School board approves a 4% raise for Hairston

The Baltimore County school board voted unanimously last night to give Superintendent Joe A. Hairston a 4 percent raise, amending his contract so that each year he would receive the same percentage raise as the county's teachers, the school board president said.

The raise, which would correspond with a 4 percent increase for county teachers budgeted for next school year, brings Hairston's salary to $239,200.

Last year, the board renewed Hairston's contract through 2008 and gave him a $45,000 raise, boosting his salary to $230,000 a year. The contract allowed the school board to give Hairston raises if he receives positive annual evaluations.

Under the amendment to the contract, Hairston would receive a raise only when the county's 8,000 teachers do.

Also last night, the school board approved the calendar for the 2006-2007 school year without including days off for two important Muslim holidays. The Muslim community has lobbied for the past two school years for the board to close school on Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Board members Michael P. Kennedy and Luis E. Borunda and student board member Nicholas P. Camp abstained.

Before the meeting, about a half-dozen Muslims holding U.S. flags and signs stood outside, where they were questioned by a police officer.

"I'm on public property, and I have the right to demonstrate peacefully," said Muhammad Jameel, one of the group's leaders. "I'm not aware of any law that I'm breaking."

The Muslim group has said it wants equal treatment and would be satisfied if schools remained open on the Jewish High Holy Days, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. The calendar includes a day off for Yom Kippur.

The state school board has previously denied an appeal from the group over the county school board not recognizing Muslim holidays in the 2005-2006 school year calendar.

- Sara Neufeld


Man fatally shot while sitting in front of neighbor's house

A 25-year-old man was fatally shot early yesterday in the 600 block of N. Potomac St. in East Baltimore, city police reported.

About 1:20 a.m., a gunman approached Antoine Williams as he sat on the front steps of a neighbor's house. The man shot Williams several times and fled. Williams ran a short distance before collapsing on the sidewalk, said police spokesman Donny Moses.

Williams was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1:51 a.m. Police had no suspects yesterday.

Officers urged anyone with information to call homicide detectives at 410-396-2100.

- Ryan Davis


Board picks Fla. educator as new head of City College

The Baltimore school board yesterday appointed Timothy Dawson, a former principal in Florida, to head City College.

The 40-year-old Baltimore native worked as a teacher and administrator in Miami-Dade County for about 13 years, he said. He served as principal at middle and high schools, and most recently served as a student advocate in the district.

Dawson, a married father of two, grew up around 39th Street and Greenmount Avenue, and graduated from Dunbar High School in 1983.

Dawson said he plans to study City College's academics, personnel and facilities, with an eye toward turning the school, which is one of a handful of elite public high schools in the city, into "the premier school in Baltimore."

Michael Hamilton, who served on the search committee, said he hopes Dawson will be a stabilizing force for the school, which has had two interim principals this academic year.

- Laura Loh


Man stabbed Kaufman after knocking on door

The attack that left U.S. Senate candidate A. Robert Kaufman hospitalized started when a man knocked on the door to Kaufman's second-floor Baltimore apartment, according to a police report released yesterday.

"Here's your $200 for rent," the man said, according to the report.

Kaufman, 74, a perennial candidate for public office, turned to grab a receipt book and was hit on the head with a crowbar. He fell, and the attacker stabbed him in the left side of his neck and the left side of his chest, the report says.

The attacker ran, and Kaufman struggled down to the first floor and out to his porch, where he yelled for help from two construction workers. One of the workers called 911.

Kaufman was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where his condition was upgraded yesterday from critical to serious but stable, hospital officials said.

A member of Kaufman's activist group, Ron Solomon, said he spoke briefly yesterday with Kaufman, who had been taken off a ventilator.

"We expect a recovery," Solomon said. "That's the good news."

No arrests have been made. Kaufman told police that he recognized the man but did not know his name, said Agent Donny Moses, a police spokesman.

Kaufman lives in the 2000 block of N. Hilton St. in West Baltimore and rents some units in a building that he inherited.

A socialist, he has launched a campaign for the seat of retiring Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes. The other declared candidates for the Democratic primary are Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin and former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume.

- Ryan Davis, William Wan and Andrew A. Green


Woman, 35, accused of theft from nursing home residents

A Harford County woman has been arrested and charged with entering an Abingdon nursing home and stealing hundreds of dollars from elderly residents, according to the sheriff's office.

Heidi Myers, 35, was charged with multiple counts of first-, second- and third-degree burglary and theft of more than $500. Police said there were at least three burglaries last month at Parkview Nursing Home on Box Hill South Parkway.

In one case, Myers is accused of stealing a purse from a 74-year-old woman and charging several hundred dollars on the woman's credit cards at Sears and Wawa stores in Bel Air.

Myers, a resident of the 1900 block of Melvin Drive in Edgewood, was being held at the Harford County Detention Center in lieu of $200,000 bail. Anyone with information is asked to call detectives at 410-676-1717 or 410-836-5430.

- Josh Mitchell


Man, 40, found dead in truck shortly after he jumps into it

George Butler had quite a scare yesterday morning when, a few blocks from his Annapolis home, at Bunche and Holeclaw streets, a man ran toward his blue pickup truck and jumped into the back.

"I got out and said, 'Come on, man, please get off the truck,'" Butler said yesterday afternoon. "He said, 'They [are] going to kill me.'"

Butler, 73, didn't see anyone chasing the man, but he kept yelling wildly so Butler drove to the Annapolis police station and yelled for help.

Officers gathered around the pickup, the Anne Arundel County Fire Department showed up, and paramedics quickly realized the man in back of the truck was dead. Police identified him as Cleveland Daniel Hunter, 40, of Crownsville.

"I've been in this business for 40 years, and I don't think I've seen anything like this," said Annapolis police Chief Joseph S. Johnson, who arrived shortly after Butler. "Never did I have the distasteful task of seeing someone drive in with a body." Johnson said that the cause of death appeared to be a drug overdose.

Hunter was not bleeding and bore no obvious wounds, police said. An autopsy is planned.

- Annie Linskey


Center where horses died gets OK to resume operations

After 11 weeks of worry and the deaths of six horses from a viral infection, the Columbia Horse Center has been approved to resume operations.

"As far as we are concerned, they are clear and the incident is over. It's really good news," said Sue Dupont, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Agriculture.

A mutant strain of equine herpesvirus killed the horses. Horse center manager Nanci Steveson said on the center's Web site that the damage to the center was minimal compared with damage at other horse operations affected by the disease, but that "the loss of our horses has been devastating to us all."

- Larry Carson

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