Eight members of Baltimore's City Council - a majority of the 15-member body - said yesterday they will support Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake in her bid to retain her job as council president, the latest in a long line of endorsements for the incumbent.
Rawlings-Blake has served as council president since her predecessor, Sheila Dixon, became mayor in January. Rawlings-Blake, 37, is in a tight race against neighborhood advocate Michael Sarbanes. The Democratic primary takes place Sept. 11.
"My experience on the council has been a tremendous learning experience," Rawlings-Blake said at an event outside City Hall yesterday. "The next generation of leadership is here standing with me to serve for Baltimore's future."
Standing with Rawlings-Blake were council members James B. Kraft, Rochelle "Rikki" Spector, Bernard C. "Jack" Young, Helen L. Holton, Agnes Welch, Edward L. Reisinger, Vernon E. Crider and Sharon Green Middleton.
"I don't want to be in this City Council without Stephanie Rawlings-Blake as my president," said Spector, the dean of the council, who represents the 5th District in Northwest Baltimore.
: Circuit Court
October trial date set for Utech owner
A Baltimore Circuit Court judge yesterday set Oct. 1 as the trial date for Mildred E. Boyer, a small-business owner with ties to Mayor Sheila Dixon.
Boyer is charged with theft, lying on loan documents and filing false tax returns. The October date ensures that the trial will not begin until after the city's Democratic primary election for mayor.
Boyer's company, Utech, employed Dixon's sister for more than two years before The Sun revealed in 2006 that Dixon, then-City Council president, had participated in hearings and votes that benefited the firm without disclosing that her sibling worked there.
The state investigation into the minority contracting firm was prompted by The Sun's articles, but the indictment against Boyer does not implicate either Dixon or Dixon's sister.
: Russell Street
Interstate 95 ramp to close for paving
The Maryland Transportation Authority plans to close the ramp from northbound Interstate 95 to Russell Street (Exit 52) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow to allow for city paving work. A detour will direct motorists from northbound I-95 to I-395 (Exit 53), then north on Martin Luther King Boulevard, east on Pratt Street and back to Russell Street. For more information on Russell Street work, go to www.russellgateway.org.
Fire destroys hay-filled barn
A three-alarm fire apparently caused by a bale of hay falling onto wires outside a barn in Manchester yesterday evening destroyed the bale-filled barn, said a relative of the owner.
No injuries were reported. The fire is being investigated by the state fire marshal's office.
Melissa Garvick, the daughter-in-law of the owner, said a hay bale on a wagon fell against the barn and struck an exterior wire, which caused sparking and set the hay ablaze. The fire spread to the two-story wooden barn, which contained bales of hay and straw, she said.
Garvick said the barn was a total loss. The fire did not threaten her home, about 200 feet from the barn, she said.
A spokesman for the Carroll County Fire Board said 29 pieces of firefighting apparatus from county volunteer fire stations in Manchester, Lineboro, Pleasant Valley, Westminster and Hampstead, along with stations in nearby Pennsylvania, responded.
The spokesman said a relay system of pumper trucks was needed to supply water because of a lack of water at the scene.
Reported at 6:20 p.m., the fire in the 5200 block of Band Hall Hill Road, went to two alarms in four minutes and to a third alarm by 7:35 p.m.