Around The Region

February 03, 2010

Cole withdraws bid for City Council presidency

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City Councilman William H. Cole IV has withdrawn his bid for the council president's seat, saying it is clear his opponent, Councilman Bernard C. "Jack" Young, has sufficient votes to win. Since it was announced that the current president, Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake, would become mayor upon the resignation of Sheila Dixon, Young has emerged as the front-runner, with at least nine of the 14 council members declaring their support. Some council members had complained that a "political machine" of developers and political leaders had tried to persuade them to vote for Cole, a freshman councilman. Cole said he was committed to helping the new mayor and council president succeed.

- Julie Scharper

Road crews try to prepare for morning rush hour

Trying to stay ahead of Tuesday night's snowfall, local and state road crews were out plowing and salting main roadways to prepare for this morning's rush hour. The National Weather Service ar Sterling, Va., predicted between 2 and 4 inches of snow throughout the Baltimore metro area before it tapers off about 7 a.m. Adrienne Barnes, spokeswoman for the city's Department of Transportation, said 125 city vehicles were put into service as the snow began to fall and were plowing or salting main roadways and interstates. She said the city still has $1.2 million in its budget for snow removal and treatment. "We'll be out there all night and this morning," Barnes said. Mariska Jordan, spokeswoman for the State Highway Administration, said statewide there were nearly 1,500 snow removal and salting pieces of equipment pressed into service. She said SHA personnel monitor some 100 statewide cameras, directing equipment as the need arises. Like the city, state crews expected to work into midmorning, she said.

- Richard Irwin

Howard council votes in favor of inflation-tied salary raises

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The next crop of Howard County elected officials would get annual inflation-tied pay raises but no flat salary boosts, according to a series of votes Monday night by the County Council. The final votes were 3-2 on the council pay bill, with Chairwoman Courtney Watson, an Ellicott City Democrat, and Greg Fox, a Fulton Republican, dissenting. Only Fox opposed the executive's pay bill. The votes mean the executive elected in November would maintain the rate of $160,198, and the new council members' pay would remain at $54,300, though all the current officials voluntarily donated recent pay raises, plus five days of additional pay, to charity because of the recession and in solidarity with county employee furloughs. The council chairman would get $1,000 a year more, the current rate. A citizens' Compensation Commission had recommended a $500, one-time pay raise for County Council members and a $2,500 differential for the chairman.

- Larry Carson

Balto. Co. police seek woman in armed robbery of Pizza Hut

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Police in Baltimore County are looking for a 32-year-old woman who they say took part in the September armed robbery of a Pizza Hut restaurant in Pikesville. Chasity Dawn Morales, who has no known address, has been charged with a felony robbery count in connection with the holdup of the fast-food outlet at 1002 Reisterstown Road. A man who police said was with her is already under arrest. Cpl. Michael Hill, a police spokesman, said Morales is a "violent offender" and described her as white, 5 feet, 8 inches tall and about 145 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair. She has several tattoos, most noticeably the word "Doodlebug" on her neck and a unicorn on her left forearm. Morales also uses several aliases as a surname, including Darmi, Walton and Jacobs. A police statement said that at about 5:35 p.m. on Sept. 9, Morales helped her companion rob the restaurant. The man, whose name is being withheld while the investigation continues, held up employees and a customer at gunpoint, police said, and the pair fled with an undisclosed amount of money.

- Nick Madigan

AirTran to offer nonstop flights from BWI to Jacksonville

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AirTran Airways has announced that it will begin nonstop service between Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and Jacksonville, Fla., starting May 4. AirTran will offer daily flights to Jacksonville departing BWI at 10:30 a.m. and 7:55 p.m. Flights bound for BWI will depart Jacksonville at 7:40 a.m. and 3 p.m. Introductory fares will be as low as $74 one-way but must be booked by Feb. 25 for travel through June 9. Last week, AirTran announced new service from BWI to Grand Rapids, Mich.

- Michael Dresser

Officer charged in sex case released on home detention

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