Settlement reached in front-yard fence dispute in Crofton
Crofton residents rankled by a front-yard fence that violates the neighborhood covenants will have to live with it for another 16 months, under a settlement announced yesterday.
The agreement between Beate Kanamine and the Crofton Civic Association allows her to keep the fence until October 2002, when she will have to remove it at her own expense. Kanamine has agreed to deposit money in an escrow account to cover the cost of fence removal by the association, in the event she fails to do so.
The fence has been in dispute since Kanamine erected it in August, saying it was needed to protect her hearing-impaired son. She has said she believed she had permission because the association hadn't denied her request within 60 days, as the covenants say it must. But association officials contend she misread the covenants, and never had permission.
After she was ordered to remove it in the fall, Kanamine filed a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development alleging discrimination. In yesterday's settlement, Kanamine also agreed to withdraw that complaint.
Reading initiative's foes allege conflict of interest
Opponents of a new middle school reading initiative say County Councilwoman Pamela G. Beidle has a conflict of interest because her sister works on the program for the school system.
Beidle, who has attended school board meetings on the subject, has an "ethical" conflict, according to Tim Curry of Severna Park, part of a group called the Coalition for Balanced Excellence in Education. Curry made his concern public at Monday's council meeting.
But Beidle, a Linthicum Democrat, said her support for the reading program reflects the views of many north county residents - not from the position of her sister, Andrea Zamora, as a reading resource teacher.
"For me to have a conflict, I must have something to gain," she said. "What do I have to gain that my sister is being forced to work 14 hours on this project for the same salary?"
Her presence at school board meetings should be a "compliment," Beidle said, because it showed she took the time to research the project.
Opponents are upset that the beefed-up reading program would mean one fewer period for electives such as band and chorus.
Early-morning arsons investigated in Eastport
Annapolis Crime Solvers has offered a $1,000 reward for information about a series of arson fires in Eastport, including two early yesterday involving a motorcycle and an outdoor trash bin.
The latest fires were discovered between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. The fire that damaged a 1999 Kawasaki motorcycle parked on Bay Ridge Avenue was discovered and extinguished by a state trooper. While firefighters were investigating the incident, a passerby informed them of the fire in a trash bin behind an office building on Severn Avenue, said city fire Lt. Doug Remaley.
One trash receptacle behind an office building in the 900 block of Chesapeake Ave. has been set on fire more than three times this year, according to Remaley, and fire officials said early-morning fires also occurred in the area on April 5, 13, 19 and 23.
"We believe at least some of them are related," Remaley said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Fire Department at 410-263-7975 or Annapolis Crime Solvers at 410-267-8888.