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CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

The Baltimore Sun

Md. budget chief Foster arrested, charged in DUI case in June

Maryland Budget Secretary T. Eloise Foster was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol last month in Howard County, according to court records.

A state police trooper pulled over Foster's Jaguar in the southbound lane of Interstate 95 at Volmerhauser Road in Columbia for failing to drive in a single lane, records say. In addition to that offense, she was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and driving while impaired. The arrest occurred at 9:37 p.m. June 9. According to court records, the case is active.

Last night, a spokesman for Gov. Martin O'Malley confirmed the incident.

"Secretary Foster immediately disclosed the incident," O'Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said in a statement. "She has been treated like any other state employee and has the governor's full confidence as the legal process continues."

The incident was initially reported yesterday on The (Baltimore) Examiner's Web site.

Foster, 60, of Silver Spring is one of the governor's key advisers and will play a significant role in the administration's efforts to eliminate a budget shortfall expected to be as large as $1.5 billion next year. She served as budget secretary under Gov. Parris N. Glendening.

While out of state government during the administration of former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., she worked as assistant dean for program development and business affairs at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and then as a government relations consultant.

Foster served on O'Malley's transition team and became a key recruit in his new administration.

Foster could not be immediately reached for comment last night.

Andrew A. Green

Frederick County

: Sabillasville

Smaller juvenile centers promised

Gov. Martin O'Malley said yesterday that the state will build more juvenile facilities like the Victor Cullen Center that opened in Sabillasville in Frederick County this month, most likely in Baltimore and other parts of the state where the need is greatest.

O'Malley toured the new facility, which the state opened on the site of a center that closed several years ago. The new center is designed to help compensate for the closure of the privately run Bowling Brook Academy in Carroll County, where a youth died during a disciplinary action by staff.

The state is spending about $16 million to renovate and reopen Victor Cullen, which houses eight youths and will serve no more than 48. Although money is tight for the state government, O'Malley said he wants to change priorities in the budget to continue a shift toward smaller juvenile justice centers rather than large facilities such as the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in Baltimore County and Cheltenham in Prince George's County.

"We certainly have a need for one or two of these in the city and probably in other places, too," O'Malley said. "It's important to place these where our kids are being murdered and ... shot in the greatest numbers."

O'Malley also expressed confidence that Juvenile Services Secretary Donald W. DeVore, a veteran of juvenile justice systems in several other states, will improve the department's professionalism.

Victor Cullen Superintendent Chris Perkins said the state is adding more boys to the center, which should be fully renovated by November or December.

Andrew A. Green

Baltimore County

: Parkville

Fatal-fire victim identified

A woman found dead after a fire in her Parkville apartment was identified yesterday. The body of Kim Konschak, 50, was discovered in her basement apartment in the 7800 block of Wendover Ave. in the Villa Cresta neighborhood by her sister late Saturday, authorities said.

Police and fire investigators, who arrived after the sister called 911, discovered soot and a melted television set, authorities said. A fire appeared to have ignited in the apartment and burned out in the absence of fresh air, officials said. The fire was caused by a cigarette in a garbage can, county fire officials said. The state medical examiner is performing an autopsy.

Julie Scharper

Baltimore

: Emergency agency

Amber Alert meant as a test is broadcast

An Amber Alert broadcast yesterday on at least two Baltimore television stations and the local Comcast cable network was meant to be a test by the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, state police said today.

"MEMA put it out as a test and didn't say it was a test," said Maryland State Police Sgt. Arthur Betts. The spokesman said there was no missing child in the area.

Katie Leahan, a MEMA spokeswoman, said airing the alert at 6:43 a.m. was a mistake, but she said it included the sentence: "This is an exercise." She said the alert was retracted at 6:49 a.m.

Betts said that all Amber Alerts sought by local police and law enforcement agencies are supposed to go through the Maryland State Police.

WBAL-TV and Fox-45 broke into programming with a report that a child abduction had occurred.

Michelle Butt, news director of WBAL-TV, said the alert goes on air automatically from Comcast. She said editors scrambled to report the story only to quickly find out there was no story. She said the first time the alert aired, there was no reference to it being a test.

Education

Public meetings set with schools CEO

The next community conversation with the Baltimore City school system's new chief executive officer, Andres Alonso, is set for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. today at St. Veronica Catholic Church, 806 Cherry Hill Road. Another session is set for tomorrow at the Charles Commons, 101 E. 33rd St., also from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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