The Baltimore Sun

Maryland : Environment

Tougher standards for ozone alerts

Stricter ozone standards likely will mean twice as many code red and orange "alert days" in Maryland this summer, even if the air isn't any more polluted, state officials said yesterday.

"We want people to understand that the air quality has improved, but now we will be calling alert days at a lower level," said Tad Aburn, director of the air division at the Maryland Department of the Environment.

The new standard is an average of 75 parts per billion over an eight-hour period. The old standard was 85 parts per billion.

Last year, Maryland issued 25 red and orange health alerts across the state for high ozone levels. On red and orange alert days, the government advises children, the elderly and people with asthma to limit activity.

Tom Pelton

Anne Arundel

: Naval Academy

Klein promoted to rear admiral

Capt. Margaret D. Klein, who in 2006 became the first female commandant of midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy, has been promoted to the rank of rear admiral, according to a Department of Defense announcement.

She has been assigned as operations officer of the Navy's network warfare command, based in Norfolk, Va.

Klein graduated in 1981, part of the second class of women to have been admitted to the academy. Vice Admiral Rodney P. Rempt, the previous academy superintendent, tapped Klein as academy officials sought to address a culture described by a Pentagon task force as hostile to female students. The academy has also been criticized for its response to allegations of sexual misconduct.

Mullen to speak at graduation

Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will address the Naval Academy's graduation May 23, the academy said yesterday.

Mullen has served as Joint Chiefs chairman since Oct. 1. A 1968 academy graduate, he most recently served as the 28th Chief of Naval Operations. His last operational assignment was as commander of the NATO Joint Force Command Naples and U.S. Naval Forces Europe.


: Hopkins Hospital

Surgeon files sex harassment suit

A former Johns Hopkins Hospital pediatric surgeon is suing the institution for harassment in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

In a complaint filed Monday, Dr. Anne C. Fischer alleges that she went through eight years of sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

Fischer, an expert on gene therapy, came to Johns Hopkins nine years ago. She says she experienced "a longstanding pattern of gender discrimination and sex-based bullying, and harassment" from colleagues, including her supervisor, Dr. Paul Colombani, chief of the pediatric surgery division.

In a statement released yesterday, Johns Hopkins' press office wrote: "The Johns Hopkins defendants, including the two individual faculty members, deny the claims and intend vigorously to defend the case. We believe the complaint has no merit."

Fischer is also suing Dr. Julie Freischlag, chairwoman of the department of surgery.

City Hall

New public works head is sworn in

David E. Scott, a former deputy mayor and longtime public works employee, was sworn in as the director of Baltimore's Department of Public Works yesterday by Mayor Sheila Dixon.

Scott, who most recently served as commissioner for Atlanta's Department of Public Works, began his career in Baltimore as a civil engineer in 1985. He has also served as a deputy city engineer for Highland Park, Illinois.

Scott replaces George L. Winfield, who died late last year. Scott earned bachelor's and master's degrees in engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Legislation expected to win approval in the City Council would set Scott's salary at $155,000.

John Fritze

Mount Vernon

Road closures for Flower Mart

Baltimore's 91st annual Flower Mart begins tomorrow in Mount Vernon with vendors and artists selling a variety of plants, paintings and photographs. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on both days, but traffic restrictions in the neighborhood and around the Washington Monument start earlier.

Starting 3 p.m. today and lasting until 10 p.m. Saturday, the following streets will be closed: Charles Street from Centre to Read streets; Madison Street from St. Paul to Cathedral streets; and Mount Vernon Place from Cathedral to St. Paul streets. Parking will be prohibited on those streets starting at 2 p.m. today .

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