News from around the Baltimore region

September 14, 2005


Eight-month drug sting results in 52 arrests

Howard County police have arrested 52 suspected drug dealers or users during an eight-month sting operation in Columbia, Elkridge, Laurel and Jessup, a spokeswoman said yesterday.

Police seized small to medium amounts of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and prescription drugs during Operation Mesmerize, using information gleaned from the county's drug tip line, previous arrests, surveillance and undercover officers.

After police rounded up 37 people last year during street raids in Columbia, most of the remaining dealers moved inside apartments or houses to avoid detection, police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said. Tips from neighbors reporting suspicious activity helped launch the most recent effort.

"Even if these people are released, we want to send them a signal to not come back to Howard County," she said. "Fewer users on the streets leads to less demand. We're doing everything to collectively ensure that there doesn't continue to be a market for drugs in Howard County."

- Melissa Harris


Morgan State names dean for School of Public Health

Allan S. Noonan, a former secretary of health for Pennsylvania, has been named dean of Morgan State University's School of Public Health.

The newly accredited school has 135 students and focuses on disease prevention and nutrition. Noonan's salary will be $133,000.

Noonan was Pennsylvania's health secretary from 1991 to 1995. Earlier, he was director for the District of Columbia's Department of Health and worked on smallpox eradication in West Africa.

"After 30 years of seeing people of color underrepresented at the decision-making level, I am thrilled to take on this challenge, so that Morgan graduates can continue to have an increasing impact on the health of people of color," he said.

- Jason Song


Special-education lawsuit to go before federal judge The parties in a 21-year-old special-education lawsuit are slated to appear before a federal judge next week to discuss makeup services Baltimore city schools must offer to disabled students.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis authorized the state to take control of the city school system's special-education program because of a breakdown in providing services such as speech therapy and counseling last school year.

The school system now must provide tens of thousands of hours of makeup services, at a cost of up to $10 million. The three parties in the lawsuit - filed in 1984 by lawyers for students against the state and the school system - have argued in recent weeks over the best way to do that, with the state and the system submitting conflicting plans.

Garbis has asked the parties to try to reach an agreement but wrote in an order that he will hold a hearing in case they cannot.

The school system is appealing Garbis' order authorizing the state intervention, in which managers are overseeing eight system departments that affect special education. But system officials acknowledge their responsibility to provide the makeup services.

The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Sept. 21 at the federal courthouse, 101 W. Lombard St.

- Sara Neufeld


Man found guilty in U.S. court of running drug operation

A 42-year-old man was found guilty yesterday of running a heroin and crack cocaine operation in East Baltimore and of trying to prevent witnesses from testifying at his trial in federal court.

The jury found Darrell Alston guilty of distributing and possessing heroin and crack cocaine, possession of a firearm and two counts of witness intimidation, the U.S. attorney's office in Maryland said.

Prosecutors said Alston was the leader of a drug organization that operated in East Baltimore from 2003 until this year. The witnesses testified that the organization possessed guns and hired people as lookouts, stash house workers and dealers. Alston attempted to bribe and intimidate two witnesses, prosecutors said.

Alston could face a maximum sentence of life in prison for the conspiracy conviction. His sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 30. His co-defendant, Anthony Chandler, 27, of Baltimore, entered a guilty plea Sept. 7 to drug-related conspiracy. His sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 29.

-- Matthew Dolan


Art exhibit to feature works by Baltimore County seniors

An art exhibition called We Age has opened at Park School, combining more than 50 works by Baltimore County senior citizens with an installation by sculptor Allyn Massey, chairwoman of Goucher College's art department.

Art on Purpose asked seniors to reflect on childhood and create works on paper and canvas. The exhibit, by Art on Purpose, the Baltimore County Department of Aging and the Park School, runs through Nov. 18 in the school's Richman Gallery, 2425 Old Court Road in Brooklandville.

A reception, which is free and open to the public, is set for 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. tomorrow. Regular gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.


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