The Baltimore Sun

Hopkins Children's Center ranked 3rd

In its first ranking of the nation's best children's hospitals, U.S. News & World Report has awarded third place to the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

Topping the list is Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, followed by Children's Hospital Boston.

Since 1990, the magazine has ranked "America's Best Hospitals," with Johns Hopkins topping the list each year. As part of that, there have been rankings of pediatric departments at various hospitals -- Hopkins has always been in the top four -- but those were based solely on reputation.

This new listing uses a three-part mix of reputation, death rate and such care-related factors as volume, nursing care, advanced technology, and recognition by outside organizations.

Stephanie Desmon

Calvert County

Search for boaters suspended

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search yesterday evening for a pair of boaters off Calvert County who made three short distress calls early yesterday.

The calls came in about 1:15 a.m. from a boat between Calvert Cliffs and Taylors Island on the Eastern Shore. The boaters reported they were "rapidly taking on water," but were disconnected before they could tell officials what kind of boat they were in and where they were.

Yesterday, the Coast Guard used boats and planes to search more than 300 nautical miles in 15 hours, with the help of state and natural resources police as well as local authorities. With no sign of the boaters, the agency called off the search about 5 p.m.

Coast Guard Lt. Isaac Saenz said he did not know if the callers were still in the water. They could have been rescued or have paddled back to the dock themselves.

Officials were also checking marinas for boat trailers without boats attached and possible signs of distress, such as a motorboat being paddled in. At least two names were released as possibly missing boaters, but the Coast Guard had located both of them by yesterday afternoon.

Rona Kobell

General Assembly

King fills retired senator's term

Gov. Martin O'Malley has appointed Montgomery County Del. Nancy J. King to fill the term of a state senator who retired this summer, a move that could help preserve the pro-slots stance of the Senate.

The appointment, announced yesterday, was a formality after the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee endorsed King last week. She fought off a strong challenge from Del. Saqib Ali, who sought to rally anti-slots members of the committee.

King, 58, who has voted for slots in the past, was elected to the House in 2002. She served on the Ways and Means Committee, which handles tax issues as well as gambling.

She takes over for former Sen. P.J. Hogan, who resigned to take a top post with the University of Maryland.

O'Malley noted that King's arrival in the Senate could have an impact on issues besides slots. He said he believes she will be much more receptive to a push to abolish the death penalty in Maryland than Hogan was.

Andrew A. Green


Groups to study Md. congestion

With an eye toward rallying support for increased transportation revenue, three major business groups announced plans yesterday to commission a study of traffic congestion in Maryland.

The Greater Baltimore Committee, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Washington Board of Trade have hired the Texas Transportation Institute to forecast future congestion and to assess the importance of the transportation infrastructure to the state's economy.

The organizations have traditionally been strong advocates of transportation spending. The study comes as Gov. Martin O'Malley is laying the groundwork for proposals that could include an increase in the state's 23.5-cent-a-gallon gasoline tax, among other provisions.

The institute will project the benefits of increasing the money directed to the Transportation Trust Fund by $400 million and by $600 million. The administration has suggested that it could take about $400 million in new revenue to meet the state's transportation needs. GBC President Donald C. Fry has advocated an increase closer to $600 million.

Michael Dresser

Queen Anne's Co.

Crash involving stolen car kills 1

The vice principal of Queen Anne's County High School was hit and killed yesterday by a stolen sport utility vehicle driven by a man trying to elude police.

Maryland State Police said the accident happened about 3 p.m., when a man driving a 1999 GMC Yukon stolen from Chestertown was driving through Centreville at a high rate of speed when the driver ran a red light at an intersection and hit a 2005 Lincoln Towncar driven by John F. Andrews, 71, of Dulin Clark Drive in Centreville, killing Andrews.

The Yukon also struck a building, and no pedestrians were involved, police said.

The suspect, whose name was withheld pending charges by the Queen Anne's County prosecutor, sustained minor injuries and was treated at the Chester River Health System and released.

Associated Press

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