Week In Review

September 30, 2007

Anne Arundel

Panel seeks tougher fly-ash standards

As Maryland's environmental agency tries to broker a deal over the disposal of billions of pounds of coal ash in Gambrills, an internal panel is quietly working to create standards that would surpass those of the federal government and many states.

Stephen L. Pattison, assistant secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment, said a panel of regulators was assembled in August to begin considering new rules, fueled by the discovery of cancer-causing metals in 23 private drinking wells near the fly-ash disposal site operated by BBSS Inc.

The state does not intend to pursue an outright ban on its disposal in Maryland, contrary to such a call made by Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold. Pattison said the regulations, which could be instituted without legislative approval, might be in place by year's end.

The panel met Tuesday with representatives of utility companies that operate coal-fired power plants, including Constellation Energy Group and Mirant Corp., Pattison said. It also met with an environmentalist this month, he said, and will weigh input from other stakeholders.

Anne Arundel section, Friday

Anne Arundel

Witness killed; case is dropped

Anne Arundel County prosecutors have dropped murder charges against a Brooklyn Park teenager accused in a November killing after a key witness who was scheduled to testify in the case was killed. Lamal Lamonte Wise, 18, was released Sept. 21 after prosecutors determined their case was too weak without the testimony of Dontay Williams, the state's attorney's office said Wednesday.

Police have not determined whether Williams, 21, who was to testify against Wise, was killed Aug. 29 in retaliation for agreeing to testify.

Timothy Marvin Wilson, 20, of the 2500 block of Mosher St. in West Baltimore, was shot about 10 p.m. Nov. 15, 2006, at Victory Avenue and East 11th Avenue in Brooklyn Park. He died at a hospital.

Wise, 17 at the time, of the 200 block of W. 11th Ave, was charged as an adult with first-degree murder and turned himself in in December.

Maryland section, Thursday

Anne Arundel

O'Malley backs slots to close budget gap

Reviving one of the most hotly debated issues in Annapolis, Gov. Martin O'Malley said Tuesdsay that he will push for legalized slot machine gambling as a way to close Maryland's $1.7 billion budget gap, help the state's struggling horse racing industry and preserve open space.

The Democratic governor said he has not settled on all the details of his proposal but would use as a model a slots bill that the House of Delegates passed in 2005. That plan called for 9,500 machines at four locations -- one each in Anne Arundel, Harford, Frederick and Allegany counties.

O'Malley has not said where he would put the machines, but he favors state ownership and expects that they would generate about $550 million a year for school construction, education and other needs. About $100 million would go to supplement horse racing and $6 million to help problem gamblers.

A section, Wednesday

Crofton

Missing boy found, returned to mother

A 6-year-old Crofton boy who police said was abducted by his father last month was found in a tiny western North Carolina town and reunited with his mother Tuesday.

Swain County sheriff's deputies located Colin Jackson and arrested his father, David Jackson, 46, after being tipped off by a librarian who had seen a flier of the pair e-mailed by the boy's mother, said Sheriff Curtis Cochran. Cochran said Colin was in good shape and in good spirits after the weeks spent with his father in Bryson City, a rural town of 1,400 in the Great Smoky Mountains just south of the Tennessee border. David Jackson, who worked locally as a disc jockey, was renting a home where he was home-schooling his son, and they had been attending a Presbyterian church, he said.

"It looked like they were here to stay," Cochran said.

His mother, Cheryl Jackson, last saw her son Aug. 27, Colin's first day of first grade at Crofton Woods Elementary School. Her ex-husband, who has visitation rights, was supposed to pick up the boy from school and take him to his Crofton home for an overnight visit. But when she went to David Jackson's house the next day to pick up her son, both were gone and the home looked vacated, police said.

Maryland section, Wednesday

Crofton

$4 million awarded in drowning at club

After five days of wrenching testimony about the drowning death of a 5-year-old boy at Crofton Country Club, an Anne Arundel County jury awarded his parents more than $4 million in damages Monday.

Hunt Valley-based DRD Pool Service Inc., the club's pool management company, was found negligent for failing to adequately train its lifeguards and properly staff the pool. It was ordered to pay Thomas Freed and Debra Neagle Webber $2,000,076 each -- the $76 as a symbol of Connor Freed's birthday, which was July 6.

At a news conference Monday, Connor's parents, who had filed the wrongful-death lawsuit, expressed relief that the trial was over, a sense of satisfaction with the jury's ruling and a determination to ensure that their son's death would not be in vain.

Maryland section, Tuesday

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