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2-year-old struck, killed by sitter's van, police say

A 2-year-old Edgewood girl was killed Wednesday when a minivan driven by her baby sitter backed out of a residential parking space and struck her, police said.

The toddler, Kaiya Alexis Bryant, had been overlooked as the baby sitter placed five other children in a minivan in the 2400 block of Beaver Crossing Court about 12:15 p.m., police said.

When the sitter, 25, backed up the minivan, she heard a thump, got out and saw it was the girl, said Edward Hopkins, Harford County sheriff's spokesman.

"She just said she missed the child," Hopkins said.

The girl, who lived in the 400 block of Buxton Court, was taken to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, where she died. The baby sitter, a licensed day care provider, has not been charged. Police are investigating, Hopkins said.

Woman, 26, is accused of abducting toddler

A Havre de Grace woman was arrested Tuesday after police say she took the toddler she was baby-sitting to Aberdeen to buy drugs, leaving two other small children at home alone.

Police later found the girl, Tempest Ariah Akins of Perryman, unharmed in the baby sitter's car, said Edward Hopkins, Harford County sheriff's spokesman. Tina Marie Billings, 26, of the 100 block of Market St., Havre de Grace, was charged with noncustodial child abduction and child endangerment.

She was spotted driving a 1986 Dodge Aries in Aberdeen about 10 p.m., almost two hours after the baby's father, Ruben Pena, came home and reported one of his three children missing, along with their baby sitter. Pena's 9-month-old and 3-year-old children were left unattended at home, Hopkins said.

New members join GOP Central Committee

The Harford County Republican Central Committee has been expanded to 12 members.

The new members are:

David M. Richardson, manager of government relations for the Maryland Aviation Administration and Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

Larry G. Stancill, a consultant in the nonmetallic mineral industry.

Joseph A. Tunney, president of American Design and Build Ltd. of Bel Air.

Kimberly L. Wagner, vice president of Tritronics Inc. of Abingdon.

Police probing gang tie to cabdriver's death

Harford County investigators are trying to determine whether a taxi driver shot to death in an Edgewood cul-de-sac was the target of a gang rite that involves random killing, police said Monday.

The gang theory would offer the first clues as to why anyone would kill Derald Howard Guess, 37, a father of nine children and a part-time substitute teacher. Guess was shot in the head after midnight Dec. 8 after arriving at the Harford Square community to pick up a passenger. He was killed one block from his home.

Witnesses have told police a suspect in the killing belongs to a local gang called the Bloods, said Edward Hopkins, Harford County sheriff's spokesman. He said investigators have not reached a conclusion about the motive.

Wayne Lavon Bond Jr., 17, of the 1700 block of Crimson Way in Edgewood was captured Dec. 11 and charged in the slaying. He was denied bail Monday in Harford County District Court.

Bond is charged with first-degree murder, which normally carries a maximum sentence of death, but Bond, who was charged as an adult, would receive a maximum of life in prison if convicted because he is under 18, District Judge Lawrence S. Lanahan Jr. said at the bail hearing.

Services for Guess were held Wednesday at the New Covenant Church of God in Bel Air.

The Arc is accredited by international group

The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region received a two-year accreditation from the Council on Quality and Leadership, the organization reported last week. The accreditation review of The Arc, directed by Tim Quinn, executive director, was held Sept. 14-17.

The international Council on Quality and Leadership seeks to provide leadership for improving accountability, responsiveness and performance in human and social service organizations and systems.

Library foundation gives $30,000 for materials

The Harford County Public Library Foundation has given the library's Abingdon branch $30,000 to buy books and other materials.

The foundation raised the funds through various campaigns to help support the Abingdon branch, including the Buy-A-Book campaign and the Abingdon Family Fun Day held in September 2003.

"Both of these campaigns were very successful in bringing people of all giving levels in to support their community library," said Gloria Barnhart, incoming HCPL Foundation president. "We are very pleased that the money presented ... will go toward buying more books and audiovisual materials for our library."

Cecil County

Hacks Point Fire Company to receive $225,000 grant

HACKS POINT - The Hacks Point Fire Company is being awarded $225,000 through the Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, according to a statement by the offices of Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski and Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes.

The fire company will use the grant to purchase a 3,500- gallon pumper-tanker truck, according to the Maryland Democrats' statement. The new truck is capable of pumping 1,250 gallons per minute and will replace two trucks that are more than 35 years old.

Cecil County fire departments have received five awards this year totaling $1,061,080 through the federal program, the statement said.

Creationism controversy delays vote on biology text

ELKTON - Cecil County Schools Superintendent Carl Roberts has withdrawn his recommendation for a 10th-grade biology book after a school board member complained he saw no reference to creationism in the text.

Roberts postponed a vote on the book, which teaches evolution, until board members have a chance to read it. The book has cleared the district's standard process of textbook approval, winning the approval of 95 percent of the district's Textbook Review Council - a committee of 50 parents, teachers and administrators.

Creationism, or the belief that mankind was created by God, is not mentioned in the current biology text and it is not mentioned in the new book up for approval, said Richard Lonie, the district's instructional coordinator for science.

"It's not mentioned at all," he said. "We teach what the state is asking us to teach. We're trying to teach science, not faith."


Spilled oil reaches beaches, in small amounts

Small, sticky clumps of oil spilled from a tanker in the Delaware River might turn up in the next few days on beaches in southern New Jersey and northern Delaware, experts said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said small, floating balls of tar and scattered patches of oil have been making their way down river since the spill two weeks ago.

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