62% of residents leave county to work, census data show

Many people who live in Howard County work somewhere else - and many people who work in Howard County live somewhere else.

Coming and especially going, it's the cross-commuting capital of the state.

Sixty-two percent of county residents leave the area to work, according to the 2000 Census - the largest share among Maryland counties. People who live outside the county hold more than half of Howard's 134,000 jobs.

It's a phenomenon fueled by economics, real estate prices and plain luck-of-the-draw location.

Grant sought to finish Ellicott City Master Plan

A grant proposal submitted to the state Monday could mean a $10,000 jump-start for the Ellicott City Master Plan, which has been on hold for want of a good editor.

The plan steering committee is asking the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development for a grant to fund the editing through the Community Legacy Program. The Ellicott City Business Association offered to put its name on the request as administrator of the potential funds, and two weeks ago the County Council approved the application.

The money would allow the steering committee to hire a professional planner to edit the current draft of the master plan into a concise, accessible document.

School boundary panel seeks input from parents

As the Howard schools' boundary lines advisory committee kicks into high gear - making changes to draft maps at each weekly meeting, and then changes to the changes - members are emphasizing that now is the time for parents to voice suggestions and concerns.

With about a week left before official proposals for new elementary and middle school boundaries are presented to the public (at community meetings Sept. 24 and 25), committee members want to be told what their decisions might mean to communities, schools and kids.

And now is the best time to comment, they said, while ideas are flowing freely and every idea is fair game.

Landlords support unmetered water billing

Unmetered water billing in apartment complexes can promote water conservation, saving millions of gallons of water a year, a group of landlord and billing-company advocates told a Howard County advisory board Monday night.

"It's the correct thing to do, economically and for the environment," said Jim Caffey, executive vice president of Maryland Multi-Housing Association Inc., which represents nearly 230 property managers and owners in the state.

The six-member advisory board is investigating unmetered billing, commonly known as a Ratio Utility Billing System, at the request of the County Council. The board has until Dec. 1 to issue a report, in which it could recommend that the council regulate the practice.

After winning primary, Schrader focuses on Gray

State Sen. Sandra B. Schrader wasted no time taking aim at C. Vernon Gray, her Democratic rival in the general election, after learning Tuesday night that she had defeated Edward L. Patrick in the District 13 Republican primary.

In other contested races, school board nonpartisan candidates Courtney Watson and Barry Tevelow advanced to the general election, while seldom-seen Arthur Neal Willoughby was knocked out of the race; Republican Steven H. Adler defeated Clark J. Schoeffield to face James N. Robey for county executive; Democrat David Rakes finished first to oppose top GOP vote-getter Brian Harlin in the 2nd Council District; Diane Wilson appeared to edge out Kirk Halpin in the 3rd Council District GOP race to face unopposed Guy J. Guzzone; and Allan H. Kittleman easily defeated James C. Adams for the GOP crown in the 5th Council District and will face unopposed Democrat Stephen Musselman.

Residents gather to mark anniversary of Sept. 11

As strains of "Amazing Grace" floated across Centennial Lake on Wednesday night like the summons to a funeral, hundreds of Howard County residents marked Sept. 11 by celebrating undying hope.

People read inspirational quotations from presidents and locals. At least 150 uniformed police, fire and emergency personnel stood at attention as the nation's flag was hoisted to the top of the Fire Department's Tower 18.

An audience estimated by park officials at 2,500 rose to sing "God Bless America" - and applauded spontaneously as the public safety workers filed away up a long pathway.

Count of absentee ballots shows Ulman in lead

A daylong Howard County election board count of absentee ballots Thursday - interrupted when board president Roland L. Howard suffered a heart attack - showed Kenneth S. Ulman to be the apparent winner of the west Columbia County Council Democratic primary by a 37-vote margin.

Mary Kay Sigaty, who received 76 absentee votes to Ulman's 73, said victory is "unlikely," but she refused after the meeting to concede until the result is certified.

A count of 873 absentee ballots countywide also showed Diane Wilson beating Kirk Halpin by 53 votes in the Republican County Council primary in District 3.

The outcome seemed almost anticlimactic after Howard's heart attack, which occurred midway through the nearly seven-hour, tedious review and a series of arguments about whether to accept several late ballots. He was taken to Howard County General Hospital, where he later was reported in critical condition.

Thursday's count was unofficial. The board will reconvene Wednesday to count any overseas ballots that arrive and 29 provisional ballots.

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