The Week That Was

July 13, 2008

10-hour shifts a hit with officers

A committee of city police commanders and union representatives has recommended expanding a pilot program in which officers work four 10-hour shifts every week, a system they credit with reducing crime in the Northeastern District, according to a report obtained by The Sun. The new schedule, in place there since November, puts Northeastern officers on the streets four days and then off three.

Tobacco policy under fire

To lift a burden from the police, Baltimore County lawmakers authorized the Health Department last year to take over the task of imposing fines on store clerks who sell cigarettes to underage teenagers. But the county hasn't been doing that job - intentionally - because officials say they are opposed to using minors in sting operations. The county's approach is drawing criticism from some legal and health advocates who say it is not an effective deterrent.

Teacher pay set by the results

From rural Washington County to suburban Prince George's County, school systems around the state are beginning to wade into a promising but controversial topic in education: pay for performance. School officials are starting to offer teachers and principals extra pay or bonuses when they take on challenging assignments or raise test scores.

Residents could get tax refund

Mayor Sheila Dixon announced that nearly 2,000 residents in Charles Village and Bolton Hill could receive small property tax refunds because of a city error that inflated their tax bills. The announcement ends a months-long dispute that began after The Sun reported that the Homestead Tax Credit was not being applied to tax bills for residents of the Charles Village Community Benefits District and the Midtown Community Benefits District.

Cholesterol test urged for kids

The American Academy of Pediatrics released a new policy statement on cholesterol screening and treatment options for children as young as 2. The academy advises cholesterol screening of children and adolescents with a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease. The recommendation also includes patients whose family history is unknown or who have risk factors for heart disease, including obesity, high blood pressure, cigarette smoking or diabetes.

Currie involved in Shoppers' details

State Sen. Ulysses Currie has repeatedly intervened with state agencies since at least 2003 on behalf of Shoppers Food and Pharmacy, involving himself in the minute details of its business, such as traffic light installations, roadside improvements and other projects near the grocery chain's stores, according to thousands of documents reviewed by The Sun. Currie, the Prince George's Democrat, worked as a paid consultant for the chain.

BCCC sees campus as revenue source

Plans by Baltimore City Community College to open its 2.2-acre Inner Harbor campus to development would provide a shot in the arm to Lombard Street while bringing the college millions of dollars to expand its offerings, city and BCCC officials said. The college is seeking proposals from developers interested in building on the site.

Cambridge makes history

Cambridge elected its first African-American mayor, four decades after images of an angry clash between black protesters and white police played out across the nation's television screens. The Eastern Shore town elected Victoria Jackson-Stanley, deputy director of the Dorchester County Department of Social Services.

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