City/county Digest

CITY/COUNTY DIGEST

May 20, 2006

Baltimore: Federal court

Man gets 25 years in cocaine case

A 40-year-old Essex man was sentenced to 25 years in prison yesterday for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and a related gun possession charge, according to the terms of a plea agreement. Don Thomas Jr. was also sentenced to 10 years of supervision after his release, said federal prosecutors. Police searched Thomas' residence in March, recovering 1 ounce of cocaine, two handguns, a loaded .32-caliber semiautomatic and a .45-caliber semiautomatic. They also retrieved 2 ounces of cutting materials, a digital scale and $20,312 in various locations in the home. Authorities also intercepted calls between Thomas and co-conspirators Ramon Rodriguez, 24, and Richard Stanford, 30, both of Baltimore. Stanford and Rodriguez previously pleaded guilty to drug charges and were sentenced to 21 years and 10 months and seven years and three months in prison, respectively, prosecutors said.

Schools

Wednesday forum on middle schools

The Baltimore school system and its Parent and Community Advisory Board will hold a forum Wednesday to gather public input about how to reform the city's middle schools. The forum will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the first-floor board room at school system headquarters, 200 E. North Ave. The major components of reforms already under way include creating more combined elementary/middle schools, reducing class sizes in reading and math, and providing more athletic opportunities and mental health services to pupils.

Sara Neufeld

Learning center taking students

Enrollment is under way for basic computer classes at the South Baltimore Learning Center, 28 E. Ostend St. The next six-week set of classes is set to begin May 23, with classes offered Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons from noon to 2 p.m. Fees are assessed on a sliding scale based on family size and income. Information: www.southbaltimorelearns. org. To register: 410-625-4215.

Druid Hill Avenue

Electric rate rise to be discussed

A panel discussion on this summer's electric rate increases is scheduled from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday at Union Baptist Church, 1219 Druid Hill Ave. The discussion -- sponsored by the Baltimore branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People -- will include representatives from a variety of business, nonprofit, advocacy and government organizations. The event is free and open to the public. Information: 410-366-3300.

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