In Somerset County Death of menhaden spurs watch of...

REGIONAL DIGEST

September 01, 2001

In Somerset County

Death of menhaden spurs watch of rivers; no Pfiesteria evidence

PRINCESS ANNE -- Department of Natural Resources police officers are monitoring a 3- to 4-mile stretch of the Wicomico River and a portion of the Manokin River this weekend after biologists spotted a small number of dying menhaden with lesions on the waterways Thursday and yesterday.

"We don't have any indication that a toxic Pfiesteria event is occurring," DNR spokesman John Surrick said, although sores on fish can be a sign that the microorganism is present. There was no evidence of Pfiesteria in water samples taken Thursday, and officials have no other theories about what caused the incident.

The dying fish were seen on the Wicomico between Whitehaven and Mount Vernon, just downstream from a stretch of river that has been closed to the public since a sewage spill Aug. 10 in Salisbury. On the Manokin, the affected area is just downstream of the river's confluence with King's Creek.

In Baltimore City

Rash of car arsons reported on north side

Baltimore police are investigating two arsons in North Baltimore early yesterday that detectives believe were ignited by the same person who set 10 similar fires during the past eight days.

Someone set a car on fire in the 200 block of Deepdene Road about 4 a.m., and another car was set on fire about 6:50 a.m. in the 100 block of Hawthorn Road, police said. Baltimore police said they have stepped up patrols in the North Baltimore neighborhoods of Roland Park, Hampden and Medfield since the first fires were set Aug. 23, and also have added undercover patrols.

Police say someone is breaking car windows and then throwing a burning object into the vehicles, usually early in the morning. The arsonist also has burned a boat shed and several garages, police said.

In Maryland

West Nile-infected birds found in Frederick, Harford

Frederick and Harford counties are the latest areas in the state where health officials have found dead birds carrying West Nile virus.

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Laboratories Administration confirmed that a crow found on Calvary Road in Churchville, Harford County, has tested positive for the virus, as has a Cooper's hawk discovered on Spring Drive in Walkersville, Frederick County. These are the first birds to test positive in either county this year.

State labs have tested more than 1,000 birds this season with a total of 230 found positive for the virus. Of those, 140 were in Baltimore city; 58 in Baltimore County; five in Howard County; eight in Montgomery County; 16 in Prince George's; and one each in Carroll, Harford and Frederick counties.

In Anne Arundel

Storm-damaged line spills sewage into Back Creek

ANNAPOLIS -- Anne Arundel County officials temporarily closed a portion of Forest Drive at Hillsmere Drive in Annapolis yesterday after 8,000 gallons of sewage and rain water spilled into Back Creek.

County officials reopened Forest Drive about 5 p.m. after crews patched a leaking sewer line under the roadway, said Pamela A. Jordan, land use and public works spokeswoman.

Jordan said that crews from the Department of Public Works had to rip up a section of road to get to the leaking sewer line, which had become overwhelmed by storm water and sewage during intense rainfall Thursday evening.

County health officials were notified about the spill, but said that it was not a health hazard because the sewage was so diluted in the creek. The Maryland Department of the Environment also was notified, but it was unclear Friday whether an investigation had been ordered.

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