digest

June 29, 2007

Fire leaves 3 children dead, their mother injured

Fire swept through a Montgomery County apartment early yesterday, killing three children and critically injuring their mother, authorities said.

Elsie Nuka, 4-month-old Makenzie Foncham and her sisters, 2-year-old Megan and 4-year-old Chanelle, were unconscious and not breathing when firefighters arrived at the Windsor Court Apartments in Burtonsville shortly before 5 a.m., county Fire Department spokesman Pete Piringer said.

Firefighters found Makenzie on a bed, and Nuka, 30, and the two older girls on the floor nearby, Piringer said. The children died a short time later at area hospitals, and Nuka remained in critical condition at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, he said.

Investigators believe the fire started in the kitchen after the mother placed a plastic device used to sterilize baby bottles near the stove, which was on, Piringer said.

Associated Press

Statewide

: Annapolis

O'Malley uncertain on special session

While continuing to leave the door open for a special session of the General Assembly, Gov. Martin O'Malley said yesterday that he wouldn't call one to address a $1.5 billion structural deficit without consensus and "a better than 50-50 shot at solving the problem."

"We are not going to engage in a special session for political theater," he said while attending a board meeting of the Greater Washington Board of Trade in Bethesda.

Lawmakers adjourned in April after passing the governor's budget largely uncut. But key lawmakers on fiscal committees made a point of warning that the state faces very serious budget decisions next year.

O'Malley has been asked for months about whether he would call a special session -- as urged by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller. The governor's regular response so far has been that it "remains to be seen."

Associated Press

Frederick County

: Frederick

Teacher who made threats is fired

The Frederick County school board has fired a sixth-grade teacher who wrote threatening notes to five students, a day after a judge sentenced her to nine months in jail.

The board voted Wednesday night to terminate the employment of Michelle J. Dohm, 42, who taught social studies at Thurmont Middle School.

Dohm, a 20-year employee of county schools, had been suspended without pay since fall 2005. Jamie Cannon, an attorney for the school system, said the board can no longer employ Dohm because the conviction voids her teaching certification.

"We're just so glad there's closure to it," Cannon said.

Dohm was convicted by a judge in April of sending letters that threatened death by explosives. Some were handwritten, while others were pasted together using magazine cutouts. One message read: "Tick Tock Tick Tock. Is it a bomb or is it a clock?"

Associated Press

Worcester County

: Ocean City

Body identified as missing student

The body of a man found in the surf off Assateague Island has been identified as the 19-year-old Morgan State University student who drowned June 17 in Ocean City, police said.

Lij-Paul Headley of Lanham was identified by the state medical examiner's office based on a physical description, a tattoo, clothing and jewelry, said Pfc. Barry Neeb, an Ocean City police spokesman.

Headley was swept away by a rip current while in the ocean along a crowded beach between 31st and 32nd streets.

Staff reports

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