In Baltimore City Vice president's wife schedules visit...

City/County Digest

February 12, 2002

In Baltimore City

Vice president's wife schedules visit to city school today

Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, is scheduled to visit City Springs Elementary School in East Baltimore this morning to examine its success with a reading program.

Five years ago, City Springs was one of the worst-performing schools in the city. But today, the school, with a high percentage of children in poverty, is considered a success and has been taken off the state's list of failing schools.

School leaders attribute the progress to Direct Instruction, a curriculum that emphasizes drill, memorization and phonics to teach reading. Cheney, in a 1999 column published in the Wall Street Journal, wrote that she believed schools of education around the country were failing to teach Direct Instruction, a program that has a record of success and that she supports as a model of educational reform.

Cheney is expected to speak at the school's early morning assembly and visit first- and fifth-grade classes.

Boy, 16, fatally stabbed at his neighbor's house

A 16-year-old boy who family members said loved playing video games and basketball was stabbed to death early yesterday - allegedly by his next-door neighbor in West Baltimore - in a "drug-related" dispute, police said.

Jaynori Turner was stabbed about 4:20 a.m. in the living room of his neighbor's house in the 800 block of Vine St. and died about a half-hour later at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Arrested and charged with first-degree murder was neighbor Vernon Robinson, 33, who was being held last night at Central Booking and Intake Center, police said.

Yesterday police also identified Craig L. Pope, 32, as the man found fatally shot shortly after midnight Sunday in the 4000 block of Ridgewood Ave. Police said they knew of no suspect or motive in that killing.

Police seek public's help in solving string of arsons

Arson investigators in the city Police Department asked for the public's help yesterday in solving a string of at least nine arson fires at vacant dwellings in Southwest Baltimore since Oct. 13.

The proximity of the fires, the time they started - between midnight and 5 a.m. - and type of location may indicate that they are related, police said. The houses that burned were at 343 and 345 Furrow St.; 420 S. Pulaski St.; 316, 330 and 336 S. Smallwood St.; 634 S. Monroe St.; 2007 Ashton St.; and 413 S. Payson St.

Police asked that anyone with information about the fires to contact the arson unit at 410-396-2645, or Metro Crime Stoppers at 410- 276-8888.

Council OKs plan to send seized dirt bikes abroad

The City Council unanimously approved a plan last night to send illegal dirt bikes out of the country.

Dirt bikes were outlawed two years ago because of accidents and noise problems. City police have seized 119 bikes since then, and council members feared that if the bikes are auctioned, they would end up back on the streets.

Two African-based organizations have expressed interest in taking the bikes off Baltimore's hands. The bikes would be useful in African countries where transportation is difficult, they say.

Mayor launches campaign for energy conservation

With the help of a newly created superhero named "Tighty Lighty," Mayor Martin O'Malley launched an energy conservation campaign for city government yesterday.

Tighty Lighty is a light bulb with a penchant for belt-tightening, symbolizing the O'Malley administration's interest in saving money on electricity bills. The city government spent about $3.7 million in calendar year 2000 on energy at its 10 top power-consuming buildings downtown, and officials hope to save hundreds of thousands of dollars off of that bill.

In addition to encouraging workers to conserve, the city is contracting with two private companies that will overhaul city buildings' utilities to make them more energy-efficient.

In Baltimore County

County receives Md. grant to prevent substance abuse

TOWSON - Baltimore County has received a $1.5 million grant from the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention for mentoring, substance abuse prevention and other programs for middle school pupils, County Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger said.

About 850 pupils in six middle schools will benefit from the grant, which is the second largest awarded to any Maryland jurisdiction.

"We pulled together all of the agencies that work with troubled teen-agers and brainstormed solutions," Ruppersberger said in a statement. "There's no one magic bullet to help these kids, but we believe that by approaching their issues from all sides - on their turf - we can make a difference in their lives."

Police seek two men who robbed Fullerton bank

FULLERTON - Baltimore County police are looking for two men who held up a Fullerton bank yesterday, one dressed as a security agent.

The men robbed Fullerton Federal Savings Bank in the 7500 block of Bel Air Road about 10 a.m., police said. The men, one of whom had a gun, jumped behind the counter, ordered employees to the floor, police said.

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