Digest

May 14, 2008

School board candidates advance

The School Board Nominating Commission this week is forwarding the names of six possible candidates for two open seats on the Anne Arundel County school board to Gov. Martin O'Malley.

The candidates include a Severn resident active on the countywide Citizens Advisory Committee, a key administrator under former County Executive Janet S. Owens, and an incumbent who is a longtime Davidsonville-area schools volunteer.

The names, applications and letters of support for the following candidates are expected to be sent to the governor's office by tomorrow, said commission Chairman Joshua C. Greene.

Candidates for the District 32 seat are:

*Teresa Milio Birge, a former staff member for the House Appropriations Committee who serves on the Seven Oaks Elementary School PTA, received unanimous support from the 11-member commission.

*Simeon M. Georgiou, a longtime pharmacy manager who led the Citizens Advisory Committee from 2002-2006 and serves on the Maryland Parent Advisory Council, received an 8-3 vote.

Candidates for the at-large seat are:

*Walter N. Chitwood III of Annapolis, an Army veteran and a retired county employee who served in the Owens administration, received a 9-2 vote of support.

*Kevin L. Jackson, a 1999 graduate of the Naval Academy who works for a company that supports Navy ship modernization, received a 9-2 vote.

*Tricia L. Johnson of Davidsonville, the incumbent candidate who is executive director of the BWI Development Council, received an 8-3 vote.

*Evelyn Gray-Mason, a retired county schools math teacher who served in the Army Reserve, received an 8-3 vote.

Greene said commissioners held "a robust deliberation" Monday to whittle the six candidates from a field of 13 applicants.

The School Board Nominating Commission replaced the 250-person nominating caucus, which selected a person for a school board seat whom the governor could either appoint or ignore. Under the new process created through state legislation last year, the 11-member commission has the power to recommend at least two candidates for each vacancy, and the governor must select one. The newly appointed members must go up for a vote in the next general election.

Help name new elementary school

Parents of students assigned to the new Gambrills-area elementary school for the 2008-2009 school year can voice their opinion on a name for the new facility at a meeting from 6:30 to 7:30 tonight.

The meeting will be held at the Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center, 975 Indian Landing Road, Millersville. Principal Diana Strohecker will also speak about her vision for the new school, which will open in August.

Only parents with children assigned to attend the school next fall will be allowed to vote on a potential name tonight. Strohecker will present that name to the Board of Education for its consideration.

Parking is limited, so carpooling is encouraged.

General Services police patrols expand

Maryland Department of General Services (DGS) police officers will patrol expanded areas in Annapolis, following passage of the "Capital City Safe Streets" bill, just signed by Gov. Martin O'Malley.

Announced in February by O'Malley, Speaker of the House Michael E.Busch of Annapolis, Mayor Ellen Moyer and U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, the comprehensive plan is designed to reduce crime in Annapolis.

"By working together with local, state and federal partners, we are able to improve public safety in our neighborhoods and communities across the state," O'Malley said. "This emergency bill is an important step in combating crime in Annapolis and creates a model program that can be replicated across the state, to help ensure the safety of all Marylanders."

The legislation expands the authority of DGS police, allowing DGS officers to make arrests and enforce laws in any area within 1,000 feet of state buildings and grounds in Annapolis and Baltimore. Previously, DGS officers were limited to making arrests only on state property.

DGS police officers provide law enforcement and security for 40 state buildings, 10 parking garages and 16 surface parking lots used by state employees and visited by more than one million people each year.

Firefighters handle double call volume

Anne Arundel County firefighters responded to a huge increase in calls during the heavy rain that pounded the area this week, county officials reported yesterday.

"When you look at the volume and types of calls that they handled, it is amazing to me that we did not lose a single life in any storm-related events," said County Executive John R. Leopold.

During the 24 hour period beginning at midnight Monday, the Fire Department handled 419 emergency related calls - a 100 percent increase over normal call volume for an identical time period on a typical day. Monday's pounding rain was part of 6.5 inches recorded at BWI Marshall Airport in five days.

Calls included:

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