City / County Digest

CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

October 31, 2006

Council bill suggests metal detectors in city buildings

Baltimore would install metal detectors in all city buildings - including schools - under a bill introduced in the City Council yesterday.

Councilwoman Belinda Conaway, who represents Northwest Baltimore, introduced the measure after a series of violent incidents at city schools this month, including a shooting on the grounds of Frederick Douglass High School and the stabbing of a 14-year-old girl at Pimlico Middle School.

"We want to keep people safe," said Conaway, whose bill was referred to the council's committee on public safety for a later hearing. "We need to do the right thing to protect our citizens and our young people."

A number of community leaders called for metal detectors this month. The city's school police chief said he supports the idea but said it might prove impractical. Manufacturers say walk-through metal detectors cost $2,000 to $4,500 each, and that does not include the cost of staff to operate the machines.

Conaway's bill would apply to all buildings owned by the city, though some downtown offices - including City Hall and police headquarters - already have the units in place. The measure is not expected to receive a vote until later this year.

John Fritze

Baltimore: City Council Board passes zoning measure

The Baltimore City Council overwhelmingly approved a zoning measure yesterday that would make it easier to open drug treatment clinics in residential and commercial areas without council approval.

The ordinance, approved 13-2, would treat drug treatment centers the same as medical clinics, which are permitted in residential areas. Zoning permits would be required to open a center in some areas, and community approval would be needed for clinics in densely populated residential areas.

"This does not mean that every neighborhood is going to have a residential treatment center popping up," said Council President Sheila Dixon, who voted in favor of the bill. "When people are treated, people are then able to come back into the community."

Councilman James B. Kraft and Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke voted against the bill. The ordinance has the backing of the mayor.

"It's important that we do have these substance abuse treatment centers," Kraft said. "But I do believe that the wording of this bill could have been done in a different way."

John Fritze

Halloween

Tour set for tonight at Poe's grave site

A tour of Edgar Allan Poe's grave, the Westminster catacombs and Westminster Hall is set for 6 o'clock to 9 o'clock tonight. The tour will include pipe organ music, theatrical presentations and ghost-hunting with a paranormal investigator. The tour will begin at the Westminster Burying Ground & Catacombs, Fayette and Greene streets, next to the University of Maryland School of Law. No reservations; $5 for adults, $3 for children 12 and younger. 410-706-7228.

Baltimore County: Brooklandville

Park School head to leave post in 2007

The head of the Park School for more than a decade gave notice yesterday that this academic year will be his last at the school, the president of the board of trustees said last night. David E. Jackson, a former Long Island, N.Y., public school superintendent, has spent 12 years in the top administrative spot at Park, a private school in Brooklandville with nearly 900 students. Jackson is interested in working at a smaller school in a role where he could be more involved with educational, rather than administrative, functions, said Mark Lerner, president of the board of trustees.

Laura Barnhardt

Charles County: Waldorf

Soldier, 20, dies in Afghanistan

A soldier from Waldorf has died in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense announced yesterday. Pvt. Michael V. Bailey, 20, died Friday of injuries that were not combat-related, the announcement said. It said the incident was under investigation. The soldier's father, Vincent Bailey, declined to speak to a reporter when reached yesterday. Pvt. Bailey was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) based at Fort Drum, N.Y. He was the eighth Maryland serviceman to die in Afghanistan since 2001.

Nicole Fuller

Anne Arundel: Courts

Woman guilty of insurance fraud

A former claims adjuster at the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund was placed on 60 days' probation before judgment for creating fake claimants and disbursing more than $7,000 in their settlements to an acquaintance, the attorney general's office said yesterday.

Karla E. Biven, 36, also was ordered by Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Joseph P. Manck to perform 24 hours of community service.

Biven, who resigned last year for what the attorney general's office said were reasons not connected to the case, repaid the state $7,366 for two fake claims before yesterday's court hearing.

"Karla did not receive a penny of the money. She helped an acquaintance who had been in an accident and had damage to his car," said Eugene M. Whissel II, Biven's lawyer.

An internal audit turned up the claims. She had twice added fake claimants to legitimate accident settlements, the attorney general's office said.

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