In Baltimore City
Ex-CareFirst worker sentenced to year in prison for mail fraud
A former administrative assistant with CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield was sentenced yesterday to one year in federal prison for steering more than $150,000 from Maryland's largest health insurer to a fictitious printing company she had created using her home address.
Lindsay Marshall-Hall, 33, of Baltimore pleaded guilty to mail fraud charges in December. At her sentencing yesterday, U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg ordered Marshall-Hall to pay $152,626 in restitution to CareFirst.
Federal prosecutors said Marshall-Hall created false purchase orders in the CareFirst computer system to steer payments to her invented business, D&L Hall Print Co., in 1999 and 2000. The scheme was detected by an advertising department manager in late 2000, who noticed a payment record to D&L Hall but didn't recognize the company name.
Councilman Harris backs O'Malley's re-election bid
City Councilman Kenneth N. Harris Sr. endorsed Martin O'Malley's re-election for mayor yesterday, saying that the mayor "has a vision for making this wonderful city once again free from crime, violence and mayhem."
During a news conference attended by about 35 neighborhood activists at Belvedere Square, Harris said that the average home price in the city had soared from $69,000 to $104,000 during O'Malley's three years in office, in part because of better policing led by the mayor.
The mayor said he was pleased that Harris was elected to O'Malley's seat on the council when he became mayor in 1999. O'Malley said he endorsed Harris' re-election, praising Harris' work to help revitalize the Belvedere Square shopping area, which had declined but is 80 percent leased with five stores opening this summer. The mayor also said Harris deserves credit for helping to attract two grocery stores to Northeast Baltimore.
Trial dates assigned to 3 in detective's killing
Three men charged in the death of a Baltimore detective were assigned yesterday trial dates early next year by Judge John P. Miller.
Charged in the November execution-style shooting of Detective Thomas Newman are Jonan J. House, Raymond Saunders and Anthony Brown. House will be tried Jan. 13, Saunders on March 4 and Brown on April 15.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Saunders and House, who are accused of shooting Newman, a 12-year veteran of the police force, outside Joe's Tavern in Southeast Baltimore. Brown, accused of driving the getaway car, could face life in prison without parole if convicted.
Municipal truck fire closes intersection downtown
A city truck caught fire yesterday morning at a downtown intersection, causing an hourlong traffic jam at South Calvert, Pratt and Light streets, fire officials said. No injuries were reported.
The truck, which operated on natural gas, had a compressed tank that ignited at 10:15 a.m., fire officials said, shooting flames into the air. The blaze was contained by 11 a.m. and streets reopened shortly afterward, officials said.
Michael Maybin, a Fire Department spokesman, said a city worker was changing lamppost light bulbs when the fire began.
City OKs grant to agency with ties to ACORN
The Board of Estimates approved yesterday a $50,000 grant to a housing counseling agency with ties to the neighborhood political organization known as ACORN.
The board approved the grant after questioning city housing officials about whether ACORN Housing Corp. used a grant it got last year to further ACORN's political causes.
A report from city housing officials stated that ACORN Housing Corp. "met and or exceeded its program goals" last year. The group counseled 324 city residents on homeownership, and 402 people attended 12 of its educational seminars covering credit, budgeting and predatory lending. The board's approval required a performance update every six months.
In Baltimore County
Knife-wielding man sought in store robbery
TOWSON -- Baltimore County police are searching for a man who held up a Halethorpe convenience store at knifepoint early in the morning May 28.
Police said the man held a knife to a clerk in the Royal Farms store in the 4300 block of Washington Blvd. and demanded money. He left with cash and fireworks.
Police described the robber as a white male, 30 to 35 years old, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, with a medium build, brown eyes and blond hair. He was last seen wearing a black and white Nike jacket, blue jeans and tennis shoes. Anyone with information is asked to call Baltimore County police at 410-307-2020 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 410-276-8888.
Electronics recycling nets 58,000 pounds
TOWSON -- A record 58,000 pounds of electronics were collected for recycling at Baltimore County's third annual electronics recycling event Saturday, county officials said yesterday.
In four hours, 725 vehicles came through the Cromwell Valley Elementary School parking lot, dropping off computers, televisions, stereos, cell phones and other home electronics.
The purpose of the collection day was to keep the lead, mercury and cadmium found in electronics out of county disposal facilities. A Jessup recycling company will process all items dropped off at the school.
Fire museum's dedication is scheduled for Saturday
TOWSON -- Baltimore County will dedicate its fire museum Saturday morning.
The Baltimore County Fire Service Museum will be in the lobby of the Public Safety Building, 700 E. Joppa Road. The museum will display historic photos, vintage uniforms and equipment, documents and training materials. The dedication ceremony will begin at 11:30 a.m.
Scheduled speakers are Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. and Fire Chief John J. Hohman. Antique and modern fire equipment will be displayed in the building's parking lot, where a flea market will be held at 8 a.m.