Advocates for the disabled announced yesterday that 756 people are in line to share $1 million from the settlement of a Baltimore housing discrimination lawsuit.
A victims' compensation fund was established as part of a landmark 2004 settlement in a lawsuit alleging that thousands of people with disabilities were intentionally or illegally excluded from public housing. Other terms of the settlement, worth more than $100 million, include development of more than 1,000 units of public housing accessible to people with disabilities and a program to help them obtain housing.
The parties in the lawsuit - the Maryland Disability Law Center, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Housing Authority of Baltimore City - jointly filed in U.S. District Court yesterday a recommendation to compensate the 756 people. Both the law center and the justice department had sued the housing authority.
Last summer, officials mailed 40,000 notices to potential housing discrimination victims, urging them to take advantage of the compensation fund. Soup kitchens and shelters also held informational meetings about it. About 2,500 claims were filed, said Lauren Young, the disability law center's legal director.
Assuming the court approves the arrangement, each of the identified victims will receive about $1,300 sometime in the next few months, Young said.
"These payments are given to individuals in recognition that their civil rights were violated based on their disabilities," she said in a statement.
Among those recommended for compensation are people who were denied housing because they used wheelchairs, and a person who had requested grab bars and fell repeatedly in the shower.
University of Baltimore's law school is planning to offer financial counseling sessions for recipients of the money.
: Federal court
Man gets 6 years for bank robberies
A 47-year-old man was sentenced yesterday to nearly six years in prison for robbing four banks in two weeks in Baltimore and Baltimore County, and committing an armed carjacking, the Maryland U.S. attorney's office said.
Anthony Mabray of Baltimore pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to walking into the banks, implying he had a gun and escaping with thousands of dollars, federal prosecutors said. The robberies and the carjacking occurred between Jan. 13 and Jan. 27
According to authorities, he robbed the Sun Trust Bank on Baltimore National Pike in Catonsville of $1,458; the Chevy Chase Bank on Edmondson Avenue in West Baltimore of $1,959 and again of $953; and the M&T Bank on South Greene Street in the city of $3,307.
Prosecutors said that on Jan. 13, Mabray walked up to a woman who had just finished putting gas into her vehicle on West Franklin Street in West Baltimore and demanded her car keys. Authorities said he then drove off with her car.
Driver hurt after hitting CSX train
A vehicle struck a CSX train in South Baltimore about 3 p.m. yesterday, and the occupant was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, according to police and fire spokesmen.
The accident occurred in the 6100 block of Pennington Ave. near Ordinance Road, said Agent Donny Moses, a police spokesman. The vehicle's occupant suffered chest and torso injuries.
Other details about the incident were not immediately available.
Annie Linskey and Gus G. Sentementes
Voter registration drives today, Tuesday
The Baltimore branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is planning to hold voter registration drives today and Tuesday. Voter registration will be available from noon to 6 p.m. today in Druid Hill Park during the Stone Soul Picnic and from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesday at Mondawmin Mall.
Spanish channel begins Monday
Maryland Public Television will launch on Monday the state's first 24-hour noncommercial channel in Spanish.
The network-V-me, pronounced "veh-meh," from the Spanish veme or "see me"- will begin airing at 11:30 a.m. and will be available on Comcast Channel 201 and Verizon Channel 881.
Maryland will join more than 20 markets nationwide that broadcast the network, an attempt to add depth and variety to current Spanish-language programming.
While some critics have questioned the network, saying the state is catering to a particular ethnic group, MPT officials have maintained that the channel recognizes the state's growing diversity.