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Judge sends boy, 15, to psychiatric facility...


Judge sends boy, 15, to psychiatric facility after fatal shooting

A 15-year-old boy who shot a friend to death in Ellicott City appeared Tuesday before a juvenile master who ordered the boy held at a psychiatric facility for examination after sharply criticizing the youth's parents.

Though the boy's lawyer argued that his client should be sent home to his parents after spending several days in a juvenile jail, Howard County Juvenile Master Bernard A. Raum disagreed, saying that the boy did not receive proper supervision before the shooting.

"I don't believe he is adequately supervised at home," Raum said. "We're here today because he wasn't adequately supervised."

At the hearing Tuesday, the boy wore a blue shirt, black pants and sneakers. His hair was uncombed. He wept openly and told Raum, "I'm sorry," before sobbing again.

His parents sat behind him and also cried when they heard the brief apology.

School sculpture approved by pupils and parents

The children think the hulking metal structure is really cool, even if they aren't entirely sure what it's supposed to be.

A 21-foot-high artwork unveiled in front of Thunder Hill Elementary School in Columbia recently has received rave reviews from schoolchildren, staff and parents. The school is the first in Howard County to receive such a major piece, and many say it is indicative of Thunder Hill's commitment to the arts.

"In Howard County, you see such a focus on science and math, and I really love that the focus here is on art and creativity," said Suzanne Wilson, whose two sons attend Thunder Hill. "I think the sculpture is great."

Thunder Hill has long been identified as a hub of creativity and that reputation has been cemented by its various arts programs. "Arts on the Hill" invites children, parents and community members to submit pieces for display in the school's gallery and also features a well-produced talent show.

Equestrian experts say horse center should stay

A team of equestrian experts conducting an independent study of the Columbia Horse Center believes that the beleaguered facility could be profitable if it were better managed, and is expected to recommend that it remain open.

Malcolm Commer Jr., an equine and livestock economist for the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension said the eight-member panel will recommend that the facility -- which has lost an estimated $1.5 million since 1986 -- continue operating under the management of the Columbia Association or a private lessee.

"[Among] the group that we put together, it was unanimous that if it was managed correctly in private hands that it would be a moneymaking operation," he said.

Enchanted Forest backers start fund-raising efforts

Friends of The Enchanted Forest have about $380,000 of the $1.2 million they estimate is needed to reopen the once-popular Ellicott City amusement park for young children.

Rick Lepski, chairman of the grass-roots organization, said Tuesday that the group has about $160,000 worth of in-kind donations -- such as landscaping services -- and about $220,000 in pledges from corporate sponsors.

The group expects to get the rest of the money from fund-raisers and grants. Members have asked the county to contribute, although county officials have not included funding in the proposed budget for next year.

Lepski said the group hopes to reopen Enchanted Forest next spring.

Police called to keep order at school board meeting

Police were called to a Howard County school board meeting to keep order Thursday afternoon when about 100 seventh-graders and their parents disrupted the session over a popular middle school teacher, who was later fired despite the demonstration of support.

The incident began when the board said only five people would be allowed to speak during the "listening post" part of the meeting. After they spoke, former school board candidate Allen Dyer stood and started calling on Kristine Lockwood's supporters, who rose to speak on the teacher's behalf as the board tried unsuccessfully to call the meeting to order.

Chairman Sandra H. French ordered a recess about 4: 25 p.m., and the board walked out in the middle of a tearful plea from one pupil. As the board retreated to a back room, Dyer, a Glenelg computer consultant, continued to conduct the meeting with encouragement from Lockwood, who was in attendance.

After board members left the meeting, staying away for about 45 minutes, County School Superintendent Michael E. Hickey called Howard County police. When the board returned, children and parents were still lined up at the podium. Reading a statement prepared by Hickey and the district's lawyer, French advised the crowd that anyone else who disrupted the meeting would be asked to leave.

On Friday, dozens of Glenwood Middle School pupils staged a sit-down in the gym to protest Lockwood's firing. One parent was arrested for trespassing.

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