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CITY/COUNTY DIGEST

News from around the Baltimore region

June 23, 2005

BALTIMORE

State gives more time for bus-route comments

Baltimore-area commuter bus riders will have an additional 30 days to comment on proposed route changes, Transportation Secretary Robert L. Flanagan said yesterday.

A day earlier, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. had announced a 30-day extension for comments on a proposed overhaul of other mass transit bus routes. U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, who has been active in the debate about proposed changes to commuter and transit bus service, praised the decision yesterday but asked for an extension for commuter line comments.

Flanagan said the Department of Transportation will continue taking comments on the commuter bus routes through July 21, but it will likely not schedule additional public hearings.

State officials hope to reduce the costs of commuter buses from Harford and Howard counties by $1 million and say that several routes are underused. But during public hearings in Howard this week, dozens of riders and their advocates pleaded that routes linking Columbia and Baltimore slated for elimination be maintained.

- Andrew A. Green

Baltimore

Man, 24, convicted of murder in shooting of couple in car

An East Baltimore man accused of killing a man and injuring a woman last year in a shooting in the 2700 block of E. Eager St. was convicted yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court of first-degree murder.

Travis Thaniel, 24, of the 2500 block of E. Fayette St. was convicted by a city jury after four days of testimony and about eight hours of deliberation.

The first-degree murder conviction stemmed from the fatal shooting of Shawn Charles Boston, 32, of Essex. The jury also convicted Thaniel of attempted second-degree murder for shooting Catherine Jones, 36, in the abdomen. The two had been sitting in a car when they were shot, police said.

Thaniel faces a possible sentence of life in prison when he is sentenced later this year.

BALTIMORE

Orioles and MLB donate 50,000 tickets to city schools

The Orioles and Major League Baseball donated 50,000 game tickets to the Baltimore school system yesterday - just in time for them to become parting gifts to some city students on the last day of school.

The donation was the largest number of tickets the Orioles have given to a single group. It is part of the baseball commissioner's Initiatives for Kids program, which helps children attend baseball games around the country.

Baltimore's 186 public schools each received a share of the tickets, which are for selected games at Camden Yards over the summer. Schools may have distributed them immediately or opt to use them as incentives during summer programs, a schools spokeswoman said.

- Laura Loh

BALTIMORE

Beilenson announces bid for vacant House seat

Former city health commissioner Dr. Peter L. Beilenson announced his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday, appearing before cheering supporters at Federal Hill Park where he outlined an agenda that focuses on health care, safety and security.

Beilenson appeared with family members, including his father, former California Rep. Anthony C. Beilenson.

"I'm not doing this for political gain," the younger Beilenson, 45, said in a brief speech. He resigned from his city position earlier this month after having served as health commissioner for more than a decade. "I truly believe that public service is absolutely a noble cause."

Beilenson is the second Democratic candidate to enter the race for the Maryland 3rd District seat vacated by Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, who is running for the U.S. Senate. State Del. Neil F. Quinter of Howard County has also declared his candidacy. Several others - including state Sen. Paula C. Hollinger of Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens and Cardin's nephew, state Del. Jon S. Cardin - are exploring running.

Beilenson said yesterday that he is running on some of the issues he championed as health commissioner: access to health care and affordable prescription drugs, preserving Social Security and pension benefits for senior citizens, and homeland security. He also stressed the need for economic security by ensuring that jobs with decent wages are available for high school graduates and making sure that "every child is a cared-for child."

"It is unconscionable that in the wealthiest, most medically advanced country in this world, we have 45 million people today who have no health insurance," he said.

He also criticized the president and Congress for promoting a free market philosophy while prohibiting Medicare from negotiating the lowest price for prescription drugs.

- Sumathi Reddy

RANDALLSTOWN Baltimore man, 21, charged in fatal shooting, wounding

A Baltimore man has been arrested and charged in a double-shooting this month at a Liberty Road bar that left one man dead, Baltimore County police said yesterday.

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