don't trust the local government to strike the right balance, according to a new Anne Arundel Community College survey.

Fifty percent of the 529 residents polled two weeks ago also said they supported a school system that is of "absolute top quality regardless of the cost." Only a quarter, however, supported raising taxes to pay for the $133 million increase in education spending proposed by Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell.

Twenty percent wanted to cut other county services to support that initiative, and 43 percent wanted to fund the increase "to the extent possible without increasing taxes and reducing other county services." The survey indicates that County Executive John R. Leopold's approach of exploring tax increases and budget cuts to balance the budget might hit the right chord in the generally tax-averse county, said Dan Nataf, head of the Center for the Study of Local Issues at Anne Arundel Community College, which conducted the poll.

Anne Arundel section, Wednesday

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