The Week That Was


News from around the Baltimore region

March 13, 2005

Sarbanes to leave the Senate

Maryland's Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes said Friday that he will not seek re-election in 2006, ending three decades in the Senate and opening a scramble for his seat that could restructure state and federal races next year.

Mustard agent neutralized

The last of the mustard agent stockpiled at the Aberdeen Proving Ground has been dissolved, the Army said. A surplus of more than 1,600 tons of mustard agent best known for its lethal effects in the trench warfare of World War I had been stored at the military proving ground in Harford County for more than 60 years.

Md. has high rate of prison homicide

With an inmate population of around 24,000, Maryland has for several years recorded homicide rates in its prisons that regularly match, and often exceed, those of much larger states. Since January 2004, six inmates have been killed in Maryland. The latest rash of violence comes at a time when Maryland prison administrators are eliminating staff to cut costs.

Autonomous port agency urged

Former Rep. Helen Delich Bentley told state senators that the port of Baltimore should be run as an autonomous agency reporting directly to the governor, instead of being part of the Department of Transportation. Former port chief James J. White began a new job with a New Jersey stevedoring and terminal operating company.

Slots alternatives considered

Even as lawmakers debate whether to legalize slot machines, Maryland lottery officials said they are looking into whether they could license machines that look and play like slots but are legal under current laws.

$1 billion school budget proposed

The spending restrictions that Baltimore school officials imposed two years ago amid a financial crisis would be eased under a $1 billion budget proposed by city schools Chief Bonnie S. Copeland.

Maestro Sergiu Comissiona dies

Sergiu Comissiona, whose work as music director brought international recognition to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, died of an apparent heart attack in Oklahoma City, where he was a guest conductor. He led the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for 15 years, leaving in 1984. He was 76.

Housing boom roars on

The region's housing boom continued last month during what is normally the slow season. The average price of a Baltimore-area home sold last month was $253,916, up 23 percent from February 2004. Buyers snapped up 2,709 homes, an increase of almost 15 percent.

NASA taps Hopkins scientist

Physicist Michael D. Griffin of Johns Hopkins Universitys Applied Physics Laboratory was chosen by President Bush to lead NASA as the agency prepares to resume space shuttle flights and tries to meet the White House goal of sending astronauts back to the moon.

Radio legend Chuck Thompson dies

Chuck Thompson, whose familiar radio voice painted the picture of Baltimore sports for more than half a century, died March 6 at Greater Baltimore Medical Center after suffering a stroke. The longtime Orioles and Colts announcer was 83.

Partial JFX demolition urged

Hoping to coax a residential development from the parking lots and warehouses near the Jones Falls Expressway, a developer is floating the idea of demolishing part of the elevated freeway.

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