City / County Digest

CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

July 23, 2008

Court adopts new rules on foreclosure

The Maryland Court of Appeals adopted new foreclosure rules yesterday to conform to 2008 legislation that gives delinquent homeowners more notification and more time before their homes are sold.

The court expedited the rulemaking process after the General Assembly passed emergency legislation that requires a lender to make a genuine effort to notify homeowners who are in arrears that their houses might be sold.

Under the new law and court rules, lenders must provide homeowners with 45 days' written notice by certified or first-class mail, and they may not foreclose until 90 days after a default.

Judge Alan M. Wilner, chairman of the court's Rules Committee, said a panel is considering other changes in the state's foreclosure procedures, and will report back to the high court in December.

"We're doing a much broader look at all these foreclosure rules," said Wilner.

Sumathi Reddy

Maryland

Environment

Group gives O'Malley good ecology grade

The Maryland League of Conservation Voters, a watchdog group that grades Maryland officials on their environmental records, gave Gov. Martin O'Malley the highest grade the organization has ever given to a governor: an A-minus.

The group, which endorsed O'Malley during his 2006 campaign, praised the Democratic governor for supporting legislation last year aimed at reducing emissions from cars and trucks and for pushing through a package of energy bills this year that sets conservation goals and increases reliance on renewable energy.

O'Malley drew low marks for backing the Intercounty Connector between Rockville and Laurel, an 18-mile highway project that environmentalists oppose. The Maryland League has been grading governors every two years since 1997.

Several other environmental groups - including the Audubon Naturalist Society, the Coalition for Smarter Growth, Community Research and the Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club - accused the league of "grade inflation," saying in a statement that O'Malley's support for the ICC undermines his other environmental efforts.

Also yesterday, the Natural Resources Defense Council released a report ranking state responses to oil dependency based on their actions to encourage fuel-efficient vehicles and cleaner fuels, and to promote smart growth and public transit. Maryland was among the top 10 states in the ranking.

Laura Smitherman

Health care

Order establishes drug, alcohol council

Gov. Martin O'Malley signed an executive order yesterday establishing the Maryland Drug and Alcohol Council in an effort to improve the organization and delivery of abuse-prevention and treatment services.

Under the order, the council is charged with facilitating coordination between state and local agencies and care providers, and with creating an overall plan for services while surveying federal and state resources used to fund them. The council also has been asked to work closely with the courts and correctional system.

The council is made up of state Cabinet members, lawmakers, representatives from the judiciary and the governor's appointees, including Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein.

Laura Smitherman

Anne Arundel

Pasadena

Missing woman is found dead

The body of a missing 57-year-old woman was found yesterday in a wooded area near her Pasadena home, but Anne Arundel County police said there was no sign of foul play.

Kathy Kovacsi, who was diagnosed about two years ago with Alzheimer's disease, was found dead about 8 a.m. by a police search team in a "thick and overgrown wooded area" about 0.15 miles from her house, said Sgt. John Gilmer, a police spokesman. Her body was taken to the office of the medical examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy.

Kovacsi was last seen about 1 a.m. July 16 as she slept in her home in the 7600 block of Solley Road, where she lived with her husband and two adult children, relatives said.

Her husband awoke about 6 a.m. and found her missing and a side door ajar. He contacted police, who used dogs to trace her scent to a park at Solley Road and Fort Smallwood Road.

"I kind of expected this, due to the recent weather, due to pretty much my mother's mental state," her son, Thomas Kovacsi, 27, said in a brief interview yesterday.

Nicole Fuller

Baltimore

West Pratt Street

Woman found slain in store is identified

An assistant manager of a Family Dollar store in the 1200 block of W. Pratt St. whose body was found in the shop Monday has been has been identified as Elizabeth Mary Queensbury, 51, of the 1700 block of N. Carey St. in West Baltimore, police said.

An autopsy showed that Queensbury died as a result of stab wounds.

No arrest has been made. Police were viewing store surveillance tapes.

Police said there was no indication of forced entry and speculated that the woman's killer may have followed her into work.

Metro Crime Stoppers, 410-276-8888, is offering a reward for information leading to an arrest and an indictment

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