Civil servant, in verse

As Baltimore residents shoveled out their cars last week, city officials sought to provide a "gentle reminder" not to reserve parking spaces.

Rather than the traditional - and boring - news release, Department of Public Works spokesman Kurt L. Kocher crafted a poem.

Lawn Chairs and Cones and Trash Cans - Oh My!

Remember after every snow

To keep your sidewalks clear,

Then shovel out your parking place

For parking's very dear.

But leaving chairs to mark your space

That's something else again,

You cannot block a public space

Because it is your yen.

We know you worked real hard on it

You shoveled 'til you ached,

And lazy folks could move right in

And take your car's cleared space.

Respect the works your neighbors did

And get your shovel out,

Or help your neighbor clean a spot

There'll be no need to shout.

The storm's long gone, yet the chairs remain,

While snowmelt's flowing down the drain.

So place your chairs back on the lawn

For the street's not for sitting but for all to drive on.- Howard Libit

Pub almost honored

Developers who plan to build an eight-story, 126-room hotel at Washington Boulevard and Greene Street told city officials last week that they would name it The Inn at Camden Yards in honor of the nearby ballpark.

But Rob Meeks, a partner with Next Realty Mid-Atlantic of Alexandria, Va., told the Board of Estimates that the name could have reflected another local landmark that sits close by and is almost as well-known as the park.

"We thought about calling ourselves The Inn at Pickles Pub," he said.

- Laura Vozzella

Find the detective within

C'mon now, you must have seen the yellow police tape somewhere and thought: Why can't I go there? What's going on inside? Are they using those cool black lights to search for strange stains like they do on CSI?

Well, wonder no longer. Submit a top bid at a charity auction Friday and a visit to a crime scene could be yours.

Starting at 6 p.m. at the Belvedere, 1 E. Chase St., sponsors will auction off a day with a real-live public defender "including a possible crime scene investigation." It's all to benefit summer internships for University of Baltimore law students working in public-interest organizations.

Admission to the auction, which also features museum memberships, greens fees at a local golf course and a wine tasting, costs $20, and $10 for University of Baltimore students. Information: 410- 837-5671 or

- Matthew Dolan

Politics in reruns

Comcast's digital cable service offered this viewer-guide synopsis for the live WBAL-TV broadcast of Thursday's annual State of the State Address:

Gov. Parris Glendening assesses events from the past year and presents his outcome for 1999.

The synopsis of the same live broadcast on Maryland Public Television read almost like a correction:

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. delivers the address. (2005)

- David Michael Ettlin

Strip for the greater good

Last month's devastating earthquake and tsunami in South Asia led to donations of money, clothing, medical supplies - and lap dances.

Strippers at Larry Flynt's Hustler Club gave away about $750 in dances and tips as part of a fund-raiser Wednesday, the one-month anniversary of the disaster.

The club itself donated all of that day's door proceeds, bringing the total raised to about $4,000, club officials said. The money will be given to the Red Cross.

Jason Mohney, the club's general manager, said the fund-raiser was inspired by one of his dancers, who plans to travel to the area to help out. When she isn't stripping, she is studying to be a doctor or nurse, Mohney said. He wasn't sure which.

- Doug Donovan and Laura Vozzella

Detention for the teacher

Some Baltimore students who tried to give the State Board of Education a lesson about school funding last week ended up receiving a lesson themselves in the harsh realities of activism.

The Algebra Project, a group of tutors-turned-advocates, has for months been protesting the state's refusal to comply with a judge's finding in August that it owes city schools millions of dollars in funding. The state is appealing the ruling.

On Tuesday, dozens of students showed up at the state school board's West Baltimore Street headquarters armed with a lesson plan, complete with "objectives" (Understand why the state board must provide an adequate education to all of its students. Accept the need to follow court orders) and "homework" (Request a $110 million deficiency appropriation).

As the students gathered outside the building after presenting their lesson plan, a city police officer ordered them to disperse. Jay Gillen, a teacher who advises the Algebra Project, questioned the officer's actions and found himself handcuffed and taken to Central Booking.

The students helped get their teacher out of jail by calling City Council President Sheila Dixon.

"It was definitely an unjust arrest," said Charnell Covert, a City College senior. "It definitely helped our cause because it ... showed how students are being silenced. The issue is not Mr. Jay, but [state schools Superintendent] Nancy Grasmick and if she's going to support our cause."

- Laura Loh

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