November 29, 2007

Arundel residents sue over contamination

A group of Anne Arundel County residents whose drinking water was contaminated with coal ash filed a class action lawsuit yesterday, contending that Constellation Power Source Generation Inc. knew about groundwater leaks but never warned residents.

A copy of the lawsuit, filed in Baltimore City Circuit Court, could not be obtained yesterday. But the residents' attorney, former Prince George's County Executive Wayne K. Curry, issued a news release yesterday saying the lawsuit was taking a stand for those who are not being protected by regulations.

A news conference is scheduled for this afternoon in Gambrills, at which Curry will detail how 34 residential wells were polluted "by the energy company's reckless negligence."

The Sun reported in August that the power company and the Maryland Department of the Environment were aware of elevated sulfate concentrations -- an indicator of possible combustion ash contamination -- near a Gambrills mining site as far back as 1998 and failed to fully evaluate the potential for harmful environmental effects.

Since the contamination was discovered, the state has slapped a $1 million penalty on Constellation Energy and BBSS Inc., the operator of Constellation's fly ash dump site in Anne Arundel County, for contaminating drinking water.

Anne Arundel County has imposed a one-year ban on new fly ash dumps, and the state proposed regulations -- the state's first for ash dumps -- meant to stop the leaking of acidic waste and toxic metals from such sites.

Constellation, which stopped using the site and temporarily connected six homes to the county's public water supply, said it would provide permanent hookups for 40 homes whose wells might be polluted; it has also been required to install new environmental controls at BBSS before dumping can resume.

Justin Fenton

Carroll County

: Mount Airy

Bush to visit church doing AIDS work

President Bush will visit Carroll County tomorrow to commemorate World AIDS Day.

Bush will attend a meeting at Calvary United Methodist Church in Mount Airy and deliver a statement afterward. The congregation supports Children of Zion Village, a Maryland-based ministry that provides a home to AIDS orphans in Namibia.

In 2003, Congress approved a $15 billion Bush initiative for worldwide AIDS relief. First lady Laura Bush has also been active in AIDS outreach.

Arin Gencer


: Crime

Gasoline used as threat in robberies

Police were seeking a man they suspect of robbing two gas stations in less than a week after pouring gasoline onto the cash drawer, and in one case onto an attendant, and threatening to set the employee and the station's booth on fire if his demand for money was not met. No injuries were reported in either robbery.

The latest robbery occurred early Tuesday at the Texaco station in the 1000 block of W. North Ave. when a man forced a female attendant inside the booth to give him money from the cash register after he doused the cash drawer with gasoline and threatened to set it and the woman on fire.

Police said the attendant gave the man an undisclosed sum and that he fled on foot.

Shortly before midnight Saturday, police believe the same man robbed the Texaco station in the 2600 block of Gwynns Falls Parkway after he poured a flammable liquid into the cash drawer and onto the female employee while demanding money.

When the man threatened to set the fuel ablaze, the clerk gave the man several $5 bills. The man fled when the employee pressed the holdup alarm.

Anyone knowing the identity of the robber is urged to call the citywide robbery squad at 410-366-6341.


Train garden opens at Metro station

The Maryland Transit Administration has opened a holiday train garden at its Mondawmin Metro station in Baltimore. Located on the mezzanine level, it will be on display until Jan. 2.

Called Subway City, the model includes a four-car subway train moving around a city, a zoo, a park and a construction site, according to the MTA.

By pressing buttons, onlookers can activate moving parts at a fire station, an ice rink, a restaurant, a factory, a gas station and the zoo. It was designed and built by MTA employees using donated materials.

Subway City will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Metro stop is next to Mondawmin Mall in the 2400 block of Liberty Heights Ave.

Pratt Library

Author to speak on `ghetto mores'

Journalist Cora Daniels is scheduled to give a lecture titled "The Impact of Ghetto Mores, Attitudes and Lifestyles on American Culture" at 7 p.m. today in Wheeler Auditorium at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, 400 Cathedral St. Daniels has written Ghetto Nation: A Journey into the Land of Bling and Home of the Shameless and Black Power Inc.: The New Voices of Success. Information: www.prattlibrary.org.

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