Preliminary tests on a city property off...


Preliminary tests on a city property off Potee Street in Brooklyn have detected the presence of methane in the ground. That finding appears to doom prospects for a new district courthouse in the south city neighborhood's beleaguered commercial area, state officials said.

Construction of the courthouse, 15 years in the planning, was supposed to start this summer on a state-owned piece of land on Potee, just south of the Patapsco Avenue intersection. After tests there found methane, state officials shifted their hopes to the adjacent, city-owned lot.

But if the test results are confirmed, state Sen. George Della, who represents the area, said the courthouse probably will be built at a site near Harbor Medical Center, well outside the business area.

Fire forces elderly couple from Forest Park home

An elderly couple were forced to flee their Forest Park home last night when a fire of unknown origin extensively damaged the second floor of the dwelling, said a Fire Department spokesman.

Battalion Chief Raymond O. Devilbiss Jr. said the couple -- a 78-year-old man recovering from a stroke and a 73-year-old woman who has muscular dystrophy -- were not injured in the fire in the 3400 block of W. Forest Park Ave. Devilbiss said the couple were being cared for by neighbors.

He said the fire apparently began about 9 p.m. in a second-floor front room of the large, two-story frame and shingle house.

Recreation and Parks to keep four pools open through Aug.

Four municipal swimming pools will remain open until Aug. 30, the Department of Recreation and Parks said yesterday. All other city pools will close Sunday.

The four are: Druid Hill Park at 800 Wyman Park Drive; Roosevelt Park at 3500 Poole St.; Patterson Park at 148 S. Linwood Ave.; and the Callowhill Indoor Pool at 2821 Oakley Ave.

They operate from noon until 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, except for the Callowhill Indoor Pool, which is open from noon until 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Sunday hours are 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

CATONSVILLE -- Baltimore County's newest school, Westchester Elementary, will open with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday at 2 p.m.

The Westchester staff will welcome students, parents and other guests, including Gov. Parris N. Glendening and Baltimore County Council Chairman Stephen G. Sam Moxley. The school will hold a community open house that evening beginning at 6 p.m.

The school -- which has a capacity of 525 -- is located at 2300 Old Frederick Road and will open for students on the first day of classes, Aug. 26.

Polls shows support for tobacco tax increase

A poll commissioned by the Maryland Children's Initiative as part of its campaign to get Maryland lawmakers to raise cigarette taxes by $1.50 a pack shows that 62 percent of Baltimore County voters and 66 percent of Baltimore City's favor the idea.

Vincent DeMarco, executive director of the group, unveiled those findings at a news conference yesterday at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center. The poll, done by the Washington firm of Penn, Schoen and Berland, included 280 likely general election voters in the county and 142 in the city, queried during the week of June 8-16.

DeMarco argued that political candidates could benefit at the polls by favoring the tax increase, which some believe will keep some children from starting the habit.

Turn signals to be installed at Owings Mills intersection


OWINGS MILLS -- County officials announced yesterday they will install peak-hour left-turn signals on Owings Mills Boulevard at Gwynnbrook Avenue to try to relieve traffic congestion.

Environmental issues prevent widening the road in that area. The signals will be installed by mid-September, County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger and County Councilman T. Bryan McIntire announced.

The left-turn signals will operate southbound during the morning rush hours and northbound during the evening rush hours.

Pub Date: 8/12/98

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