Digest

November 27, 2007

BGE decides to halt cutting of trees along scenic road

BGE representatives pledged to temporarily stop cutting trees around power lines along Cromwell Bridge Road after a heated meeting last night with residents and elected officials who denounced the project, citing its environmental impact and the road's status as a scenic byway.

"For the time being, we're going to stop cutting until we address these concerns," said Joseph Bunch, the utility's director of community planning.

Last month, contractors hired by BGE began removing all trees in a 66-foot-wide swath of land surrounding three miles of transmission wires on the road, which is known for its pleasant views.

BGE officials said that herbicides would be used to prevent the regrowth of trees that could potentially fall on wires and cause an outage. The lines carry power to more than 31,000 customers, including three hospitals and the county government buildings, they said.

More than 60 community members, including state Sen. Katherine A. Klausmeier and County Councilman Vincent J. Gardina, gathered at Loch Raven High School last night to discuss the cutting with BGE representatives.

They expressed concern that without the trees, soil would erode along the steep hillside flanking the road and that runoff would damage nearby Minebank Run. The county recently completed a $4 million project to rehabilitate the stream, a Chesapeake Bay tributary.

The road, which runs past Cromwell Valley Park, was designated part of the Horses and Hounds scenic byway this year by the State Highway Administration.

Many audience members criticized BGE, saying the utility did not properly advise residents and state and local government about the project.

Gardina called BGE's action "deplorable."

"They're not doing this because it's the only way," he said. "They're doing this to protect the almighty dollar."

Shortly before the close of the 90-minute meeting, Bunch said that the utility would stop cutting until representatives could meet with a local community groups and state and county officials. He also agreed to pay for a third-party group to assess the project's environmental effects.

Julie Scharper

Harford County

: Edgewood

Fla. man dies after being struck by car

A 76-year-old Florida man was struck and killed by a car about 6 p.m. Sunday on Route 24 in Edgewood, the Maryland State Police said.

Robert S. Hall of Deerfield Beach, Fla., was crossing northbound Route 24 near Edgewood Road on foot against a green traffic signal when he was struck by a car, police said. Hall was wearing dark clothing at the time, police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver, Adenrele Adeyemi of Edgewood, had not been charged as of last night, police said.

Lynn Anderson

Baltimore

: Transportation

Russell St. ramp to close for work

The Russell Street ramp to southbound Interstate 95 is scheduled to be closed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow through Friday for installation of an overhead sign, Baltimore transportation officials said. A detour will direct motorists south on Russell Street to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, west on Interstate 695 and then south onto I-95.

Baltimore County

: At-risk kids

Volunteers sought as youth advocates

CASA of Baltimore County, Inc. is seeking volunteers to train as court appointed special advocates and mentors for abused and neglected children in foster care.

Volunteers must be at least 21 years old, complete 30 hours of training, and undergo a background check.

Men, African-Americans, and Spanish speakers are especially encouraged to apply.

Information: 410-828-0515 or www.casaofbaltimorecounty.org

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