Regional Digest


January 11, 2003|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

In Maryland

Chamber backs increase in state gasoline tax

ANNAPOLIS - The Maryland Chamber of Commerce says it would support a gasoline tax increase of not more than 5 cents per gallon this year, so long as the money is used for transportation.

"Our infrastructure - including the Wilson Bridge and the ICC [Inter-County Connector, a proposed Montgomery County highway] - must be built and maintained," chamber Chairman William Couper said yesterday.

Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has not ruled out a gas tax increase, but has said it would not be a budget priority.

In Carroll County

Teen charged with arson after fire at Liberty High

ELDERSBURG - A Liberty High School student was charged with arson yesterday after a fire in a first-floor men's bathroom at the school sent two students home with asthma attacks caused by the smoke, authorities said.

The fire, discovered about 8 a.m., was put out by school officials before firefighters arrived, but it created enough smoke that the gym area was briefly evacuated, state deputy fire marshals said.

A 17-year-old boy was charged as a juvenile with first-degree arson, reckless endangerment, malicious destruction and second-degree malicious burning.

In Baltimore County

Smith nominates three to retain their posts

TOWSON - Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. submitted yesterday the names of three department heads for County Council confirmation. All three now hold the jobs for which they were nominated.

Smith said he will seek to keep Dr. Michelle Leverett as the county health officer, John Hohman as the fire chief and Robert J. Barrett as director of parks and recreation. Barrett, who was a top aide in C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger's administration, was named to the parks post on an interim basis on Smith's first day on the job.

A new amendment to the county charter gives the council the right to vote on confirmation of all department heads.

Health warning issued over Scholastic soap kits

TOWSON - Parents should take away from children soap-making kits that were sold through the Baltimore County schools, the county Department of Health said yesterday.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has received three reports of burn injuries from the kits, which were sold by Scholastic Book Clubs and Book Fairs under the name "Soap Making for Kids."

Parents can call Pace Products, the Apopka, Fla., manufacturer, at 800-541-7670, or look on the Web at

In Anne Arundel

Police identify cyclist, 65, fatally struck on road

SEVERN - Police identified yesterday the 65-year-old man who died while riding his three-wheel recumbent cycle south on Telegraph Road in Severn as Alvin Norwood Howard of Bruce Avenue in Odenton.

Howard was struck from behind by a 1994 Plymouth, which had drifted onto the paved shoulder, Anne Arundel County police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene at about 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

Police are investigating what caused the driver, Steven Mitchell Valentine, 37, of Kingdom Court in Odenton, to veer off the road.

In Baltimore City

City man charged in thefts at downtown offices

Police have arrested a Baltimore man who they say had admitted that he posed as a phone repairman and stole money from purses and wallets in downtown office buildings, said Sgt. Randy Dull of the Central District Investigative Unit.

Gregory Addato, 40, of the 1200 block of W. Madison St. was arrested Thursday and charged with four counts of theft for under $500.

Using information gathered by the Downtown Safety Coalition, police linked Addato to four incidents between Dec. 13 and Wednesday, Dull said.

Police seek help identifying woman found on Mosher

Baltimore police are seeking information on a woman whose body was found Jan. 3 in an alley in the 2800 block of Mosher St. in West Baltimore.

Police do not suspect foul play and believe the woman died from a seizure, Detective Donny Moses said. Anyone with information is asked to call homicide detectives at 410-396-2100.

Construction to close block of E. Lexington St.

A block of East Lexington Street in downtown Baltimore will be closed today to allow a construction crane to hoist material to a rooftop, the city's transportation office announced.

The block between Calvert and St. Paul streets will close at 4 a.m. and reopen at 8 p.m.

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