Baltimore County Digest

BALTIMORE COUNTY DIGEST

June 13, 2008

School lunch prices rising by 40 cents

School lunch prices in the county are set to jump nearly 20 percent when students return in August.

The county school board approved the increase this week after officials said they need to charge more because of the rising cost of food and supplies. Without the increase, staff members said, the school system stood to lose 46 cents on every lunch.

Lunch at county elementary schools would increase to $2.90 from $2.50. At middle and high schools, lunch prices would go to $3 from $2.60.

At least one board member, Ramona Johnson, said she worried about the increase causing a financial hardship for families. She voted in favor of the increase.

Board member Joy Shillman, who said it didn't seem fair that middle and high school lunches are only 10 cents more than the presumably smaller-portioned meals at elementary schools, abstained from voting.

The cost of lunch in a county school remained unchanged from 1992 to 2004, according to school system records. For the 2004-2005 school year, the price was increased 20 cents. And for the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 school years, the price was raised 40 cents each year.

School officials said they expect to spend nearly $30 million to produce about 8.5 million lunches in the coming school year.

The county is among several in the region, including Anne Arundel, planning to increase the price of school lunches.

GINA DAVIS

Group opposes closing Rosewood

A national advocacy group for the developmentally disabled asked the state yesterday to reverse its decision to close the Rosewood Center.

Voice of the Retarded said it supported the families of patients who want Rosewood to remain open, saying the residents' care could deteriorate if they were moved from the center.

Gov. Martin O'Malley announced plans in January to close the facility by June 2009. Rosewood serves about 150 patients, and state officials have promised families assistance in finding placements in community settings, such as group homes.

Long Green Pike bridge to be closed

The county will close the Long Green Pike bridge starting Monday for 10 weeks while the 28-foot span is replaced with a wider one.

During the closure, northbound traffic will be detoured to Glen Arm and Harford roads, and southbound motorists will be detoured to Long Green and Manor roads.

Construction on the bridge over Long Green Creek is expected be complete by the end of August.

Information: 410-887-2171.

Market vouchers for eligible seniors

Income-eligible older citizens can receive "checks" to purchase fresh produce and herbs at authorized farmers' markets in Maryland through Oct. 31.

County senior centers will distribute the vouchers on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 9:30 a.m. Monday. Participants must be 60 or older, reside in Maryland, and meet income criteria.

Information: 410-887-2594.

Exploring the bay and global warming

Marshy Point Nature Center will offer a program, "Chesapeake Bay and Global Warming" from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at 7130 Marshy Point Road. A number of groups will set up exhibits at 6:30 p.m.

A speaker from the National Wildlife Federation will discuss a September report on the bay's changing ecology and a member of the Critical Area Commission will give an update on Maryland legislative efforts on the bay.

Reservations are recommended at 410-887-2817.

Holton to speak for Children's Home

Baltimore City Council member Helen L. Holton will be the keynote speaker for the annual meeting of the Children's Home in Catonsville from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Rolling Road Golf Club, 814 Hilltop Road.

The event honors the home's volunteers and supporters and highlights its mission of providing a safe home for children who are abused, neglected or abandoned in the Catonsville area and the city. The Children's Home was begun in 1863.

Tickets are $70.

Information: 410-744-7310.

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