- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 10, 2009



City ‘resilient’ in tough times

Mayor Sheila A. Dixon said Monday that the city is “resilient” and well-equipped to handle the economic downturn.

The statement was part of Mrs. Dixon’s 37-minute State of the City address, which included few details about potential cuts in services. She said the city has an “innovative spirit” that has helped it through challenging times.

Mrs. Dixon, a Democrat, spent most of the speech recapping the accomplishments of her administration and acknowledging her Cabinet heads. She said homicides and fire deaths were down significantly in 2008, and that the accomplishments came with reductions in overtime spending for police and firefighters.

One cost-saving measure the mayor has proposed is to cut trash collection to once a week.


Enrollment down at Catholic schools

Student enrollment in Baltimore Catholic Archdiocese schools has decline by 5 percent this school year, Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien said.

The percentage equals roughly 1,200 students, the equivalent of four full schools and twice the average decline of the previous five years.

Baltimore has one of the country’s oldest Catholic school systems, and efforts are under way to address falling enrollment.

This week, priests and educators are set to gather to discuss the problem, and Archbishop O’Brien will introduce a committee formed to find answers.


Poultry growers balk at discharge fee

State lawmakers from the Eastern Shore plan to send a letter to Maryland Department of the Environment asking the agency to waive permit fees for poultry farms designated as “confined animal feeding operations.”

The decision to send a letter followed a meeting Friday with representatives of Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc.

The group’s executive director, Bill Satterfield, said many growers don’t have the cash for the annual fee. The group also said Delaware and Virginia don’t charge fees for the discharge permit. Maryland plans to charge $1,200 for large operations, $600 for medium operations and $120 for the smallest operations.

The deadline for permit applications is Feb. 27.


81 birds rescued from breeder’s home

A nonprofit agency in Damascus has rescued 81 exotic birds from the home of a Montgomery County breeder.

Brian Wilson, the founder of the Wilson Parrot Foundation, said the birds had been living in unsanitary conditions.

Mr. Wilson thinks the former owner took on more than he could handle.

The birds include conures, macaws and cockatiels. Foundation volunteer Lisa Nichols said some had been confined in pet carriers and others had gone days without food or water in dirty cages.

Mr. Wilson said once the owner formally gives up ownership of the birds, the foundation will look for foster homes.


County executive taps new fire chief

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman has named a former colleague in state government to be the county’s next fire chief.

Mr. Ulman has nominated Bill Goddard, who worked with him in the Maryland Secretary of State’s Office under then-Gov. Parris N. Glendening, a Democrat.

Mr. Goddard is a former Prince George’s County fire official and served in the state fire marshal’s office. He also is a former chief of state for the secretary of transportation and is an executive with a development firm.

He will serve as acting chief until the County Council confirms his nomination. Mr. Goddard succeeds Chief Joe Herr, whose retirement takes effect March 1.



Ex-church treasurer sentenced for theft

The former treasurer for three Roanoke County churches was sentenced Monday to four years and a month in prison for embezzlement.

Roanoke County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Aaron Lavinder said Lola Taylor Rowe, 71, must pay more than $33,000 in restitution. An additional 31 years and 11 months of prison time was suspended.

Rowe served as treasurer for the McDonald’s Mill, Catawba and Shiloh United Methodist churches, in Catawba, beginning in October 2003. The congregations have the same pastor and share a treasury fund.

Police began an investigation after a trustee complained in late 2007 and discovered that Rowe wrote unauthorized checks for her expenses the entire time she was treasurer.

Mr. Lavinder said Rowe had an embezzlement conviction in 1991.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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