In Baltimore City

Woman in her 70s dies in house fire on west side

An elderly woman died yesterday after suffering smoke inhalation and possible burns in a West Baltimore fire, fire officials said.

Firefighters were called about 12:30 p.m. to a 2 1/2 -story home in the 3300 block of Burleith Ave., said Kevin Cartwright, a Fire Department spokesman. Three adults and a child were in the house when the fire started. Three escaped, and firefighters pulled out the victim, a woman in her 70s, Cartwright said. He did not release her name.

The woman was taken to University of Maryland Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead, Cartwright said. She was the fourth person to die in a fire this year in the city.

Mayor, executive seek help with school repairs

Mayor Martin O'Malley is scheduled to join with a Citigroup executive today to announce the Believe In Our Schools Challenge at a 9:30 a.m. ceremony at the downtown Bank of America building on Charles Street.

O'Malley and Roger Kent, a Citigroup chief financial officer, will challenge Bank of America and Verizon, along with other companies, to participate in an effort to complete repairs at more than 12 public schools. The event will take place Feb. 4, and the companies are being encouraged to lend employees to the effort.

The Believe in Our Schools program has made improvements at more than 150 schools and has the support of more than 100 businesses and organizations, according to the mayor's office.

For information, call 410-396-1654.

In Baltimore County

State OKs $3,317,262 in open space funds

ANNAPOLIS - The state Board of Public Works approved $3,317,262 in Program Open Space funds for Baltimore and for Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Harford, Howard and Montgomery counties yesterday, the governor's office announced.

Baltimore projects include:

$150,000 to replace unsafe playground equipment and install a safety surface at the Morrell Park Recreation Center.

$150,000 to replace unsafe playground equipment and install safety surface at the Ralph Young Recreation Center.

$150,000 to replace unsafe playground equipment and install a safety surface at the Oliver Recreation Center.

$150,000 to replace unsafe playground equipment and install a safety surface at the Coldstream Recreation Center.

In Baltimore County:

$125,000 to install four picnic pavilions and a playground tot lot at Tall Trees Park.

$35,000 to replace playground equipment and renovate the play area at Watersedge Park.

$33,000 to replace playground equipment at Garden Village Park.

$67,000 to replace the picnic pavilion and resurface the parking lot at Hillcrest Park in Lansdowne.

$983,232 contract OK'd for rape crisis center

ANNAPOLIS - The State Board of Public Works has approved a $983,232 contract for the TurnAround Inc. crisis center to help rape victims in Baltimore County. The award was part of a $5.3 million package that the Board of Public Works approved yesterday to fund 12 rape crisis programs in Maryland.

TurnAround will use the funding to serve an estimated 1,304 new clients in the county. Maryland's Department of Human Resources provides counseling and other services for victims of rape and sexual offenses through the Rape Crisis Program.

TurnAround in Baltimore received $672,794 to help about 1,284 clients.

Towson U. to confer 1,937 degrees Sunday

TOWSON - Towson University will confer 1,937 degrees Sunday, school officials announced yesterday.

Three of the degrees will be doctorates, 466 will be master's degrees and 1,468 will be baccalaureates. The university will also award 20 post-baccalaureate advanced-study certificates.

The colleges of liberal arts, business and economics, and education will conduct ceremonies at 9:30 a.m. The colleges of science and mathematics, fine arts and communication, and health professions will conduct ceremonies at 2 p.m. The college of graduate education and research will participate in both ceremonies, which will be held at the Towson Center on campus.

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