Welcome to town - call a cop

March 22, 2009|By LAURA VOZZELLA

Baltimore State's Attorney Pat Jessamy urged her counterparts from around the country to soak up the city's charms while in town last week for a meeting of the National District Attorneys Association.

Good thing DAs aren't fainthearted conventioneers.

During a lovely waterfront reception at McCormick & Schmick's on Thursday night, Jessamy encouraged the prosecutors to stroll back to their hotels along the Inner Harbor's brick promenade. Some of them took her up on the idea - and came across a body floating in the water.

The night before, Pima County, Ariz., Prosecutor Barbara LaWall had another welcome-to-Charm-City moment.

Her luggage had gotten lost and she needed contact lens solution, so she took a cab around midnight from her downtown hotel to the Harbor East CVS, she told The Baltimore Sun's Melissa Harris.

LaWall arrived the same time as police, who were responding to an armed robbery.

Dog shows gratitude

Another tale of prosecutorial serendipity, this one concerning that teeny dog seen dashing between cars on the JFX.

While crawling past a fender bender on the highway, my colleague Frank Roylance spotted a dog running wildly about and lots of motorists who'd abandoned their vehicles to run wildly after him. But Roylance didn't see how the whole thing ended. In a column Friday, I asked if anyone out there had.

Darren O'Brien, an assistant Baltimore state's attorney, came forward to fill in the blanks.

The dog is a Chihuahua named Copper. He escaped not from one of the fender-bent cars, as Roylance had surmised, but from a home near the highway. And Copper was safely reunited with his owner.

How does O'Brien know all this? He pleads temporary insanity.

"I was the fool/crazy one that ran back down the side of the road running after him," he e-mailed me. "The best part was when others realized what I was doing, after watching me run back and forth from fast lane to slow lane. ... [O]ne by one no less than 15 to 20 people got out of their cars and ran around with me. ... It was a man with gloves (from a work type truck) that finally grabbed Copper. The guy said, 'He bit me' and then just handed the dog to me, as if I was the owner. Then the guy smiled and just got back into his truck. That's when Copper decided to [relieve himself] on me!!!! My moment of Glory!"

The dog didn't have tags. But O'Brien was able to find the owner through the SPCA, which had been on the lookout for him for two days.

Schaefer's new roommate

William Donald Schaefer has a new companion, a cat named Willie IV.

The bachelor ex-mayor, ex-governor and ex-comptroller has had dogs over the years - Willies I, II and III - but this is his first cat, unless you count the stray that used to hang around Schaefer's house when he was mayor.

"The cat's crazy," Schaefer said when I reached him by phone a few days ago at his home at the Charlestown retirement community in Catonsville. "He's a brown-and-white. He's a pretty little thing. He keeps himself absolutely, perfectly clean."

Where'd he get it?

"He just wandered in," Schaefer said. "He said, 'Can I stay here overnight?' I said, 'Yeah, but after that you'll have to pay rent.' So he's paying - a dollar a year."

Willie IV's owner, by the way, is the subject of an hourlong documentary titled Citizen Schaefer. MPT will air it March 30, but VIPs and some Charlestown residents will get a screening tomorrow night at the Charlestown auditorium.

The filmmakers had trouble finding footage of Schaefer taking his famous dip in the seal pool, since stations used to reuse lots of videotape back then, said Mike Golden, a longtime aide who's at MPT these days.

After scouring University of Baltimore archives, they turned up the old WMAR tape. They also found old black-and-white newsreel footage of Schaefer from his City Council days.

Connect the dots

Bumper sticker spotted on an SUV parked one day last week outside the Target at Mondawmin Mall gave a shout-out to two other targets. "SOS. Save Our Sisters SHEILA and HELEN." Authority line: Maryland Minority Contractors Association. Mondawmin was redeveloped with help from minority subcontractor Ron Lipscomb, who figures prominently in the indictments of Mayor Sheila Dixon and City Councilwoman Helen Holton. ... I wrote the other day that a reader had called me a "Yiddish expletive." That piqued the curiosity of another reader, Angela Channing. "Did he call you a shikseh? A kuppe drek? A kurveh or shlooche? I hope he did not call you a shmuck!?" Since this is still a family newspaper, all I can say is it was none of the above.

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