Digest

September 14, 2007

Private school in Annapolis is closed after science lab spill

A private school in downtown Annapolis was temporarily closed yesterday after a spill in the science lab produced a chemical haze, a city fire official said.

A strange odor and smoke greeted firefighters who arrived about 6:30 a.m. at St. Mary's School on Duke of Gloucester Street, said Capt. Ed Hadaway, a city Fire Department spokesman.

Hazardous-materials teams from the city and Anne Arundel County that were called in traced the problem to the prep room for the Catholic high school's chemistry lab. They found that chemicals poured there had interacted, producing heat and the smoke.

It was not clear what chemicals were involved or how they came to be mixed. One theory, said St. Mary's spokeswoman Christine Bervid, is that bottles of chemicals recently shipped to the school had broken inside their boxes. Classes there started Sept. 4.

The busy road was closed from Green Street to Compromise Street for nearly six hours, and students and staff members were directed away from the school. A commercial cleaning company was contacted.

The high school will remain closed today, but the elementary school, church and parish offices will be open, Bervid said. As a precaution, elementary students are asked to take a lunch today rather than eat food prepared at school, she said.

Baltimore

: Inner Harbor

Army support ship to be commissioned

The 1st Army Reserve will commission a logistics support ship named after Maj. Gen. Robert Smalls, a former slave who became a sailor during the Civil War, tomorrow at the Inner Harbor.

It is the Army's first ship named for an African-American, according to the 99th Regional Readiness Command, based in Coraopolis, Pa. The commissioning ceremony is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. near the Light and Pratt street pavilions.

Smalls was 23 when he and other slaves commandeered a Confederate ship in the Charleston, S.C., harbor "and sailed her past armed, unfriendly outposts to the nearest Union blockade vessel," the Army said in a statement.

The next year, Smalls was made the first black captain of a U.S. vessel. He later became a legislator in South Carolina, a major general in that state's militia and a five-term member of Congress.

Southeast

Event urges kids not to drink or smoke

An event designed to encourage youngsters not to drink or smoke will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow at Clarence H. Du Burns Arena in Southeast Baltimore.

The featured speaker will be Dr. Gaynell Colburn, a health consultant and musician who was left a paraplegic at age 16 after a car crash involving a drunken driver. Colburn holds a doctorate and medical degrees in health sciences and pediatric wellness.

The event is sponsored by several city agencies and professional groups, including the police and fire departments, the Maryland Beverage Association and the city's liquor board. The arena is at 1301 S. Ellwood Ave.

Information: Sharon Williams, 410-571-7001.

Harford County

: Disaster drill

Supply, distribution plan to be tested

Harford County will conduct a drill to test its plan to set up and distribute recovery supplies to citizens in the event of a disaster, from 9 a.m. to noon tomorrow at the Wal-Mart parking lot, 645 S. Philadelphia Road in Aberdeen.

Supplies that would be distributed in a real emergency include water, tarps and food.

The Harford County Emergency Operations Division, emergency management officials from Maryland and the federal government, law enforcement personnel and volunteers from faith-based organizations will be among those taking part in the exercise.

Information: 410-588-5780.

Ellie Baublitz

Maryland

: Federal grants

$6.5 million awarded to cut lead exposure

Maryland agencies received more than $6.5 million in federal grants to reduce lead exposure and other home health and safety concerns, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced yesterday.

The Baltimore City Health Department will receive nearly $3.9 million to remove lead from 220 homes with its partner, Baltimore developer and property manager Dominion Homes.

The Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning will receive up to $1 million to help 100 families in East and West Baltimore reduce allergens in their homes.

The National Center for Healthy Housing will use nearly $1 million to assess dust and soil lead levels in 240 homes that were enrolled in a previous HUD lead hazard control program.

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