Mid who died in fall was drinking, officials say

A midshipman who fell to his death from a ledge off his fifth-floor dormitory room in April had been drinking, climbed out the window to smoke and probably lost his balance, Naval Academy officials said yesterday.

The body of Jay Michael Dixon, 21, a junior physics major from Destrehan, La., was found about 12:30 p.m. April 9 at the bottom of a mechanical pit outside Bancroft Hall -12 hours after officials believe he accidentally tumbled from the 4-foot-by-4-foot ledge into the area that is generally obscured from view.

Dixon was drinking with friends that evening while he was on liberty, and several recalled that he was intoxicated, said Cmdr. Rod Gibbons, spokesman for the academy. He said the academy would not release any autopsy findings, including Dixon's blood-alcohol level.

Back in his top-floor room, Dixon is believed to have climbed onto a chair to reach the window - its sill is 4 feet off the floor - so he could smoke on the ledge, something friends told investigators Dixon had done previously.

Gibbons said the investigation also addressed ways to prevent a similar accident. The school has begun installing devices that block the upper-floor windows from opening more than 10 inches. Windows with ledges less than three feet off the floor have similar devices to prevent a fall.

In 2002, John Paul Ruggiero, 20, an aerospace engineering major from Gouldsboro, Pa., died in a fall from the window of his fourth-floor room in Bancroft Hall, also after he had been drinking.

- Andrea F. Siegel


Man, 33, sentenced to life for murder, attempted murder

A 33-year old East Baltimore man accused of killing two people and injuring a third in a four-month span of 2001 was sentenced yesterday to life in prison.

Desmond Dickey of the 2200 block of Orleans St. was convicted by a city jury in March of the shooting death of Anthony Carlest, 34, and the attempted murder of Melvin McAllister, 41.

Police said that on Aug. 12, 2001, Dickey drove up alongside Carlest's car, which was stopped at a red light in the 400 block of N. Pulaski St. He left his van and fired shots into the car, police said.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Kaye Allison sentenced Dickey to two concurrent life terms for convictions on attempted first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges. She sentenced him to a consecutive term of 30 years in prison for a second-degree murder conviction.

Dickey also faces first-degree murder, kidnapping, robbery with a deadly weapon, and conspiracy charges for a separate shooting death. Alexander Samuel Logan, 26, was found dead Nov. 27, 2001, in the 2200 block of Roslyn Avenue. Trial on those charges has not yet been scheduled.

Dickey is in prison on a parole violation from a 1992 drug conviction. He had been released on parole in April 2001, after serving nine years in prison.

- Julie Bykowicz


Board OKs deals with CSX tied to Key Highway project

The city's spending board approved two deals this week with CSX Transportation Inc. that will help advance the long-stalled process of extending Key Highway in Locust Point.

In one deal, the Board of Estimates approved paying $377,000 to CSX for 2.8 acres near 1100 Key Highway East needed for the $20 million project. The city has been planning since 1999 to extend Key Highway in a northeastern arc that will connect it to Nicholson Street.

The $2.6 million cost of removing railroad track in the area will be funded by the Baltimore Development Corp.

The board also approved a construction agreement with CSX through Dec. 31, 2007, in which the city will reimburse the company for any work it performs to assist the "loop road" project.


Big-band concert, fireworks scheduled at College Manor

College Manor, an assisted-living complex, will sponsor its annual summer big band concert and fireworks display today.

The grounds open at 5 p.m. for the Lighting up Lutherville event, which is open to the public. Music by the Mood Swings Big Band starts at 6:30 p.m. followed by fireworks after dark. Attendees are encouraged to bring picnic dinners.

The event was canceled last year because of the large number of cicadas in the area. College Manor is at 300 W. Seminary Ave.


Church to hold health fair, symposium for men today

A health fair and symposium for men will be held today from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Northwood-Appold United Methodist Church Education Center, East Cold Spring Lane and Loch Raven Boulevard.

"B'More Man! B'More Healthy!" - sponsored by the church, the city Health Department, the Men's Health Center and Good Samaritan Hospital - will provide information on health issues that affect men and will encourage men to assess their health and seek treatment if needed.

Information: 410-323-6712.


2 fire companies seek vehicle, renovation loans

Two of Carroll County's volunteer fire companies hope to secure low-interest loans through the county, one for equipment purchases and the other for renovations.

Union Bridge Volunteer Fire Company wants to borrow $550,000 to replace an ambulance with mechanical problems and a 13-year-old rescue truck that is too small to carry heavy equipment.

Winfield Community Volunteer Fire Department has requested $4 million to renovate and expand the company's firehouse on West Old Liberty Road. The company, which serves a rapidly growing community, wants additional space for equipment, volunteer quarters and fund-raising activities.

The companies must submit detailed plans for their requests and provide information on how they will repay the loans, officials said.

- Mary Gail Hare


ADL asks Naval Academy to end prayers before lunch

The Anti-Defamation League has asked the Naval Academy to end its practice of having a prayer each day before the noon meal that is attended by all 4,000 midshipmen.

Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the organization, said the league would not object to a moment of silence before meals, which is the practice at the other service academies. Only the Naval Academy offers a chaplain's prayer at the noon meal that all midshipmen must attend.

"The moment you put up chaplains, even if Jewish, I don't care, it is government policy that when you eat, you pray, Foxman said. "Anything that is mandated should not be accompanied by a message that says, 'Pray.'"

A letter to the academy dated June 17 said the prayer violates the First Amendment, which prohibits establishment of a religion by the government.

Cmdr. Rod Gibbons, spokesman for the academy, said yesterday the letter had not been received, and "it would be inappropriate to comment on something we don't have."

"Certainly once we receive it, we will have to read it and make a determination what we want to do," he said.

The request from the Anti-Defamation League comes as the Air Force has been investigating complaints about a pervasive religious climate at the Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs.

Traditionally, midshipmen at the Naval Academy assemble in a noon meal formation outside Bancroft Hall and then march into the cavernous mess hall which seats the entire brigade of more than 4,000 students. They stand at their chairs for administrative announcements that Gibbons said usually include a prayer, a moment of silence or a devotional thought.

The prayer is usually led by one of the six chaplains - three Protestants, two Catholics and one Jewish, Gibbons said.

- Associated Press


Hit-and-run driver kills woman, 72, on Belair Road

A 72-year-old woman died after being hit by a car yesterday outside her home in the 5400 block of Belair Road, city police said.

Witnesses told police they saw a gold Chevrolet Cavalier hit Rita Harris Latchford about 6 p.m. The driver of the car fled the scene.

Latchford was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Police, who were given a possible license plate number by witnesses, were looking for a suspect last night.


Health Care for the Homeless gets $233,333 federal grant

Health Care for the Homeless has received a $233,333 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that will allow the nonprofit organization to provide expanded clinic hours on Saturdays.

The new clinic hours will be set aside for day laborers who find it difficult to make medical appointments during weekdays, and homeless women who feel uncomfortable waiting for treatment in a room full of men, said Kevin Lindamood, a spokesman for Health Care for the Homeless.

"By opening on Saturdays, we will expand access to care for two historically underserved groups," said Jeff Singer, president and chief executive of Health Care for the Homeless. "With these new resources, we can fill both gaps."

For information, call 410-837-5533.

- Lynn Anderson


College of Notre Dame to hold program information session

The graduate studies program at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland will hold an information session for prospective students Wednesday.

The session will include an overview of academic programs and admissions requirements for programs in such areas as contemporary communication, leadership in teaching, liberal studies, management, nonprofit management and teaching.

Registration will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the session starting at 6 p.m. It will be held at the college's Fourier Hall, 4701 N. Charles St. For more information and to reserve a place in the session, call 410-532-5317, or go to

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