City / County Digest


July 03, 2008

High school is awarded federal grant

W.E.B. DuBois High School in Baltimore has received a $3.7 million federal grant to improve mentoring and work opportunities for students, the U.S. Department of Labor announced this week.

The school is one of nine high schools nationwide that were awarded a total of $49.5 million. All nine of them, seven of them in Philadelphia, have been labeled "persistently dangerous" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

DuBois is a small high school created by the breakup of Northern High. It shares a campus with Reginald F. Lewis High School, where a cell phone video of a student assaulting an art teacher made national headlines earlier this year.

Sara Neufeld



Medical system CEO to retire

Edmond F. Notebaert, president and chief executive officer of the University of Maryland Medical System for the past five years, will retire Aug. 1, he announced late yesterday.

Notebaert, 64, said he considered retiring last winter after achieving his major goals, which include the growth of patient admissions and the system's net income, as well as the expansion of the system to include three hospitals on the Eastern Shore.

During his tenure, the university said, medical system grew by 34 percent to 83,731, and net income almost tripled, to $80 million.

"Ed Notebaert produced a remarkable record of success for UMMS, with significant growth of market share and revenues achieved through improved operations and selective acquisitions and affiliations," said John C. Erickson, chairman of the UMMS board. "These accomplishments are even more impressive when you consider the challenging health care environment in recent years."

Patterson Park

Man's death ruled a homicide

A 38-year-old man found beaten and unconscious near a pavilion in Patterson Park on June 23 died three days later at an area hospital, and police are investigating his death as a homicide.

Police said Chicas Santiago, whose address was not known, was found bleeding from the head about 3:30 a.m. June 23 by Southeastern District police responding to a report of an injured man in the park, said Agent Donny Moses, a police spokesman.

Moses said Santiago was taken by a Fire Department ambulance to Johns Hopkins Hospital and remained unconscious before dying about 3 p.m. June 26.

Moses said an autopsy performed the next day by the state medical examiner ruled that death was caused by traumatic injuries to the head and ruled Santiago's death a homicide.

No arrest has been made and police know of no motive for the attack.

Metro Crime Stoppers at 410-276-8888 is offering a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to an arrest and an indictment in the slaying.

Santiago's death brings to 104 the number of homicides in the city this year as of yesterday, compared with 157 at the same time last year, Moses said.

Richard Irwin


Public Works

Board backs buying of easements

The state Board of Public Works yesterday approved the purchase of easements to preserve about 3,000 acres of farmland in 13 Maryland counties, the Maryland Department of Agriculture said.

More than $21 million in state and local money will be used to buy 25 easements, including one each in Anne Arundel and Harford counties, and five in Carroll County. The board's action brings the total farmland protected through the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation to 268,778 acres, the Department of Agriculture office said.

Broadband project's fees waived

The Board of Public Works yesterday approved a wetlands license and waived the applicable fees for a project that will allow greater broadband Internet access in the state's rural areas.

The Maryland Broadband Cooperative, a public-private partnership formed to increase access to broadband in the far reaches of the state, has completed the first phase of a $15 million project to lay fiber-optic lines by linking Wallops Island and Salisbury.

Plans for a second phase of the project linking Salisbury to the Bay Bridge were delayed when officials from the Maryland Department of the Environment and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said they would require wetland permits to install the cables along the bridge.

Gov. Martin O'Malley has pledged $10 million in state funding over three years for the project.

Nicole Fuller

U.S. Attorney

Severna Park

Woman pleads guilty to health care fraud

A Severna Park woman pleaded guilty in federal court to health care fraud yesterday for billing for medical services she did not provide, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Virginia Vought Acree, 49, a state-licensed clinical specialist in child and adolescent psychiatric and mental health nursing, admitted to falsely billing for services she did not provide on hundreds of occasions from January 2003 to November 2007, prosecutors said. She filed fraudulent insurance claims to collect more than $200,000 from the government and private health care plans.

At times, Acree billed for face-to-face psychotherapy services at the same time she was on vacation in other states or countries, or attending out-of-town conferences, prosecutors said.

Sentencing is set for Oct. 7. Acree could get a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, prosecutors said.

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