Baltimore should be cured of its occasional wintertime bouts of unhealthy air under new automobile pollution limits proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, says an EPA official.
The EPA yesterday proposed new rules it said should reduce harmful carbon monoxide emissions from cars and light trucks by up to 29 percent in cold weather.
In Baltimore, with its relatively mild winters, the pollution gains would be about half that, according to John German, an EPA official.
But even so, German said that "chances are extremely good" that in the next few years, carbon monoxide in the city would no longer reach unhealthy levels, as it does now at least once or twice every winter in the downtown business district.
Carbon monoxide, which is emitted from auto tailpipes and industrial smokestacks, reduces the amount of oxygen pumped through the bloodstream to muscles and organs in the body. Cigarette smokers and people with heart disease are especially vulnerable to elevated levels of the gas, according to health officials.
The EPA now limits carbon monoxide emissions from cars during warmer weather, from 68 degrees to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. But the agency plans to set new limits on carbon monoxide releases when motor vehicles start up and run at temperatures as low as 20 degrees.
The regulation is needed because many of the 41 cities with carbon monoxide problems experience them during winter, when weather conditions hold pollutants close to the ground. In downtown Baltimore, carbon monoxide levels have exceeded EPA health standards once or twice each winter, when temperatures average about 50 degrees, according to EPA data.
Wilner to head appeals court
Alan M. Wilner will take over as chief judge of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals when the current chief judge, Richard P. Gilbert, retires Nov. 1.
Wilner was designated for the position yesterday by Gov. William Donald Schaefer.
He has been a judge of the state's second highest court since 1977. Before that, he was chief legislative officer for former Gov. Marvin Mandel.
Schaefer also yesterday appointed 19 members to the Governor's Prescription Drug Commission and chose Robert M. Goldman, a Baltimore lawyer, as chairman.
The commission was created to advise state officials on ways to reduce abuse of prescription drugs.
One of the duties of the commission will be to help develop a program for Mid-Atlantic states to collect information on prescribing and dispensing prescription drugs.
Trooper dies in crash:
A Delaware state trooper was killed last night near the Maryland-Delaware line when his patrol car crashed into a tractor-trailer and burst into flames, Maryland State Police reported. The trooper was trapped inside the car.
State Police said Trooper Gerard T. Dowd, 28, assigned to Troop No. 5 in Sussex County, Del., was traveling eastbound on Md. 54 responding to a call shortly after 10 p.m. when his 1988 Chevrolet Caprice patrol car collided with a southbound tractor-trailer on Del. 26 where it turns into Md. 353 near Frankford in southern Delaware.
The patrol car slid under the trailer portion of the truck and burst into flames, trapping Dowd.
John D. Wilkerson Jr., 28, of Snow Hill, the tractor-trailer driver, was not injured. He was hauling seafood.
Police said Dowd's emergency lights were flashing at the time of the collision. The cause of the accident remains under investigation.
ACLU to defend singer-writer
The American Civil Liberties Union says the Anne Arundel County school district's blanket ban on the works of an unorthodox children's singer is unconstitutional, and it has decided to step into the fray.
Barry Louis Polisar, 35, a Silver Spring resident, writes songs and books that chronicle the ups and downs of a child's life in the idiom of children. He has produced such songs as "I Got a Teacher, She's So Mean" and "Don't Put Your Finger Up Your Nose."
The Anne Arundel school district's music review committee, meeting twice during the 1989-90 school year, banned all of Polisar's works because they had the potential to encourage bad behavior in children, according to music coordinator and committee moderator Bruce Horner.
"We think that basically his First Amendment rights are being denied as well as those of the people who would want to use his materials in the schools," Stuart Comstock-Gay, the ACLU executive director, said yesterday.
The ACLU will assist Polisar to appeal within the school system and will go to court if necessary, Comstock-Gay said. The decision also violated the rights of parents, children and teachers who want to use Polisar's works, Comstock-Gay said.
He said that the school district's complete prohibition of Polisar's works, many of which are not controversial, is too sweeping.
Polisar said he has mixed feelings about pursuing an appeal because it may just draw attention to the limited number of songs that some people consider controversial.
2 bars cited for serving minor
A 19-year-old Baltimore County police cadet had no trouble getting served beer in two east county bars last April 12, despite carrying no identification.
Because of the offenses, the bars' licensees were told their licenses would be suspended for two days, but the county Liquor Board then held the punishments in abeyance since it was a first offense for both establishments.
The cadet, who will be 20 in October, was accompanied by two police vice detectives to the Mariner Bar in the 1800 block of Turkey Point Road, and the Polka Inn in the 9000 block of Pulaski Highway.
Reports by the detectives on the two visits said that at the Mariner the cadet was served "four-in-a-bucket" -- four beers, cups and ice in a bucket -- by a barmaid who did not ask for any identification.
A barmaid at the Polka also served the cadet a beer without asking for any identification, according to the detectives.
Neighbors rally for sick woman
Mount Airy residents are rallying to raise $185,000 to save the life of a neighbor stricken with leukemia.
Susan Hornick, 33, a mother of two, learned early last year that she had acute myelocytic leukemia. Since then her family has run up $200,000 in medical bills at Johns Hopkins Hospital without bringing the disease under control.
Now, Hornick has been told her only hope is a bone marrow transplant. But because her cancer is not in remission, the only hospital found willing to treat her is the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle. And the hospital wants $185,000 -- in advance.
Because her insurance coverage has been exhausted, the Calvary United Methodist Church has launched a drive in the community to raise the money for Hornick, and about $8,000 has been raised so far, a spokesman said yesterday.
The Mount Airy Rotary Club also is accepting donations, and sponsoring a $20-a-plate dinner auction Sept. 30. Contributions may be sent to the Susan Hornick Fund, c/o Postmaster, Mount Airy 21771.
If the transplant does not take place, donors who request it in advance can have their contributions returned. Otherwise, all donations will be used for Hornick's outstanding medical bills.
Balto. Co. eyes evacuation plan
The Army's plan to burn chemical weapons at Aberdeen Proving Ground is about six years away from any action, but Baltimore County officials already are saying they need equipment to plan for the evacuation of residents should anything go wrong when burning begins at the Harford County post.
The Army is scheduled to begin incinerating mustard agent at the proving ground in a yearlong operation to start in August 1996.
Part of Baltimore County's eastern boundary along the Gunpowder River is within a mile of the burn site at the Edgewood Arsenal section of the post.
John Thompson, Baltimore County's deputy director for civil defense, this week asked for County Council approval to use $15,000 in federal funds to buy a camera needed to enlarge maps. Such maps would be useful in planning evacuation routes, he said.
"We don't really expect anything to go wrong," Thompson said. "But if there is a problem, we want to be prepared."
The request is expected to be voted on Sept. 17. If it is approved, Thompson said, he will meet with Harford County officials for more information to accomplish the planning.
Pilots to hold 2-day seminar
The Howard County Pilots Association is sponsoring a two-day seminar for aircraft owners, pilots and student pilots to promote awareness of new air traffic control systems and safe flying.
Fred Gray, the association's president, said the seminar is designed to show how new surveillance radar at Baltimore-Washington International Airport will increase air safety at outlying airports. He said the sessions could benefit student pilots and Howard County's approximately 800 registered pilots.
The first part of the event is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Miller branch of the Howard County Public Library. Speakers from the BWI air traffic control tower will discuss the radar and show a short video on air traffic control.
On Sept. 21, the seminar will shift to the BWI radar and tower facilities, where participants will watch controllers in action.
There is no charge for the seminar, but registration is required. For more information, call Gray at 792-4545.