100,000 menhaden die in cove off South River
More than 100,000 menhaden died near Annapolis over the Labor Day weekend in a large fish kill that state officials attributed to low dissolved oxygen in the water - likely aggravated by algae growing in the enclosed cove off South River. The fish kill in an appendage of Aberdeen Creek was reported Monday afternoon, said Kim Lamphier, spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of the Environment. State officials believe the menhaden suffocated after becoming trapped in the cove, using up the dissolved oxygen in the water. Water samples detected algae in the water, including a toxic form. But levels of Karlodinium veneficum were not sufficient to poison the fish, according to Dawn Stoltzfus, another MDE spokeswoman. Oxygen levels typically decline at night in algae-laden waters, she pointed out, and that many fish could deplete the oxygen in such a small cove. Measurements taken yesterday morning found low oxygen levels in the water a day after the kill was reported. "We think they swam in during high tide and weren't smart enough to get out because the tide changed," Lamphier said. Officials expect the sight and smell of the dead fish to be short-lived, she said, because they decompose quickly.
Balto. Co. Council backs idea of 4-day work week
Talk about a groundswell. Even before Kevin Kamenetz, chairman of the Baltimore County Council, had finished describing his resolution advocating a four-day work week for county employees at last night's council meeting, he had added colleague Stephen G. Samuel Moxley's name to it as a co-sponsor. Not to be outdone, another council member, Vincent J. Gardina, piped up. "I thought this was such a good idea that I wanted to put my name on there, as well," he said. A moment later, barely audibly, a third councilman, Kenneth N. Oliver, said something to the effect of "me, too." Then Councilman Joseph Bartenfelder chimed in, at which point Kamenetz asked Council Secretary Thomas J. Peddicord Jr. to "please note that all members" wished to be recorded as backing the measure. And that was before they took a vote. The resolution instructs Mary P. Allen, the county auditor, to conduct a study that would explore the efficacy of condensed work schedules for some 7,000 county employees. Allen was asked to report to the council by Oct. 17. If implemented, fire and police personnel, as well as teachers, would be excluded from the four-day schedule.
Police say train deaths were double suicide
The deaths of a man and a woman who were run over by a CSX train Sunday night in Rosedale were apparently a double suicide, a Baltimore County police spokesman said yesterday. "Detectives are still working the case and looking at other evidence, but it appears the pair intended to kill themselves," said Bill Toohey, the spokesman. Shortly before 10 p.m., the engineer of a southbound, 135-car CSX train saw two people lying between the rails near the Schaeffer Lane crossing and blew the train's emergency whistle, but neither person moved off the tracks, said Sgt. Clark Greene, of the county police. Anyone with information is asked to call county police at 410-307-2020.
Accident kills Arundel man in Northwest Baltimore
City police are investigating a motor-vehicle accident in Northwest Baltimore on Monday night that claimed the life of an Anne Arundel County man. Police said John W. Knight, 39, of the 200 block of Woodland Court in Glen Burnie was driving a Ford Taurus on Patterson Avenue near Vincent Lane about 8 p.m. when he collided with another vehicle. The Taurus then hit a second vehicle, and Knight suffered multiple injuries, police said. Knight was taken by ambulance to Sinai Hospital, where he died about two hours later, police said.
Former delegate to plead guilty in child porn case
Former Maryland state Del. Robert A. McKee plans to plead guilty to one count of possession of child pornography, his lawyer said yesterday. Federal prosecutors announced yesterday that they had charged McKee with possessing computer images documenting the sexual abuse of children. McKee faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison followed by supervised release for life and a $250,000 fine, according to the U.S. attorney's office. No court appearance has been set. McKee, a 59-year-old Hagerstown resident, resigned from the General Assembly in February, and at the same time resigned as executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County. He had been in the legislature, representing Washington County as a Republican, since 1994. Washington County sheriff's deputies searched McKee's home Jan. 31 and seized several computers, videotapes and other printed material. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County board President Elaine Rose said in a statement yesterday that the organization was cooperating with authorities and improving its screening procedures.
Training begins today on expanded DNA tests
Starting today, prosecutors, law enforcement officers and lab directors will be trained to implement an expanded DNA testing law that begins in January. The law, proposed by Gov. Martin O'Malley and passed by the General Assembly after contentious debate, requires that each suspect charged with a violent crime, burglary or attempts to commit those crimes submit a DNA sample for the state's database. Previously, DNA samples were required only after a conviction.
Baltimore Sun reporter