Around The Region

AROUND THE REGION

December 16, 2009

Baltimore police accept city's final contract offer

Members of the Baltimore police union voted Tuesday night to accept the city's final contract offer. According to Robert F. Cherry, president of the city's Fraternal Order of Police, members turned out in "overwhelming numbers" to accept the contract. The vote followed months of negotiations that produced a deal that would cut $5 million from the police budget and bring long-sought changes in shift schedules. Under the agreement, officers will no longer be forced to work six-day weeks. While they would gain an average of seven days of vacation, five of those days would be unpaid. It would help control the number of officers who could take off on a given day, thus limiting the amount of overtime needed to fill vacant slots. The deal will go into effect Jan. 17 and run through June 30, the end of the budget year. The parties will then have to negotiate another deal.

-From Sun staff and news services

Woman dies in rowhouse fire in Southwest Baltimore

A woman believed to be about 50 years old died Tuesday night at an area hospital after a fire broke out in the bedroom of her rowhouse in the Mill Hill section of Southwest Baltimore, said a city Fire Department spokesman. Her name was withheld pending notification of family members, said Chief Kevin Cartwright, the spokesman. She was the city's 24th fire fatality this year, compared with 19 for the same time last year, Cartwright said. Reported at 7:59 p.m. in the 2500 block of Dulaney St., the fire was confined to a burning mattress in a second-floor bedroom of an end-of-group dwelling and was quickly extinguished. Cartwright said the first three of at least six pieces of apparatus arrived at the scene within three minutes.

- Richard Irwin

TV weatherman Lewis announces he's retiring

After more than three decades of weather forecasting on Baltimore TV, WMAR's Norm Lewis announced his retirement on-air Tuesday during the 5 p.m. newscast. Lewis is the third longtime WMAR broadcaster to leave the station recently. The other two are Mary Beth Marsden and Terry Owens, who left earlier in the month after they took a buyout offer from the station's owner, E.W. Scripps. Lewis' last day is Dec. 22.

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