Around The Region

August 06, 2009

Towson Catholic parents agree to drop lawsuit

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The parents of two former students at Towson Catholic High School have agreed to dismiss their lawsuit trying to keep the school open. The parents agreed on Wednesday to dismiss their suit against the Archdiocese of Baltimore and school administrators with prejudice, which means they cannot file it again. Baltimore County Circuit Judge Ruth Ann Jakubowski had been scheduled to hear the archdiocese's motion to dismiss the lawsuit. She denied the parents' request for a temporary restraining order last month to keep the school open. Paul Mecinski, president of the school's alumni association, said the suit was dropped because of July's ruling and a wish not to leave students in limbo so close to the beginning of school.

- Associated Press

UM library evacuated after suspicious package is found

Authorities evacuated the main library at the University of Maryland, College Park on Wednesday to investigate a suspicious package, which turned out to be harmless. Paul Dillon, a spokesman for the university's department of public safety, said McKeldin Library was evacuated about 1 p.m., after the suspicious package was found near its entrance. The library reopened about 4:30 p.m. after the Prince George's County Fire Department investigated. Fire Department spokesman Mark Brady said a bomb squad determined that the package was not an explosive device but a large, heavy balloon weight that appeared to be homemade. He says that about 40 firefighters and bomb technicians were at the scene.

-Associated Press

Senate panel OKs bill letting prisons block phone signals

A Senate committee approved a bill Wednesday allowing prisons to block signals from contraband cell phones, which inmates have used to run drug organizations, arrange escapes and order witness murders - including that of a Baltimore County man. The bill, co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, moves to the full Senate for consideration. "This legislation would provide us the tools to use technology to block illegal inmate cell phone calls from within the walls of our prisons," Gov. Martin O'Malley said in a statement. The bill would alter a 1936 law that forbids tampering with radio signals. Proponents of the legislation say it's the simplest way to end the use of illegal phones in jail. Opponents claim the blockage could interfere with legitimate signals and emergency communications. They point to alternate technologies, such as those that detect the presence of cell phones.

-Tricia Bishop

Sale of $485 million in bonds completed

Maryland officials completed the sale of $485 million of general obligation bonds Wednesday, including $200 million in tax-exempt bonds that officials said garnered a record-setting low interest rate. State officials said the successful sale reflects high demand for top-rated AAA bonds. The state also sold bonds directly to Maryland residents, and so-called Build American Bonds, for which the federal government pays a percentage of the interest. The bonds pay for public school construction as well as capital projects at hospitals and prisons.

- Laura Smitherman

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