Around The Region

November 18, 2009

1 man killed, another injured in Catonsville store robbery

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The owner of a convenience store in the center of Catonsville's business center was seriously wounded and another man, either a customer or a store employee, was killed Tuesday night during what Baltimore County police say was a robbery or an attempted robbery. The victims' identities were withheld, pending notification of family members, and no arrest had yet been made, said a police spokesman. Police said the store's owner was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center and that his condition was not available. Baltimore County police spokesman Cpl. Mike Hill said the owner was only able to give police a vague description of his assailant and what happened. Hill said police were viewing footage from surveillance cameras inside and outside the store, at 730 Frederick Road, to help identify the shooter.

- Richard Irwin

Homeless center worker charged in stabbing

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An employee at a Southeast Baltimore resource center for the homeless has been arrested and charged with stabbing a man who threatened him in a dispute over a bag of soap and toothpaste, according to court records. William Bryant, 55, of the 500 block of Dolphin St. has been charged with attempted second-degree murder in the Monday incident and was ordered held without bail. Court records show police were called to the Beans & Bread center in the 400 block of S. Bond St. about 12:45 p.m. According to charging documents, the victim, Donald Barnes, threatened to kill Bryant after they got into an argument over toiletries, then Bryant followed him outside and stabbed him in the lower back with a knife.

- Justin Fenton

City Council OKs bill on pregnancy center disclaimers

The Baltimore City Council approved a measure Monday night that would require crisis pregnancy centers that do not provide referrals to abortion or birth control to post a disclaimer. The bill, which is opposed by anti-abortion groups, would affect four city centers that offer counseling, prenatal care and baby clothes to pregnant women. An amendment that would have forced abortion clinics to also post disclaimers was not approved. The measure is slated for a final vote before being submitted to the mayor.

- Julie Scharper

Police union, City Hall prepare for arbitration on budget cuts

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The police union and City Hall are preparing for arbitration after attempts to reach an agreement to trim $5.1 million from the police budget failed. "Despite our best efforts, we have not been able to reach a consensus," said Scott Peterson, a spokesman for Mayor Sheila Dixon. The Fraternal Order of Police submitted a final offer this week, which city officials say does not meet the targeted cuts. But union President Robert Cherry disagreed, saying, "We've given them a number of offers that would not only meet the $5.1 million goal but exceed it." Both parties are planning to select a mediation board and begin a fact-finding process. The city must make $60 million in midyear cuts from its $2.3 billion budget because of state cuts and lower-than-anticipated tax revenue. The Fraternal Order of Police is the only city union with a contract that prohibits furlough days.

- Julie Scharper

Hutchinson to stay as CEO, president of Maryland Zoo

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Former Baltimore County Executive Donald P. Hutchinson has agreed to stay on as president and CEO of the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, dropping the "interim" designation he has held since being hired in 2007. Hutchinson, 63, took the post with a 15-month mandate to straighten out the zoo's finances and help find his permanent replacement. "We are so pleased that he is having so much fun running the zoo that both he and the board have decided to extend his tenure," said zoo Chairman Eric Orlinsky. Hutchinson, a former state delegate, senator and Greater Baltimore Committee president, said he is "looking forward to continuing my work here." Since he took the reins, the zoo has renovated and improved exhibits, water quality and fire safety, and is "in the black for the second year in a row," he said. But it remains "a $16.5 million operation working under an $11.5 million budget. We will continue to struggle with our financial operations until we reach that milestone and move forward."

- Frank D. Roylance

US. names 10 Md. counties agricultural disaster areas

Federal officials have named 10 Maryland counties agricultural disaster areas because of grain crop losses due to a fungal infestation blamed on last spring's heavy rains. State Agriculture Secretary Earl F. "Buddy" Hance said wheat and barley losses ranged from 30 percent to 55 percent. Farmers in the 10 designated primary counties, and in adjacent counties, are eligible to apply for assistance from the U.S. Farm Service Agency. The primary counties include Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Harford, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Queen Anne's, Talbot and Washington. Infestation by Fusarium head blight produces a toxic chemical called vomitoxin that makes the grain impossible to market or to use as feed. Central Maryland saw more than nine inches of surplus rain in April, May and June.

- Frank D. Roylance

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