Two arrested in drug raid
Police raided a house in southwest Baltimore last night and arrested a former female correctional officer and a man on multiple drug charges.
In the 7:15 p.m. raid, police seized nearly $1,300, 118 bags of suspected cocaine valued at nearly $6,000, eight bags of suspected heroin valued at $240, 16 bags of suspected marijuana worth about $200, a .22-caliber handgun and gold jewelry.
Sgt. J.C. Smith, head of the Southwestern District drug enforcement unit, said those arrested were Ursula Watkins, 31, and Davin Kelly, both residents of the raided house in the 3800 block of Colborne Road. They were each charged with narcotics possession and distribution charges and possession of a handgun while involved in an illegal drug enterprise.
Smith said Kelly was held overnight at the Southwestern District lockup pending a bail hearing today before a District Court commissioner. He said Watkins was held at the women's detention center at the Central District pending a bail hearing today.
Following her arrest, Smith said, Watkins told him she formerly worked as a guard at the Maryland House of Correction in Jessup and showed him a photo of herself in uniform.
The arrests came after Officer Delphine Houston kept the house under surveillance for most of September, during which she bought $20 worth of cocaine.
Smith said when the narcotics squad and four uniformed officers entered the house, they found Kelly packaging and sorting cocaine at a dining room table. He said Kelly went for a .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun but was restrained before he could use it.
Downstairs, the raiders found Watkins hiding in a bathroom, Smith said.
Fire reported at Hickey School
Five female residents at the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School were treated at two hospitals for smoke inhalation following a fire last night in one of the school's dormitories, a Baltimore County fire official said.
All were treated and released, officials at the hospitals said.
The names of the residents of the school for juvenile offenders were withheld.
A trash fire in unit 2 was reported at 8:09 p.m., said a Fire Department communications officer. Fire apparatus from the Towson station, four county ambulances and a fire truck from the school responded to the one-alarm fire, which was declared under control at 9:07 p.m.
Three of the teen-agers were treated at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center and two at St. Joseph Hospital. Emergency room supervisors at each hospital said the girls were released before 11 p.m.
The extent of damage to the dormitory was unknown.
A state trooper at the Valley barracks said officials at the school in Cub Hill handled the incident and that no police report was made.
Park zoning vote is delayed
A scheduled vote by the county planning board on new zoning regulations designed to allow the proposed Asia-U.S.A. cultural theme park in Middle River has been delayed at the request of County Executive Dennis F. Rasmussen.
Citing the complexity of the issue and the public concern voiced at a public hearing last week, Rasmussen asked for a study committee to propose amendments to the proposed new rules at the next planning board meeting Oct. 18.
The board agreed and postponed the vote at a meeting yesterday. The committee will include three residents who spoke at the public hearing, three planning board members, the county attorney, zoning commissioner and planning director. Additional public comment is to be allowed at the Oct. 18 meeting before the vote.
Libraries to close Oct. 12
All branches and administrative offices of the county public library will be closed Oct. 12 for the annual staff day. The mobile libraries, Stop 'n Go and Read Rover, also will be closed that day.
False alarms risk citations
Annoyed by the nearly 15,000 false burglary alarms in Howard County annually, county Police Chief Frederick W. Chaney says the department soon will begin enforcing a state law against false alarms.
Chaney announced yesterday that a 45-day grace period beginning Oct. 15 will give county residents time to learn about the new policy.
After Dec. 1, officers will be authorized to issue civil citations to residences and businesses if police respond to more than three false alarms within a 30-day period or more than eight within a 12-month period. Civil violators will be fined $30 for each citation.
The policy exempts alarms activated by severe weather conditions and other causes beyond the control of the property owner and signals tripped within 60 days of a new system's installation.
Anyone deliberately setting off an alarm in a non-emergency or continuing to use a malfunctioning alarm system after being notified by police of its defect could be subject to criminal misdemeanor charges. Criminal violators could be subject to a $500 fine or 90 days in jail or both.
Police spokesman Sgt. Gary L. Gardner said the criminal law is designed, in part, to stop residents from intentionally setting off alarms to determine police response time.
About 98 percent of the burglary and robbery alarms are false, police said.
Injured climber is mending
A rock climber injured in a fall this week at Rocks State Park appears to be recovering better than expected, according to officials.
Jason Eagley, 21, of Reisterstown, fell about 60 feet Monday while climbing at King and Queen Seat, a series of rocky ledges popular with climbers. A spokeswoman at the Shock-Trauma Unit in Baltimore listed Eagley's condition as serious but stable, upgraded from critical.
"His condition is a lot better than I feared when I was with him," said David Cooper, the park's manager, who participated in a rescue effort with park rangers and members of the Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Co.
Cooper said Eagley, whom he called an experienced climber, received a serious back injury that required surgery. He said the climber also injured both heels and bruised a lung.
Four people have died since 1970 after falls from King and Queen Seat, Cooper said. The ledges, as much as 120 feet above the forest floor in some places, attract thousands of climbers.
Cooper said park officials are always trying to ensure the safety of climbers. The park recently doubled its staff of rangers to provide swifter response to accidents.
Cooper said park officials fight a "constant battle" in making sure climbing is as safe as possible while still providing climbing opportunities. "We feel it is a legitimate form of recreation," he said.
Lots of Marylanders will soon have new-found friends.
Officials at the Maryland State Lottery headquarters reported today that players broke the bank Wednesday and last night when popular number combinations hit big.
On Wednesday, the Pick 3 number of 711 -- one of the most frequently played combos -- hit and paid out more than $1.5 million.
The Pick 4 number of 1241 drawn the the same evening paid out more than $1.2 million.
Last night, the Pick 4 number of 0123 paid out another bonanza of more than $1.2 million.
"Back-to-back winners that break the bank are not that uncommon, but the Pick 3 and 4 hitting and then the Pick 4 coming in the next day was pretty unique," said Lottery spokeswoman Elyn Garrett.
Garrett said lines formed early today at the agency's claim office. The claims office will be open on Columbus Day, normally a state holiday, from 9 a. m. until 4 p.m., she said.
New college president
Charles Hathaway Trout, 55, is to be installed tomorrow as the 24th president of Washington College.
The private liberal arts and sciences college is in Chestertown and has an enrollment of 900.
Trout was provost, dean of the faculty and a history professor at Colgate (N.Y.) University. He will take over Washington College as it completes a $41.1 million fund-raising campaign that has allowed the institution to double its endowment and pay for capital improvements.
Trout is a graduate of Amherst College and received his doctorate degree at Columbia University.
He succeeds Douglass Cater, who retired in July.
Man convicted in theft