In Baltimore CityBrother found guilty of murder...


In Baltimore City

Brother found guilty of murder in three killings

Two Baltimore brothers have been convicted of murdering three Park Heights residents after a fight about a girlfriend of one of the defendants, city prosecutors said yesterday.

Donnell and Tony Ratchford, both of the 3500 block of Derby Manor Drive, were found guilty in the stabbing deaths in the 4600 block of Park Heights Ave., according to the office of Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy. Their first trial ended with a hung jury in May last year.

Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 27, the third anniversary of the killings. Donnell Ratchford, 39, was convicted yesterday of three counts of second-degree murder. A jury convicted Tony Ratchford, 37, of three counts of first-degree murder June 1. Both face life in prison. Killed were Ophelia Henson, 50; Craig Culley, 38; and Willie Howard, 31.

Board of Estimates OKs plan for Stewart's building

The Board of Estimates approved yesterday a deal allowing the city to buy the old Stewart's department store and two adjoining buildings on West Lexington Street for $1.5 million and resell them to developers for $1.

The adjoining buildings will be demolished to make way for a project whose developers include the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

Plans are to turn the Stewart's building at 226-232 W. Lexington St. into a $15.9 million high-tech office center.

Man, 30, fatally shot on west-side street

A 30-year-old man was shot and killed yesterday morning on a West Baltimore street in what police described as an apparent drug dispute.

Cory Fluitt, of the 2900 block of Windsor Ave., was shot at least once in the head about 10 a.m. in the 2800 block of Westwood Ave., one block south of West North Avenue.

Police said Fluitt was pronounced dead at 11:42 a.m. at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. No arrests had been made yesterday.

Farmers' Market open weekly - rain or shine

Food vendors, farmers, artisans and community organizations are invited to join the weekly Farmers' Market held downtown between 8 a.m. and noon every Sunday through late December.

The market is held - rain or shine - beneath the Jones Falls Expressway at Holliday and Saratoga Streets a few blocks from City Hall.

For information on how to participate, call the Baltimore Office of Promotion at 410-752-8632.

In Baltimore County

Sheppard-Pratt raising pay to recruit nurses

TOWSON - To battle a critical nursing shortage in the state, Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital officials said yesterday they will spend more than $330,000 this year on raises for the nursing staff - an average of 9 percent more for each employee.

Other plans to retain and recruit more nurses included giving mental health workers a cost of living increase, scholarships for senior nursing students at Towson University or Catonsville Community College and restructuring the per diem pool.

The raises mean that nurses at the top of the scale making $23.60 an hour will now make $26.05. Base pay for new graduates will be about $35,000 and nurses at top scale will make about $54,000 a year, not including weekend or night shift differential pay. The raises will take effect July 2.

Construction to begin in July on traffic project

STEVENSON - Baltimore County will spend $694,500 to reduce traffic congestion at Greenspring Avenue and Old Court Road.

County funds will be used to widen Greenspring from Old Court south to the five-lane section at Valley Park Drive. The money will supplement $538,000 in state funds for improving signals at the Greenspring-Old Court intersection and the nearby Beltway Exit 22 ramp, said Democratic County Councilman Kevin B. Kamenetz, who represents the Pikesville and Randallstown areas.

Construction is expected to begin next month, with completion within 14 months.

Goucher arts institute scheduled for July 9-21

TOWSON - Goucher College will sponsor its annual arts institute July 9-21 for children and young adults to improve their skills in the arts.

This year's institute will feature professional and student performances in theater, dance and music.

Information: 410-337-6390.

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