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CITY/COUNTY DIGEST

News from around the Baltimore region

July 23, 2005

CARROLL COUNTY

Costs force officials to limit library plan

Projected construction costs have forced the Carroll County Public Library board to scrap plans to move its administrative headquarters to Finksburg into an office building that would have been constructed adjacent to the system's sixth branch.

Only the library phase of the project, originally budgeted at about $5 million, will move forward at the site along Old Westminster Pike. The office building would have put the project about $3 million over its budget.

The 10,000-square-foot Finksburg Library is estimated at $4.9 million, nearly a year before groundbreaking. Scrapping the offices means the administrative staff will remain in rental space at the Carroll County Airpark business center in Westminster.

-- Mary Gail Hare

BALTIMORE

Planning panel OKs 200-foot height limit for Mount Vernon

Baltimore's Planning Commission has approved a plan for Mount Vernon that would allow buildings to stand 200 feet tall -- 30 feet less than the limit proposed by city planners.

As part of the commission's actions late Thursday night, it also voted to remove a waiver clause recommended by city planners that could have allowed developers to bypass aspects of the plan they found to be too restrictive.

Developers and preservationists have been battling over a proposed height limit for the neighborhood, Baltimore's oldest historic district. The limit recommended by the planning commission would be about the height of the Belvedere Hotel, the tallest building in the area.

While city planners had proposed creating a new board separate from the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation to make decisions on building in Mount Vernon, the commission rejected that idea, too.

The planning commission's recommendations now go to the City Council's urban affairs committee. The full council then must vote on the renewal plan for Mount Vernon.

ANNAPOLIS

Fire chief says he is moving and will step down Sept. 1

Annapolis fire chief Michael P. Lonergan resigned yesterday, pointing to family reasons.

Lonergan, 47, said his family will move to Michigan, near his wife's family. He will stay on the job in Annapolis until Sept. 1.

"It's bittersweet, but it's a good thing," said the 29-year veteran of the department, who became acting chief in June 2004.

The city Fire Department has 103 uniformed firefighters. Over the years, it has been criticized for hiring predominantly white males.

In his tenure, Lonergan said, he promoted the first female fire lieutenant and also promoted an African-American man to the same rank.

Annapolis Mayor Ellen O. Moyer said yesterday that Lonergan's legacy includes successfully seeking international accreditation for the department and reorganizing the structure to allow more diversity.

"He changed the management structure so that there are a host of new opportunities for recruiting," Moyer said.

But Lonergan said he is proudest of instituting a mandatory health and fitness program. The most common on-the-job cause of death for firefighters is stress-induced heart attacks, he said.

-- Jamie Stiehm

BALTIMORE

White Marsh man is sentenced to 17 1/2 years in child porn case

A White Marsh man was sentenced in federal court yesterday to more than 17 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to engaging in child pornography, the U.S. attorney's office announced.

U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis also ordered Christopher M. Foote, 28, to serve a lifetime of federal probation after his release.

During an interview with FBI agents on December 27, 2004, Foote admitted that he subscribed to child pornography Internet sites and had taken pornographic pictures of an 18-month-old relative who was sometimes in his care.

According to court papers, Foote provided the agents with the digital camera and computer he used to create the images, the compact disks he used to store other child pornography and additional child pornography pictures he downloaded and printed from the Internet.

Foote was arrested the day after his FBI interview. He admitted that he took the pictures of his young relative in his bedroom and that he had sexual contact with the relative on several occasions, federal prosecutors said.

-- Matthew Dolan

BALTIMORE

Movie ship open to public at harbor through weekend

The sailing ship Bounty, built for and used in movies for four decades, has arrived Constellation Pier in Baltimore's Inner Harbor and will be open to the public for tours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and tomorrow. There is a suggested $5 donation for visitors.

The ship and its crew of 18 have just finished filming Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest with Johnny Depp, and its visit to Baltimore is part of an East Coast tour of eight states and 11 cities.

Tours of the Bounty include the decks where the crew lives and works, and a cabin where Marlon Brando once stood in a film. The Bounty was built in 1962 for the film Mutiny on the Bounty as a replica of the ship in a 1789 uprising.

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