Week In Review

October 02, 2005

Havre de Grace

Feeding waterfowl may become illegal

Anyone who's visited a duck pond, bag of bread in hand, knows: If you feed them, they will come.

But in the waterfront city of Havre de Grace, that seemingly harmless ritual soon could be illegal -- and punishable by a $100 fine.

A botulism outbreak killed about 150 birds along the waterfront last month -- one of worst cases ever in Maryland, which nature experts say was caused by people feeding the animals.

The City Council introduced an ordinance banning the practice Sept. 19, in the face stiff resistance from visitors to the city's waterfront promenade, who tore down signs and threw bread in the face of city employees asking them to stop.

Across the nation, cities have adopted or are considering laws to help curb the feeding of wildlife, particularly ducks. An outbreak of botulism that killed hundreds of birds prompted Cheektowga, N.Y., to ban waterfowl feeding, while Palo Alto, Calif., is about to begin an informational campaign -- called "Killing Them with Kindness" -- in hopes of eliminating the need for a law. In Fox Lake, Ill., a 77-year-old retired teacher who refused to stop feeding wild ducks on a private beach was taken to court and could have faced a $500 fine and jail time. She received a $1 fine.

Maryland section, Page 1B, Monday

Aberdeen

Man gets 38 years for molesting boy, 5

An Aberdeen man has been sentenced to 38 years in prison for sexually abusing a 5-year- old boy last year. Joseph Michael Jones, 34, was found guilty by a jury last month of sexual abuse of a minor, second-degree sexual offense and third-degree sexual offense. In December, the boy's mother found Jones standing in front of the boy with his genitals exposed, according to court records. Jones had been living in their home for four months, records showed. During a two-day trial that ended Tuesday, the boy, now 6, took the stand.

Maryland section, Page 3B, Thursday

Harford County

7 offenders no longer at given addresses

Seven child sex offenders no longer live at the Harford County addresses they registered with the state or county, a review by the Sheriff's Office has found.

Three men have been arrested, and four are at large after calls and visits to their listed addresses failed to find them. In July, the Sheriff's Office assigned a part-time officer to investigate addresses of child molesters, a position Sheriff R. Thomas Golding has said he hopes will be full time in next year's budget.

State and local police have been pushing to improve the accuracy of the state sex offender registry, which in recent months has been found to be riddled with errors and missing information. The addresses for about one in five -- or 800 of the 4,300 sex offenders -- were listed in August as questionable or unknown in the state's registry, which relies on the offenders to provide up-to-date information.

One of the men wanted by authorities is listed on the state's violent sex offender registry, which tracks another 50 criminals living in Harford County. The county is not required to track violent offenders, but sheriff's spokesman Edward Hopkins said police keep a paper trail on them as a proactive measure.

Of the seven warrants, three men were arrested this month and are being held at the Harford County Detention Center.

Hopkins said police rely heavily on tips from citizens.

Glenn H. Mina, a retired watch commander and 30-year employee of the sheriff's department, was appointed in July to continue verifying sex offenders' addresses, a task previously assigned to an administrative deputy. When Mina reaches the end of the list, he begins again, Hopkins said. Two men were arrested for failing to report new addresses this year.

The county's online registry shows many accounts have not been updated since last year. Two are listed as not being updated since October 2003.

Maryland section, Page 3B, Thursday

Elkton

Student stabbed at school; teen arrested

A feud between two students at Elkton High School led to a stabbing that left a 16-year-old in critical condition, police said. The victim, a freshman whose name was not released, was flown to University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore after the stabbing Wednesday with non-life-threatening puncture wounds, according to Cecil County school officials. A junior, also 16, was arrested and charged with one count of second-degree assault. Neither student was identified because of their ages.

-- Associated Press

Maryland section, Page 3B, Friday

Harford County

2 offenders turn themselves in

Two sex offenders sought by Harford County police for failing to register their addresses turned themselves in to authorities yesterday, police said.

Dwain Andrew Mullen, 49, of Havre de Grace and Michael Sean Keys, 39, of Aberdeen arrived at the Harford County Sheriff's Office on Thursday afternoon and were taken into custody. An officer who tracks sex offenders had been unable to locate them.

Mullen is one of 82 child sex offenders in the county registry. Keys, who was convicted of first-degree rape, appears on the state's violent sex offender registry.

Police have arrested five sex offenders this month for failing to report addresses, while the whereabouts of two others are being investigated.

Edward Hopkins, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Office, said one is believed to be living in Cecil County, while the other is living at his listed address but has changed jobs without alerting police, also a requirement for sex offenders.

There are warrants out for the arrest of both men, Hopkins said.

Maryland section, Page 3B, Friday

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