The Week That Was


News from around the Baltimore region

September 18, 2005

Teen acquitted of murder charge

The teenage getaway driver in the fatal shooting of an educator in a parking garage at Towson Town Center was convicted of attempted armed robbery but acquitted of a first-degree murder charge - a jury verdict that appeared to skirt the judge's instructions and spared the 18-year-old defendant a potential life sentence.

Drug use up in Maryland prisons

The number of Maryland prison inmates testing positive for drugs has increased sharply this year, running about 20 percent higher than in 2004, records show. The increase comes amid complaints that recent staff cutbacks have compromised prison safety and security.

Colorado firm to build city hotel

A Colorado company will construct Baltimore's publicly financed convention headquarters hotel, city officials said. The firm will replace Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., which could not keep its cost estimates within the budget set for the project.

Steele backs changes in education

Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele began a push for merit pay for teachers and an overhauled pension system and said a blue-ribbon panel he led has determined that market-style reforms are necessary to help recruit and retain educators.

City prosecutor may be recalled

The Baltimore state's attorney is threatening to recall a city prosecutor assigned to the U.S. attorney's office because the city plans to give $200,000 directly to federal prosecutors to go after criminals who use firearms to commit crimes.

Report sees rental crisis in city

Baltimore's low-end private rental housing market is in a "precarious state," with monthly rents too low to allow landlords to make needed repairs to their properties but too high for many tenants to afford, according to a new study.

Probe to look at distrust of police

A judge directed a city grand jury to investigate the lack of confidence between members of the public and law enforcement - another signal of continuing distrust of police officers in courtrooms. Two judges have thrown out gun charges recently, noting questionable testimony by officers.

Arsonist given a life sentence

Thomas A. Sweatt, the man responsible for setting more than 45 fires in Maryland, Virginia and Washington that killed two people, was sentenced in federal court to serve life plus 136 years in prison. His attorney said an unspecified mental illness compelled him to set the fires.

Ruling for undocumented workers

Undocumented workers injured on the job are eligible for workers' compensation benefits, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled.

Hard decisions on city schools

The financially strapped Baltimore school system has two problems: dwindling enrollment and old school buildings that are too large and costly to maintain. Over the next seven months, officials will take a hard look at which schools to close, which schools to renovate and where to build new schools over the next decade.

State dairy farms disappearing

Milking cows was Maryland's top agriculture industry in the 1930s, but dairy farmers are now a vanishing breed across the state. Maryland has gone from about 4,000 dairy farms in 1970 to 643 today, due largely to the crush of development.

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