City / County Digest

CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

July 17, 2008

EPA report faults agency's bay efforts

The Environmental Protection Agency needs to do more not only to clean up the Chesapeake Bay but also to let the public know where it is falling short on the effort, according to a report released yesterday.

The report, by the EPA's Office of Inspector General, said the federal agency needs to work with local governments in the bay's six-state watershed to make sure their land-use practices are helping to protect the bay. It calls on the EPA to outline for Congress how much money it is spending on cleanup actions and how much progress it is making.

And it suggests that the scientists at the EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program Office in Annapolis be consulted about new rules coming out of Washington on air pollution, which accounts for nearly a third of the nitrogen flowing into the bay.

Decreasing air pollution, the report noted, will require a variety of efforts, among them encouraging bay-area residents to take public transportation and use low-emission vehicles.

Yesterday's report is one of several released in recent years that has been critical of the EPA's Chesapeake Bay cleanup strategy. A Government Accountability Office report released in 2005 criticized the bay program for painting too rosy a picture of cleanup successes.

Rona Kobell

Baltimore

O'Donnell Heights

Prosecutors drop murder charges

Baltimore prosecutors dropped murder charges yesterday against a 24-year-old city man after attorneys and police could not find their only eyewitness, a spokeswoman for State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy said yesterday.

Lewis K. Lucas of the 6200 block of Elliott St. was accused in the November shooting of Lawrence D. Jones, 17. Prosecutors believe the shooting occurred during an argument over drugs being sold in the 1300 block of Ballard Way in the O'Donnell Heights neighborhood.

In 2004, Lucas pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder and two handgun-related charges. The judge suspended his 20-year sentence but gave him five years in prison on one of the handgun convictions. Lucas was on probation at the time of the Nov. 2 shooting.

Melissa Harris

Philanthropy

Museum of Industry getting $1 million

The Baltimore Museum of Industry is to receive a $1 million donation today from the estate of Alonzo G. Decker Jr., former chief executive of Towson-based Black & Decker, during the museum's annual reception for board and staff members and volunteers, museum officials said yesterday.

The money will support the museum's endowment fund and help reduce debt. Decker gave the museum $1 million before his death in 2002 at 94.

Part of Decker's first donation went to the museum's endowment and to create the Decker Gallery, the largest in the museum, featuring exhibits on Baltimore industry, including BG&E Gas Lighting and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

This past year, his estate donated $4.3 million to Washington College and established the Alonzo G Decker Jr. Society, which works to attract new benefactors.

Jessica Anderson

Education

City pays honor to history teacher

Thomas Acampora, Maryland's 2008 History Teacher of the Year, was recognized yesterday by Mayor Sheila Dixon and Comptroller Joan M. Pratt.

Acampora, 24, who teaches at the Baltimore Talent Development High School in West Baltimore, will represent the state in a nationwide history teacher competition this year.

"Teachers always feel unappreciated," Acampora said at a City Hall ceremony after receiving two proclamations commending his work. "It's amazing to feel appreciated. I really love what I do."

The national competition is organized by Preserve America, a White House program, and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

"There is no more important job on this Earth than cultivating the minds and ideas of young people," said Dixon, a former teacher.

John Fritze

Northwest

Drug program starts clothing, shoes drive

I Can't We Can, a well-known Baltimore drug recovery program, is conducting a clothing and shoe collection drive through the end of the year to serve people recovering from addiction.

Donations of clothing and shoes may be dropped off at the I Can't We Can Thrift Store, 4446 Park Heights Ave. For more information, call 410-728-4491.

Israel Cason, the organization's founder, said addicts often lose everything they own, including clothing. The group's thrift store has offered low-cost clothing and shoes for nearly a decade.

"Drug addicts oftentimes wear the same clothes over and over again while in active addiction, or they don't have the means to keep their clothes clean," Cason said. "We plan to share the quality donations of clothes and shoes we receive here with others in need."

Sun reporter

Baltimore County

Reisterstown

18-year-old charged in rape, assault

An 18-year-old man has been arrested and charged with raping and sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman at gunpoint July 5 in the 200 block of Homevale Court in Reisterstown, Baltimore County police said yesterday.

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