Week In Review

April 29, 2007

North County

Author banned from Harford schools

A Linthicum Heights author of children's books has been banned from visiting Harford County public schools after publicly suggesting that a 10-year-old girl disrobe during a visit to her school, a comment the author said was a quip that was taken out of context.

Richard Lynn Stack, a former lawyer who visits schools around the country with his dogs, was at Abingdon Elementary School on April 16 for an event when a student asked Stack to autograph her forehead, said Don Morrison, a spokesman for the county school system.

Morrison said that parents of students who were nearby reported two days later that Stack responded by saying he would give the student an autograph if she climbed on a lunch table and took off her clothes.

Stack told school officials he was making an absurd comment in response to the student's unusual request, Morrison said.

On Wednesday, Stack called the situation "ludicrous" and deferred to a prepared statement.

"I had a great time at the school and was very well-received," Stack wrote, noting that hundreds of students and a dozen staff members were close by. "I am confident everyone there connected with my visit knows that nothing improper was intended."

Stack's books include The Doggonest Christmas Ever, the first in a series of "Doggonest" books that he sells through his company, Windmill Press, on his Web site and in stores.

Maryland section, Thursday


Naval Academy to pay in labor dispute

The Naval Academy will pay a total of about $14,000 to more than two dozen workers at a campus restaurant who were denied lunch breaks over several years, marking the fourth time since 2004 that the school has lost a dispute with the union representing its civilian workers.

A federal arbitrator ordered the settlement, which both sides agreed to in recent weeks, after ruling that the military college violated labor laws and created an environment of "fear" and "intimidation" among employees at the Officers' and Faculty Club in Annapolis. Aside from this case, the American Federation of Government Employees Local 1923 in the past year has invoked three other unrelated arbitrations and filed four complaints of unfair labor practices.

"In some areas, management refuses to negotiate, and they are really combative," said Ed Gough, vice president of the local chapter.

Cmdr. Edward L. Austin, a Naval Academy spokesman first contacted for this article Monday, said Wednesday that three school officials familiar with the negotiations have been unavailable for comment.

"Arbitration is a valuable tool for ensuring fair and equitable resolutions," he said in a written statement. "The Academy respects the decision in this case and is complying with the order."

Maryland section, Thursday

South County

Anti-sprawl group presents resolutions

An anti-sprawl group in Anne Arundel County has bought 100 shares in a local bank and addressed its executives Wednesday in an effort to persuade them to stop making loans in environmentally sensitive areas.

Members of South Arundel Citizens for Responsible Development (SACReD), a Churchton-based group best known for fighting a Safeway planned for Deale, attended Severn Bancorp Inc.'s annual meeting armed with two resolutions.

The first would commit the bank to declining any loans within environmentally "critical areas," which generally border the bay or its tributaries. The second would commit the bank to reviewing all previous loans in those areas and extricating itself from those deals.

The group, however, filed its request after the deadline, and the resolutions are far too broad for a county with more than 500 miles of shoreline. But both sides hoped the strategy opens up a dialogue to discuss responsible lending in a county that's rapidly losing much of its shoreline to development.

Maryland section, Wednesday

Anne Arundel

Woman sentenced for hitting 2 with car

A Silver Spring woman who was high when she slammed into a father and son changing a tire on the roadside, ripping a leg off each, was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison, and then to pay the pair $150 a month.

Jody Hudson, 38, pleaded guilty to two counts of causing life-threatening injuries while on drugs.

"I am so sorry for all I have caused," Hudson sobbed.

The accident occurred about 10 a.m. Feb. 16, 2006, when John Dick, who was on the way to buy a generator, blew a tire in his Chevrolet TrailBlazer. Tyler, 12, wanted to help change it. On the wide shoulder of southbound Route 10 in Glen Burnie, Dick and his son were getting out the jack when a silver Honda Accord swerved toward them. Dick said he did not know what happened "until I saw body parts."

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