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Donations accepted for Vietnam memorial Towson veteran pushed the idea


Michael T. Mann, 41, of Towson, spent most of 1970 rumbling across South Vietnam in a U.S. Army tank.

He survived the war unhurt, and now he travels around Maryland as a professional auctioneer, a job that has acquainted him with most of the 23 county courthouses -- and the Vietnam veterans' memorials that most display.

Baltimore County's courthouse has no Vietnam memorial -- but that's likely to change soon.

The County Council last night approved the receipt of $2,565 in private donations to pay for a monument honoring the 40 to 50 county residents who died in Vietnam.

Mr. Mann got the ball rolling in late 1992, when he asked County Executive Roger B. Hayden if the county could have a commemorative plaque.

Mr. Hayden named a committee headed by Towson county Councilman Douglas B. Riley, R-4th, to examine the issue, and 3,600 solicitations for money were sent to county businesses.

Recreation and Parks Director Wayne R. Harman said the plan was to see how much money came in, and then decide what kind of memorial to create.

Mr. Mann's group, the northern Baltimore County chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America, donated $515, while American Legion Post 22 gave $700. The rest came in gifts of $100 or less, including $100 from Mr. Hayden and $50 from Mr. Riley.

The money will likely go for a Cockeysville marble stone monument, with a metal plaque inscribed with the names of the dead and missing, Mr. Harman said, although no design has yet been considered.

Mr. Mann said his original idea was for a simple plaque that would cost even less. The hope now, Mr. Harman said, is to decide on the design of the memorial in the fall and have it ready for Memorial Day, 1994.

In other action, the council approved:

* A bill and resolution that would allow off-duty county police officers working as security guards to wear their county uniforms and carry county equipment. Mr. Hayden has said he would sign the emergency legislation as soon as it was approved, meaning that applications for the special permits would be accepted starting today. Emergency legislation takes effect immediately upon the executive's signature, instead of after the normal 45-day waiting period.

The law would create a licensing fee and hourly rental rates for county uniforms and equipment, and would allow shopping centers, or other groups to obtain a permit for the officers they want to hire. The practice would create a larger police presence at area shopping malls, county officials believe.

* The transfer of $4.6 million in education funding to pay for early retirement incentives already paid to teachers. The council balked at approving the routine end-of-year transfer at its last meeting, demanding more specific information about the source of the savings.

Those answers were provided at last week's council work session, together with a warning from Budget Director Fred Homan that New York bond-rating houses would not understand why the school system, and therefore the county, closed the fiscal year with a deficit resulting from the council's inaction.

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