Baltimore County Digest

Baltimore County Digest

July 07, 2006

Two bodies found in Prettyboy Reservoir

The bodies of two young men who apparently drowned were recovered by divers yesterday evening from Prettyboy Reservoir, several hours after they were reported missing, Baltimore County police said.

The deaths brought to four the number of people who died this week in Baltimore County parks and reservoirs where swimming is prohibited.

The victims, ages 17 and 22, were reported missing about 4 p.m. in the northern section of the reservoir, near Beckleysville and Spooks Hill roads, authorities said.

Police said one appeared to be in trouble in the water, and the other tried to assist him before both disappeared from sight. A 15-year-old girl who had been at the remote site with them called for help on a cell phone, a Fire Department spokeman told television reporters last night.

County police, a dog trained to detect bodies under water, the crew of a police helicopter and divers from the county Fire Department and Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police searched until divers found the bodies about 8 p.m., police said.

The bodies were taken to the state medical examiner's office in Baltimore for autopsies, police said. Names of the victims were withheld last night.

On Monday, a 16-year-old Halethorpe boy drowned in the Patapsco River at the Patapsco Valley State Park. A day earlier, a 17-year-old Harford County boy drowned when he slipped off an underwater ledge in an area known as "The Pines" at Loch Raven Reservoir.

Richard Irwin and Nick Shields


Plan to reduce crowding at school

School administrators and a county councilman have tentatively agreed on a plan to reduce crowding at a northeastern Baltimore County school by busing some children to nearby schools.

An enrollment cap would be placed on Chapel Hill Elementary under the plan, Councilman Vincent J. Gardina said.

County school officials confirmed yesterday that they have agreed to allow children in the neighborhood near Chapel Hill to be bused to other schools if crowding persists in the fall. The county school board will hear several options at its meeting Tuesday to answer parent concerns about overcrowding at the school.

School board members last approved an enrollment cap for a school in 2004 for New Town Elementary in Owings Mills. School system spokesman Brice Freeman said yesterday that the schools superintendent can set a cap at his discretion.

A report on the school board's Web site warns that siblings could be sent to different schools as a result. Also, the school system would also have to transport these children.

School board president Tom Grzymski said yesterday that he had not reviewed materials about Chapel Hill's enrollment but said "we will look at every option that's out there."

Chapel Hill has space for 593 students, according to state formulas. It enrolled 710 children last fall, although 134 attended half-day kindergarten and pre-kindergarten programs. Parents have told school board members at several meetings that they expect the problem will get worse this fall, when the school will offer full-day kindergarten.

The school will receive four portable classrooms this summer, according to the school system. A new elementary school at Vincent Farms is scheduled to open in 2008.

The report also lists 19 other elementary schools that qualify as more crowded under the state formula, 10 of which enroll more than 115 percent of their capacity. Chapel Hill is at 108 percent.

Gardina said Chapel Hill is an unusual case because of the number of housing developments planned around the school and the sale of existing homes to younger families with school-age children.

Josh Mitchell and Liz F. Kay


Four arrested in burglaries

Baltimore County police have arrested four men suspected of burglarizing homes in the Towson and Cockeysville areas.

Police received about 10 reports in the last month of someone entering houses through unlocked doors or windows and stealing cash and other items. In some cases, the resident was inside sleeping while the burglar was in the home, police said.

Arrested and charged with multiple counts of burglary and theft are: Earl Bess, 25, and David Bess, 27, both of the 700 block of Sequoia Drive in Edgewood; Dorwain Bess, 29, of the first block of Winslow Drive in Elkton; and Edward Wouters, 27, of the 800 block of Windstream Way in Edgewood.

Credit cards stolen in the burglaries apparently were used to make purchases at home improvement stores, police said.

Earl Bess, David Bess and Dorwain Bess have been released on bail, county police said. Wouters was being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center in lieu of $125,000 bond.

Nick Shields


Man sought in home repair scheme

Baltimore County police are asking for the public's help in finding a man accused of stealing money by posing as a home improvement contractor.

Kenneth William Gleason, 35, with a last known address in the first block of Warren Lodge Court in Cockeysville, has been charged in a warrant with fraud, failure to perform a contract, theft and other charges, police said yesterday. He is also wanted on similar charges in Harford County, Baltimore and Delaware, police said.

Gleason poses as a home improvement business owner but is not licensed in Maryland, police said. He obtains deposits for jobs but doesn't complete the work, police said.

He is described as about 6 feet tall, weighing 290 pounds. He was last seen driving a dark-blue 2000 GMC sport utility vehicle with Maryland tag number 546M542, police said.

Anyone with information about Gleason is asked to call county police at 410-307-2020.

Nick Shields

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