Around The Region

AROUND THE REGION

November 14, 2008

Mobile dentist's office to serve poor children

Nearly two years ago, a Prince George's County boy died when an untreated tooth infection spread to his brain. Yesterday, state officials announced the creation of the Deamonte Driver Dental Project, named for the 12-year-old whose death put a spotlight on the lack of access to dental care for Maryland's poor children.

The heart of the program will be a mobile dentist's office, a van equipped to provide services to children at nine low-income schools, primarily in Prince George's County. Diagnostic, preventive and other services will be provided to uninsured and Medicaid-eligible children on the van, and local dentists will provide additional services when needed.

"Through this project, we'll be able to reach out to kids just like Deamonte, ensuring that they will not be turned away from routine but potentially life-saving care," Gov. Martin O'Malley said in a statement.

O'Malley put $14 million in the state budget (half of it federal money) to raise reimbursement rates for dentists treating Medicaid children, an inducement to get dentists to treat poor youngsters. An additional $2 million has been set aside to expand dental services in underserved areas of the state, such as the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland, and to create the mobile dental unit.

Stephanie Desmon

Steele announces plans to run for RNC chairman

Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele is running to be the next chairman of the Republican National Committee. After the GOP's sweeping losses in last week's elections, Steele said the party in recent years has failed to live up to its principles. "The Republican Party must present a vision for the future of America that relies on our conservative values and core principles," he said in announcing his candidacy yesterday in Miami, where the Republican Governors Association is meeting. "It is wrong to believe the voters have suddenly become liberal. They have just lost any sense of confidence that the Republican Party holds the answers to their problems." Several Republicans are publicly or privately expressing interest in the job, which is held now by Mike Duncan. Others are said to be considering competing for the post or are being drafted by RNC faithful to campaign for the chairmanship. Among them are state party chairmen, including Katon Dawson in South Carolina, Saul Anuzis in Michigan and Jim Greer in Florida; former officeholders such as Rep. Jim Nussle of Iowa and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia; and party operatives, including Chip Saltsman, who was campaign manager for Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign.

Associated Press

Fifth person is robbed in vicinity of Arundel Mills

A woman was robbed in a parking lot near Arundel Mills mall Wednesday night, the fifth person to be attacked in the retail area in as many weeks, Anne Arundel County police said. The 28-year-old woman was walking across a parking lot about 7 p.m. when a man demanded her purse, police said. The woman hesitated and the man reached into the waistband of his pants and brandished what appeared to be a handgun, police said. The woman gave the man her purse, and he ran to a waiting white Honda Civic that headed toward Arundel Mills Boulevard, police said. Police declined to say where the robbery took place, but Wendy Ellis, the mall's marketing director, said the robbery occurred in the parking lot of the Arundel Marketplace, a shopping center across from the mall that is owned by the same company. The recent spate of attacks is "unusual" for the mall area, said Ellis, who declined to say whether the mall had increased security patrols. "I can tell you that day in and day out, we have a comprehensive security program," she said. Police said that there is no indication that the robbery is connected to three recent attacks involving four victims in the mall lot.

Julie Scharper

City man shot by police gets 45-year sentence

A 27-year-old man shot by police in Northwest Baltimore last year after pointing a stolen handgun at an officer received a 45-year prison sentence on drug and handgun charges yesterday, prosecutors said. According to court records, Anthony Royster of the 2400 block of Loyola Northway was among a group of people standing in the 3400 block of Reisterstown Road on Sept. 12 when police approached for possible curfew violations. Royster began running. Police said he pointed a handgun, later determined to be stolen, at Sgt. Gordon Schluderberg, who fired one shot, striking Royster in the lower back. Schluderberg was not injured.

Justin Fenton

Halethorpe man pleads guilty to car arson

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