8 flee rowhouse arson in cityThree children suffered smoke...

MARYLAND NEWSWATCH

May 07, 1992

MARYLAND STATE: — 8 flee rowhouse arson in city

Three children suffered smoke inhalation and five other people were forced to flee when someone set a fire last night in the basement of a three-story rowhouse in the 2100 block of N. Calvert St., police said.

The children, ages 1, 4 and 6, were being treated at Mercy Medical Center and were expected to be released today. Their mother, Shalawnda Suggs, 21, was not injured.

Angela Gallop, 38, and her children, Eugene, 17; Donisha, 13; and Deanji Wise, 7, escaped without injury.

Officer Larry A. Schmidt said the 11 p.m. fire, which caused $8,000 in damage to the basement, was started by a flammable liquid.

A resident of the first-floor apartment was evicted yesterday morning and was being sought for questioning, police said, adding that relatives of the evicted resident were seen outside the apartment shortly before the fire began.

Mrs. Gallop, who occupied the third-floor apartment, said one of children smelled smoke coming from the lower floors.

"We were outside when one of my kids remembered that Shalawnda and her children were still up stairs," Mrs. Gallop said.

Two unidentified bystanders and one of Mrs. Gallop's children ,, ran back into the smoky house and led Mrs. Suggs and her three children down the stairs.

A volunteer firefighter who was suspended by the Rising Sun fire company after complaining that she was sexually harassed will be reinstated under a recent agreement between the company and the state.

Paula Haavistola, 46, had filed a discrimination complaint against the fire company with the Maryland Human Relations Commission after being suspended following her charges in 1990 that a co-worker sexually assaulted her.

The commission had set a hearing, but a settlement with the fire company was reached before it took place. Under the settlement, the fire company also agreed to adopt a policy barring sexual harassment.

NB The company also has agreed not to retaliate against Mrs. Haav

istola in any way, said Awilda R. Marquez, her attorney.

"It is a small step in the right direction that the company should have taken years ago," said Ms. Marquez.

Still pending in U.S. District Court in Baltimore is a multimillion-dollar lawsuit brought by Mrs. Haavistola, charging the fire company with discrimination.

Anne Arundel:

Fueled by a jump in car thefts, the overall crime rate in Annapolis rose 3.2 percent during the first three months of this year, compared with the same period in 1991, police in the state capital said.

Although crime rose in four of eight categories, the largest jump was in car thefts, which more than doubled, police said. Rapes, robberies and larcenies also rose during the period, while assaults and burglaries decreased.

No murders have been reported since January 1991, when a police informant was killed by gunfire. Overall, police recorded 643 crimes between January and March, 20 more than at the same time last year.

Authorities blamed the increase on a weak economy and drug abuse.

Baltimore County:

The often-delayed opening of Baltimore County's prison for drunken drivers has been delayed again.

The county announced plans last winter to open the 100-inmate center July 1. But because of budget cuts, the center now won't open until January 1993.

The prison, at Rosewood Hospital Center in Owings Mills, is expected to free some space in the overcrowded county detention center. Motorists assigned to the program by the courts will pay a fee of $1,500 to $2,000 for the 30-day treatment program, so the center is expected to be nearly self-supporting.

Carroll:

A classroom experiment in a county elementary school may have led to discovery of a new species of fly that lives in the South American rain forests.

For the past four months, eight fifth-graders at Manchester Elementary School have been working with Smithsonian Institution entomologist Marty Condon, examining slides of tiny insect wings from Venezuela. Ms. Condon said it appears the youngsters have discovered unique characteristics that could indicate the discovery of a new species.

"It turns out that kids are really good at distinguishing characteristics between flies," she said.

The fly is about the size of a gnat and belongs to the genus genus Blepharoneura.

Ms. Condon said she might be able to name some new species after the school.

Her task is to catalog the flora and fauna of the world's rapidly disappearing rain forests. Her work in the classroom is part of a federally funded program that attempts to integrate scientific research with education.

The pupils' teacher, Charles Pearce, said the project is an example of how education is improved by giving students some hands-on practical task related to classroom work.

"It's no longer someone standing up in front of the class and telling them about science, Mr. Pearce said. "They're even designing their own experiments. It forces them to design their own approach to solve the mystery."

The students, justifiably, are proud of their work.

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