In Baltimore City

Witnesses testify in lawsuit filed over closed city meeting

A ruling could be announced this week on a lawsuit that contends the Baltimore City Council violated the state's Open Meetings Act when it held a closed-door meeting Aug. 8 to gain support for its plan to shrink the council's size. The suit was filed by a coalition of community and labor groups that have a rival plan on the November ballot for reshaping the City Council size.

Yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court, Caprece Jackson-Garrett, press secretary for City Council President Shelia Dixon, testified that she wasn't sure whether 10 council members were present at the Aug. 8 luncheon meeting, a claim made by the plaintiffs. Ten members would constitute a quorum, requiring the meeting to be public.

Kimberly Washington, director of legislative affairs for Dixon, testified that she didn't notify the public or the media about the meeting - although she invited each council member - and expected only four members to attend.

Five deputies suspended pending brutality inquiry

Five Baltimore sheriff's deputies have been suspended with pay pending an investigation into possible brutality against a man at Lexington Market, according to Maj. Toby Goodwin, chief of operations for the sheriff's office.

The deputies were suspended Thursday, the day after the incident. Rolando Sanchez, 38, of no known address was hospitalized with neck injuries after allegedly being beaten, according to officials.

A deputy had been chasing a man suspected of robbing an Allfirst Bank Wednesday morning. The deputy called for backup, and a group of officers chased Sanchez, mistaking him for the robbery suspect, officials said.

Man convicted of murder in fatal west-side shooting

A 21-year-old man was convicted of second-degree murder yesterday by a jury in Baltimore Circuit Court in the fatal shooting of a man in West Baltimore last October.

Donte Hayes, 21, of the 1900 block of Edmondson Ave. also was found guilty of use of a handgun in commission of a felony in the killing of Milton Smallwood, 25, of the 2200 block of Tucker Lane. He was shot in the chest and arm as he walked in an alley in the 1900 block of Lauretta Ave.

Hayes will be sentenced on Nov. 12.

Mount Vernon plans are topic of public forum today

Revitalization plans for Baltimore's Mount Vernon neighborhood district will be the subject of a free public forum at noon today at the Johns Hopkins University's Downtown Center, Charles and Fayette streets.

Representatives of the Midtown Community Benefits District, Mount Vernon Cultural District and Historic Charles Street Development Association will discuss their planning efforts and recent accomplishments.

The forum is presented by Baltimore Architecture Foundation, a nonprofit sponsor of programs, tours and publications.

In Baltimore County

Police auction of seized, unclaimed property slated

TOWSON - Baltimore County Police Department will hold its annual auction of unclaimed and seized property Saturday.

The items, ranging from jewelry to tires, may be previewed starting at 9 a.m. Bidding begins at 10 a.m. The "as is" sale will be held on the ground-level circle at the county's public safety building, 700 E. Joppa Road.

Proceeds from the auction will benefit the county's general fund.

Residents can air concerns at daylong summit Friday

ESSEX - The Community Assistance Network Inc. of Baltimore County will hold a citizens summit from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday in the theater at the Community College of Baltimore County Essex campus, 7201 Rossville Blvd.

The summit is an opportunity for residents to discuss concerns before the November general election and offer solutions to problems.

Speakers will include Anirban Basu, director of applied economics for Towson University's RESI research institute, and Dunbar Brooks, a demographer at the Baltimore Metropolitan Council. The registration fee is $15, which includes lunch. Registration: 410-285-4674.

Retired Army colonel receives volunteer award

PIKESVILLE - Erwin A. Burtnick, a retired Army colonel and former assistant city comptroller, has received the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for his volunteer work as longtime commander of the Department of Maryland, Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A.

The Army award is the second for Burtnick, whose 37 years in the service were mainly in the reserves. He received the award in 1994 in recognition of volunteer work to encourage private businesses to support employees in the National Guard and reserves.

Burtnick, a 58-year-old resident of the Pikesville area, was an assistant comptroller for Baltimore for more than 25 years before his job was eliminated in 1992. Contending that he was let go because he is a Jewish man, Burtnick won a judgment of more than $400,000 in a federal discrimination suit against the city - although the case remains under appeal.

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