City / County Digest

CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

April 30, 2007

Arundel planning director retires; successor named

Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold has announced the retirement of Lois Villemaire as his administration's planning director and named Larry Tom, a former Annapolis community development chief, as her successor.

"Ms. Villemaire has served this Administration and the citizens of Anne Arundel County well over the past several months," Leopold said in a statement. "She was instrumental in a smooth transition and I applaud her hard work regarding the on-going revision of the General Development Plan."

Villemaire, a 26-year veteran of the Planning Department and permit application center, was named acting director of planning and zoning by Leopold when he assumed office in December and - after what was billed as a nationwide search - given the director's position seven weeks later.

"It's been almost 27 years with the county, and I decided to retire because I found I didn't have as much time as I would like to spend with my family," Villemaire said when reached at her home last night. She has parents in Philadelphia and grandchildren in Virginia, and "it's been hard to get away to see them," she said.

The decision to retire was difficult, Villemaire said last night, acknowledging that her tenure as director has been brief.

Tom has been a county resident since 1985, and has significant experience in planning - including nearly seven years as chief of community development for Annapolis. He is senior project manager for facilities design and construction at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Friday's announcement said.

Villemaire's retirement is effective June 1, but Tom's appointment begins May 21, at an annual salary of $120,000, the announcement said. Villemaire said she expects to work with Tom during the overlapping period to ensure a smooth transition.

Baltimore

: Gang suspect

Man fatally shot by officer named

Baltimore Police identified yesterday the officer and the suspected gang member he fatally shot early Saturday. Officer Eric Thomas, 34, an 11-year police veteran, was on patrol in the Western District when he responded to another officer's call for assistance just after midnight at Smallwood Street and West North Avenue, police said. The other officer had encountered a group of six to eight men dressed in red T-shirts and red bandannas - clothing associated with the Bloods gang - police said. When Thomas arrived, Damion Baker fled down an alley and then pulled out a weapon, police said. Thomas then shot Baker several times, killing him. Baker, 25, of the 2400 block of Loyola Northway, had a lengthy criminal record, police said yesterday. A check of online court records shows at least five separate drug-related convictions dating to 1999. In October, city prosecutors dropped all charges related to drug distribution in his most recent case.

Julie Bykowicz

Anne Arundel

: Tipton Airport

Man, 29, injured in airplane crash

A 29-year-old man was injured when the small plane he was piloting crashed yesterday at Tipton Airport in Anne Arundel County.

About 10:30 a.m., Anne Arundel County fire and rescue crews were called to Tipton for an aircraft emergency. Workers found a single-engine plane that had crashed about three-quarters of the way down a runway, said Fire Battalion Chief Michael Cox. The pilot, whose name was not released, was flown by helicopter to Maryland Shock Trauma Center with injuries to his head, neck and back that were not life-threatening, Cox said.

Witnesses told investigators that the pilot had been practicing takeoffs and landings at the time of the accident, Cox said.

Maryland State Police and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating.

Julie Bykowicz

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