Around The Region

January 29, 2009

State OKs $57 million to purchase 4,400 acres

The state Board of Public Works approved the $57 million purchase yesterday of about 4,400 acres, hailing the acquisition as a rare opportunity to protect an environmentally and historically significant area. The purchase had been questioned in light of budget shortfalls, but the board, which includes Gov. Martin O'Malley, voted unanimously to buy the land in Cecil, Charles and St. Mary's counties from the Roman Catholic Jesuit order. Natural Resources Secretary John R. Griffin compared the decision to go ahead with the purchase with President Abraham Lincoln's decision to protect Yosemite Valley for public use and preservation in the middle of the Civil War. Comptroller Peter Franchot voiced concerns over paying land trusts a percentage of the purchase price for negotiating such deals, saying it could create conflicts. The Conservation Fund, a nonprofit group that worked on this deal, received about $600,000 in fees.

Laura Smitherman

Man found fatally shot in city's Frankford area

City police were investigating a fatal shooting last night on a street in the Frankford community in Northeast Baltimore. Northeastern District police responding to a report of a man shot in the 4900 block of Aberdeen Ave. near Moravia Road shortly before 11 p.m. found the victim. He was pronounced dead at the scene by medics. No arrest had been made, and the victim's name was withheld pending notification of family members. Metro Crime Stoppers, 410-276-8888, is offering a reward of up to $2,000 in the killing, the city's 20th this year.

Richard Irwin

Brother Thomas Zoppo to head Calvert Hall

Brother Thomas Zoppo has been appointed the fourth president of Calvert Hall College High School, the Towson-area school announced this week. Zoppo, 51, has been principal of Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, N.Y., since 2003, and worked as director of curriculum and instruction at De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif., as well as several other New York schools before that, according to the school. On July 1, he will succeed Brother Benedict Oliver, Calvert Hall's president since June 2005, the school said.

Arin Gencer

Bull killed after it knocks down Carroll deputy

A runaway bull was shot and killed yesterday by a state trooper in Carroll County after the animal charged officers. The shooting occurred about 11 a.m. in the 2500 block of Flag Marsh Road in Mount Airy, where officers from several agencies responded to the scene. The bull struck a county sheriff's deputy with its horns, knocking him to the ground, before the trooper shot the animal. None of the officers involved was injured, according to the Maryland State Police. Police said the animal came from the 6400 block of Davis Road in Woodbine, about five miles away. The bull's owner, Robert Whitty, has not been charged, said Sgt. Kevin Stritcher of the state police's Westminster barracks. Whitty removed the carcass with the assistance of county animal control.

John-John Williams IV

Busch appoints panel for emergency services

A leading medevac critic in the Maryland Senate praised yesterday House Speaker Michael E. Busch's appointment this week of a 14-member panel to examine the state's emergency medical services - and bemoaned his own chamber's "jam-it-through attitude." Sen. E.J. Pipkin, an Eastern Shore Republican, is co-sponsoring a bill package to reform and perhaps privatize the state's emergency helicopter transport, which is run by the state police. Maryland's EMS operations have come under increased scrutiny after the fatal crash of a medevac helicopter in September. Busch said the panel will make recommendations that could become legislation. Several state senators have said they plan to introduce related legislation, such as Pipkin and Sen. John Astle's joint proposal to create a Cabinet-level department to oversee emergency services. The House panel will review the structure of the statewide system and its funding. It also will look into the proposed acquisition of new helicopters and the need for eight bases under the Maryland State Police's aviation division.

Laura Smitherman, Gadi Dechter

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