Former astronaut joins Space Telescope Science Institute
John M. Grunsfeld, a former NASA astronaut who logged more than 58 hours on spacewalks during three missions to repair and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope, has been named deputy director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. Grunsfeld, who holds a doctorate in physics and specializes in X-ray and gamma-ray astronomy and high-energy cosmic ray studies. In a statement, he called his new job "an incredibly exciting opportunity for me to work at a focal point of top astronomers at the leading edge of scientific inquiry." The institute is the science operations center for the Hubble telescope, and for the James Webb Space Telescope, which is slated for launch in 2014. Grunsfeld, 51, joined NASA's astronaut corps in 1992. He flew five space missions in all, logging more than 835 hours in orbit.
- Frank D. Roylance
County Council picks Olszewski as chairman
Councilman John A. Olszewski Sr. was elected chairman of the Baltimore County Council this year by a unanimous vote Monday night. In accepting the role, Olszewski said he knew he would be facing a year during which he will usher in a new council and county executive. He succeeds chairman Joseph Bartenfelder, who said that "Olszewski has the aptitude, knowledge and experience to do the job." The seven-member panel traditionally chooses its chairman during the first meeting of the new year. Olszewski, a Democrat who represents District 7, the Dundalk and Essex areas, plans to seek a fourth council term this year. He will receive $6,000 in addition to his annual $54,000 salary for the leadership role for what will be his third stint as chairman since he was elected in 1998.
- Mary Gail Hare
5 Md. public universities ranked high for best value
Five Maryland universities rank among the nation's 100 best values in public higher education, according to the February issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance. The University of Maryland, College Park, leads the way, at No. 8 on the list. St. Mary's College of Maryland ranks No. 37, Salisbury University ranks No. 59, the University of Maryland, Baltimore, ranks No. 93 and Towson University ranks No. 97, according to Kiplinger's. The magazine uses academic factors such as SAT scores, retention rates and graduation rates and economic factors such as tuition, financial aid and average debt for graduates to rank colleges. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ranks first.
- Childs Walker
Forum at Loch Raven High on new school's boundaries
Baltimore County school officials have scheduled a forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Loch Raven High School to gather public input on attendance boundary lines for the new West Towson Elementary School. The school, set to open in August adjacent to Ridge Ruxton School on North Charles Street, will draw students from crowded elementaries in the Towson area. The West Towson Elementary School Boundary Study Committee, which has been meeting for the past three months, will review public comment before making its recommendation to the county Board of Education in March. Forum participants will see what is involved in the boundary drawing process and can give their views on the several boundary options under consideration. Information: 410-887-6111.
- Mary Gail Hare