Between The Lines


October 13, 2003

He's no Kilroy

Robert M. Boras certainly left a mark on the soon-to-reopen Hippodrome Theater as project manager of the restoration. But he didn't get to leave quite the mark he envisioned.

Boras, who quit this month, had his name secretly painted somewhere on the ceiling of the Eutaw Street theater during the summer.

Now, this sort of thing has been going on since humankind began building. Just one example: City College students have long known that visages of the architects of the Gothic-style school are memorialized in gargoyles.

But Hippodrome contractor Whiting-Turner denied Boras' bid for immortality on downtown's west side. Someone snitched to his bosses at the Maryland Stadium Authority, overseer of the theater's restoration. The small graffiti was quickly painted over.

The stadium authority's executive director, Rick Slosson, gave assurances that the display of ego played no role in Boras' departure, with the theater 90 percent done and just four months from the opening curtain.

"We wanted him to finish the job," Slosson said, "but he wanted to move on." Boras did not return calls seeking comment.

- Scott Calvert

The Kevin Bacon game

On Sept. 24, Baltimore City Councilwoman Rochelle "Rikki" Spector arrived at her office to find a memo relaying an odd message: The White House had called asking that she assist a homebound elderly woman in Park Heights who was without power after Tropical Storm Isabel.

The White House? "I'm a Democrat," Spector said in recounting the mysterious memo. "How did they come to call me?"

Before she inquired, Spector dispatched a social worker friend to help the elderly woman, who was refusing to leave her house to get her medicine. The social worker delivered.

Later that day, Spector called a White House staffer. "How did you get my name?" she asked.

This is how:

A military officer had expressed concern about his mother to the White House official, whose friend had family in Baltimore. The friend was Elia Mannetta, a government consultant who splits his time between Italy and the United States. Spector is friends with Mannetta's mother, Gioconda Mannetta, who lives in Little Italy and used to make dresses Spector bought.

"It's six degrees of separation," Elia Mannetta said.

- Doug Donovan

There's no excuse

Baltimore County school board member Michael P. Kennedy needed the board president's prompting Thursday night before advising the latest appointee, an assistant principal, that he didn't have to stay for the rest of the meeting.

A former teacher, Kennedy's board duties have come to include politely giving tired principals, assistant principals and other new appointees the opportunity to go home after they are introduced - so they don't have to endure meetings that can last hours.

Kennedy had to be reminded of his duties, and then he was blunt.

"You don't have to sit through this meeting unless you're a masochist," he told the new assistant principal, then apologized to the senior officials, parents and concerned community members who were not given the same opportunity.

- Jonathan D. Rockoff

The nose knows

A 22-year-old Baltimore man found out that sometimes it's the little things that getcha.

Maryland Transportation Authority Police Officer Christopher Reiber, in an unmarked Ford Mustang, stopped a vehicle on southbound Interstate 95 just before the city line Friday because the driver wasn't wearing his seat belt. As Reiber approached the car, he detected a distinctive bouquet in the air.

A search of the vehicle produced 3 pounds of marijuana in a trash bag.

The driver, Andrew W. Barnette, was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. And, oh yes, he was cited for failing to wear a seat belt.

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