Week In Review

October 07, 2007

Anne Arundel

Developer eyed for BRAC help

Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold told Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown and the O'Malley administration's base closing and realignment subcabinet last week that he and the commander of Fort Meade are talking now about whether the developer of a 2 million-square-foot office complex on one corner of the post will help pay for road widenings and signal upgrades to handle increased traffic from the project.

"We welcome the jobs in Anne Arundel County," Leopold said, noting that many of the new jobs as a result of the federal base realignment and closure effort - known as BRAC - carry high salaries. "The challenge is to provide the infrastructure," he said.

The lieutenant governor said state officials are not interested in a confrontation but want to reach an equitable agreement. He said he is confident that the developers and the military feel the same way.

Maryland section, Friday

Anne Arundel

School board to televise sessions

The Anne Arundel County school board will begin televising its meetings within a year, bringing the school system in step with surrounding counties but not satisfying critics, who want the meetings aired on the district's Web site, too.

The idea has been brought before the board several times before. Members offered their support Wednesday after learning that the cost would be borne through fees already collected by cable companies. Some board members expressed concern that additional funding would be needed or that the technology would soon become obsolete. Others said the initiative was overdue.

"We've got to start somewhere," said Vice President Enrique M. Melendez, "and I think we need a presentation in the near future on how we get to the next step."

The next step, school officials said, could include meetings simulcast on the Internet and archived on the school system Web site, aacps.org.

Anne Arundel section, Friday

Arnold

Teen sentenced for baby's death

An Anne Arundel County teenager who gave birth into a toilet at her Arnold home and disposed of the infant's body in a trash can outside was sentenced to a juvenile detention facility until she turns 21, the stiffest penalty available.

The former Broadneck High School student, who was 17 at the time of her son's death in December 2005, is on house arrest while Maryland Department of Juvenile Services officials come up with a recommendation on where she should serve the time. The Sun is not identifying her because she was tried as a juvenile.

Circuit Judge Nancy L. Davis-Loomis said this was "one of the most, if not the most, troubling cases" that she has experienced in 13 years on the bench.

Davis-Loomis questioned whether the teen, now 19, should be sent to the Thomas J.S. Waxter Children's Center in Laurel, the only juvenile detention center for girls in Maryland. It does not provide long-term detention. The only other option is for her to go to an out-of-state facility. A hearing has been set for Oct. 26.

Maryland section, Wednesday

Anne Arundel

Residents worried about growth plan

Concerned that Anne Arundel County's once-a-decade review of its overall land-use plan might give little weight to community input, a range of civic groups have formed a coalition to share resources and advocate broad principles regarding growth.

The county has revamped the system it used 10 years ago to map out the General Development Plan, which allowed residents and businesses to play a key role in shaping their neighborhoods but took far longer than expected. This time around, the area planning committees have been abolished, and residents are being asked to send their comments through e-mail.

As county officials ponder zoning changes under the pressure of expansion at Fort Meade, some community leaders worry that their influence could be diminished.

"We had this experience [10 years ago] where maybe we had too much input, but it was a lengthy process where the community was completely involved and felt strongly that they had ownership of these plans," said Ann Fligsten, an attorney and president of Arnold Preservation Council Inc. "We've got all these activists all over the county that were involved in prior planning, and now they're not involved."

Anne Arundel section, Wednesday

Anne Arundel

$1 million fine for contamination

In the biggest fine the state has levied on a polluter in at least seven years, Maryland slapped a $1 million penalty yesterday on Constellation Energy Group and the operator of its fly ash dump site in Anne Arundel County for contaminating drinking water.

The state's largest power company and BBSS Inc. agreed as part of a negotiated settlement to clean up groundwater where regulators say cancer-causing metals have seeped into private wells. BBSS owns the former gravel mines in Gambrills where Constellation has dumped about 8 billion pounds of ash from two coal-burning power plants since 1995.

Constellation, which recently stopped using the site and temporarily connected six homes to the county's public water system, will provide permanent hookups for 40 homes whose wells might be polluted. It must install new environmental controls at BBSS before dumping can resume.

Though state and local officials don't know the scope and severity of the pollution, Constellation officials said yesterday that they are confident they can meet the terms of the consent decree.

A section, Tuesday

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