ASSEMBLY: Cell phone driving ban strengthened
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 13:48

More availability for medical marijuana use

by Bill Gates

Contrary to how it might have seemed, there was more to the recently-concluded General Assembly session than decriminalizing marijuana and raising the minimum wage.
    Continuing on the theme that using a cell phone while driving is bad, the legislature passed “Jake’s Law.”
    The bills (HB 1212 and SB 348) increase the penalty for someone who, due to being distracted by using a cell phone, causes an auto accident in which there is death or serious bodily injury.
    A driver convicted of such an offense will get 12 points on his or her driving record and be subject to up to a year in prison or a maximum fine of $5,000.
    The legislation was sparked by the death of a five-year-old boy in 2011.
    The vehicle in which the child was riding was rear-ended by another vehicle whose driver was using his cell phone.
    The guilty driver received only a $1,000 fine, prompting the introduction of legislation to bring the penalties for causing an accident under those in line with those for driving while intoxicated.

Lacks inducted into state Women’s Hall of Fame
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 13:44

Turner’s icon honored at March 20 ceremony

by Nicole Rodman

    Though her cells would go on to change the world, Henrietta Lacks remained largely unknown for decades after her death in 1951.
    Now, as word of her legacy spreads around the globe, Henrietta Lacks has been honored with a spot in the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame.
    Born in Roanoke, Va., Lacks relocated to Turner Station with her husband and children in 1941.
    Ten years later, Lacks was admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital after falling ill shortly after the birth of her fifth child.
    At Hopkins, Lacks was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of cervical cancer. Despite receiving treatment, Lacks succumbed to the disease on Oct. 4, 1951 at the age of 31.
    Unbeknownst to either Lacks or her family, doctors had harvested cells from Lacks’ tumor during her treatments.
    These cells, named HeLa cells after their unwitting donor, proved to be unusually prolific.
    In the decades since, Lacks’ cells have led to countless medical advancements, including treatments for polio, cancer and AIDS.
    HeLa cells continue to be instrumental in medical research today.
    It was not until the 1970s that Lacks’ family first learned about HeLa cells and the indelible mark they have left on the world.
    In recent years, Lacks’ story has begun to be told through documentaries, books and events held in Turner Station and beyond.
    Lacks received her latest posthumous honor last month, as she was inducted into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Annapolis on March 20.

Incumbents name Washington and Crizer to ticket
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 13:33

Olszewski and Weir ally with House hopefuls

by Ben Boehl

    With the retirements of Del. Joseph “Sonny” Minnick and Sen. Norman Stone, there have been rumors circulating that Del. John Olszewski Jr. and Michael Weir Jr. are looking to form a new ticket.
    The pair made it official on Saturday, when they announced their ticket for June’s Democratic primary, which will be called “Our Team.”
    The slate includes Olszewski as the Senate candidate, with Ed Crizer and Eric Washington joining Weir in the House contest.
    The five Democratic State Central Committee (DSCC) candidates on the ticket are Marilyn Baldwin, Chris Maher, Patty Burr and Mike and Megan Mioduszewski.
    Minnick, Stone and outgoing Councilman John Olszewski Sr. attended the event; all said they support the newly-formed ticket.
    Crizer and the five DSCC candidates were widely expected to be on the ticket, but Washington, the first Democrat to publicly declare for the House race, began to surface only within the last few weeks as a possible member of the ticket.    
    A CCBC professor and Baltimore County Human Relations Commission member, Washington has picked up endorsements from firefighter and teacher associations in Baltimore County, along with the  Maryland State Education Association and the Battle Grove and County Seal Democratic clubs.
    “It’s lonely when you are all by yourself. It’s better to be on a team,” Washington noted. “With a team, you can share your individual talents.”
    With Olszewski, Crizer and Washington picking up many of the same endorsements, Olszewski said the two newcomers fit in well with him and Weir.

Lottery lightning strikes twice for Bear Creek couple
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 13:41

Fowlers scratch off  pair of big wins in a week

by Ben Boehl

    Lighting does not strike twice. Or if it does, it can not strike twice within a week. Can it?
    It did recently for one Bear Creek couple, as Dean and Shelly Fowler won $100,000 playing a Maryland Lottery “Winner’s Luck” scratch-off on March 22, and a week later, won another $10,000 on a “Club Casino” scratch-off on April 1.alt
    Appearing to have won a second scratch-off prize on April 1 might sound like a typical April Fool’s prank, but the Maryland Lottery verified that the couple had, in fact, won.
    “When we went down there, the woman said she recognized us. She couldn’t believe we were there again,” Shelly said.
    Shelly has been a state employee for the past 21 years, and Dean is the owner of Weather Seal Home Services, a roofing company.
    The couple said they were coming from a job in Abingdon and stopped off at a convenience store in White Marsh to purchase the winning scratch-off.
    Shelly told The Eagle that she never plays scratch-offs but decided to play on the couple’s anniversary.
    She decided to play again on March 29 and even questioned her decision, since she just won the previous weekend — and the odds of finding a winner twice seemed extremely low.
    “I was thinking, ‘Why am I playing again? There is no way I’m going to win again,’” Shelly said. “I think I was more shocked the second time.”
    Shelly, a Patapsco graduate, said the money was needed, as Dean was injured for an extended period of time.

Holabird STEM students work to preserve history
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 13:31

Fort Howard field trip ties to preservation

by John G. Bailey

    Wednesday, April 9, was no day for middle school students to be stuck in a classroom, but it was a great day for outdoor environmental research.
    Fortune smiled upon the Holabird STEM [science, technology, engineering, math] Program eighth-grade class for its morning field trip to five Battle of North Point sites. Warm temperatures, a bright sky and a light breeze greeted the students at their stops at Battle Acre, North Point Battlefield Park, North Point State Park, Todd’s Inheritance and Fort Howard Park. 
    Science teacher and STEM coordinator Marjorie McGarry explained the purpose of the day’s excursion during an interview atop one of the batteries at Fort Howard.
    In the STEM program, students identify and analyze real-world problems to come up with solutions. The focus of the field trip was the preservation and/or restoration of local historical sites.
    To organize information and direct the project, each student was tasked with filling out a prepared guide, which required a description, the historical significance and the environmental and human influences of each site. They also had to render a site sketch at each location.
    National Park Ranger Abbie Bayne joined school faculty on the field trip. After McGarry corralled student’s attention, Bayne conducted a guided observation of Fort Howard to get students started.

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