Digest

August 10, 2007

Baltimore Firefighters Union endorses Mitchell for mayor

City Councilman and mayoral candidate Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. was endorsed by the Baltimore Firefighters Union yesterday, giving him support from all three major public safety unions.

Baltimore City Fire Fighters Local 734 and the Baltimore City Fire Officers Local 964 jointly endorsed Mitchell at a news conference yesterday morning in a room filled with men clad in "Fire Fighters for Mitchell" yellow T-shirts.

The unions are also endorsing City Council President Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake in the City Council president race.

The unions represent more than 3,000 active and retired members, said Richard G. Schluderberg, president of Local 734. Schluderberg said the endorsement was based on three days of ballot votes. He would not say how many members cast ballots, but he said the vote in favor of Mitchell was "overwhelming" and the vote for the City Council president race was much closer.

Mitchell has also received endorsements from the city's police union and the deputy sheriffs.

Mitchell and Mayor Sheila Dixon are among eight candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for mayor in the city's Sept. 11 primary.

Calling Mitchell the "public safety candidate," Schluderberg said, "We firmly believe that under Keiffer Mitchell's leadership Baltimore will be a much safer city."

Mitchell said he was "humbled" to receive the endorsement.

"To know that our firefighters and officers who live in this city believe I can return safety to our streets, well, it means a lot," he said.

Schluderberg said Dixon disappointed the union with both contract negotiations and with declining to dismiss Fire Chief William J. Goodwin Jr. after two no-confidence votes.

Sumathi Reddy

Baltimore

: Park Heights

Report of a woman held captive is hoax

Baltimore police who surrounded a house in Park Heights for nearly six hours early yesterday on a report of a woman being held captive by a man armed with a gun determined that the call was a hoax, authorities said.

Heavily armed tactical officers were seen leaving the area around the 3900 block of Park Heights Ave. about 8 a.m. Police said they had determined that the call - which did not originate in the house - to be a fake, but they did not disclose why.

Police had said a woman called 911 about 2 a.m. and told dispatchers that her boyfriend had been smoking drugs in the house and he was armed.

Members of the department's SWAT team closed off streets in a two-block radius of the house. The streets were reopened about 8 a.m. No charges have been filed.

Gus G. Sentementes

Northwest

17 1/2 years imposed in firebomb attempt

A 23-year-old man who pleaded guilty in federal court to trying to firebomb a group home in Northwest Baltimore in 2004 was sentenced yesterday to 17 1/2 years in prison, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Forell Isaac had been charged with trying to set fire to the People Encouraging People home in the 3600 block of Glen Ave.by throwing two Molotov cocktails at the building. The home is a nonprofit that provides social assistance to people in need, and federal prosecutors said Isaac did not like the residents.

The man admitted getting a friend to help gather empty beer bottles and fill them with gasoline, prosecutors said. He then tore rags into long strips and shoved them into the bottles. The two walked to the group home, lit the rags and threw two at a window. They bounced off and landed in a shrub, setting it ablaze. The fire scorched the outside of the building.

Cherry Hill

Splash park to reopen late this month

The Cherry Hill Splash Park, which was closed last month because of a flooding problem, will reopen late this month, the Department of Recreation and Parks said yesterday. City officials said a pump room flooded and that extensive repairs are under way. The pool had to be drained and a contractor hired to replace the electrical system.

Baltimore County

: Sentencing

Lease firm operator gets bank fraud term

A Baltimore County lease company operator yesterday received a 2 1/2 -year prison sentence for bank fraud after admitting in federal court that he obtained more than $200,000 in fraudulent loans and insurance payments.

Jeffrey B. Hazard, 55, of Phoenix, owned and operated Key Leasing and Rental LLC, a car-leasing company. An FBI investigation found that from 1998 through 2002, Hazard requested financing of a vehicle from more than one financial institution, falsely representing to each institution that each was the only lender for the purchase of the vehicle. Hazard also requested financing of a vehicle that Key Leasing had not purchased, according to documents filed with his guilty plea in May.

Matthew Dolan

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