City/county Digest

CITY/COUNTY DIGEST

May 03, 2006

Federal prosecutors in Md. to hold anti-gang summit

Federal prosecutors in Maryland will host an anti-gang summit June 1, using part of a $2 million grant received this year to develop and implement programs to combat gangs in conjunction with community leaders.

Experts say Baltimore and the surrounding region has long been troubled by loosely affiliated drug gangs, which have been strategically targeted by federal prosecutors. Federal intervention received recent attention when prosecutors brought murder charges in U.S. District Court against 19 suspected members of the Hispanic gang MS-13 in suburban Washington.

In addition to coordinating efforts by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to prosecute criminal gang members, "It is critical that we share information and strategies with educators, community organizers, religious leaders, parents and other people who are in position to help prevent gangs from recruiting new members," Rod J. Rosenstein, U.S. attorney for Maryland, said in a statement yesterday.

The conference will be held at the Sheraton Hotel in Columbia, with Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski among the scheduled speakers. The summit will begin with a report from the Maryland Gang Task Force.

Organizers said that participants will assemble in regional groups to discuss local gang problems and solutions. Those interested in attending should call the public information office of the U.S. attorney at 410-209-4800.

Matthew Dolan

Carroll County: Education

Fischer is named Teacher of the Year

Science teacher Kenneth B. Fischer of Winters Mill High School in Westminster was named Carroll County's Teacher of the Year for 2006-2007 in a recognition ceremony last night. Fischer, who also coaches the school's cross-country and outdoor track teams, has been teaching biology, chemistry and ecology in Carroll since graduating from McDaniel College in 2000. Fischer, science department chairman at Winters Mill, will be considered for statewide Teacher of the Year. State education officials are expected to announce a winner in October.

Gina Davis

Harford County: Benson

Craig promotes his spending plan

Harford County Executive David R. Craig spoke at Edgeley Grove Park in Benson yesterday to promote his proposed budget for next year, which includes the largest state allocation in county history for Program Open Space - $5.4 million. The budget would improve playgrounds and fields, create new senior and community centers in Havre de Grace and Fallston, and add seven positions to maintain facilities. "Communities are judged by the quality of life that they can offer its residents," Craig said. "I am proud of the work our Parks and Recreation's team has put into preserving open space and developing new parks and facilities that our citizens can enjoy."

Justin Fenton

Baltimore: Advisory board

City liquor panel seeks volunteers

The head of the newly created Baltimore City Liquor Advisory Committee is looking for about two dozen volunteers to serve on the committee, working with the city liquor board to settle disputes between residents and bar owners and review and possibly revise liquor laws. Leigh Ratiner, a Canton resident who was named head of the committee, said he is looking for volunteers who are active in their communities and have some knowledge of state liquor laws. He has also asked City Council members to recommend community members who might be willing to serve on the advisory board. Liquor board members have said they hope the citizen committee will work to keep residents informed regarding board activities and provide an alternate to dispute resolution. They have also asked the committee to review liquor laws, some of which are antiquated. For more information or to volunteer for the committee, send an e-mail to Leigh Ratiner at leighratiner@ mac.com.

Lynn Anderson

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