August 31, 2008

Marylanders to help out with hurricane response


Members of the Maryland Army National Guard and Baltimore firefighters were part of a team that departed yesterday for Louisiana as the Gulf Coast braced for Hurricane Gustav.

At the request of Louisiana officials, Gov. Martin O'Malley sent a crew of eight soldiers and a CH-47 cargo helicopter to help with search-and-rescue missions, movement of evacuees and supplies, and sandbagging of levee breaches, according to Lt. Col. Charles Kohler, a spokesman for the Air Guard.

The deployment of the members of the B Company 3-126th General Support Aviation Battalion - who just returned from a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan in late May - could last as long as 15 days.

Mayor Sheila Dixon instructed the city's Office of Emergency Management to provide resources from the Fire Department as part of a "strike team." Units will be used to evacuate buildings and residences, and back up 911 service in the region, said Sterling Clifford, a spokesman for the mayor.

Six Fire Department employees are expected to be deployed for 10 to 14 days. Team members were expected to arrive by late last night in Alexandria, La., Clifford said.

"After Isabel here in Baltimore, and Katrina and Rita along the Gulf Coast, we know that cities and counties have to count on each other," Mayor Dixon said in a written statement.

James Drew and Nicole Fuller

Harford receives grant to improve stream quality


Harford County has been awarded a matching grant from the Maryland Department of the Environment's Small Creeks and Estuaries Restoration Program to help protect the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The $215,000 grant is part of a state and local government partnership aimed at improving water quality throughout the state. The joint project targets 2,000 linear feet of eroded stream channel at Plumtree Run and Tollgate Road. The restoration work will stabilize the channel through several techniques, including controlling invasive species and replacing and enhancing vegetative cover. The goal is to improve the quality of the water and aquatic habitat and to reduce sediment, nutrients and bacteria in Plumtree Run.

Baltimore County road closure is announced


The State Highway Administration has announced road maintenance projects that will affect traffic in two parts of Baltimore County. Work has begun to resurface Alternate U.S. 1 between Southwestern Boulevard and the Interstate 695 bridge in Arbutus. The project is expected to continue until late September with temporary lane closures, flagging operations and traffic-pattern shifts between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. Sunday to Thursday. Starting about Sept. 8, the ramp from the outer loop of westbound Interstate 695 to southbound Route 147 (Harford Road) will be resurfaced. Motorists should expect temporary ramp closures and detours from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday to Thursday until work is completed about Sept. 17, weather permitting. Information: 410-321-2760.

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