U.S. funds to finance upgrades at Fort McHenry

CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

October 17, 2007

The federal government will give $364,000 to the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Site to upgrade the entrance and parking facilities, Maryland's two U.S. senators announced yesterday.

The money - to come from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration - will help relieve safety concerns about schoolchildren, pedestrians and tour groups walking amid rows of buses to enter the Fort McHenry visitor center, according to the senators' offices.

The parking lot will be improved, and a study will begin to look at building a circular route for transit vehicles to enter the lot from Fort Avenue. In addition, a study will begin to examine ways to link the Inner Harbor to Fort McHenry through buses or shuttles for tourists.

Baltimore

: Courts

Graffiti artist sentenced to prison

The graffiti artist who tagged "Oricl" on hundreds of locations across Baltimore was sentenced yesterday to three years in prison for violating his probation related to malicious destruction of property, according to the Baltimore state's attorney's office.

Kenneth Ellis, 27, of Bowie had pleaded guilty in June 2006 to six counts of malicious destruction of property. He was sentenced to 18 months of probation and 500 hours of community service, including helping city workers clean up graffiti.

But Ellis was convicted in August of assault in Baltimore County, and he has completed only 32 of the 500 community service hours, prosecutors said.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams sentenced Ellis to serve his three years in prison consecutive to the seven-year prison term he received from his Baltimore County conviction, prosecutors said.

Harford

: Havre de Grace

Decision postponed on utility extension

The Harford County Council postponed a decision yesterday on whether to extend public water lines to a Havre de Grace community where several wells are contaminated.

Residents of Glenn Heights defeated the proposal to switch the neighborhood of 84 homes to the county water system by one vote, but the council can override the ballot. Although grants and loans are available for the $2.2 million project, many residents said they are on fixed incomes and unable to afford their share of the cost.

The council was scheduled to address the issue at its meeting last night. But Councilwoman Mary Ann Lisanti, whose district includes Glenn Heights, has asked for 30 days to search for additional funding, seek input from the county Health Department and pursue the possible extension of water lines from Aberdeen, a potentially less costly alternative, she said.

She also has asked federal and state officials to keep the grants in place until the council reaches a resolution.

Mary Gail Hare

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