North Laurel man charged with abuse in...


North Laurel man charged with abuse in shaking of baby

A 34-year-old North Laurel man has been charged with severely shaking his 3-month-old son, leaving the child partially paralyzed with brain damage, the second such incident resulting in criminal charges in the past year in Howard County.

The child's father was indicted last week on child abuse and second-degree assault charges. The indictment was unsealed Monday when the man, Manuel Johnson Jr. of North Laurel, surrendered to authorities.

Law enforcement sources say Howard County officials are investigating another possible case of shaken-baby syndrome, which would be the county's third, and are awaiting lab tests. That 1-week-old girl died in mid-April, said sources who declined to release further details.

County schools to get $20.7 million from state

The Howard County School District will receive $20.7 million from the state in school construction funds for 2001 - more than $4 million more than last year's allocation, state officials announced Monday.

Declaring a "platinum age" of school construction and renovation in the state, Gov. Parris N. Glendening committed $300.7 million to rebuilding older schools in established neighborhoods and bringing classroom technology up to modern standards.

The statewide total is the largest amount in Maryland's history, Glendening said at a news conference at Western High School in Baltimore.

Howard's share is the most money the county has received in several years.

Wastewater woes delay opening of school wing

Months of uncertainty over how to dispose of wastewater from a planned 400-student addition to Glenelg High School in western Howard County will delay opening the new wing, school officials say.

Even a best-case scenario will force at least a several-month delay, said Sydney L. Cousin, associate school superintendent for finance and operations.

And if another series of hurdles can't be cleared quickly, the addition could be delayed a full year or more beyond the scheduled August 2001 opening, he said."It's real dicey, because when you have schools on well and septic systems there's no chance of hooking up to sewers," he said.

Glenelg is projected to enroll 1,073 students next school year - 132 over capacity.

Council seeks to restore some school budget cuts

The Howard County Council's first crack at the school budget Wednesday resembled a cautious trip to the dentist - full of probing, pushing and irritation.

The council is looking for ways to bridge an $8.5 million gap between what the school board wants and what County Executive James N. Robey has proposed, and members are hoping to restore up to half of that by rooting through their $754.4 million spending plan for ways to save.

At stake in the deliberations are plans dear to council members' hearts - plans to continue cutting class sizes in first and second grades, and to slow or reverse the flight of mostly white families from older schools with lower standardized test scores.

Replacing old playgrounds, musical and athletic uniforms and other specialty expenses also may be at risk.

To avoid that, council members poked and prodded sometimes resistant school officials, looking for ways to save money.

Teen accused in killing of boy, 13, ordered held

An Ellicott City teen accused of shooting and killing his 13-year-old friend last month was ordered held at a juvenile jail after a juvenile master said that psychiatric evaluations showed the boy is a danger to the community.

The 16-year-old boy appeared briefly Tuesday before Juvenile Master Bernard A. Raum, who reviewed the reports and said the youth "represents a substantial risk to others and cannot be properly supervised in the community."

The boy has spent the past two weeks at the Finan Center, a psychiatric facility in Cumberland, where he underwent examinations.

Based on those reports, Raum ordered the boy to the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in Baltimore County pending his trial, which has been set for May 23.

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