Digest

CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

June 19, 2008

Bad times forecast for bay and rivers

The Chesapeake Bay and its rivers are expected to be in poor shape once again this summer, according to a forecast by University of Maryland scientists.

The forecast, which the university's Center for Environmental Science has done annually for the past four years, predicts widespread low oxygen in the bay's mainstem and algae blooms in the Patuxent, Potomac and Choptank rivers.

"We think we've got the kind of conditions in the spring that are conducive to creating these low- and no-oxygen zones," said William Dennison, a vice president at the center who leads the ecological forecast project.

Dennison said the poor forecast is due in large part to a wet spring, which dumped a lot of pollution into the Susquehanna River.

The pollution is a mix of runoff from paved and other impervious surfaces, fertilizer from farm fields and chemicals that are released into the air from automobiles and washed into the rivers.

Sediment from farming and development also contributes to the problem, blocking light to the water needed to sustain life.

Dennison said he expects the conditions will provide a stressful environment for the rockfish, crabs and oysters that call the bay home.

Rona Kobell

Anne Arundel

Bay Bridge

Crash ties up eastbound traffic

A child and a woman were transported by helicopter to a Baltimore hospital yesterday after a four-vehicle crash on the Bay Bridge that closed the eastbound span for nearly three hours, authorities said.

Cpl. Jonathan Green, a spokesman for the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, said the rear-end collision occurred at 2:10 p.m. about a half-mile from the toll plaza in Anne Arundel County.

The chain-reaction crash involving two sport utility vehicles, a sedan and a pickup truck injured the woman and a girl, age 3 1/2, who were taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, and a man, who was taken by ambulance to Anne Arundel Medical Center, Green said.

A two-way traffic pattern was put in place on the westbound span to allow for two lanes traveling eastbound and one lane traveling westbound, Green said. Eastbound traffic on U.S. 50 was backed up for several miles before the span was reopened at 4:50 p.m.

Nicole Fuller and Richard Irwin

Baltimore

Inner Harbor

Police trying to identify body

Baltimore police detectives are trying to determine the identity of a dead man found floating in the Inner Harbor about noon yesterday near Federal Hill and the American Visionary Arts Museum.

The man, who is white, was pronounced dead by medics about 12:30 p.m.

Workers at the marina near the 500 block of Harborview Drive saw the body and called 911, said Agent Donny Moses, a police spokesman.

Moses said the man's body showed no obvious signs of foul play.

Annie Linskey

JFX

Madison St. ramp to be closed for repairs

The ramp from Madison Street to northbound Interstate 83, the Jones Falls Expressway, will be closed from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. today and tomorrow so that work crews can make repairs to a fence, according to the city Department of Transportation.

In addition, the right lane on northbound I-83 will be closed at the same time from Madison to Charles streets.

Maryland

UMBC

Sixth man convicted in corruption probe

Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler says a Lutherville man is the sixth person convicted in a corruption investigation at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Gansler said yesterday that Christopher Keehner, the president of Baltimore-based DS Pipe & Supply Co., pleaded guilty in Baltimore County Circuit Court to conspiracy charges.

Keehner overbilled the university by $24,000 for a construction project. Then he, a UMBC construction manager and another contractor kept the surplus.

Keehner's sentencing is scheduled Sept. 17. The other five convicted in the scheme haven't been sentenced.

Gansler's office says the four-year-long scheme cost UMBC $137,000. A UMBC spokeswoman said last night that the matter had been referred to the attorney general's office after suspected corruption had been uncovered through an audit.

Associated Press

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