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BALTIMORE

State gives more time for bus-route comments

Baltimore-area commuter bus riders will have an additional 30 days to comment on proposed route changes, Transportation Secretary Robert L. Flanagan said yesterday.

A day earlier, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. had announced a 30-day extension for comments on a proposed overhaul of other mass transit bus routes. U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, who has been active in the debate about proposed changes to commuter and transit bus service, praised the decision yesterday but asked for an extension for commuter line comments.

Flanagan said the Department of Transportation will continue taking comments on the commuter bus routes through July 21, but it will likely not schedule additional public hearings.

State officials hope to reduce the costs of commuter buses from Harford and Howard counties by $1 million and say that several routes are underused. But during public hearings in Howard this week, dozens of riders and their advocates pleaded that routes linking Columbia and Baltimore slated for elimination be maintained.

- Andrew A. Green

Baltimore

Man, 24, convicted of murder in shooting of couple in car

An East Baltimore man accused of killing a man and injuring a woman last year in a shooting in the 2700 block of E. Eager St. was convicted yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court of first-degree murder.

Travis Thaniel, 24, of the 2500 block of E. Fayette St. was convicted by a city jury after four days of testimony and about eight hours of deliberation.

The first-degree murder conviction stemmed from the fatal shooting of Shawn Charles Boston, 32, of Essex. The jury also convicted Thaniel of attempted second-degree murder for shooting Catherine Jones, 36, in the abdomen. The two had been sitting in a car when they were shot, police said.

Thaniel faces a possible sentence of life in prison when he is sentenced later this year.

BALTIMORE

Orioles and MLB donate 50,000 tickets to city schools

The Orioles and Major League Baseball donated 50,000 game tickets to the Baltimore school system yesterday - just in time for them to become parting gifts to some city students on the last day of school.

The donation was the largest number of tickets the Orioles have given to a single group. It is part of the baseball commissioner's Initiatives for Kids program, which helps children attend baseball games around the country.

Baltimore's 186 public schools each received a share of the tickets, which are for selected games at Camden Yards over the summer. Schools may have distributed them immediately or opt to use them as incentives during summer programs, a schools spokeswoman said.

- Laura Loh

BALTIMORE

Beilenson announces bid for vacant House seat

Former city health commissioner Dr. Peter L. Beilenson announced his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday, appearing before cheering supporters at Federal Hill Park where he outlined an agenda that focuses on health care, safety and security.

Beilenson appeared with family members, including his father, former California Rep. Anthony C. Beilenson.

"I'm not doing this for political gain," the younger Beilenson, 45, said in a brief speech. He resigned from his city position earlier this month after having served as health commissioner for more than a decade. "I truly believe that public service is absolutely a noble cause."

Beilenson is the second Democratic candidate to enter the race for the Maryland 3rd District seat vacated by Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, who is running for the U.S. Senate. State Del. Neil F. Quinter of Howard County has also declared his candidacy. Several others - including state Sen. Paula C. Hollinger of Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens and Cardin's nephew, state Del. Jon S. Cardin - are exploring running.

Beilenson said yesterday that he is running on some of the issues he championed as health commissioner: access to health care and affordable prescription drugs, preserving Social Security and pension benefits for senior citizens, and homeland security. He also stressed the need for economic security by ensuring that jobs with decent wages are available for high school graduates and making sure that "every child is a cared-for child."

"It is unconscionable that in the wealthiest, most medically advanced country in this world, we have 45 million people today who have no health insurance," he said.

He also criticized the president and Congress for promoting a free market philosophy while prohibiting Medicare from negotiating the lowest price for prescription drugs.

- Sumathi Reddy

RANDALLSTOWN Baltimore man, 21, charged in fatal shooting, wounding

A Baltimore man has been arrested and charged in a double-shooting this month at a Liberty Road bar that left one man dead, Baltimore County police said yesterday.

Derrick Styberson Ross, 21, of the 1200 block of N. Spring St. was charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and use of a handgun in a crime of violence after his arrest Tuesday, said Officer Shawn Vinson, a county police spokesman. Ross was being held yesterday without bail at the county detention center.

Kitredge Brown, 22, of the 100 block of Western Winds Circle in Randallstown was shot early June 9 as he attempted to drive out of the parking lot of the Rush Hour Sports Bar & Grill in the 9800 block of Liberty Road, according to charging documents filed in District Court in Towson. Brown died at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Another man who was shot survived. Police have not identified him to protect his safety as a witness, Vinson said.

The men apparently had been involved in an argument inside the bar before the shooting, the court papers said.

- Laura Barnhardt

BALTIMORE COUNTY

N.M. educator named director of southwest-area schools

Manuel B. Rodriguez, former superintendent of the Roswell Independent School District in New Mexico, has been named southwest-area executive director in the Baltimore County school system.

Rodriguez will replace Richard M. Milbourne, who is retiring, according to school board documents. He will oversee 32 schools.

School system spokesman Charles A. Herndon said Rodriguez's salary has not been finalized, but the position was advertised as paying a minimum of $116,000, the base salary for the county's five area executive directors.

- Sara Neufeld

ANNE ARUNDEL

Samorajczyk edges closer to decision on executive bid

Anne Arundel County Councilwoman Barbara D. Samorajczyk has taken a step toward a bid for county executive, declaring that she will hire a campaign manager and attempt to raise more than $1 million.

But Samorajczyk, 58, a Democrat, stressed yesterday that she is months away from a formal decision regarding her candidacy. She said she must determine whether she can raise the money necessary to be a legitimate contender for the job held by Janet S. Owens, who cannot run for a third term.

Samorajczyk is serving her second term representing the Annapolis area. Council members are limited to two terms. A former Republican, she switched parties in 1998 before running for County Council. She ran unopposed in 2002.

Other possible Democratic candidates for executive include county Sheriff George F. Johnson IV and county parks director Dennis M. Callahan, who is a former mayor of Annapolis. Two Republicans have declared their candidacies: Del. John R. Leopold and Phillip D. Bissett, former delegate and state commuter rail chief.

- Phillip McGowan

PERRYVILLE

Ted Kennedy Jr. to speak at seminar at VA hospital

Ted Kennedy Jr., an advocate attorney for the disabled, will be keynote speaker at a free seminar from 8:30 a.m. to 11: 30 a.m. today at the Perry Point VA Medical Center theater.

Kennedy, who lost a leg to cancer when he was 12, has lectured around the world about health care reform and civil rights for the disabled.

Information: 410-642-2411, ext. 6312.

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