New emissions rules proposed

Maryland Newswatch

September 12, 1990

BALTIMORE CITYMARYLAND — Baltimore should be cured of its occasional wintertime bouts of unhealthy air under new automobile pollution limits proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, says an EPA official.

The EPA yesterday proposed new rules it said should reduce harmful carbon monoxide emissions from cars and light trucks by up to 29 percent in cold weather.

In Baltimore, with its relatively mild winters, the pollution gains would be about half that, according to John German, an EPA official.

But even so, German said that "chances are extremely good" that in the next few years, carbon monoxide in the city would no longer reach unhealthy levels, as it does now at least once or twice every winter in the downtown business district.

Carbon monoxide, which is emitted from auto tailpipes and industrial smokestacks, reduces the amount of oxygen pumped through the bloodstream to muscles and organs in the body. Cigarette smokers and people with heart disease are especially vulnerable to elevated levels of the gas, according to health officials.

The EPA now limits carbon monoxide emissions from cars during warmer weather, from 68 degrees to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. But the agency plans to set new limits on carbon monoxide releases when motor vehicles start up and run at temperatures as low as 20 degrees.

The regulation is needed because many of the 41 cities with carbon monoxide problems experience them during winter, when weather conditions hold pollutants close to the ground. In downtown Baltimore, carbon monoxide levels have exceeded EPA health standards once or twice each winter, when temperatures average about 50 degrees, according to EPA data.

Wilner to head appeals court

Alan M. Wilner will take over as chief judge of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals when the current chief judge, Richard P. Gilbert, retires Nov. 1.

Wilner was designated for the position yesterday by Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

He has been a judge of the state's second highest court since 1977. Before that, he was chief legislative officer for former Gov. Marvin Mandel.

Schaefer also yesterday appointed 19 members to the Governor's Prescription Drug Commission and chose Robert M. Goldman, a Baltimore lawyer, as chairman.

The commission was created to advise state officials on ways to reduce abuse of prescription drugs.

One of the duties of the commission will be to help develop a program for Mid-Atlantic states to collect information on prescribing and dispensing prescription drugs.

Trooper dies in crash:

Anne Arundel

A Delaware state trooper was killed last night near the Maryland-Delaware line when his patrol car crashed into a tractor-trailer and burst into flames, Maryland State Police reported. The trooper was trapped inside the car.

State Police said Trooper Gerard T. Dowd, 28, assigned to Troop No. 5 in Sussex County, Del., was traveling eastbound on Md. 54 responding to a call shortly after 10 p.m. when his 1988 Chevrolet Caprice patrol car collided with a southbound tractor-trailer on Del. 26 where it turns into Md. 353 near Frankford in southern Delaware.

The patrol car slid under the trailer portion of the truck and burst into flames, trapping Dowd.

John D. Wilkerson Jr., 28, of Snow Hill, the tractor-trailer driver, was not injured. He was hauling seafood.

Police said Dowd's emergency lights were flashing at the time of the collision. The cause of the accident remains under investigation.

ACLU to defend singer-writer


The American Civil Liberties Union says the Anne Arundel County school district's blanket ban on the works of an unorthodox children's singer is unconstitutional, and it has decided to step into the fray.

Barry Louis Polisar, 35, a Silver Spring resident, writes songs and books that chronicle the ups and downs of a child's life in the idiom of children. He has produced such songs as "I Got a Teacher, She's So Mean" and "Don't Put Your Finger Up Your Nose."

The Anne Arundel school district's music review committee, meeting twice during the 1989-90 school year, banned all of Polisar's works because they had the potential to encourage bad behavior in children, according to music coordinator and committee moderator Bruce Horner.

"We think that basically his First Amendment rights are being denied as well as those of the people who would want to use his materials in the schools," Stuart Comstock-Gay, the ACLU executive director, said yesterday.

The ACLU will assist Polisar to appeal within the school system and will go to court if necessary, Comstock-Gay said. The decision also violated the rights of parents, children and teachers who want to use Polisar's works, Comstock-Gay said.

He said that the school district's complete prohibition of Polisar's works, many of which are not controversial, is too sweeping.

Polisar said he has mixed feelings about pursuing an appeal because it may just draw attention to the limited number of songs that some people consider controversial.

2 bars cited for serving minor

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