City/county Digest

CITY/COUNTY DIGEST

Baltimore & Region

October 12, 2005

2 kayakers charged after rescue on the Patapsco

The state has charged two Howard County teenagers with failing to wear safety gear after their kayaks capsized and their younger friends' raft deflated in a dangerous section of rapids on the Patapsco River in downtown Ellicott City over the weekend.

Onlookers on the Main Street bridge watched the six teenagers, who were not wearing helmets or life jackets, cling to rocks as rescue crews from Howard and Baltimore counties pulled them out of the water about 5 p.m. Saturday.

The Maryland Natural Resources Police, which filed the charges, did not release the names of the four Ellicott City juveniles who were riding in the raft. Gary Lee Lehnhoff III of Ellicott City and Brendan Michael Flannery of Laurel, both 19, were in kayaks.

The juveniles were issued warnings because safety requirements for rafts are less strict than those for kayaks. All six refused medical treatment.

"They were lucky," said Cpl. Ken Turner of the Natural Resources Police. "It's important to wear safety gear, not because it's the law, but because it's common sense. And know your limitations. It doesn't sound like these guys were on top of their game."

That section of the Patapsco, which is very shallow in dry weather, can swell violently during heavy rains. Two people died almost a decade ago when floodwaters swamped their raft at the Union Dam at U.S. 40, about two miles upstream from the site of Saturday's accident.

The charges against Lehnhoff and Flannery are misdemeanors. They could plead guilty and pay an $85 fine or take the matter to court. If a judge finds them guilty, the maximum penalty is a $500 fine, Turner said.

Melissa Harris

Baltimore: Education

Police colonel to lead schools force

A veteran of the Baltimore police force was named chief of the city schools police force last night. The city school board voted to appoint Col. Antonio Williams, head of the Police Department's detective division. Williams, 41, will oversee 161 sworn and nonsworn personnel on the schools police force. He replaces Chief Paul R. Benson, who resigned in June along with his two top deputies. The school system's chief operating officer, Eric Letsinger, said Williams' salary has not been determined. Williams has worked on the city police force since 1986. He has served as a police officer, patrol supervisor, sergeant, lieutenant and commanding officer. He has worked in the homicide, criminal investigation and drug enforcement divisions.

Sara Neufeld

School closures

Forums to be at elementary school

The Baltimore school system has assigned a new location for community forums on school closures in the southeastern part of the city. The forums will be held at Commodore John Rogers Elementary School, 100 N. Chester St., not Patterson High School as previously advertised by the school system and reported in The Sun. The forums still will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 19 and Dec. 7. The school board voted Monday night to cut its operating space by 2.7 million square feet, responding to declining enrollment, deteriorating buildings and state demands for better efficiency.

Courts

Man sentenced in gunpoint assault

A Baltimore felon received a federal prison sentence of nearly 20 years yesterday for possessing a gun while he threatened his girlfriend. According to court documents, Wallace Allen, 29, used the loaded gun Oct. 15, 2003, to force his girlfriend to have sex with him while threatening her with the revolver and a knife. Baltimore police officers arrested Allen at his apartment the next day.

Matthew Dolan

Health fair

Free event today focuses on Latinos

The Baltimore City Health Department and Morgan State University will offer a free health fair today to commemorate Binational Health Week, a partnership between the United States and Mexican governments to improve health care for Latinos. The fair, which will offer such services as immunizations, blood testing for lead and education on common health problems affecting Latinos, will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Eastern Family Health Center, 620 N. Caroline St.

Career help

Counseling services offered by agency

Free career counseling workshops, basic computer training, GED tutoring and job assistance are available from Maryland New Directions, a nonprofit career-counseling and job-placement agency in Baltimore. Orientations are held at 10 a.m. Wednesdays at the group's headquarters, 611 Park Ave. in Mount Vernon. Applicants must call for an appointment. Information: 410-230-0630.

Inner Harbor

BCCC offers class in bartending

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