Improvement seen in rural fire protection


October 26, 2006

Baltimore County fire officials announced yesterday that an organization that measures risk for insurance companies has determined the rural areas of the county are better protected from fire than before.

Insurance Services Office has changed the county's fire protection rating in the rural area not served by fire hydrants from nine to six under a scale of one to 10, with one being the safest, fire officials said. Areas of the county served by public water continue to receieve a three in the most recent ratings, which were issued to the fire department in June, officials said.

Most insurance companies rely on the ISO's findings in setting rates, officials said.The county began to install underground storage tanks after a 1995 fire that destroyed Sparks Elementary School. Since then, 27 underground water storage tanks with a capacity of at least 30,000 gallons have been installed, fire officials said. About 35 additional tanks that hold 12,000 gallons of water have been installed by developers, fire officials said.

Nick Shields


Ex-manager pleads guilty to theft

A former construction project manager at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County has pleaded guilty to procurement fraud, theft and bribery, admitting to submitting inflated and false invoices to the university, the state attorney general's office said yesterday.

Andrew M. Reider, 47, of Powhurst Court in Perry Hall pleaded guilty in Baltimore County Circuit Court on Tuesday to stealing more than $136,000 during the scheme from 1988 to 2004, said Kevin Enright, a spokesman for the attorney general's office. About half of the stolen funds went to Reider, and the other half was used to renovate the home of Reider's immediate supervisor, who has not been charged, Enright said.

Reider also admitted soliciting bribes from contractors, including home improvements, mobile phone service, golf outings and entertainment expenses, in exchange for handing out construction projects at UMBC, according to prosecutors.

Sentencing before Judge John G. Turnbull II is scheduled Feb. 5. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Reider could receive up to 2 1/2 years in prison, according to Enright.

Four others who have been convicted of being involved in the scheme are also waiting sentencing.

Laura Barnhardt


Smith, Bell to participate in forum

The two candidates for Baltimore County executive, Democratic incumbent James T. Smith Jr. and Republican challenger Clarence W. Bell Jr., said they will participate in a candidates forum next week.

The candidates will answer questions from the audience at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Loch Raven High School, at an event sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Baltimore County.

The candidates for the state's attorney, Republican Stephen Bailey and Democrat Scott D. Shellenberger, are to speak at 8 p.m.


Police investigate store robberies

Two men are believed to be responsible for five grocery store robberies this year in Baltimore County, police said this week.

Police said they were seeking to identify the men who are suspects in an Oct. 9 robbery of a Mars supermarket in the 8600 block of Belair Road in the Perry Hall area. In that robbery, two gunmen forced the manager to open a safe, tied the victim's hands and stole an undisclosed amount of money.

Police said detectives believe the men are involved in four other robberies carried out in a similar manner - Jan. 6 at a Super Fresh store in Arbutus, Jan. 18 at a Mars store in the Rosedale area, Feb. 21 at a Super Fresh store in Woodlawn and March 21 at a Mars store in Reisterstown. In all of those robberies, the suspects wore dark clothing with ski masks or bandanas, police said.

A third man is believed to have been involved in the Jan. 6, Jan. 18 and Feb. 21 robberies, police said.

Perry Hall

Death of woman ruled a homicide

The death of a woman whose body was found last month along Belair Road in Perry Hall has been ruled a homicide by the state medical examiner, county police said this week.

Roxanne Stitz Amick, 40, whose body was found Sept. 15 wrapped in a blanket, died of multiple injuries, police said. Police would not release details about the injuries.

Amick's body was found in the 9900 block of Belair Road. She had been reported missing by a family member the day before, and her vehicle was found that day in the parking lot of the Perry Hall Crossing Shopping Center in the 8800 block of Belair Road.

Anyone with information is asked to call county police at 410-307-2020 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 866-7-LOCKUP. Metro Crime Stoppers callers can remain anonymous and might be eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000.

Band to celebrate the artists

The Baltimore Symphonic Band will hold a Celebrate the Artists event during its fall concert at 4 p.m. Nov. 5 at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, 8420 Belair Road, Perry Hall.

The Baltimore Symphonic Band, in residence at the Community College of Baltimore County, Essex, is an all-volunteer ensemble of that performs band music ranging from marches to symphonic works.

Christopher Wolfe, professor of music at CCBC and the founder and musical director of the Baltimore Symphonic Band, is the assistant principal clarinetist for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

This concert is free and open to the public. Donations are appreciated. For information call 410-780-6536.

Events or news items for the Baltimore County Digest may be submitted to Information should be sent at least 10 days before the event.

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