Week In Review

May 06, 2007

Crofton

Wal-Mart withdraws plans

Amid a groundswell of community opposition, Wal-Mart announced Thursday that it has backed out of a plan to build a 121,000-square-foot Supercenter in Crofton.

After meetings with County Executive John R. Leopold and property owner William Berkshire, a spokesman for the retail giant said that despite making several concessions, "it has become clear to us that there are various views about a project of this size and scope at this specific site and its relationship to the county's long-term development profile."

Maryland section, Friday

Lothian

Under deal, county would buy wetlands

Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold struck a deal Wednesday to have the county buy 30 acres that abut a wetlands sanctuary for $6.1 million from a developer that planned to use it for a shopping center.

Leopold said he will submit a supplemental budget request next week to the County Council to acquire the forested parcel in Lothian, across Route 4 from 1,400 acres of wetlands, forests, meadows and fields along the Patuxent River known as the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary and the Glendening Nature Preserve at Jug Bay in the southwestern part of the county. The land would be kept as a park to permit wildlife to travel between Jug Bay and the Patuxent River sanctuary.

Maryland section, Thursday

Annapolis

Doctor accused of taping Mids

A Navy doctor is being investigated by the military on allegations that he made secret video recordings of midshipmen having sex in his Annapolis-area home, several legal and Navy sources familiar with the investigation said Tuesday.

Cmdr. Kevin Ronan, a physician stationed at the academy until May 2006, has been accused of setting up hidden video cameras and recording students but has not been charged with a crime, the sources said. Ronan was a volunteer in the school's sponsor program, hosting students on holidays and weekends. His lawyer, William Ferris, said he had advised Ronan not to make any statements, and he declined further comment.

Ed Buice, spokesman for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, said the agency "is looking into allegations of misconduct by a [Naval Academy] sponsor," but he would not elaborate.

Maryland section, Wednesday

Anne Arundel

Leopold unveils budget plan

Trying to set an example of fiscal discipline, Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold unveiled Tuesday a $1.44 billion budget plan that does not raise income taxes, drops the property tax rate and indefinitely continues a hiring freeze on nearly 200 positions.

While his announcement of $10 million in administrative cuts was applauded during his budget address in Annapolis, many school officials expressed disappointment - or outright disdain - at his decision to increase school funding by about 8 percent, instead of the 17 percent they sought.

Leopold funded 213 new school positions, a negotiated 6 percent raise for teachers and an unanticipated 6 percent pay increase for principals.

But he recommended that the school system trim 3.5 percent from its administrative costs, as Anne Arundel braces for a decline in state aid while facing a school maintenance backlog and infrastructure improvements around Fort Meade.

Maryland section, Wednesday

Laurel

D.C. juvenile facility surprises executive

Anne Arundel County's chief executive said he was surprised to learn Monday that work is imminent on a new 60-bed District of Columbia facility for juvenile offenders near the site of its troubled Oak Hill facility in Laurel despite a U.S. Senate proposal that would move it to Washington.

County Executive John R. Leopold was to meet with Washington Mayor Adrian M. Fenty to discuss the future use of the land when he learned of the 60-bed building to be constructed. It will replace the decrepit 200-bed building on the other side of the nearly 900-acre parcel.

But Fenty did not show up, sending aides instead because of two serious fires in his city Monday.

Maryland section, Tuesday

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