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CITY/COUNTY DIGEST

News from around the Baltimore region

April 14, 2005

CARROLL COUNTY

School employees to get 3% raises this year, '06

The Carroll County school system's nearly 3,000 unionized employees will receive 3 percent pay raises in each of the next two years, compensation for a wider range of extra-duty assignments and an increase in tuition reimbursement, according to the terms of two-year contracts that school board members signed last night with the representatives of five bargaining units.

The contracts, which take effect July 1, also boost step and longevity increases - automatic raises built into salary scales. Employees also gained greater flexibility in using sick time for family illnesses - all of their 10 sick days per year, rather than half of them.

The teachers' contract adds one work day to the school calendar, which likely will be used for professional development, said Hal Fox, who represents nearly 2,000 teachers, guidance counselors, registered nurses and media specialists with the Carroll County Education Association.

Fox also represents the 430 instructional assistants, paraprofessionals, licensed practical nurses and clerical employees with the Carroll Association of School Employees.

"This contract addresses the issues of competitive salaries and benefits," said Fox, who said his membership overwhelmingly supported it.

In addition, the contract increases the stipend paid to teachers who earn national teacher certification. Those who qualify will be paid an additional $5,000 annually. The contract also calls for a committee to examine ways to reduce health care costs.

Fox represents the district's two largest unions. Other workers whose contracts were ratified last night include those with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Association of Public School Administrators and Supervisors, and Carroll County Food Services Association.

- Gina Davis

ELLICOTT CITY

Charges changed in sex case against announcer Sinclair

Baltimore Blast announcer Art Sinclair, accused of forcing a 16-year-old girl to perform a sex act in an Ellicott City parking lot, faces a new charge of unnatural or perverted sexual practices.

The Howard County state's attorney's office Tuesday added the charge against Sinclair and dropped four other charges: a second-degree sexual offense, unlawful solicitation of a minor, pandering and second-degree assault.

"After the state's attorney's office reviewed the case, it was decided that this is the more appropriate charge to proceed upon," said T. Wayne Kirwan, a spokesman for the office.

Sinclair, whose real name is Arthur J. Lapenotiere, is scheduled for trial July 13 in Howard District Court.

Sinclair, 60, of the 1000 block of Uniontown Road, is accused of communicating with the girl via e-mail and instant messages for about two weeks and then picking her up at a Baltimore County high school near the Howard County line Nov. 29, according to the documents.

Sinclair, the color commentator for the indoor soccer team for 25 years, then drove to a parking lot near U.S. 40 and Normandy Center Drive, where an assault allegedly occurred, the documents state.

A Blast spokeswoman has said she does not anticipate Sinclair being with the team until the case has been resolved.

- Laura Cadiz

Smoke inhalation kills woman in house fire

CARROLL COUNTY

A 75-year-old Hampstead-area woman died early yesterday of smoke inhalation after a fire heavily damaged her home, according to spokesmen for the state fire marshal's office and the Carroll County sheriff.

Firefighters found Helen Bloomer Frey unconscious in an upstairs bathroom of the house in the 2700 block of Overview Road, said Maj. Thomas H. Long, a sheriff's office spokesman. She was pronounced dead at Carroll Hospital Center at 12:32 a.m. yesterday.

A neighbor, Edward Bromwell, 49, reported the flames at 11:28 p.m. Tuesday and rescued the victim's husband, Fred Richard Frey, 84, said Deputy Chief Allen R. Gosnell. Both men were treated and released from the hospital.

Sheriff's Deputy Noah Parker arrived within minutes of the call and entered the house in search of Helen Frey, but was driven back by heat and smoke, Long said.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation yesterday, but preliminary reports indicate it was accidental, Gosnell said. Damage was estimated at $150,000 to one side of the house, an older wood-frame, split-level that had no smoke alarm or sprinkler system, he said.

The two-alarm fire took about an hour to control, Gosnell said. Volunteer companies responded from Hampstead, Manchester, Reese, Westminster and Lineboro in Carroll County, and from Boring and Arcadia in Baltimore County.

- Sheridan Lyons

BALTIMORE

Volunteers needed to work on playground at stadium site

Organizers of a giant playground being constructed this week on the grounds of the former Memorial Stadium are looking for skilled volunteers to help.

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