County emissions exemption gains an enemy

February 16, 1999

ANNAPOLIS - A bill exempting Washington County residents from vehicle emissions testing has at least one strong opponent on the legislative committee that's important to the bill's fate.

"There's absolutely no reason to exempt other than petty ignorance on the part of a small group of people," said Del. Leon G. Billings, D-Montgomery.

Billings is one of 22 people on the Environmental Matters Committee, which will likely review the legislation.

Del. Chris Shank, R-Washington, said Billings was one of four committee members who voted against repealing the county's vehicle emissions testing in 1996. That year, the bill died in the state Senate.

Billings said the bill has a poorer chance of passing this year because of the loss of a respected advocate, Del. Anita J. Stup, R-Frederick/Washington, who retired last year.


Also, he recently heard a report from the Motor Vehicle Administration that the program is working well.

Shank declined to comment on Billings' remarks other than to say, "His ideology and my ideology are far apart."

ANNAPOLIS - A Clear Spring couple came to the state capital last Wednesday to witness a long anticipated vote.

Gil and Michele Dyer were formally approved as the resident caretakers for a 19th-century home near Fort Frederick State Park in Big Pool.

"That was easy," Gil Dyer said, giving the thumbs-up sign after Gov. Parris N. Glendening and Comptroller William Donald Schaefer cast the deciding votes. The third person on the Board of Public Works, Treasurer Richard N. Dixon, was absent.

The Dyers, along with their two sons, will get to live in the historic Widmyer House rent-free. In exchange, they agreed to spend at least $100,000 in time and materials to fix up the house.

The family was chosen last fall.

The Dyers represent the 40th resident-curatorship arranged by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. In the past 16 years, the curators have invested more than $4 million.

State officials are still looking for a curator for the Foultz Plantation House in Beaver Creek.

For information, contact the program's director Ross Kimmel at 410-260-8164.

- Laura Ernde

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