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School board candidates advance

The School Board Nominating Commission this week is forwarding the names of six possible candidates for two open seats on the Anne Arundel County school board to Gov. Martin O'Malley.

The candidates include a Severn resident active on the countywide Citizens Advisory Committee, a key administrator under former County Executive Janet S. Owens, and an incumbent who is a longtime Davidsonville-area schools volunteer.

The names, applications and letters of support for the following candidates are expected to be sent to the governor's office by tomorrow, said commission Chairman Joshua C. Greene.

Candidates for the District 32 seat are:

*Teresa Milio Birge, a former staff member for the House Appropriations Committee who serves on the Seven Oaks Elementary School PTA, received unanimous support from the 11-member commission.

*Simeon M. Georgiou, a longtime pharmacy manager who led the Citizens Advisory Committee from 2002-2006 and serves on the Maryland Parent Advisory Council, received an 8-3 vote.

Candidates for the at-large seat are:

*Walter N. Chitwood III of Annapolis, an Army veteran and a retired county employee who served in the Owens administration, received a 9-2 vote of support.

*Kevin L. Jackson, a 1999 graduate of the Naval Academy who works for a company that supports Navy ship modernization, received a 9-2 vote.

*Tricia L. Johnson of Davidsonville, the incumbent candidate who is executive director of the BWI Development Council, received an 8-3 vote.

*Evelyn Gray-Mason, a retired county schools math teacher who served in the Army Reserve, received an 8-3 vote.

Greene said commissioners held "a robust deliberation" Monday to whittle the six candidates from a field of 13 applicants.

The School Board Nominating Commission replaced the 250-person nominating caucus, which selected a person for a school board seat whom the governor could either appoint or ignore. Under the new process created through state legislation last year, the 11-member commission has the power to recommend at least two candidates for each vacancy, and the governor must select one. The newly appointed members must go up for a vote in the next general election.

Help name new elementary school

Parents of students assigned to the new Gambrills-area elementary school for the 2008-2009 school year can voice their opinion on a name for the new facility at a meeting from 6:30 to 7:30 tonight.

The meeting will be held at the Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center, 975 Indian Landing Road, Millersville. Principal Diana Strohecker will also speak about her vision for the new school, which will open in August.

Only parents with children assigned to attend the school next fall will be allowed to vote on a potential name tonight. Strohecker will present that name to the Board of Education for its consideration.

Parking is limited, so carpooling is encouraged.

General Services police patrols expand

Maryland Department of General Services (DGS) police officers will patrol expanded areas in Annapolis, following passage of the "Capital City Safe Streets" bill, just signed by Gov. Martin O'Malley.

Announced in February by O'Malley, Speaker of the House Michael E.Busch of Annapolis, Mayor Ellen Moyer and U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, the comprehensive plan is designed to reduce crime in Annapolis.

"By working together with local, state and federal partners, we are able to improve public safety in our neighborhoods and communities across the state," O'Malley said. "This emergency bill is an important step in combating crime in Annapolis and creates a model program that can be replicated across the state, to help ensure the safety of all Marylanders."

The legislation expands the authority of DGS police, allowing DGS officers to make arrests and enforce laws in any area within 1,000 feet of state buildings and grounds in Annapolis and Baltimore. Previously, DGS officers were limited to making arrests only on state property.

DGS police officers provide law enforcement and security for 40 state buildings, 10 parking garages and 16 surface parking lots used by state employees and visited by more than one million people each year.

Firefighters handle double call volume

Anne Arundel County firefighters responded to a huge increase in calls during the heavy rain that pounded the area this week, county officials reported yesterday.

"When you look at the volume and types of calls that they handled, it is amazing to me that we did not lose a single life in any storm-related events," said County Executive John R. Leopold.

During the 24 hour period beginning at midnight Monday, the Fire Department handled 419 emergency related calls - a 100 percent increase over normal call volume for an identical time period on a typical day. Monday's pounding rain was part of 6.5 inches recorded at BWI Marshall Airport in five days.

Calls included:

*Seven reported water rescue assignments for vehicles in rising flood waters including two people who were rescued by swift water rescue teams in Maryland City and Gambrills.

*33 car crashes, including two incidents with people trapped in vehicles.

*Two structure fires that resulted in the loss of an outbuilding in Pasadena due to electrical wires considered to be storm-related; and a commercial building fire in Severn not considered to be storm-related. The cause of the second fire in under investigation.

*55 calls to investigate downed electrical power lines

*61 calls to investigate downed trees into buildings, on vehicles and across roadways

*67 miscellaneous calls.

Ceremony honors fallen servicemen

Nine Anne Arundel County servicemen who lost their lives in the global war on terrorism will be honored in a ceremony on Saturday, Armed Forces Day, in Fort Smallwood Park, Pasadena.

A memorial grove of nine red dogwood trees has been planted in honor of Sgt. 1st Class James J. Stoddard Jr. of Crofton, Cpl. Justin J. Watts of Crownsville, Staff Sgt. Christopher W. Swanson of Rose Haven, Private 1st Class Eric M. Kavanagh of Glen Burnie, Lance Cpl. Eric W. Herzberg of Severna Park, Command Sgt. Maj. Roger W. Haller of Annapolis, Maj. Douglas A. Zembiec of Annapolis, Spc. Micheal B. Matlock Jr. of Glen Burnie and Sgt. 1st Class Collin J. Bowen of Millersville.

County Executive John R. Leopold, who will host the 11 a.m. ceremony, will also dedicate a new 90-foot flagpole along with a plaque to honor the Anne Arundel County Fallen Heroes. Members of the Fort Smallwood Park/Harry & Jeannette Weinberg Park Master Plan Committee will be recognized for their efforts in completing the Master Plan for the two parks.

Admission is free, and the public is invited to attend.

Information: John Marshall, chief of park operations, 410-222-7317.

Talk on challenges facing nonprofits

A newly formed nonprofit association in South County will hold its first meeting on Monday concerning business issues facing nonprofits such as recruiting volunteers, board responsibilities, government and foundation funding.

The Southern Anne Arundel County Nonprofit Roundtable will gather representatives of nonprofits at 8:30 a.m. at Pirate's Cove, 4817 Riverside Drive in Galesville, to network, share event planning information and establish a comprehensive 2008 nonprofit meeting and fundraising event calendar.

All nonprofit organizations exempt under Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code as well as informal associations are invited to attend.

Founders include West/Rhode Riverkeeper Bob Gallagher, Susan Haine of the South County Faith Network and Ron Marvin of the Shady Side Rural Heritage Society.

Information: 410-867-1128 or non.profitroundtable@verizon.net.

Schools honored for food, funds drive

Five schools in Anne Arundel County were honored yesterday in Baltimore for their generosity and initiative for collecting food and money for the hungry of Maryland.

South River High School in Edgewater, Crofton Middle School and the private Indian Creek School in Crownsville ranked first, third and fourth in the state, respectively, for the most pounds collected in the annual Harvest for the Hungry campaign.

The three-week service learning campaign held during the fall gives students the opportunity to learn about hunger while collecting food for their local food bank. This is the largest food drive in Maryland.

South River collected 9,817 pounds of food, Crofton pulled in 5,634 pounds, and Indian Creek netted 5,398 pounds.

Anne Arundel schools took four of the tip five spots in most money collected, with Davidsonville Elementary collecting $11,261, Crofton Middle collecting $9,200, South River taking in $7,798 and Shipley's Choice Elementary School collecting $4,698. Leonardtown High in St. Mary's County was the runaway winner with $52,809.

Maryland State Department of Education officials also honored two Anne Arundel school projects among 13 winners of the Students Improving Maryland Awards, a program connected to Kids Helping Kids.

Broadneck Elementary School's "Raising Awareness and Funds to Fight Diabetes" and Davidsonville Elementary School's "Boosting Hunger Awareness" were the local projects awarded prizes of $500 to $1,000.

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