Arundel Digest

The Baltimore Sun

Library marks service anniversary

The Anne Arundel County Public Library will join with the Maryland State Department of Education's Division of Library Development and Services and other Maryland libraries today to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Maryland AskUsNow!

The free, online interactive reference service is available 24/7 from library Web sites throughout the state, including www.aacpl.net. To date, the AskUsNow staff of librarians has answered more than 230,000 questions from individuals seeking answers to questions, research guidance or help navigating the Internet. Usage by Anne Arundel County residents ranks second among all the counties in Maryland.

County library system administrator Marion Francis and Maryland Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick will welcome officials from around the state at 10:30 a.m. at the West County Branch, 1325 Annapolis Road, Odenton, to applaud the service.

For more information, visit www.askusnow.info.

Tests start Monday for sewage systems

The Anne Arundel County Department of Health's Environmental Health Division will start annual wet season site evaluations and percolation tests for sewage disposal systems on Monday.

Wet season testing allows accurate assessment of a septic system's ability to function effectively during all seasons of the year. The water table is usually highest during February, March and April. Properties in areas with certain soils and high water tables require testing during this time.

The information provided by the site evaluation and tests determines the size and type of septic system that can be installed. In some cases, because of poor soil or groundwater conditions, a property may be developed only when public sewer is available.

Percolation testing for sand mound systems and on properties with shallow groundwater conditions may be deferred until the 2009 wet season test period. Anyone requiring wet season site evaluations and tests is encouraged to apply now because applications are valid for two years and testing is conducted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Property owners can submit applications online at www.aa health.org or by visiting the county Permit Application Center, 2664 Riva Road, Annapolis. Applications must be received and tests scheduled by March 31. For more information, call the Environmental Health Division at 410-222-7193.

Funds for 3 parks approved by state

The state Board of Public Works approved $840,000 in Program Open Space funds last week for improvements to three parks in Anne Arundel County:

A $655,000 grant to create three athletic fields with outdoor lighting, a playground, a concession/restroom building and parking areas at Bay Head Park on the Broadneck Peninsula. Once completed, the park is expected to receive 30,000 visitors annually.

A $77,138 grant to renovate two picnic pavilions and install outdoor cooking grills and picnic tables at Truxtun Park in Annapolis. Once improved, use of the picnic area is expected to double to 2,400 visitors annually.

A $108,570 grant to replace failing, aged outdoor lighting on two softball fields at Truxtun Park in Annapolis with energy-efficient lighting.

Trash, illegal signs removed from roads

More than 11,000 bags of trash and nearly 7,000 illegal signs have been removed from Anne Arundel County's local and state roadways through the Trash and Illegal Sign Removal Project, County Executive John R. Leopold announced this week.

In October, the Department of Public Works acquired a permit from the State Highway Authority that extends to the county the power to remove nuisance signs from state roads and highways within Anne Arundel County.

The Department of Public Works uses supervised inmate labor from the Ordnance Road Correction Center to remove the signs, much like the department's litter pickup program.

During the past 38 weeks, about 8,114 hours of inmate labor has been used, a savings valued at $111,080 at a $13.69/hour wage.

The only remaining cost to the county is the $65-per-ton tipping fee at the Millersville landfill, currently calculated at $145,712 for the project. The expense is absorbed by DPW's annual budget for roadside waste pick-up.

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