In Baltimore CitySchool bus crash into house...


In Baltimore City

School bus crash into house causes injuries, traffic snarl

A school bus carrying seven children and two adults hit two utility poles and then slammed into a house in Northeast Baltimore's Lauraville neighborhood yesterday, causing minor injuries and snarling traffic.

City police said the driver, James Fields Jr., lost control of the bus as it headed west over the crest of a hill in the 2300 block of E. Cold Spring Lane, returning children from the Woodbourne Center Day School -- a center for emotionally disturbed middle school pupils -- to their homes.

The bus struck poles on the south and north sides of the street, crossed a lawn and crashed into the corner of the home of 78-year-old James Brown. "I thought a plane had hit the house," he said, surveying the damage.

The children, driver and an aide, Beverly Moore, 50, were all either examined or treated for minor injuries at Johns Hopkins Hospital, police said. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Police seek man, 41, in series of home invasions

A man sought on warrants charging him with four recent home-invasion robberies of elderly people in Northwest Baltimore and nearby Baltimore County apparently has struck again, city police said yesterday in reporting the robbery of an 86-year-old man Monday in his home near the city-county line.

Police said the robber -- fitting the description of Durante Ricco Ervin, 41 -- went to the door of the latest victim in the 6500 block of Edenvale Road near Bonnie View Golf Course about 4 p.m. and asked to use the telephone. When the resident offered to make the call instead, he was pushed to the hallway floor and robbed of more than $100, police said.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Ervin -- whose last known address was in the 2400 block of Shirley Ave. -- is asked to call 911.

Mayor's jury stint ends with decision for defendant

Jury duty for Mayor Martin O'Malley ended without drama yesterday morning, as he and five other jurors quickly decided for the defendant in a personal injury case.

The attorney for Lawrence Charles Chenowith, 50, had asked the jury for $200,000 plus medical expenses for a neck injury and psychological trauma that Chenowith said he suffered from being squeezed in the door of a Maryland Transit Administration bus. The MTA had disputed that the incident ever occurred.

In brief deliberations yesterday morning, the jury unanimously deemed the MTA's story more believable. O'Malley, as the first juror seated, was foreman. One juror reached yesterday, truck driver George M. Rochester, said the mayor didn't let the new title go to his head. "He seemed a decent person," Rochester said. "Now that I met him, I would vote for him."

Former city zoo director loses Boston-area position

Former Baltimore Zoo Director Brian A. Rutledge has lost his job as president of Greater Boston's two zoos -- dismissed, with high praise, by their board of directors to top off a painful round of budget cuts and layoffs last month, the Boston Globe reported.

Board Chairwoman Grace K. Fey said it had only praise for the five-year tenure of Rutledge, who is widely credited with helping Franklin Park Zoo shake off its reputation for mediocrity. Since Rutledge's arrival from Baltimore, where he worked for more than a decade to rid the zoo of its Depression-era cages in favor of naturalistic displays, 22 exhibits were built at Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo in Stoneham.

The Boston-area zoos saw an 80 percent increase in attendance, to about 500,000 patrons annually, since 1986. But on the heels of a $1.5 million state budget cut, board members said they wanted a leader whose passion was for fund raising and other administrative duties rather than the hands-on zoo-building for which Rutledge is known.

In Baltimore County

Womens panel seeking 2002 awards candidates

TOWSON -- Baltimore County Commission for Women is seeking nominations for Woman of the Year and Young Woman of the Year.

Nominations will be accepted through Jan. 15. Forms are available by calling 410-887-3448 and can be found on the county Web site,

The Woman of the Year for 2001 was Shirron L. Scott, head of the county's Delta Community Outreach Center in Randallstown, and the Young Woman of the Year was Valerie G. Cummins, then a student at Eastern Technical High School.

Orientation for volunteers planned at Humane Society

REISTERSTOWN -- The Humane Society of Baltimore County is looking for volunteers to walk dogs, groom cats, feed animals, clean cages and perform other tasks.

An orientation session for prospective volunteers will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Humane Society, 1601 Nicodemus Road.

Information: 410-833-2387.

Theater group organizing for people age 60 and older

DUNDALK -- Baltimore County Department of Aging is organizing a theater group for people age 60 and older.

The group will meet from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays starting Tuesday at Ateaze Senior Center, 7401 Holabird Ave. No fee will be charged.

Information: Debbie Meyer, 410-887-4645.

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