Labor Day just that for the state police


August 29, 2005

At the Carroll County commissioners' cabinet meeting, Lt. A. Dean Richardson, commander of the state police barracks in Westminster, detailed a list of enforcement initiatives scheduled for Labor Day weekend. They include sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols to snag speeders and a major warrant roundup to find those who have avoided prosecution. At least 25 additional troopers will be on county roads throughout the three-day weekend, he said.

Richard Soisson, county director of recreation and parks, followed the lieutenant during the roundtable discussion.

"Based on what the officer said, I am just gonna stay home," Soisson said.

- Mary Gail Hare

Ms. Moneybags - really

It's not often that someone gets a check for $3.5 million.

So when Baltimore City schools Executive Chief Officer Bonnie S. Copeland was given a check for that amount by state prosecutor Robert A. Rohrbaugh last week, she put it somewhere safe.

Copeland quickly tucked the check - from Gilbert Sapperstein, who admitted in May to stealing more than $3.3 million from the school system over a dozen years - into her big black purse.

Let's hope Copeland's purse is better organized than most people's bags.

- Lynn Anderson

Testimony with a spin

The trial of Patrick S. Walsh, charged with participating in one of the state's largest residential arsons, has been a somber affair in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. For two weeks, witnesses and federal investigators have testified about the fires that ripped through a Charles County subdivision on Dec. 6.

So it took the presiding judge to lighten the mood with an somewhat dated analogy during one of the most tense moments of the trial last week.

On the stand was Jeremy D. Parady, who had already pleaded guilty to his role in the arson. But Parady, 21, testified against Walsh, the suspected ringleader, with lightning speed, his answers coming out too quickly for the court reporter to keep up.

Judge Roger W. Titus stopped the testimony and offered this instruction: You might be too young to remember record players, he told the witness. But, the judge continued, they have three speeds - 78, 45, and 33 rpm.

To the amusement of the jury and spectators, the judge asked the young man to slow down his speed - at least to a 45, Titus pleaded.

- Matthew Dolan

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