City / County Digest

CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

October 12, 2006

Supporters rally for city smoking ban

Advocates for a smoking ban in Baltimore's bars and restaurants held a rally in Fells Point yesterday to support pending City Council legislation calling for the prohibition.

Councilman Robert W. Curran's smoking ban bill will be heard on Oct. 25 in the council's Judiciary and Legislative Investigations committee at 5 p.m., which will be televised on cable Channel 25.

Restaurant owners and workers joined Curran, Councilman Kenneth N. Harris Sr. and other supporters outside Timothy Dean's Bistro to say it is time for Baltimore to follow the lead of Montgomery, Prince George's, Talbot and Howard counties, which have all enacted similar bans.

Curran said the legislation, if approved, could help begin reducing the numbers of people who die of smoking-related illnesses caused by secondhand smoke in Baltimore.

"I need the majority of the City Council to understand that deaths due to secondhand smoke are preventable," Curran said. "Once we do it in Baltimore City, then the General Assembly will have the courage to do it statewide." He said he expected that the council will vote on the measure by January.

The Restaurant Association of Maryland opposes a smoking ban, as does Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. Mayor Martin O'Malley has said he prefers a statewide prohibition.

Doug Donovan

Baltimore: Courts

Smoot jury reaches decision on 10 counts

A Baltimore jury has reached a unanimous decision on 10 of 12 criminal charges against two former correctional officers charged in the deadly attack of a detainee at Central Booking and Intake Center last year. The jury will resume deliberations this morning. Dameon C. Woods and James L. Hatcher are charged with second-degree murder and lesser charges in the beating death of Raymond K. Smoot. Each defendant faces six charges. Jurors have not specified how their verdicts break down between the two defendants. They have deliberated four days. Yesterday, jurors requested a clearer definition of what "causation" means from Judge John M. Glynn. Hours later, the jury sent another note to Glynn requesting to leave late in the afternoon. Glynn brought the jury back into the courtroom to grant the request, telling the jurors, "I don't want you to feel pressured to do one thing or another at the end of the day."

Brent Jones

Downtown

Fire forces tenants to flee apartments

A 10-story apartment building at 1010 St. Paul St. was evacuated late last night because of a fire in a seventh-floor unit that sent an unidentified resident to the burn unit at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, a Fire Department spokesman said. Two alarms were sounded, in part to bring manpower ensuring that residents got out of the building safely.

Richard Irwin

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