News from around the Baltimore region

April 27, 2005


Chief operating officer for city schools resigns

Carlton G. Epps, the chief operating officer of Baltimore City public schools, has resigned from his position, school officials said yesterday.

Epps resigned Monday afternoon, according to a school spokeswoman who declined to give further details. Epps could not be reached for comment.

As COO since October 2003, Epps directed the maintenance and renovation of school facilities. He also was responsible for student transportation, school police and cafeteria operations, and served as one of three top administrators under city schools chief Bonnie S. Copeland.

Jeffery N. Grotsky, the system's chief of staff, will oversee those departments until a replacement for Epps is named, officials said.

Epps, 57, is a former Green Beret and decorated Vietnam War veteran. After stints in government jobs and private business, he joined the city school system in February 2003 as special assistant to the chief financial officer.

Epps faced many challenges during his tenure, including buildings in increasing disrepair, deep budget cuts to maintenance staff, problems with unreliable bus contractors and a continuing problem with lead contamination that forced the system to shut down school drinking fountains.

This month, school board members criticized administrators for not giving them more warning about a $3 million overrun in energy costs because of the rising price of fuel used to heat buildings.

- Laura Loh


Bel Air man pleads guilty in crash that killed boy, 12

A 29-year-old man pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter yesterday in connection with a 2004 crash that killed a 12-year-old Anne Arundel County boy, according to Baltimore prosecutors.

Justin Saul Jones of Bel Air faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison under a plea agreement, according to the city state's attorney's office.

Jones was driving a 2003 BMW along Interstate 895 on May 30 when he hit the rear of a 1997 Nissan Maxima in which Darius Jovan Brown was riding in the back seat. Brown and has family had been returning home from the movies at the Bengies Drive-In Theatre.

Prosecutors said the collision caused the Maxima to flip over twice, and the impact pushed the trunk into the passenger compartment, causing Brown's death. Police said a test showed Jones' blood-alcohol level was 0.13 percent - higher than Maryland's legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Jones was released on $75,000 bail, and Baltimore Circuit Judge Paul A. Smith is scheduled to sentence him June 8.


Carroll budgets $2.5 million for repaving secondary roads

Carroll County will spend more than $2.5 million to repave 34 secondary roads in Finksburg subdivisions this year, but commissioners are concerned about the stability of the hot-mix asphalt.

The board awarded the road contract yesterday to C.J. Miller Inc., a Hampstead company, which offered the lower of two bids. The project will begin next month and continue for at least 100 working days. Although costs have increased 30 percent in the last year, the project came in about $300,000 under budget.

The contractor will use a state-approved asphalt mix to repave road surfaces. State-mandated changes in the mix a few years ago created problems, most notably cracking on some road surfaces. The state has since made several improvements in the mix formula, officials said.

"There have been some failures, but the state has worked continually to improve the mix," said Deborah A. Butler, bureau chief of engineering in Carroll's Public Works Department. "Tests are done with the materials based on projected traffic, especially heavy truck traffic. How you mix will give the best product."

The improved mix of sand, asphalt binder and stone meets state and federal standards, she said. But the commissioners were not convinced.

"This is our only option," said Commissioner Dean L. Minnich. "The state is setting the standards and we are riding the coattails. Will it be the best quality mix or the most convenient? When politics and money mix, there is usually a train wreck."

Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge said the county accepted state standards two years ago, and one road project in Union Bridge buckled within months.

"We want guarantees that we won't have the same mess we had last time," Gouge said.

- Mary Gail Hare


Literary critic Michael Dirda to give lecture at McDaniel

Literary critic and visiting scholar Michael Dirda will give the Honors Program Lecture at McDaniel College at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow in the Lewis Hall of Science Decker Auditorium in Westminster.

Dirda will speak on his 25 years of reading and reviewing for the Washington Post's "Book World." His columns and book reviews earned him a Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism in 1993.

This semester, Dirda is teaching two honors English classes at McDaniel - "Love's Mysteries in Literature from Sappho through Lolita" and "Literary Journalism."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.