Baltimore County Digest

Baltimore County Digest

July 06, 2006

Johns named finalist for Mich. schools post

Officials from a Michigan school district are to meet tomorrow with a top Baltimore County schools administrator under consideration for the superintendent's position there.

The school board for Utica Community Schools, 20 miles from Detroit, has narrowed its search for a schools chief to Christine M. Johns, deputy superintendent of curriculum and instruction in Baltimore County. At a meeting last week, Utica board members voted to begin contract negotiations with Johns if the visit with her is favorable.

The current superintendent of Utica schools will retire at the end of the month, said Carl Territo, one of the two school board trustees making the trip. More than 27,000 children attend Utica Community Schools, which is the second-largest district in Michigan, he said.

Johns has been selected as a finalist in a superintendent search at least four other times since 2003.

Through a spokesman, Johns declined to comment on the potential move until after Utica school board members make their decision.

Baltimore County schools Superintendent Joe A. Hairston hired Johns, then 34, soon after he took the helm of the 107,000-student district in 2000.

Liz F. Kay


Teenager charged with murder

A teenager has been charged with murder in the death of a man who was found two weeks ago beaten in the street near his Catonsville home, police said yesterday.

Jeffrey Keith Smith, 17, of the 100 block of Winters Lane in Catonsville, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Tariku Yukon Dembi, 42, of the 6000 block of Booker Road, Baltimore County police said.

Smith was arrested Friday, police said yesterday. Police said robbery was the apparent motive for the killing.

Officers were called about 11 p.m. June 22 to the 6200 block of Old Frederick Road, where Dembi had been found lying in the roadway unconscious with trauma to his head. According to charging documents, Dembi normally walked about 10:45 each evening to a nearby Wal-Mart store, where he worked.

The medical examiner's office ruled the man's death a homicide by blunt force trauma.

A witness told police that Dembi had been surrounded by three people who grabbed, punched and knocked him to the ground, and later identified Smith from a photo array as one of the attackers, charging documents show.

Smith was denied bail and is being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center, police said.

Nick Shields

Local elections

Last candidates file to enter races

Several last-minute candidates filed for local offices before Monday's deadline, according to county elections records.

Ronald E. Harvey of Nottingham and Alexander Bob Page Jr. of Essex filed as Democrats in the county executive race. Michael J. Wagner of Phoenix filed as a Republican for the County Council seat in District 3, which covers northern areas of the county. Tim Thompson of Timonium will run as a Republican for the council seat in District 5, which also covers parts of Towson and Perry Hall. And James L. White of Parkville will run as an independent for the County Council in District 6, which includes Fullerton.

Rocky Point Park

Beach reopens after sewage problem

The beach at Rocky Point Park has reopened, county officials announced yesterday. The beach was closed last week after officials discovered sewage flowing from a 36-inch main in the Rosedale section of the county. "Water contact" alerts discouraging residents from activities such as swimming and wind surfing were issued for Back River, Bird River, Middle River and Gunpowder River, but the alerts have been lifted, officials said.

Officials said heavy rains apparently prompted the sewage overflow. County work crews diverted the overflow to a sewer system Saturday, and have made temporary repairs to the broken line at the Red House Run sewage pumping station.

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