Columbia Association leans toward national search for...


Columbia Association leans toward national search for president

Columbia Council members are deciding how to address the leadership vacuum in the Columbia Association, the most pressing issue facing the 10-member board.

In a series of nonbinding tallies last week, the council voted to conduct a nationwide search for a president and to have that search completed in six months.

In another nonbinding vote during a work session at CA headquarters, the board decided against hiring an interim president. The council chose instead to bring in additional help to assist association staff with day-to-day operations, specifically with legal matters, communications and public relations.

A proposal by Adam Rich of River Hill to hire a professional management team to help run CA during the search - and to evaluate ways of running it better - drew no other votes than his own.

The council has tentatively scheduled public meetings, for June 14 and June 29 at 7:30 p.m., and a survey will be sent to a range of groups.

Proposed taxi increase could boost fares up to $5

The Robey administration is proposing taxi surcharges that could boost the price of a ride to Baltimore-Washington International Airport by as much as $5 but would make no adjustment for higher gasoline costs.

The proposed surcharges, designed to bolster the finances of Howard County's cabbies, would affect nighttime rides, credit card transactions and other special circumstances.

The surcharges would add $2 for rides between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., and $2 for trips to other counties. Riders would pay an extra $1 for credit card transactions and $1 for having more than six grocery bags. Riders would also be responsible for tolls. Under the formula, the cost of a nighttime ride to BWI, paid with a credit card, would increase by $5.

School system stages mock crisis at Atholton

The school system staged a mock shooting at Atholton High on Wednesday, an effort by county agencies to test readiness for a real crisis.

The exercise exposed some flaws in the county's preparations.

Several participants were able to get into the building after the pretend shooting, and reporters covering the exercise were closer to the crime scene than the school system would have liked. Some teachers left their classrooms when they shouldn't have, and communications were spotty, said school spokeswoman Patti Caplan.

"We made some mistakes and we have some retraining to do ... especially in terms of securing the school and securing the property," said school district security director Steve Drummond.

Man gets life plus 30 years in wife's 'public execution'

A Columbia man who murdered his estranged wife outside the Howard County Circuit Courthouse last year has been sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years.

Tuse S. Liu, 51, pleaded guilty in March to first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder and use of a handgun in a felony.

In what witnesses described as a public execution in March 1999, Liu shot and killed his wife, So Shan Chan, 52, and seriously injured Chan's daughter, Wing Wu, 27, who tried to fend off his attack with a computer-science textbook.

At the sentencing Thursday, Wu clutched a framed photograph of her mother and said she wanted Liu to apologize. He did not.

"I will never be as good as before. ... I was so happy with my mommy," said Wu, who suffers from lung problems, a torn knee and damaged teeth from the shooting.

Neighbors sniff out source of smelly stream pollution

People in the Ellicott City neighborhood of Dunloggin suspected for months that sewage was seeping into the stream behind their homes, but county officials never could find a problem.

Until last weekend. That's when St. John's Community Association President Lynne Bergling and her husband walked down the Plumtree streambed and tracked a swath of sewage to a pipe about 120 feet to the west.

Howard County workers came May 27 to fix the leak. County employees and elected officials - from County Executive James N. Robey to state Sen. Christopher J. McCabe - gathered by the stream Tuesday with residents and assured them that area sewage pipes would be closely monitored.

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