BALTIMORE CITY — Vandalized houses sold at loss
Three vandalized houses that cost the city $219,600 to renovate more than two years ago have been turned over to the People's Homesteading Group for $30,000.
Yesterday, the Board of Estimates approved the agreement with People's Homesteading, which will renovate the houses for homeownership.
The houses, at 508, 510 and 512 E. North Ave., were vandalized and used by drug addicts after the city failed to sell the newly renovated houses because of their proximity to a high drug and crime area, said city officials.
People's Homesteading is an organization that uses sweat equity from its members to renovate houses for homeownership.
Yesterday, the organization's president, Mary Harvin, said her group would begin repairing the damaged houses sometime this summer.
Bail system review urged
The indictment of a Baltimore man in a shooting case while he was free on bail following a murder charge has prompted calls for a review of the state's bail system.
This month's indictment of 26-year-old Dwight Gilmore marks another instance in which a district judge's decision to grand bail in a drug-related murder case has frustrated prosecutors and police.
"We didn't know that [Gilmore] was out on bail," said Ilene Nathan, a veteran prosecutor in the violent crimes unit of the Baltimore state's attorney's office. "We only found that out when the second shooting occurred."
In addition to the charge of attempting to murder a man in a street dispute October 1990, Gilmore also is a suspect in a September 1990 double-shooting in which one victim died and another was wounded. Both shootings occurred while Gilmore was out on bail pending trial in a 1989 murder case.
Gilmore returned to jail last November after prosecutors asked that his bail be revoked on a violation of probation charge. Gilmore was convicted of the 1989 murder and is to be sentenced June 4.
Request for mental test denied
District Judge Frank Kratovil has denied a defense request for a more thorough psychiatric evaluation for a Bowie woman accused of deliberately running down a 10-year-old boy on a bicycle.
Kathlynn Ann Najera, 33, was found mentally fit to stand trial after an initial evaluation. Her attorney had asked for an in-depth, in-hospital evaluation, but the judge denied the request yesterday in Prince George's County District Court in Upper Marlboro.
Najera was charged with first-degree murder after she allegedly plowed her car into the youngster May 12 in Upper Marlboro.
The boy, Dewayne Hawkins, a fourth-grader, died of a head injury last Friday and was buried Tuesday in Lincoln Memorial Cemetery in Suitland.
The case now is scheduled to go before a grand jury.
Arts festival starts tomorrow
Marylanders will finally have an opportunity to find out the meaning of the mysterious "Celebrate May 24-25-26" signs that have been spotted throughout Anne Arundel County.
Hundreds of artists and craftspeople are to display their works throughout this weekend at the Spring Celebration of the Arts Festival at the county fairgrounds on Md. 178 in Crownsville. Oil paintings, sculptures and photographs will be displayed.
Food vendors will be displaying their creations as well -- everything from Cajun to Chinese to vegetarian dishes. There will be live music from calypso, country and rock bands, and mimes.
Festival hours are tomorrow from 1 p.m. until 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and free to children under age 12.
Robberies rise, murders fall
Robberies were up by 30 percent in Baltimore County over the first three months of 1991 compared with the first quarter of last year, while vehicle theft rose 17 percent, according to statistics from the county police.
The string of so-called "shotgun robberies" of groceries and convenience stores last winter fueled the robbery rate, which jumped from 442 from January through March 1990 to 576 cases during the same period this year.
Car thefts increased from 1,195 to 1,394 in the comparable three-month periods.
But murders were down more than 50 percent, from 11 last year to four in the 1st quarter of 1991.
Overall, serious crime was up 5.6 percent, while total crime was up 1.6 percent over last year.
The Woodlawn precinct continues to be the car-theft capital of the county. Out of nine county police precincts, the three west side ones combined for 52 percent of county robberies and 54 percent of vehicle thefts.
Firefighters push movie
Firefighters push movie: Baltimore County's fire chief and firefighters from the county's Texas Station No. 17 on York Road in Cockeysville last night helped to promote the opening of a new movie about firefighters called "Backdraft."
Chief Elwood H. Banister said he and his firefighters were invited to take two fire trucks to a Timonium theater for an invitation-only preview of the much publicized film, which is set in Chicago. The movie opens for public viewing tomorrow.