The Board of Estimates voted yesterday to...


The Board of Estimates voted yesterday to increase the minimum wage to $7.70 an hour for service workers under municipal contracts, beginning July 1.

Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, the church-based community organization known as BUILD, calculates that it takes $7.70 an hour to support a family of four above the poverty line. The group has been pushing city leaders to raise wages for service workers, who traditionally hold low-paying jobs.

In 1994, the city passed a law requiring contractors doing business with the city to pay service workers more than the federal minimum wage, now $5.10 an hour. Last year, the board approved a 50-cent increase to $7.10 an hour that took effect in July.

15 are left homeless after two dwelling fires

Two separate dwelling fires caused extensive damage and left 15 people homeless yesterday, a Fire Department spokesman said. No injuries were reported.

Battalion Chief Hector L. Torres, the spokesman, said a fire about 9 a.m. in the 1700 block of Carswell St. on the east side was started by a faulty oil heater in a second-floor room and left a 37-year-old woman and six children under the age of 14 homeless.

Torres said a fire of unknown origin broke out about 11: 26 a.m. in a residence in the 1400 block of Madison Ave. on the west side, leaving eight people homeless.

Northwest woman found fatally shot on street

A 20-year-old woman was found shot to death late Tuesday on a Northwest Baltimore street, and witnesses told police they heard several shots and saw a car speed from the scene.

Latoya Michelle Jones of the 3100 block of Virginia Ave. was shot several times in the 4600 block of Gwynn Oak Ave. and was pronounced dead at the scene about 11: 40 p.m., police said.

Police said yesterday that detectives had no suspects and knew of no motive in the case. The witnesses could not provide detectives with a description of the car.

PARKVILLE -- Greater Parkville Community Council will discuss legislative issues at 7: 30 p.m. today at Harford Hills Elementary School, 8902 Old Harford Road.

"We're identifying concerns of the community to keep this a desirable place to live," said council President Ernie Baisden.

Baltimore County Dels. Katherine Klausmeier, a Democrat, and James F. Ports Jr., a Republican, and other elected officials are expected to attend.

Bogus traveler's checks spur warning to merchants


TOWSON -- At least 30 counterfeit Citicorp Visa traveler's checks worth $100 each have been used in stores in northwestern and northern Baltimore County since mid-October, police said yesterday.

Police are warning merchants to inspect each Citicorp traveler's check presented and not to accept those with a serial number that includes 1877020. The suspect is described as a woman in her 30s who uses the aliases Dana Price, Torey Wells and Toney Wells.

For information, merchants may call 800-645-6556.

30 Fire Department recruits will graduate this evening


LOCH RAVEN -- The first class of new Baltimore County Fire Department recruits in a year is to graduate from training at 7 p.m. today at Loch Raven High School, 1212 Cowpens Ave.

The class of 30 recruits will be emergency medical technicians. New department Chief John F. O'Neill, due a formal swearing-in Monday, will preside.

Pub Date: 12/11/97

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