Howard education board OKs record capital budget
The Howard County Board of Education has unanimously approved a record $125.3 million capital budget for the coming fiscal year that school officials say represents a shift from new construction to renovation. The budget includes funding for bigger projects such as $27 million for the Mount Hebron High School renovation; $18.2 million for an addition and renovation to office space at the old Cedar Lane School; $13.6 million for renovation and an addition at Northfield Elementary; and $12.7 million to build a new maintenance/warehouse facility. For the current year, the county allotted $80.47 million in capital funds. The increase in requested funds, which was approved by the board late Thursday, is the result of the rise in state school construction formula from $240.80 to $250.88 per square foot, county schools Superintendent Sydney L. Cousin said.
John-John Williams IV
Gala honors state Teacher of the Year
William Thomas, a Prince George's County social studies teacher, was named Maryland Teacher of the Year last night at a gala event at Martin's West in Baltimore celebrating the 24 local teachers of the year. He "equates classroom teaching to art," state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick said in a statement. Thomas, who teaches history and Advanced Placement government at Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School, will receive a computer, $9,000, a week at National Space Camp, a trip to the Teacher of the Year Conference in Dallas, technology for his classroom valued at $15,000, and a $25,000 Saturn Aura from the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association. He will be honored at a White House ceremony in April and now goes on to the national competition. The state Teacher of the Year is chosen by an 11-member committee made up of union leaders, administrators, retired teachers and past winners. Applicants go through a lengthy process that includes a written application and an oral interview. Teachers are evaluated on their passion for the profession, their accomplishments and their ability to discuss education-related issues.
NAACP offers ways to report poll rumors
The NAACP of Baltimore has created an e-mail address and a phone number for people to report rumors they've heard about restrictions at the polls. Marvin "Doc" Cheatham, president of the Baltimore branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said the group will investigate rumors people have heard and get back to them to clarify any confusion. Cheatham said the e-mail address is stopelection firstname.lastname@example.org. The phone number is 410-669-VOTE. Cheatham also said the organization is working to get a new letter sent out to about 420 former felons in Baltimore whose registrations have been canceled, even though they could be eligible to vote. He said an earlier letter that was sent out by the city elections board failed to provide important information such as whom the person should contact.
Street closures planned for Fells Point Fun Festival
Baltimore transportation officials are planning street closures and parking restrictions to accommodate the 42nd annual Fells Point Fun Festival today and tomorrow. Signs have been posted throughout the historic Fells Point neighborhood to mark areas where parking is prohibited, and parking officials say they will aggressively ticket cars parked in restricted areas, towing them to Boston Street. The 400 and 500 blocks of Broadway will be closed to traffic, as will the area bounded by Wolfe, Caroline and Aliceanna streets. All streets will reopen by 6 a.m. Monday, according to city officials.
Arundel jail project faces money hurdles
Anne Arundel County administrators will not ask for $1.17 million in state money this year to expand the county's two jails, despite record crowding. Robin Harting, superintendent of the county's detention centers, told the state Department of Budget and Management last month that the County Council would not commit to the $70.9 million project. Harting, who said the project cannot move ahead without county money, has withdrawn her request for the first installment of state money.
Man killed trying to steal car part is identified
Police yesterday identified a man who was crushed under a car at a Curtis Bay salvage yard Thursday as he attempted to steal a catalytic converter. John A. Betch, 34, of the 300 block of Crandell Road in Severna Park was found dead under a 1995 Acura that had fallen when a jack he was using to lift the vehicle collapsed, police said. Agent Donny Moses, a police spokesman, said police found tools at Crazy Ray's Auto Salvage in the 2800 block of Hawkins Point Road that they believe the man was using to remove the part.