Columbia Association violated federal law, internal paper...


Columbia Association violated federal law, internal paper says

The Columbia Association has been operating for more than a decade in violation of a federal law designed to crack down on employing illegal aliens, an internal document shows.

In addition, the Columbia Association has employed illegal workers in two of its divisions "with supervisory knowledge," the document says.

The Columbia Association, which functions as the community's government, has not required its employees to fill out a federally required "employment verification form" until recently, according to an internal document prepared by association President Deborah O. McCarty.

Civil fines range from $100 to $1,000 for each employee for whom a company has no I-9. Fines for knowingly employing unauthorized aliens range from $250 to $2,000 for each unauthorized alien for the first offense. A second offense carries a penalty of $2,000 to $5,000 for each unauthorized alien.

Route 108 recommended for alternative school location

Despite emotional pleas against the plan, Howard County school administrators recommended that the Alternative Learning Center be built off Route 108 behind the Board of Education building in Ellicott City.

The land is surrounded by the upscale neighborhoods of Gaither Hunt, Gaither Farm Estates and Manor Lane.

Residents of those communities adamantly oppose placing the center there, saying it isn't safe to have such a potentially volatile population of students close to so many homes and children.

Robey modifies policy on old police guns

Howard County Executive James N. Robey has decided to modify his policy to destroy all old police handguns that are being replaced by allowing officers to buy them back as long as they agree not to resell them.

Now two county councilmen are complaining that they weren't notified of the change.

"Frankly, I am surprised that they have made a change in policy and no one told us," said Christopher J. Merdon, an Ellicott City Republican.

Robey said the change was made at Police Chief Wayne Livesay's request and that he notified County Council Chairwoman Mary C. Lorsung of the decision. The county executive, by law, is not required to notify the council of this type of decision.

Glenelg teacher charged in abuse, assault of student

Howard County police have charged a Glenelg High School teacher with abusing and assaulting one of his students twice almost two years ago.

David Leland Stevens, 55, who until November was head of the school's science department, turned himself in Tuesday at the Southern District police station. He was charged with two counts of child abuse and two counts of second-degree assault.

After a short District Court hearing, a commissioner released him on his own recognizance.

Stevens is working at the school district's central office in Ellicott City "until there is a legal resolution or we have enough evidence to take administrative action," schools spokeswoman Patti Caplan said.

Incoming superintendent agrees to review of system

Howard County's incoming schools superintendent has agreed with a citizens committee recommendation to have a performance review done of the district's education system.

John R. O'Rourke, the Pittsford, N.Y., school official who begins his new job in Howard County on July 1, confirmed Wednesday by telephone that he supports the Leadership Committee on School Equity's top priority, though committee members told the County Council that the limits of the review need to be defined.

"I'm very grateful for all the work of the people who participated in this study. That's a recommendation that will result in more information being available," O'Rourke said.

Hickey says tools to improve test scores already in place

Responding to the school board's call for "breakthrough changes" to improve Howard County's scores on state tests, Superintendent Michael E. Hickey said that none are needed.

Many of the tools needed to improve scores in the Maryland State Performance Assessment Program (MSPAP) are already in place, Hickey said in a report he presented to the school board, and just need to be more closely monitored, used more efficiently or given additional resources.

After six years of gradual increases in Howard, scores of almost two-thirds of elementary schools and half the middle schools fell last year, nudging the school system out of its long-held, first-place ranking. Kent County now boasts the highest scores in the state.

Acupuncture school to build $11 million campus

The Traditional Acupuncture Institute, a school for alternative medicine and Columbia-based institution for 25 years, plans to break ground this fall on an $11 million campus in a Howard County business park.

The school has a contract to purchase 12 acres in Montpelier Business Park at U.S. 29 and Johns Hopkins Road to build what the institute president says would be the first facility of its kind in the country.

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