Digest

January 10, 2008

Facing cuts, health officer in Harford resigns

Faced with nearly $2 million in cuts to his agency's budget, Dr. Andrew Bernstein, Harford County's health officer, has resigned. The resignation, made public at Tuesday's Harford County Council meeting, takes effect immediately. Billy Boniface, council president, said Bernstein timed his departure to draw attention to the impact the decreased revenue will have on health programs.

"He is greatly concerned with the state cuts made during the special session," Boniface said. "If the state makes cuts, we can't pick up the slack unless it's absolutely necessary. Every department will have to make significant cuts this year."

Bernstein, who held the job nearly four years, helped expand the county's addictions program, start a schools flu vaccine program and set up a free dental clinic in Edgewood.

While the county searches for a replacement, Susan Kelly, deputy health officer, will assume Bernstein's role, Boniface said.

Mary Gail Hare

Baltimore

: Fire Department

FEMA grant to be announced today

The Baltimore Fire Department is to announce today that it is receiving a $1.4 million grant from U.S. Department of Homeland Security to buy firefighters a second set of turnout gear, which includes pants, gloves, boots and coats.

U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski is scheduled to present the check at a news conference at the fire station in Locust Point. She is to be joined by Mayor Sheila Dixon and acting Fire Chief Gregory B. Ward. The money comes from the Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Chief Kevin Cartwright, a spokesman for the Fire Department, said the money is enough for 1,200 new sets of gear, which typically have to be replaced every eight years.

"The more it's worn, the more it's used, the more you lose some protective measures," Cartwright said. "Sometimes firefighters fight two or three fires a night. They come back, their gear is wet, and sometimes they have to put that gear back on again."

Laurel

: Work safety

State offering training seminars

The state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation will offer six free health and safety training seminars, starting tomorrow in Laurel.

Five seminars will be held at Maryland Occupational Safety and Health's training and education office. Their times and topics are: excavation safety, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. tomorrow; workplace hazard assessment, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday; construction site safety, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 16; material safety data sheets, right to know and personal protective equipment, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 22; and workplace violence; 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Jan. 24.

The final session, on hand and power tool safety, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Jan. 30 at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills.

"The MOSH outreach training program is designed to reduce occupational injuries and illnesses through education," said Labor and Industry Commissioner Ron DeJulius. "Participants can enroll in half-day and full-day training seminars at no cost. The free seminars provide an overview of the specific topic and how to comply with applicable Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and MOSH standards"

To register, go to the Web site, www.dllr.state.md.us/labor/mosh.html, or call 410-880-4970, Ext.335.

Carroll County

: Westminster

McDaniel College gets challenge gift

A McDaniel College alumnus has pledged a $5 million challenge gift to the Westminster school's multimillion-dollar fundraising campaign.

Leroy M. Merritt, who graduated from the college in 1952 when it was Western Maryland College, will contribute that sum when the school raises a matching $5 million.

McDaniel has raised more than $52 million in gifts and pledges toward its $65 million goal, according to the college. The money will help fund endowments, annual operations and improvements to the "residential living-learning community," according to the college.

Merritt, a commercial real estate developer, gave his alma mater $2 million in 2006 to build a new fitness center, named in his honor.

Arin Gencer

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