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650 workers at APG might strike Sunday

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About 650 contract workers at Aberdeen Proving Ground are threatening to strike, starting Sunday. Members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers voted all day yesterday on a contract that they said does not offer even a cost-of-living raise. Results of the vote were not made public yesterday. In an e-mail, Henry Scott, a union representative, said the weekly pay raises offered in the three-year contract "don't even amount to a tank of gas." The workers are employed by three contractors who serve the Aberdeen Test Support Services, an Army agency that tests vehicles, equipment, weapons and ammunition for all branches of the military, the Department of Defense and private industry. Most of the workers are employed by Jacobs Technology, a subsidiary of Jacobs Engineering Group of Pasadena, Calif. Two Virginia contractors also fill jobs for ATSS, including Science and Technology Corp. of Virginia Beach and Lo-Sec Corp. of Manassas. "The Army has a contract with Jacobs," said Pat McClung, APG spokeswoman. "This problem is between Jacobs and its employees." McClung, who has worked at the post for 37 years, could not recall any strike there.

Mary Gail Hare

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Police seek help identifying skeleton found in Cedonia

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Homicide investigators are asking for the public's help in identifying a man whose body was found this year in a wooded area in Northeast Baltimore. The body was found April 30 when a woman looking for scrap metal about 200 feet into the woods in the 4800 block of Strathdale Road in the Cedonia area discovered a full human skeleton, police said. A medical examiner later determined that the man had died as a result of a gunshot wound and might have been killed as long as three years ago, police said. He was described as a black male, between ages 24 and 27, with a medium build. Police believe the man might have ties to Lancaster, Pa. Anyone with information was asked to call the homicide unit at 410-396-2100 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 866-7-LOCKUP.

Justin Fenton

Dud grenade causes stir at La Plata school

The 11-year-old boy found a grenade in his backyard and wanted to show his friends. So he took it to school Wednesday in La Plata in Charles County. But as soon as a teacher at F.B. Gwynn Education Center saw it, school officials took immediate steps to place the grenade outside the building and move students to other parts of the school that were farthest from it, authorities said. Police and bomb squad technicians were called to the scene and determined that the grenade was harmless, according to Deputy State Fire Marshal Joseph G. Zurolo Jr. He said the grenade proved to be an empty shell, lacking a firing mechanism and explosive material. Investigators believed the grenade was possibly made during the Korean War or World War II era. He said investigators visited the boy's house, searched the woods where he found the grenade and spoke with his father. They determined that the boy did not intend to terrorize or harm anyone, and no charges would be filed, Zurolo said.

Gus G. Sentementes

Democrat Kratovil gets pair of GOP endorsements

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Frank Kratovil Jr., a Democratic congressional candidate in Maryland's Republican-leaning 1st District, announced yesterday endorsements from two GOP county officials. Roy Crow, president of the Kent County Board of Commissioners, and Jack Cole, president of the Caroline County Board of Commissioners, are backing Kratovil, according to his campaign. The Democratic state's attorney for Queen Anne's County faces state Sen. Andy Harris, known for his solidly conservative credentials, in the November election in a district centered on the Eastern Shore but also includes other parts of the state. Harris, who is from Cockeysville, defeated longtime Republican incumbent Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest in the February primary.

Laura Smitherman

Baltimore Co. recycling program expanded

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Baltimore County is expanding its residential recycling program for compact fluorescent lamps, fluorescent bulbs, mercury thermometers and thermostats, and lead-acid and rechargeable batteries, officials said. Residents may now recycle these items at the Western Acceptance Facility in Halethorpe and the Baltimore County Resource Recovery Facility in Cockeysville, in addition to the Eastern Sanitary Solid Waste Management Facility in White Marsh. Only residential items, and not commercial loads, will be accepted. County government also will begin to recycle these items in most of the buildings that it owns or maintains, officials said. Information: 410-887-3745.

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Howard County to roll out new recycling bins

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After months of discussion and argument, Howard County residents are to begin receiving new recycling bins that county officials hope will increase participation while reducing the amount of trash. All recyclables can be mixed in the bins, which can then be rolled to the curb. County Executive Ken Ulman is to kick off the countywide program Tuesday by distributing the first few blue bins to residents on Jackson Court in North Laurel. Ulman is spending an estimated $3 million in county funds to buy about 71,000 of the bins, which come in three sizes: 64 gallons for detached homes, 35 gallons for townhouses with garages and 18 gallons for townhouses without garages. The county conducted a pilot project on one trash route in the Elkridge area last year and said recycling increased 25 percent as a result. Residents in each neighborhood are to receive information on the program a week before the bins arrive, a spokeswoman said.

Double-deck coaches are delivered to MARC

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The 13 double-deck commuter coaches the state has purchased for its MARC commuter train service have been delivered, the Maryland Transit Administration said yesterday. The cars, which were purchased from Virginia Railway Express for $22 million as part of an effort to relieve crowding on MARC, are expected to be put into service late this fall.

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Michael Dresser

State GOP makes a deal to recycle campaign signs

The Maryland Republican Party has announced a solution for getting rid of those campaign signs that tend to linger on lawns after election season, and it is an environmentally friendly proposal at that. The GOP said yesterday that it has negotiated a deal with a recycling company to pick up campaign signs after the presidential election. The party plans to set up drop-off points throughout the state in keeping with its "proud, pro-conservation stance," according to a statement from Chairman Jim Pelura. As for the Democrats, individual campaigns have recycled for years, state party spokesman David Paulson said.

Laura Smitherman

Contraband cigarettes worth $22,000 seized

Salisbury: Agents with the Maryland comptroller's office confiscated about 4,500 packs of contraband cigarettes worth more than $22,000 Tuesday after Wicomico County sheriff's deputies stopped a van during a routine traffic stop. They arrested the driver and passenger, who were from Delaware and Illinois. The comptroller's office has seized more than 46,000 packs of smokes illegally brought across state lines through July of this year, a nearly fourfold increase over the same period in 2007. State officials say a doubling of the tobacco tax to $2 a pack could be a factor in the rise in smuggling.

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Laura Smitherman



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