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News from around the Baltimore region

April 19, 2005

BALTIMORE

Suspected drug dealer chokes, dies in custody

A drug suspect died in police custody Sunday night after choking on a plastic bag filled with heroin gel caps that he stuffed into his mouth while running from detectives, city police reported yesterday.

Police had not established the man's identity yesterday, and they were awaiting the results of an autopsy, said Officer Nicole Monroe, a police spokeswoman.

Monroe gave this account of the incident:

Organized crime division detectives saw a man who appeared to be dealing drugs about 9:25 p.m. Sunday in the 1700 block of Aisquith St. in East Baltimore. As the man fled, he appeared to cram something into his mouth. Officers corralled him a short distance away in the 1700 block of Lamont Ave. After obeying an order to drop to his knees, the man jumped to his feet, pointed to his throat and appeared to be choking.

An officer made three attempts to perform the Heimlich maneuver on the man while another called for medical assistance. A paramedic arrived and removed a plastic bag with suspected heroin gel caps from the man's throat.

The man sank into unconsciousness and was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he awoke and had to be restrained. He lost consciousness again and was pronounced dead at 10:36 p.m.

Four bags of suspected cocaine also were discovered in the man's possession, police said.

- Ryan Davis

DUNDALK

Ex-rec council member charged with theft of funds

A former official of the West Inverness Recreation Council in eastern Baltimore County has been indicted on a charge of grand theft in connection with an investigation of missing funds from the council treasury, a police spokesman said yesterday.

Jodie Ruble, 35, of the 2600 block of Yorkway in Dundalk was charged April 12 with the felony, Officer Shawn Vinson said. Council and county officials have told The Sun that as much as $50,000 might be missing.

The indictment of Ruble follows a four-month investigation by the county state's attorney's office. Vinson said the precise amount of missing funds is unknown because the probe is not complete.

- Joe Nawrozki

BALTIMORE

Registration deadline today for Saturday's cleanup effort

Baltimore community groups and neighborhood associations have until the end of today to register for the sixth Super Spring Sweep Thing, a citywide cleanup scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

People who do not sign up or miss the deadline can still participate by joining their community groups or cleaning their own streets, alleys and sidewalks.

Those interested in signing up or finding out where their local association will be working should call the Department of Public Works at 410-396-4572 or the 311 nonemergency number. Public Works will provide gloves, brooms, rakes and shovels.

During a similar cleanup last fall, 3,200 volunteers from 177 communities collected 540 tons of debris, bringing the total collected in all cleanups over the past five years to 15,258 tons. The Department of Public Works says that the trash tonnage has decreased over the years, even as the number of participants has grown. It is an indication, they said, that "Baltimore is a much cleaner place to live and work than it was five years ago."

Department of Public Works spokesman Kurt Kocher said that 4,300 people had signed up as of yesterday.

CARROLL COUNTY

One-time public works chief rehired to former position

Carroll County's new director of public works brings decades of experience back to the same job he held until five years ago.

J. Michael Evans, who has nearly 35 years of experience in local government, will rejoin the county staff May 5, replacing Douglas E. Myers, who resigned last month. Evans will oversee the county's largest department, with a staff of about 170.

Since leaving the county's employ in 2000, Evans, 61, has worked as director of the Howard County Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits.

"Such is the nature of the circle," said Evans, a Westminster resident. "I am coming home."

Evans started his government career in 1971 as a management assistant in Anne Arundel County. From 1975 to 1982, he served as assistant director and then director of Anne Arundel's inspections and permits division. He then took over as Central Services director there. He moved to Carroll County in 1988 and was director of permits until 1995, when the commissioners appointed him chief of public works.

Two former county commissioners - Donald I. Dell and Robin Bartlett Frazier - forced him to resign in July 2000, over objections from Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge, and never explained their actions to him or to the public.

Evans said he has followed the progress of several Carroll County projects while working in Howard and that he is looking forward to the shorter commute.

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