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BETWEEN THE LINES

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Statue of limitations

He is missing a right arm, four fingers and parts of his knees, but the cement police officer kneeling near the Cherry Hill police station still bears a smile. Maybe he is glad he is not the cement boy whose chest and head lie in the grass, the officer's severed arm still grasping its shoulder.

A month ago, the daughter of a retired Baltimore police officer smashed her Ford Explorer into the cement and wire mesh officer kneeling beside the boy. Cherry Hill residents are upset about what the battered statue implies.

"Their main concern is that it looks bad, ... this image of a child shattered," said Maj. Fred Bealefeld, commander of the Southern District. He urges volunteers to come forward to help fix the piece, but he said the statue isn't high on his to-do list.

"I understand people's passions on this, but I'm going to concentrate on real kids getting hurt," Bealefeld said. "It's a statue, not a child."

- Jessica Valdez

Eyes wide shut

Listening to a police radio for possible news stories about robberies, homicides and fires can be boring, at other times hectic, and even upsetting. But recently a police dispatcher proved it can also be humorous, though perhaps unintended.

A dispatcher told a police unit in the city, "A caller says to check the vacant lot there. The caller says the stash is hidden on the vacant lot, in a large clump of grass, well-hidden - next to the unmarked police car."

The dispatcher neglected to note whether or not the car was occupied.

-Holton F. Brown

Play nice, now

Like many a jock-turned-politician, Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger has always been fond of preaching the value of the team to solve problems and get things accomplished. But before Congress adjourned for the summer, he made clear, for the record, that he believes this so long as by "team" you don't mean the New York Yankees.

Rep. Jose E. Serrano, one of Ruppersberger's colleagues from the Big Apple, tried to introduce a resolution last month honoring the Yankees on the team's 100th anniversary. But when Serrano wasn't looking, Ruppersberger, a lifelong Orioles fan, and Rep. John F. Tierney of Massachusetts, a Red Sox devotee, introduced amendments honoring their favorite teams instead.

"Why we should honor the Baltimore Orioles and not the New York Yankees is simple," Ruppersberger's amendment read. "The Orioles represent the best of what the game of baseball and our country are about."

The amendments died when too few representatives showed up for the markup hearing, but Ruppersberger promises to try again when Congress reconvenes next month.

-Andrew A. Green

How about 'Free Bird'?

Don't be fooled by the bared biceps or the form-fitting black T-shirt. Even when Mayor Martin O'Malley sheds the suit and turns folkish rocker, it seems he is still a politician at heart. Witness his performance a week ago at Artscape.

After a set with his Celtic band, O'Malley's March, hizzoner joined the harmonica rockers of Blues Traveler for a cover of the Steve Miller Band's "The Joker."

O'Malley belted out some of the song's most memorable lines: "You're the cutest thing that I ever did see/ I really love your peaches, wanna shake your tree."

But perhaps mindful that the mayor of Baltimore ought not croon before thousands about smoking cigarettes and marijuana, he pointed the microphone toward the crowd when he got to these lines: "I'm a joker, I'm a smoker, I'm a midnight toker."

-Scott Calvert

Don't sugarcoat it

One recent afternoon at the Krispy Kreme shop in Timonium, the warm, sweet scents of the Original Glazed, Dulce De Leche, and - who could forget? - Chocolate Iced with Sprinkles doughnuts filled the summer air.

A cashier seemed to be in a particularly expansive mood, prompting a visitor to ask about the perks of working amid so much high-caloric temptation. It must be hard to stay away from the merchandise, the visitor said.

"Tell me about it," the cashier said. "I have 40 percent blockage."

- Jonathan D. Rockoff

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