City/county Digest

CITY/COUNTY DIGEST

December 22, 2005

State, city to study feasibility of building flu vaccine facility

City and state officials will spend $400,000 to study the feasibility of an influenza vaccine production facility in Baltimore, an idea that Mayor Martin O'Malley proposed in October when fear of the avian flu peaked.

The city Board of Estimates approved yesterday spending $200,000 in city funds and an additional $200,000 of a state grant to pay for the study. If the study finds a plant is feasible, the city would likely seek federal funds to built it.

Some worry that vaccine supply in the United States is inadequate to deal with a pandemic, and O'Malley said a new plant would hasten the production of vaccine if needed.

"With something as devastating and as quickly spreading as a mutating avian flu virus, you need to be able to ramp up the science as well as the manufacturing very, very quickly," O'Malley said.

John Fritze

Howard County: Clarksville

3 middle-schoolers found with knives

Three Clarksville Middle School pupils were arrested Tuesday after staff members discovered that they had pocketknives. A pupil informed the administration about 2 p.m. after a knife fell from one boy's pocket. "One student - who is a Boy Scout - brought the knives in to show his friends," said Principal JoAnn Hutchens. "I think they were kind of comparing them. They were not brought in for any type of threat. It was a bad choice." All were released to the custody of their parents and have been suspended. Ninety weapons other than guns were recovered in Howard County schools in the 2004-2005 school year.

John-John Williams IV

Baltimore: Reservoir Hill

Police arrest five on drug charges

City police arrested five people yesterday while executing a drug warrant at a Reservoir Hill apartment. During the 8:05 a.m. search in the 2300 block of Linden Ave., police found 1 1/2 ounces of heroin, 222 capsules of heroin, 53 vials of crack cocaine, 22 bags of marijuana and $1,840, said Detective David Jones of the Central District drug unit. The street value of the drugs was about $5,500. Jones said the five arrested on felony narcotics charges were Sylvia Kirkland, 41, and Ronald Sydnor, 55, who live at the apartment; Ralph Jones, 19, of the 1400 block of W. Franklin St.; Caniel Fullwood, 25, of the 2000 block of N. Bentalou St.; and Raynard Johnson, 19, of the 1600 block of Booker Court.

District court

Man gets 30 years for drug trafficking

A 30-year-old Baltimore man will spend a year in prison for every year of his life after he was sentenced in federal court yesterday on drug charges. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced James Sweets to 30 years in prison followed by 10 years of probation after a jury convicted him Sept. 28 of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and heroin and conspiracy to possess guns as part of his drug trafficking. Evidence showed that Sweets conspired with people between 2000 and 2004 to sell drugs around the first block of S. Broadway.

Matthew Dolan

Glen Burnie

Woman charged in prescription fraud

A Glen Burnie woman was arrested Tuesday and charged with prescription fraud and identity theft after police from Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Howard counties raided her home, police said. Michele Elizabeth Kaline, 33, of the 400 block of Elm Ave., was charged with 59 counts of prescription fraud and 59 counts of identify theft, said Lt. David Waltemeyer, an Anne Arundel County police spokesman. Kaline was taken before a Howard County court commissioner and released Tuesday on $50,000 unsecured bail. The arrest came after a month-long investigation into forged prescriptions discovered at Anne Arundel, Howard and Baltimore county pharmacies, police said.

Annie Linskey

Maryland: Governor's race

Firefighters' union backs Duncan

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan's gubernatorial bid was endorsed yesterday by the 1,200-member Prince George's County Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics Association. Duncan said the endorsement reflected his leadership and his county's assistance during public safety crises, including the 2002 Washington-area sniper attacks and the 2001 anthrax contamination in a Prince George's County postal facility. "Duncan has shown that he understands our unique working conditions and will fight to ensure that we get the tools we need to do the job," said James Brinkley, president of the union.

David Nitkin

Anne Arundel: Naval Academy

Cummings to serve on Board of Visitors

U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings has been appointed to serve on the Board of Visitors for the U.S. Naval Academy. The board, a supervisory group consisting of nine members of Congress and six presidential appointees, helps oversee curriculum and fiscal matters at the academy. Cummings, a Democrat who represents Maryland's 7th District, was appointed to the board by House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

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