Days after County Executive Janet S. Owens (D) vetoed a spending package that would have given school administrators what she called "excessive" pay raises, the Board of Education last week approved more moderate salary increases.

About 60 administrators will receive 3 percent raises, the same as those awarded to the members of the county's teachers union earlier this year.

Owens was urged to veto the measure by the County Council, which said the raises were too high during a time when money is tight.

Council President C. Edward Middlebrooks (R-Glen Burnie) lauded the Board of Education for revising the administrators' raises.

"I think this is much more in line with everyone else's raises," he said. "And I think it was a good move by the superintendent and the school board."

School Superintendent Eric J. Smith had said the original raises were designed to keep many of the administrators, who are near or at retirement age, from leaving the school system.

The raises would have made administrators' salaries comparable to those in other counties in the area.

Though Owens's veto was seen as a rebuke to the school system, officials said there won't be a strain between the school system and the county government.

"We will continue to work together," Middlebrooks said. "I'm just glad we got this resolved."

Owens was also "pleased with the board's action," said her spokesman, Matt Diehl.

Post-9/11 Preparedness

In many ways, Annapolis is still a somewhat sleepy sailing town with a lot of great places to have a beer by the bay.

But as far as Police Chief Joseph S. Johnson is concerned, it could also be a target for terrorists.

With the third anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks approaching, Johnson was to lead a news conference yesterday detailing how far the city has come. The chief has called Annapolis a "target-rich environment, with the state capitol and the Naval Academy."

In beefing up its emergency management departments, the city has used various grants to purchase equipment that would make James Bond jealous.

To wit: The authorities now have infrared cameras, night vision binoculars, underwater surveillance cameras and a decontamination vehicle that can arrive at a hazardous materials scene.

Before 9/11 the city had "minimal capability to respond to incidents of weapons of mass destruction," the city said in a news release. But now it's much better prepared, Johnson said.

Hurricane Season Returns

Last year Hurricane Isabel devastated parts of Anne Arundel County, damaging 2,300 homes.

Now that hurricane season is in full swing again, county officials have reminded residents to make sure their home insurance is up to date and comprehensive.

They also warned that backup power generators should be used only outdoors.

During Isabel, two county residents were killed by fumes from their generators.

A Star in Our Orbit

Apparently Hollywood hasn't given up on Annapolis just yet. A couple of weeks after Disney Co. decided to film a movie about the U.S. Naval Academy in Philadelphia instead of on the academy's Annapolis campus, the producers of a new film starring George Clooney were in town this week.

The movie, "Syriana," is about the CIA's struggle against terrorism.

Film crews shot scenes with Clooney, famous for this role on the television show "ER" and movies such as "Ocean's Eleven," in the James Senate Office building this week.

Sewage Peril Slides Away

It's safe to go back to the water. The county Health Department, which had urged people to stay away from Lake Waterford after announcing that more than 10,000 gallons of sewage had spilled into it, said the mess did not actually run into the lake.

For more information, call the water quality line at 410-222-7999