Anne Arundel

November 16, 2007

U.S. immigration takes 9 into custody

Nine illegal immigrants have been taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after they were detained for immigration violations at a Glen Burnie restaurant and bar, Anne Arundel County officials said yesterday.

The nine were detained after a bar check at Viva La Raza, a Mexican restaurant and bar, at 7523 Ritchie Highway about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, authorities said.

The investigation came after reports of prostitution, fights, drug activity and underage drinking were made to county police and the liquor board over a three-month period, authorities said.

The check was conducted by the county police department's Special Enforcement and Special Operations sections; Maryland State Police and enforcement agents of the Board of License Commissioners.

Authorities said detectives discovered a drug sale inside the bar, as well as approximately 30 people being served alcoholic drinks, a violation of the bar's 11 p.m. license restriction. Officers also said they discovered three underage drinkers.

One of the immigrants, Carlos Cortez Hernandez, 20, of the 100 block of Warwickshire Lane in Glen Burnie, was charged by Anne Arundel County detectives with drug possession.

The investigation at the bar came less than a week after the county police department assigned an officer to join the federal Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force, located in Baltimore City, to conduct enhanced investigations.

"This new task force follows an executive order signed in August by County Executive John Leopold that requires all businesses and individuals contracted with the county to comply with federal law regarding the employment of illegal aliens," said the county police chief, Col. James Teare Sr.

"The police department is committed to aggressively investigating crimes committed by illegal immigrants," said Leopold. "By participating in the task force, we will unite with other agencies' experts to focus our efforts on detecting, deterring and disrupting document fraud and other related crimes committed by illegal immigrants."

Rowe Boulevard bridge recognized

The rebuilt Rowe Boulevard bridge in Annapolis has won a top award from the National Partnership for Highway Quality.

The partnership of federal, state and roadway industry leaders handed out the 2007 National Achievement Award -- Special Recognition for a Structures Project at a ceremony Tuesday in San Diego, Calif.

The $28.5 million project, completed earlier this year, replaced the existing bridge over Weems Creek and rehabilitated the bridge over College Creek. Both bridges cross Rowe Boulevard, a main artery into downtown.

Project partners included the Maryland State Highway Administration, contractor Corman Construction Inc. and designer KCI Technologies.

The SHA worked with the community to establish environmental and architectural task forces that met for more than a year during the design process.

A community liaison was onsite throughout design and construction, and an environmental monitor inspected the project daily. Any deficiencies had to be remedied within 48 hours or construction was halted.

"The project affected two fragile watersheds and required extreme diligence in minimizing environmental impacts," said Executive Director Bob Templeton. "All involved did an outstanding job in protecting the environment and making Rowe Boulevard an aesthetically and ecologically beautiful gateway to Annapolis."

Farmers' markets to hold holiday events

The following Anne Arundel County farmers' markets will offer special events during the holiday season:

The Anne Arundel County Farmers Market (at the corner of Riva Road and Harry S. Truman Parkway) will hold a Christmas Market from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays this weekend through Dec. 22.

It will feature seasonal items including baked goods, handmade candies, herbal products, micro-greens, sprouts, eggs, honey, jams, soaps, jewelry, greens, wreaths, glazed glassware, blankets, afghans, Christmas decorations and gifts. Fresh garlands are being made to order on site.

Santa will hand out goodie bags Dec. 8 and the Friday Four Bell Choir will perform on Dec. 15.

The Centre at Glen Burnie Farmers' Market (in the parking lot adjacent to Chick-fil-A) will hold a Thanksgiving Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday.

It will feature one baker and one produce farmer. Products available include assorted baked goods, pies, breads and seasonal produce including apples, winter vegetables and honey.

To place a pie order, call Joe Port at 410-757-0143 or 443-454-0237.

Piney Orchard Farmers' Market (in the Piney Orchard Community & Visitors Center parking lot off Stream Valley Drive) will hold a Thanksgiving Market from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday.

A gift basket containing a ham and a variety of farmers' market products will be raffled off at 2 p.m.

The Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp. manages and promotes agricultural and environmental programs on behalf of Anne Arundel County.

Information: 410-222-7410 or www.aaedc.org.

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