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City a leader in commuter use of public transit, walking

Baltimore is among the nation's top 10 cities where commuters take public transportation or walk to work, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau analysis of data from its 2005 American Community Survey.

About 19 percent of Baltimore commuters ages 16 and over use public transportation, ranking it seventh in the analysis of the nation's large cities. Baltimore also ranked 10th for the percentage of commuters who walk to work - 5.4 percent.

While higher than the national average, Baltimore pales in comparison to New York, which has the largest share of people who take public transportation: 56 percent, or some 1.9 million people.

Meanwhile, the nearly 11 percent of Baltimore commuters who arrive at work by carpool matches the 10.7 percent national average.

Nationwide, most commuters drive to work, and many do so alone. Nearly nine out of 10 workers (87.7 percent) drive to work, 77 percent of whom drive alone.

Kelly Brewington


: Grant

Center for fathers to get $1 million

A nonprofit center that counsels former drug abusers and ex-offenders on how to be good fathers will receive a $1 million grant from Baltimore to double its capacity, Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon announced yesterday.

The Center for Fathers, Families and Workforce Development, which offers counseling, classes and job training to 2,000 Baltimore residents each year, received the grant at a ceremony yesterday, days before Father's Day. The money, city officials said, comes from Baltimore's budget surplus and housing funds.

"The [center] has the right approach to addressing challenges in our communities," Dixon said in a statement. "They treat both the symptoms and the root causes, and they continue to reach out to people even when they've graduated from the program."

The center, which is located in lower Park Heights, was founded in 1999 and is expanding its facility to double its number of clients, said President Joseph T. Jones.

John Fritze

Inner Harbor

Small fire put out on 'Lady Baltimore'

A homeless man is suspected of boarding the Lady Baltimore at its berth in the Inner Harbor yesterday morning and setting a small fire in a trash can, city police said.The fire was quickly extinguished about 7:30 a.m., and no damage was reported. Police said they had a description of a man wearing an "extremely dirty" bluish-green short-sleeve shirt, blue shorts and boots who was last seen near the Maryland Science Center. The Lady Baltimore is a familiar sight at the Inner Harbor and is used by tourists and politicians for fundraisers. In July 2005, a fire damaged the decking, tables and chairs on the 111-foot-long ship and injured a deckhand.


Meeting to focus on achievement

The city school system will host a meeting tonight for interested parents, students, educators and community members to discuss the system's plan to improve academic achievement. All school systems in Maryland are required to have a comprehensive master plan to guide academic reform. The meeting will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the first-floor boardroom at school system headquarters, 200 E. North Ave.

North side

Junior League's new headquarters

The Junior League of Baltimore broke ground yesterday on its new headquarters in North Baltimore, on York Road across from Belvedere Square. The volunteer organization will be moving from a rented building in Hampden to a newly built second floor above the Wise Penny Thrift Store it has owned and operated for more than 30 years. "We're very excited," said Maria Johnson, co-chairwoman of the project. "We think this will save us money that we can use for the community."

Harford County

: Bel Air

Road closure meeting canceled

Harford County officials have announced the cancellation of a public hearing on closing part of Gilbert Road near Aberdeen, which was to be held at 6 p.m. today in the County Council Chambers in Bel Air. The hearing, which was to be convened by the county road closing committee, was canceled at the request of the petitioner, a county government spokesman said. No further hearing is scheduled.

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