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Druid Hill pool opens today - a week early


Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks officials will open the Druid Hill Park pool today - a week before the official start of the city's 2005 summer swim season because of this past week's hot weather.

The Druid Hill pool will be open today and tomorrow from noon to 5 p.m., and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday through Friday. Cost is $1.50 per person.

The city's indoor swimming pools will be charging half price, or 50 cents, this coming week as part of the "Hot Summer Daze Pre-Season." Callowhill is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Chick Webb and Cherry Hill are open from noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

All of the city's other outdoor pools are scheduled to open June 25 at noon.


25 freed from Central Booking under court's 24-hour order

More than 25 suspects were released from Central Booking and Intake Center yesterday and Thursday as a result of a standing court order that requires arrestees receive a court hearing within 24 hours or be set free.

Since the court order went into affect in late April, about 70 people have been released, said spokeswoman Barbara Cooper of the Division of Pretrial Detention and Services.

State officials who run the downtown facility said they believed the recent releases were the result of increased arrests flooding their facility, but city police officials said officers were operating normally. Arrest data was not available yesterday.

Prosecutors said some of those released were facing felony counts, including drug, assault and domestic assault charges. Police will be notified of the releases and can decide whether to rearrest the suspects, said Margaret T. Burns, a spokeswoman for the city state's attorney's office.

Before the Circuit Court order, which was issued at the request of public defenders, some suspects were being held as long as four days without being formally charged. State law requires that suspects receive a court hearing within 24 hours of arrest. At times, the facility had nearly 100 people who were being unlawfully detained.

- Ryan Davis


City police detective injured in crash; suspect captured

A 24-year city police veteran was injured in a crash yesterday morning in Southwest Baltimore as she was traveling to pick up a witness for court.

Detective Martha Sprinkle of the Southwestern District was being treated yesterday at Maryland Shock Trauma Center for head injuries, broken ribs, a broken leg and pelvic injuries, said Officer Nicole Monroe, a police spokeswoman.

Sprinkle was driving east on Frederick Avenue in an unmarked police car about 10:30 a.m. when a westbound white Acura crossed into her lane and crashed into her car near Ellicott Driveway, Monroe said. Sprinkle's car flipped.

The suspect, whom police did not identify, ran from the crash, but was captured nearby. He was taken to Shock Trauma.

Police said they found crack cocaine and powdered cocaine inside the car. The car had been reported stolen.

- Ryan Davis


Police seek murder suspect, say victim's kin want revenge

Police are seeking a 17-year-old suspect in a May killing in West Baltimore, and they say they want to find him before the victim's family does.

"We believe that the family is looking for revenge," said Agent Donny Moses, a police spokesman. "We don't want anybody else to be hurt."

Detectives have obtained an arrest warrant for Christopher Nathan Porter on first-degree murder charges, Moses said. Porter has been charged with shooting 22-year-old Damon Antwon Aldridge, who was found dead May 15 in a parking lot at the Woodington Garden Apartments in the 100 block of Diener Place.

Police distributed leaflets there yesterday, as well as in three other places Porter is known to spend time - the 200 block of N. Payson St., the 2000 block of W. Lexington St. and the 900 block of Lenton Ave.

Porter is believed to be armed and dangerous, Moses said.

Metro Crime Stoppers is offering up to a $2,000 reward for information that leads to Porter's arrest. Anyone with information can call 410-276-8888.

- Ryan Davis


Police are seeking suspect in north-side robberies

Police are investigating at least seven armed robberies of stores recently that investigators believe are related.

Since April 4, a man wielding a knife or box cutter has taken money from stores on North Charles Street, St. Paul Street and W. 40th Street, police said. Most of the incidents occurred during the daytime; stores include St. Paul Cleaners and Giant Foods.

At least three robberies occurred in the past week, said Officer Nicole Monroe, a police spokeswoman.

The department's Northern District has bolstered patrols in the area. Police urged anyone with information to call detectives at 410-367-3105.

Council to pick successor to Harkins on July 5


The Harford County Council has settled on a process for picking a replacement for departing County Executive James M. Harkins and will choose one at its July 5 meeting.

Those interested in the position must submit a letter of intent to Barbara Rush, the council administrator, at 212 S. Bond St., Bel Air, by 5 p.m. Monday.

The council agreed late Tuesday on a procedure for choosing a successor to Harkins, who announced last month that he was leaving office early to take an environmental job in the Ehrlich administration.

Under a policy adopted by a 6-1 vote, council President Robert S. Wagner is to announce the names of the candidates at the council session Tuesday. The names are also to be released to the news media.

At its July 5 meeting, the council will select a replacement to serve the 17 months remaining in Harkins' term. The winning candidate, who must receive a majority of votes on the seven-member council, will take office the next day.

During deliberation of the measure, the council engaged in heated debate on whether to disclose the candidate list to the public.

Councilwoman Veronica L. Chenowith offered a motion to eliminate requirements that the names be made public and released to the media. She said there was no benefit to the public in releasing the list.

Councilman Lance C. Miller, seconded the motion and said it would turn the appointment process "into a circus" with campaign signs popping up around the county.

"This is not an election," he said. "This is a council decision. We were elected to make this decision after a county executive vacates. It's that simple."

Councilman Richard C. Slutzky, who introduced the procedural proposal, said he would "rather it be a circus than a backroom deal."

Councilman Dion F. Guthrie said that if the process creates 150 or more candidates, the council could very quickly whittle it down to eight or 10.

The amendment to eliminate the public notification from the process failed by a vote of 5-to-2. The vote on the procedural proposal, without the amendments, was approved by a vote of 6-to-1, with Miller opposing.

-- Ted Shelsby


Group asks Ehrlich to restore school challenge grants

A group of children, parents and members of the Annapolis community delivered about 100 letters to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s office yesterday asking for continued funding of recently cut challenge grants.

State education officials announced this week that $558,000 earmarked for items such as behavior and accelerated achievement specialists at the city's schools will not be coming. Anne Arundel County school officials say the positions created by the grant contributed to improving standardized test scores at the area's schools, which draw children from high-poverty communities.

"Our children have advanced, and it's a direct result of this grant," Coleen Lilly, volunteer coordinator for Eastport Elementary School and mother of three current and former Eastport pupils, told more than 30 people gathered near the Alex Haley memorial.

The grant is a pet project of House Speaker Michael E. Busch, a Democrat who has clashed with Ehrlich over slots machines. Ehrlich, a Republican, cut the funds from his initial budget proposal. The General Assembly restored the funds, but the governor has final say on whether they are paid out.

Ehrlich spokeswoman Shareese N. DeLeaver said there's no question about the governor's commitment to Maryland's education, including Anne Arundel County.

The grant, originally $1 million, was set to expire next year. On Wednesday, school board members reallocated $300,000 from the operating budget to offset the loss. District officials also hope to dedicate revenues from a downtown parking facility to Annapolis schools.

- Liz F. Kay


Former high school athlete fatally shot in Northeast

A 19-year-old man was fatally shot early yesterday in Northeast Baltimore, city police said.

Officers responded to a report of a shooting about midnight behind buildings in the 2000 block of Belair Road. Anthony Boyce of the 3200 block of Elmora Ave. was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12:45 a.m., police said.

He was a former basketball and football player at Chesapeake High School in eastern Baltimore County, where he graduated two years ago, family members said yesterday. He lived with his grandmother.

Police urged anyone with information about his killing to call homicide detectives at 410-396-2100.

- Ryan Davis


Northeast community group sets forum today for residents

The Northeast Community Organization is holding a summit today so that residents may talk about community concerns with city officials and elected representatives.

Participants will also discuss initiatives by the community group and Northeast Development Alliance to buy and renovate homes in the area.

The summit will be from 10 a.m. to noon at the Murphy Fine Arts Center at Morgan State University.

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