City/County Digest


In Baltimore City

House OKs moving city primary to March next year

ANNAPOLIS -- A proposal to move Baltimore's next municipal primary to March of next year won approval of the House of Delegates yesterday, clearing its first major hurdle in the General Assembly.

On a vote of 122-5, the legislation passed the House with no debate, despite some city delegates' desire to hold the primary in September of next year to avoid a winter campaign season and the possibility of a lengthy lame-duck administration. The measure awaits approval by the Senate.

City voters decided in 1999 to move Baltimore's general election to coincide with presidential races in the even years opposite state elections. But only the General Assembly has the power to set primaries in the state.

30,000 gallons of sewage overflow into Herring Run

Another sewage spill was discovered Tuesday in the Herring Run stream, this time in a ravine in the Northeast Baltimore neighborhood of Lauraville, Department of Public Works spokesman Kurt L. Kocher said yesterday.

Preliminary estimates are that 30,000 gallons of sewage spilled, Kocher said. Workers temporarily fixed the overflow yesterday, about 24 hours after it was detected, he said.

Richard Hersey, executive director of the Herring Run Watershed Association, an environmental group, said it was a "significant" leak, but not as serious as last month's spill that poured more than 30 million gallons of sewage into the same urban stream.

That spill was farther south than the one found Tuesday, which was behind the 2800 block of Forestview Ave. A major sewer pipe follows Herring Run -- at times submerged in the water, at other spots buried beneath soil -- collecting waste from feeder lines and transporting it to Back River Sewage Treatment Plant.

City man, 41, found guilty of sexual assault in '01 case

A 41-year-old man was convicted yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman who was cleaning his house, the state's attorney's office said.

Tracy Thomas, also known as Malik Shabazz, of the 200 block of W. Mulberry St. was convicted by a jury of second-degree rape. The victim is the godmother of his child, said Assistant State's Attorney Adam C. Rosenberg, who prosecuted the case. On March 6, 2001, Thomas -- who at 220 pounds, was twice the size of the victim -- forced the woman onto a bed and sexually assaulted her, Rosenberg said.

Thomas faces a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison at his hearing May 12 before Judge Evelyn Omega Cannon.

Gunman fatally shoots man, wounds girl sitting in car

A man was fatally shot and a teen-age girl wounded early yesterday while sitting in a car in West Baltimore. Police declined to identify the victims and said the gunman is being sought.

The shooting occurred slightly before 1 a.m. in the 4400 block of Frederick Ave., police said. The victims apparently had arranged a meeting with a man who pulled a handgun and began firing into their car, said Officer Troy Harris.

The victims were found in a Pontiac blocks away in the 200 block of S. Beechfield Ave., where residents had called 911 to report a car that had hit several parked cars. Harris said the man had been shot once in the chest and died at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. The 17-year-old female was shot once in the left arm and is being held as a witness, he said.

In Baltimore County

Panel established to help workers at Sparrows Point

TOWSON -- Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. said yesterday that he has organized a task force to coordinate and speed the delivery of government services to employees of Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s Sparrows Point plant.

"We will do all we can to help workers file for unemployment benefits, find alternate health insurance, qualify for state and federal benefits, find new jobs and identify any additional training they need," Smith said.

Bethlehem Steel has signed an agreement to sell its assets to International Steel Group Inc. of Cleveland. Company officials say the new owners could cut between 1,000 and 3,250 jobs at the Sparrows Point plant.

Police looking for man accused of robbing 2 banks

TOWSON -- Baltimore County police are seeking a 29-year-old man charged in two bank robberies.

Police allege that Jamal Christopher Mitchell, of no fixed address, robbed a First Union Bank branch in the 1500 block of Reisterstown Road in Pikesville on Dec. 3. Mitchell also is accused of trying to rob a Bank of America branch in the 8700 block of Satyr Hill Road in Carney on Dec. 31, and of robbing the same branch Feb. 5. Mitchell is charged with two counts of armed robbery and one count of attempted bank robbery, police said. He is described as African-American, 6 feet tall, 165 pounds with brown hair and eyes. Police said he has a mustache and wears glasses.

Police ask anyone with information about Mitchell, who also has been charged with robbing a First Union Bank branch in Anne Arundel County on Dec. 31, to call 410-307-2020, or Metro Crime Stoppers at 410-276-8888.

Dulaney students to stage 'Les Miserables' three nights

TIMONIUM -- Students at Dulaney High School will present Les Miserables at 7:30 p.m. today, tomorrow and Saturday. Tickets are $11.

In the three-hour show, the role of Jean Valjean will be played by Chris Allison, who has recovered from a broken spine suffered in a 2001 auto accident.

Several siblings and cousins also have roles, including Matt and Andy Oster, Jhana and Phil Kessel and Jessica Giordana and Phil Isett.

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