The Baltimore Sun

Residents walk to reclaim site taken over by drug dealers

Fed up with crime and violence in their community, about 70 members of Ark Church of East Baltimore marched through the streets last night and occupied a courtyard that had been taken over by drug dealers.

Clasping hands and singing hymns, they stood in the courtyard of the Canal Courts housing development for nearly an hour as night fell. The streetlights in the area were torn down by drug dealers last month and have not been replaced.

Residents of Canal Courts and neighboring Lanvale Towers said they rarely see police in their community. They have asked for more patrols, and last night they presented three demands to the company that manages the properties: Replace the streetlights, hire private security and meet with the residents.

The properties are owned by American Housing Preservation of Portland, Maine. A message left with property management last night was not immediately returned.

Stephen Kiehl


: Schools

$168 million sought to fund construction

The Baltimore school board approved last night a request for $168 million in construction and renovation dollars for next academic year.

The board is requesting $150 million from the state, plus the $18 million it traditionally receives each year from the city.

For the current academic year, the system requested $146 million from the state and received $52.6 million.

In next year's request, the biggest chunk, $68 million, would go toward repair of mechanical equipment such as boilers and chillers. The second-biggest portion, $58 million, would fund major renovations at Paul Laurence Dunbar High, Carver Vocational-Technical High, Violetville Elementary and Leith Walk Elementary.

Dunbar is in the midst of a $26 million renovation. A contract for the $30 million Carver project is expected to be awarded at the next school board meeting so that construction can begin. The projects at Violetville and Leith Walk are in design phases.

The construction request also includes money to plan a promised addition at Waverly Elementary/Middle.

Sara Neufeld and Brent Jones


: Public health

Grant to finance anti-AIDS efforts

The Maryland AIDS Administration has received a $2.7 million federal grant to expand HIV testing in Baltimore City and Prince George's County, the parts of the state most affected by the epidemic.

The money will be used primarily to provide free testing at community health centers, emergency rooms, sexually transmitted disease clinics and outreach vans. Some of the grant money will pay for rapid tests, which produce results while a person waits.

"This also allows us an opportunity to work with people who are newly diagnosed to link them to care," Heather Hauck, director of the Maryland AIDS Administration, said after the grant was announced. An estimated 32,000 Marylanders have been diagnosed with AIDS or HIV infection, but an additional 10,000 are believed to be living with the virus without knowing it.

Harford County

: Aberdeen

Boy, 2, is struck by municipal truck

A 2-year-old boy was in critical but stable condition yesterday after being struck by a municipal truck Monday night in Aberdeen, police said.

About 8:48 p.m., Aberdeen police responded to the accident near the intersection of North Post Road and Hanover Street, said Sgt. Frederick H. Budnick, a Police Department spokesman.

Medics responding from the Aberdeen Fire Department treated the child before he was flown to the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

The truck involved in the accident was from the city's wastewater treatment division, Budnick said.

Police did not release the name of the child or the driver. Police are investigating the accident.

Howard County

: Savage

Body of woman found near campsite

Howard County police were investigating the death of a woman whose body was found near a campsite in Savage yesterday.

Police said a man reported finding the body in woods near U.S. 1 between Patuxent Range and Guilford roads about 6:30 a.m. Police believe the woman, who appeared to be in her 40s, was living in the woods.

The name of the woman was not released by police, who were trying to confirm her identity. Detectives said they found no obvious cause of death and that an autopsy would be performed.

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