City / County Digest


June 26, 2008

UM law dean plans to return to the faculty

Karen H. Rothenberg, the first female dean of the University of Maryland School of Law, announced yesterday that she will step down at the end of the next academic year and return to the faculty of the downtown school.

"We're thriving, so it's a perfect time to say, 'Let's move into our next transition,' and it's a good time for me personally," said Rothenberg, 55, who became law dean in 2000, after a year as interim dean, and is now in her 26th year with the school.

The Bethesda resident said she intended to take a sabbatical year after stepping down June 30, 2009, and would then return to teaching and focus on her research on health care and ethics.

During Rothenberg's tenure, the size of the law school's endowment grew from about $29 million to $49 million, a 70 percent increase. She oversaw the development and construction of a new law school building, which opened in 2002, and established new programs in business law, intellectual property law and international law.

"Notwithstanding her legendary fundraising ability, Karen's principal legacy to the school and to the university will be the outstanding faculty she has recruited and the programs that she has built," said University of Maryland, Baltimore President David J. Ramsay in an e-mail to the campus community. "Her enthusiasm for the school is legendary and highly contagious. Her shoes will not be easy to fill."

In addition to looking forward to more time with her husband and children, Rothenberg said, she relishes the prospect of dabbling again in her avocation. "I'm a frustrated musical comedy actress," she said, "so maybe I'll go back to that."

Gadi Dechter

Anne Arundel


Extension of ban on fly ash sought

Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold said yesterday he will seek legislation to extend a ban on the dumping of fly ash in the county until October 2009.

The ban ends in October of this year, and Leopold said that fly ash previously dumped by Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. in a Gambrills pit continues to pose health risks.

Fly ash is a byproduct of burning coal and is captured by special equipment in the chimneys of power plants.

Constellation Energy, of which BGE is a subsidiary, worked with a contractor to dump 800,000 of tons of waste ash for 12 years ending in 2007 from its Brandon Shores coal-fired power plant into an unlined former gravel pit.

County tests found that 23 wells in the area tested positive for dangerous metals such as arsenic, cadmium and thallium, all components of ash from smokestacks.

On Oct. 1, the Maryland Department of the Environment imposed a $1 million fine on Constellation and the contractor, BBSS Inc. and ordered them to clean up the contamination. The County Council on that same date banned the dumping of waste ash in the county for one year.

Steven Stanek

Harford County


Bombing in Iraq kills woman, 38

A 38-year-old Edgewood woman who worked as a political scientist was killed Tuesday in a bombing in Iraq, her employer said.

Nicole Suveges, 38, worked for BAE Systems, a global defense and aerospace company, and was also working to complete a doctorate in political science with an emphasis on international relations at the Johns Hopkins University.

Suveges was one of 10 people, including four Americans - two civilians and two soldiers - killed in the blast in Sadr City, Baghdad. The bomb went off in a district council building where the Americans worked. Suveges' work involved helping Army commanders understand Iraqis and their culture and society, according to a BAE spokesman.

She was from Wauconda, Ill., according to Scott Fazekas, the spokesman.

Suveges began her current tour in Iraq in April. Before joining BAE Systems, she had worked in Iraq for one year as a civilian contractor. Previously, Suveges served as an Army reservist in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, supporting the multinational SFOR/NATO Combined Joint Psychological Operations Task Force.

Brent Jones and

Associated Press



More funding urged for public transit

Transit and consumer advocates called on Congress yesterday to provide more funding for public transportation, pointing out that the tax rebates approved in February to help revive the economy are getting eaten up by soaring gasoline prices.

The average household has spent more than $1,500 on fuel since February - roughly equal to the standard "economic stimulus" check issued for a joint-filing couple with a child, according to a report by the Maryland PIRG Foundation.

"People would have spent money on gas anyway, but now the average family is spending almost $100 per week on gas," said Johanna Neumann, the group's state director. In February, the average household was spending a little more than $60 weekly on fuel, she said.

People with easy access to transit spend less getting around, the group reported.

Based on 2000 census data, households near transit routes spent about $180 a month less on transportation, including gas and insurance, while those far from transit averaged $925 a month.

Timothy B. Wheeler

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