Bear hunt on in Patapsco parkMaryland wildlife...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Bear hunt on in Patapsco park

Maryland wildlife officials were searching for a young, wayward black bear today in the Patapsco Valley State Park area in western Baltimore County.

The bear, thought to have strayed from its normal haunts in Pennsylvania or Western Maryland, was last spotted early today, said Carol Anders, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Natural Resources. Officials were trying to capture it and move it to Western Maryland, where as many as 200 black bears are thought to live. DNR officials believe the male bear weighs 75 to 100 pounds and is about a year old.

"It probably took a wrong turn somewhere," Ms. Anders said. "We would like to capture it and move it out of the Baltimore area."

Ms. Anders said it has been eight years since a bear was spotted in the metropolitan area. The black bear population in Maryland has been increasing in recent years. The state has had no hunting season since 1954, and neighboring states' bear population is moving into Maryland.

Officials did not want to say precisely where the bear has been sighted. "The bear is not dangerous," Ms. Anders said.

A radar malfunction today at Baltimore-Washington International Airport was causing 10- to 15-minute delays on departures and arrivals, a federal aviation official said.

The primary radar system -- controlled by a computer -- broke down about 7 a.m. and an emergency secondary unit kicked in immediately, said Mike Sarli, manager of air traffic at BWI for the Federal Aviation Administration.

"There were no safety problems," Mr. Sarli said. "The backup radar system is a little slower, so traffic is 10 to 15 minutes slower than normal."

Mr. Sarli said computer experts were looking for the cause of the breakdown.

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An explosion said to be stronger than some bombs dropped during the Persian Gulf War blasted an ammunition bunker at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in White Oak yesterday afternoon.

The blast at the 700-acre center off New Hampshire Avenue north of the Capital Beltway about 1 p.m. reduced the bunker to a crater and blew out dozens of windows in the surrounding suburban area.

No injuries were reported, but the blast near the Prince George's-Montgomery County line touched off several minor brush fires and startled residents as far as eight miles away. The manager of a nearby apartment complex said 70 windows were blown out.

Michael Swisvak, a physicist at the center, described the blast as more powerful than some bombs used during the Persian Gulf War.

Diane Palermo, a center spokeswoman, said the blast destroyed the half-filled, 10-by-15-foot bunker, made of concrete walls 3 feet thick. The bunker was half-buried into a 10-foot hill.

Navy investigators were working today to find a cause of the explosion.

Baltimore City:

A motorcyclist was killed and his passenger seriously injured early today when the vehicle failed to negotiate a curve in Northeast Baltimore, police said.

Traffic Officer Tony Petralia said the driver, Stephen Vincent Laltrelli, 29, of the 6200 block of Carter Ave., was operating a 1988 Harley-Davidson motorcycle eastbound in the 3200 block of Glendale Ave. about 3:30 a.m. when he lost control of the vehicle in a right-hand curve. The motorcycle struck the curb, crashed into a Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. utility pole and caught fire.

The officer said Mr. Laltrelli and his passenger, Victor Joseph Gray, 30, of the 2800 block of Bauernwood Road, were thrown off and Mr. Laltrelli hit a pole. Neither man was wearing a helmet.

The officer said Mr. Gray, who landed on a grassy area, was in serious condition today at Francis Scott Key Medical Center.

Anne Arundel County:

A 23-year-old Arnold man was killed when he lost control of his motorcycle, struck a sign support pole, then hit a guardrail, police reported.

The victim, Robert Bruce Nelson of the 200 block of Raintree Court, attempted to leave Md. 32 eastbound by the ramp to Md. 3 north on his 1990 Honda Saturday but failed to make the turn, police said. He died at North Arundel Hospital about 6 p.m.

Police said excessive speed was the primary cause of the accident.

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The county Health Department will receive a $147,062 grant this year as its share of a $3 million grant the federal Centers for Disease Control awarded to Maryland.

The five-year grant will pay for breast and cervical cancer screenings and diagnostic services for 700 women over age 50 who have no health insurance.

Baltimore County:

Maryland Department of Natural Resources police have been unable to find the body of a Baltimore County man presumed drowned after his unoccupied boat was discovered running in circles near Hart-Miller Island Friday.

Police called off the search yesterday about 8:30 p.m. but resumed today, a spokesman said.

David Layte, 44, of the 900 block of Barron Ave. in Essex, was last seen aboard the boat about 6 p.m., an hour before Natural Resources police received a call about the unattended and circling vessel.

Carroll County:

The Department of Social Services is paying welfare disability benefits to a 39-year-old Baltimore man and prosecuting him at the same time for non-payment of child support.

Since 1980, Calvin Thornton, whose only income is a welfare check, has failed to pay child support to the Westminster woman, who is his former wife and the mother of his 12-year-old child.

Court records show the rights to the child were transferred to the Department of Social Services, which means Mr. Thornton owes the money to the same agency that sends his monthly welfare check.

"It defies common sense for the department to pay him for welfare for his disability and at the same time initiate a criminal procedure against him to collect child-support money," says Carroll County public defender Judson K. Larrimore.

Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. postponed Mr. Thornton's trial indefinitely and allowed him to be freed from the detention center, where he had been since March.

Judge Beck's order calls for Mr. Thornton to be watched by the Drinking Driver Monitoring Program and to be admitted to the Westminster Rescue Mission alcohol rehabilitation program.

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