News from around the Baltimore region

August 16, 2005


Board OKs Ag Center growth plans at Gesell

The Carroll County commissioners have given their support to expanding the county's Ag Center activities to an adjoining publicly owned property, known as the Gesell Farm.

The board will also push for a new access road from Route 27 through the property to the center in Westminster, home to the annual 4-H FFA Fair, which just drew more than 80,000 visitors to the county seat.

"We will work in whatever way we can to get access from Route 27 to the Ag Center," said Commissioner Dean L. Minnich. "That entrance will make this parcel truly usable."

County officials have asked the State Highway Administration about using a temporary light on the highway during events at the Ag Center and the new Danele Shipley Arena, which bring large crowds onto narrow city streets. They have not received an answer.

The commissioner-appointed Gesell Farm Board is planning agricultural uses, events that would celebrate the county's rural heritage, on the 102-acre farm, which the county purchased six years ago for $600,000.

In addition to an access road, the group has asked for construction of two equestrian rings, estimated to cost about $50,000, a private connector road to the farm museum that would be open only for specific occasions, and several pavilions that would serve as additional offices for 4-H, the county extension service and other farm organizations. The proposal also calls for extending utility lines for water, sewer and electricity from the Smith Avenue center to the Gesell Farm property.

"All these uses would be complementary to the Ag Center," said Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge.

- Mary Gail Hare


Postal Service offers reward in rash of post-office break-insHit by a rash of burglaries, the U.S. Postal Service is offering up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of those involved in a string of summertime thefts at nine post offices in suburban Baltimore and Washington and in Southern Maryland.

The break-ins, usually late at night and involving the loss of thousands of dollars worth of stamps, started June 25 in Randallstown. The post office in Owings Mills was struck June 27. Offices in Ellicott City, Glen Burnie, and Sykesville were broken into July 3.

Similar burglaries started happening in suburban Washington and in Southern Maryland in late July. La Plata was hit July 22, Waldorf on July 23, Burtonsville on July 27 and Beltsville on July 28. A post office burglary Aug. 9 in Spotsylvania, Va., may be related, investigators said. Postal inspectors are looking for two suspects who were captured on surveillance video at several locations.

"It happens from time to time," said Frank Schissler, a spokesman for the postal inspectors in Baltimore. "But most burglaries are in rural areas. It's more unusual in the suburbs."

Burglary of a post office is punishable by a federal prison term of up to five years and a fine of up to $1,000.

Postal inspectors also are looking for any information about people who might be selling stolen postage stamps at a discount.

Anyone who has information about the burglaries or the sale of discounted postage should call postal inspectors at 410-715-7700 or 202-636-2220.

- Matthew Dolan

BALTIMORE COUNTY@SUBHEDStreet in Turners Station to be closed until November

State transportation workers are closing a portion of Main Street in the Turners Station neighborhood starting this week for about the next three months.

The closure - affecting a 500-foot part of Main Street, between Dundalk Avenue and Polianski Avenue - is needed as work crews install another mile of noise wall along Broening Highway. The wall is scheduled to stretch between the existing noise wall on Broening Highway and the Interstate 695 overpass, with a break at Avon Beach Road, according to state officials.

The work is likely to be completed by mid-November. Motorists seeking to access Turners Station will be directed onto Sollers Point Road.

REGION@SUBHEDTwo ramps to I-895 to close tomorrow for repairs

Two ramps onto Interstate 895 are scheduled to be closed tomorrow for crews to perform guardrail repair work, state transportation workers said.

Weather permitting, the two ramps onto the Harbor Tunnel Thruway set to be closed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. are from northbound Ritchie Highway and from northbound Interstate 97.

As a detour, motorists on I-97 will be directed to the Ferndale exit to westbound Interstate 695 to northbound Interstate 295, and then onto I-895. Motorists on Ritchie Highway will be sent to the westbound Baltimore Beltway to northbound 295 and then onto I-895.


Mother gets 8 years in shaken-baby case

A 23-year-old Lochearn woman who authorities said confessed to shaking her infant daughter in frustration last fall, leaving the girl blind and with severe developmental delays, was sentenced yesterday to eight years in prison.

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