Thursday, March 23, 2006

Thursday Round Up: Sweet Sixteen Edition

That's right, kiddies. Now is the time in college basketball when we separate the wheat from the chaff, whatever that means. Though I am not yet entirely out of my tournament pools, I, like the Orioles and the playoffs this year, probably shouldn't invest too much hope into something that is only "mathematically feasible."

So, what are we rounding up today? Let's start off with some good news.

Howard County is lucky to have some dedicated individuals looking out for the safety and welfare of everyone, such as Karen Dausch, a local paramedic. A couple weeks ago, Dausch witnessed a single car accident while driving home to Lincoln, Del. (That's right, she works in Howard County and lives in Delaware -- I hope she has satellite radio). Anyway, the car came to rest upside down in a pond of waste deep water, and Dausch, acting on instinct and training, jumped out of her car, pried open the stuck door with a crowbar, and pulled the driver to safety. The driver was flown to shock trauma but is expected to make a full recovery, no doubt in large part because of Dausch's heroic actions.

Speaking of public safety, the Flier this week has taken a strong interest in the security of our government buildings. A long story and some accompanying pieces describe the security measures in place at the county's main office building in Ellicott City. These measures include...well, during night meetings there's an unarmed guard who sits by the door. And, that's about it.

Personally, I don't think security at the George Howard building is really that big of a concern -- it is, after all, right next door to the police station. Nonetheless, a slow news week means it will be talked about -- at least until something else happens. While the Flier may have misgivings about the lack of metal detectors and armed guards, our elected officials don't seem too concerned.

"I'm very satisfied with the level of security here," County Council chairman Christopher Merdon said during an interview in his council office, on the first floor of the Howard Building.

"I don't support any additional security measures," added Merdon, a Republican from Ellicott City, who is running for county executive this year.

County Councilman Kenneth Ulman, a Democrat from west Columbia, agreed.

"I've never felt uncomfortable here. I've never felt unsafe," Ulman said this week, shortly before an evening meeting in the building.

Since Merdon and Ulman are two likely targets of any security threat -- whereas the Flier's editorial board is probably safe in their offices -- I was initially inclined to agree with them. But, after reading this quote, I'm definitely on their side.

Merdon said he prefers to keep the Howard building as open as possible to citizens.

"I'm confident we can handle any situation during a meeting," he said.

Take heed would-be security threats. If you mess with the peaceful proceedings of our county government, you run the risk of having your situation handled by Mr. Merdon and the League of Legislators, and I think we all know what he means by "handle." Mild-mannered councilmen by day, ass-kicking, vigilante councilmen by night.

To you, my good sirs, I say: YEEHAW!

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