City / County Digest

CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

June 30, 2007

Low oxygen levels kill 15,000 fish in Weems Creek

More than 15,000 fish were killed this week when the oxygen levels in an Annapolis creek dipped too low.

Toxins released from decomposing algae likely caused the low oxygen levels in Weems Creek, Maryland Department of the Environment spokesman Robert Ballinger said.

"Over the years, scientists have not been able to identify a bacteria or disease causing these kills, so I think it has to be a sudden low-oxygen event," Severn Riverkeeper Fred Kelly said of Thursday's fish kill.

Clumps of yellow perch, white perch, alewives, and rockfish could be seen Friday in the creek.

Ballinger said oxygen levels have stabilized and the fish are no longer threatened. Water samples and fish were sent away for further testing.

Associated Press

Baltimore

: Politics

Kerpelman runs for comptroller

Leonard J. Kerpelman, who videotapes city and state public meetings for public access television, announced yesterday he will run for city comptroller against the incumbent, Joan M. Pratt, in the Democratic primary election.

Kerpelman, 73, represented atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair in the landmark 1963 Supreme Court case that outlawed organized prayer in public schools. He was disbarred in 1989 after the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that he charged an excessive fee in another case. Recently, Kerpelman led a failed attempt to prevent Mercy Medical Center from razing a block of 1820s rowhouses.

"If I win, I will be the only independent member, watching out for you, for ordinary citizens, for voters, for the environment, for trees, for the tax base," Kerpelman said in announcement he released yesterday.

John Fritze

Law

Efforts to curb music piracy are lauded

The Recording Industry Association of America honored Baltimore prosecutors and police officers yesterday for their efforts to help crack down on music piracy. The courthouse ceremony included the presentation of honorary gold records to State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy and two other prosecutors. This year, city police and prosecutors have secured 33 music piracy convictions, as well as 70 convictions last year, according to Brad Buckles, the association's executive vice president for anti-piracy.

Howard County

: North Laurel

Dementia victim found unconscious

A 66-year-old woman suffering from dementia who wandered away from her North Laurel home was found unconscious more than a day later by a search dog in dense brush near her house, Howard County police said yesterday. Nancy Karweit was found about 9 p.m. Thursday and was taken to Howard County General Hospital, where she was admitted in critical condition, county police said. She was listed in serious condition yesterday.

Larry Carson

Fulton

Fire destroys barn, farm equipment

A fire destroyed a large barn and farm equipment worth more than $1 million early yesterday at a Howard County farm known for its Thanksgiving turkeys, officials said.

About 45 firefighters from Howard and Montgomery counties responded at 12:16 a.m. to an alarm at Maple Lawn Turkey Farm in Fulton, said county Fire Department spokesman Bill Mould.

Firefighters used municipal water from hydrants and a large pond on the farm to extinguish the blaze, finishing their work about 6 a.m.

Mould said the Iager family had moved machinery into the barn late Thursday to protect it from predicted thunderstorms, only to lose it to the fire. No one was injured. Fire officials were investigating the cause yesterday, he said.

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