Regional Digest

REGIONAL DIGEST

March 26, 2003|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

In Maryland

Security increased at BWI as vehicles searched by officers

Authorities stepped up security at Baltimore-Washington International Airport last night, searching every vehicle that entered the airport and causing traffic on Interstate 195 to reach a virtual standstill.

Officers from the Transportation Security Administration and Maryland Transportation Authority Police were searching the passenger compartments and trunks of all vehicles. Officials said the move was not in response to a specific threat, but a precaution that they will employ occasionally.

"It keeps potential bad guys off balance," said Brian Doyle, a TSA spokesman. The agency has been searching cars entering the airport at random for about a month.

Doyle said the agency will decide on occasion to search all vehicles. He said extra officers were deployed to make the inspections go as fast as possible and keep traffic delays to a minimum. Last night, traffic on I-195 backed up several miles from the airport terminal.

Bill OK'd on notification of nursing home care

ANNAPOLIS - The Senate unanimously approved legislation yesterday to require that families be notified when nursing home patients get substandard care.

Under the bill - sponsored by Sen. George W. Della Jr., a Baltimore Democrat - state health officials would have to inform patients and their families when state inspectors determine that patients have been harmed because of nursing homes' failures to comply with state and federal rules.

The legislation now moves to the House of Delegates.

Six elementary schools get Blue Ribbon honors

Maryland recently named six elementary schools as Blue Ribbon Schools, a designation that honors high academic performance or significant improvement in student achievement.

The six schools are: Jones Elementary in Anne Arundel County, Bentalou Elementary and Montebello Elementary/Junior Academy in Baltimore, Summit Park Elementary and Timonium Elementary in Baltimore County, and Deal Island School in Somerset County.

The schools are recognized by the state and federal departments of education as highly effective schools, and representatives are asked to attend a two-day awards program in Washington.

In Harford County

Three families displaced in fire at townhouses

ABINGDON - Three families of a townhouse community were displaced by a fire late Monday night sparked by a resident improperly discarding a cigarette, state fire officials said yesterday.

The fire started about 11:10 p.m. in the home of John and Mia Nance in the 700 block of Shallow Ridge Court near Route 24 and Singer Road. No one was injured, and losses are estimated at about $400,000 to the three three-story, frame houses, said State Deputy Fire Marshal Joseph G. Zurolo Jr. of the Northeast Regional Office.

Zurolo said the two-alarm blaze began on the rear deck after a cigarette was thrown into a plastic container. A sprinkler system in the kitchen activated, but not until several minutes after the fire began because most of the flames were on the exterior, Zurolo said.

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