Record Observer - - Opinion -

House of Del­e­gates mem­ber Carter Hick­man ap­peared be­fore the county com­mis­sion­ers on Tues­day to so­licit their sup­port and their sig­na­tures for a pe­ti­tion to put Se­nate Bill 5 to ref­er­en­dum in the gen­eral elec­tion in Novem­ber.

The com­mis­sion­ers were the first sign­ers for Queen Anne’s County on the pe­ti­tion for SB 5, which is the reap­por­tion­ment bill that would give Queen Anne’s County a share in two sen­a­tors along with four other Eastern Shore coun­ties in a pro­posed 15th Dis­trict.

This pe­ti­tion is be­ing spon­sored by Vot­ers Inc., which is an or­ga­ni­za­tion founded for the pur­pose of see­ing the smaller coun­ties get a fair share of reap­por­tion­ment.

• • • The pos­si­bil­ity of a fed­er­ally funded sewer and wa­ter sys­tem for the town of Grasonville was broached Thurs­day in a se­ries of con­fer­ences on the Kent Nar­rows hous­ing sit­u­a­tion.

The ray of hope to put an end to the de­plorable shan­ty­town at the Nar­rows was brought out by the Rev. Ge­orge Packard, pres­i­dent of Episcopal Homes, Inc. in Bal­ti­more, a non-profit group that last month drew up plans for 48 low-rent units and joined with the Queen Anne’s County Com­mis­sion­ers in seek­ing fed­eral funds to build them.

He said “it might be pos­si­ble for the town to get a fed­eral grant for wa­ter and sewer sys­tems” af­ter the state Health De­part­ment ve­toed sewage at five pro­posed build­ing sites.

••• Edgar L. Lane, prom­i­nent Queen Anne’s County funeral di­rec­tor, said this week that he will toss his hat into the po­lit­i­cal ring next week.

He has an­nounced that he would file as a Demo­cratic can­di­date for the House of Del­e­gates from this county. “I will run in­de­pen­dently of any faction — I am go­ing to run for all of the peo­ple,” was his state­ment. It will be the first stir­ring of the po­lit­i­cal pot in Queen Anne’s for the up­com­ing Novem­ber elec­tion.

Mr. Lane is presently serv­ing a six-year term on the Mary­land State Ath­letic Com­mis­sion and has served as Chief Judge of the Or­phans’ Court for four years. “Many peo­ple,” he de­clared, “have told me they want a change. If I am elected, I will do my best to serve all the peo­ple, re­gard­less of po­lit­i­cal party or faction.”

Queen Anne’s County stu­dents have shown im­prove­ment this year in one of their weak­est ar­eas of study — writ­ing — ac­cord­ing to school of­fi­cials.

Pre­lim­i­nary anal­y­sis of scores on the Mary­land func­tional tests taken by county ninth graders this fall and spring shows a marked im­prove­ment in the num­ber of stu­dents with pass­ing writ­ing skills, said Wil­liam Stor­age, as­sis­tant su­per­in­ten­dent of cur­ricu­lum.

Stor­age also pre­dicted, how­ever, that when all scores are re­ceived and counted, the county could show a de­cline in pass­ing rates on the math­e­mat­ics and cit­i­zen­ship tests. He ex­pects the county’s pass­ing rate in read­ing, which last year was the high­est in the state, to re­main within or very near the “ex­cel­lent rat­ing.”

• • • Just days be­fore the fi­nal prepa­ra­tions were made to tear down the old jail build­ing on Lib­erty Street, a com­mit­tee of 12 Cen­tre­ville busi­ness and pro­fes­sional per­sons agreed on a de­sign for the build­ing’s re­place­ment.

The com­mit­tee, in a Satur­day work­shop with ar­chi­tect Charles E. An­thony, de­cided that the new build­ing should be a tra­di­tional brick build­ing in the Jef­fer­so­nian style, cen­tered on the court­house green.

The mem­bers sug­gested de­tails that would give the build­ing char­ac­ter, such as shut­ters on the win­dows, and dorm­ers and chim­neys on the roof, said An­thony. “I think it’s go­ing to be a very good fit for the court­house square,” he said.

• • • The Queen Anne’s County De­part­ment of Ag­ing will be­gin charg­ing a fee for some peo­ple to use the county’s three se­nior cit­i­zens cen­ters.

In the past, de­part­ment of­fi­cials asked for do­na­tions, but now have to charge a fee be­cause of the fis­cal crunch. Sue Lea­ger, di­rec­tor of the de­part­ment, said she ex­pects the rev­enue to in­crease un­der the new pol­icy, but could not say ex­actly how much it could in­crease.

Lea­ger pro­posed an­other pol­icy that would in­crease the re­quested do­na­tions for se­nior cit­i­zens us­ing the De­part­ment of Ag­ing bus ser­vice. The re­quested do­na­tion could jump from 25 cents to 50 cents for roundtrip bus­ing.

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