The Week That Was


News from around the Baltimore region

February 27, 2005

Slots advance in House

After vigorous debate, the Maryland House of Delegates narrowly approved a measure that would allow 9,500 slot machines in four locations in the state, moving Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s signature initiative closer to passage. The 71-66 vote sets up a high-stakes showdown with the Senate, which passed a far different slots bill. Ehrlich prefers the Senate version.

Port director steps down

The director of the port of Baltimore left his job, realizing the fears of port customers and lawmakers who had lobbied the Ehrlich administration not to interfere with port management. James J. White, who was appointed by the former Democratic administration, was credited with providing a steady hand for the port.

State fires 3 in inmate's death

The state fired three correctional officers and disciplined two others in response to the strangling of a 20-year-old inmate, Philip E. Parker Jr., on a prison bus in the predawn hours of Feb. 2. The action came amid increased scrutiny of the prisons system. Violent incidents have prompted lockdowns at two prisons this month.

Teens accused in killing of teacher

Two Baltimore County teens were charged with murder in the shotgun killing of William A. Bassett, a private-school educator at Towson Town Center. They were arrested after a tip from a motorist who saw them leaving the scene.

City school closings sought

In the O'Malley administration's boldest step yet to improve aging schools, the Baltimore Planning Commission asked that city agencies, not the school system, take control of city money spent on school construction and called for the closure of underpopulated buildings.

Gunshot residue evidence rejected

A Baltimore judge rejected the use of gunshot residue evidence, saying he believes a city lab analyst's conclusions fall short of accepted scientific standards. The ruling by Circuit Judge John C. Themalis could affect dozens of other city shooting cases that rely on the evidence from suspects' hands to see whether they have tiny particles that come from firing guns.

Academy policy called flawed

A Naval Academy professor's published claims that the college's admissions process is severely flawed has generated controversy in Annapolis, including a rebuke from the school's superintendent. Bruce Fleming, who spent a year on the admissions board, claims preferential treatment for applicants who are minorities, athletes or already members of the fleet.

Life sentence in slaying

An Anne Arundel County judge sentenced Terrence Tolbert, 22, to life in prison without parole for the carjacking death of Straughan Lee Griffin, an Annapolis businessman, outside his Historic District home in 2002.

Mild earthquakes hit Maryland

Residents of Glen Burnie, Dundalk and points in between got a mild shaking when a series of small earthquakes rattled the area. No one was injured, and there was no damage, according to officials at the Maryland Geologic Survey. The strongest of the quakes registered 2 on the Richter scale.

Port Covington deal possible

A deal is in the works for the sale of property at Port Covington to a Bethesda firm that plans to complete a shopping center at the 52-acre site that has struggled for years to become a bustling waterfront retail complex.

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