Underground fire closes section of Greene Street
An underground conduit fire closed a section of Greene Street yesterday morning between Lombard and Baltimore streets, city officials said. Chief Kevin Cartwright, a city Fire Department spokesman, said the fire started about 9:30 at the southeast corner of Redwood and Greene streets, near the University of Maryland Medical Center. A contractor was working on asbestos abatement underground and struck a power line, sparking the fire, Cartwright said. The hospital did not lose power, and no one was injured, Cartwright said. There was a similar fire in the same area on Wednesday afternoon in which a worker was injured when his jackhammer struck a power line.
Police seek ID of comatose man found a month ago
A month ago yesterday, Baltimore police found an unconscious man in a Highlandtown alley. Since then, he has been in a coma at a local hospital, and authorities are still trying to find out who he is. The patient is a black man, between 40 and 50 years old, 5-foot-9 and weighs between 125 and 140 pounds, authorities said. His left arm is amputated to the shoulder, and his right arm has a faded tattoo. The city Department of Social Services is handling the case because he is an adult in need of assistance. "We have absolutely no other clues," said Elyn Jones, a spokeswoman for social services. She said officers found him Sept. 17 in an alley off Leverton Avenue and that he had no obvious signs of injury. She asked anyone with information to call 410-361-5000.
Man sought in abduction of four in Carroll County
Maryland State Police have issued an arrest warrant for a man they say abducted an adult and three children at gunpoint from the Taylorsville area in Carroll County. Authorities say they were already looking for 26-year-old J.W. Bennett on an outstanding Baltimore County warrant when they received a tip Thursday afternoon that he was holding four people hostage at an address on Hooper Road. By the time police arrived, Bennett and the hostages were gone, but the hostages were later found unharmed. Police then checked addresses in Carroll and Baltimore counties, but did not find Bennett. State police say Bennett is believed armed and extremely dangerous. He is wanted for armed kidnapping in Carroll County and failing to appear in court in Baltimore County.
Hunt Valley roads close for Komen race
Several roads in the Hunt Valley area will be closed tomorrow morning for the annual Susan G. Komen Maryland Race for the Cure, Baltimore County police said. Southbound York Road will be closed between Phoenix and Ashland roads between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. and northbound York Road will be closed between Ashland and Phoenix roads from 7:45 a.m. to 10 a.m. Detours using Paper Mill Road will be posted, police said. Parts of Shawan, McCormick, Gilroy, Beaver Dam and Schilling roads will be closed as early as 6 a.m., according to organizers. The race village will be in the parking lots of the Executive Plaza in Hunt Valley, and participants are expected to begin arriving at 6 a.m. for the 8 a.m. race.
Salisbury bicyclist dies in accident
A Salisbury man died Thursday night after he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle, according to Maryland State Police. Arthur Ray Cephas, 57, was riding a bike south on Sixty Foot Road just north of U.S. 50 in Pittsville in Wicomico County about 6:55 p.m. when he was struck by a southbound 1994 Nissan Sentra driven by Edwin J. Crumm, 30, of Seaford, Del., according to a news release. Cephas was taken to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, where he was pronounced dead, according to the release. State police are investigating, but no charges have been filed.
Liz F. Kay
Power grid improvements worth $1.8 billion OK'd
PJM Interconnection LLC, operator of the high-voltage electricity grid that stretches from the U.S. mid-Atlantic region to Illinois, said yesterday it approved $1.8 billion of improvements to meet future demand and avert blackouts. Dozens of projects were approved by PJM's board, most with individual cost below $50 million, according to a statement from the Valley Forge, Pa.-based company. Among projects approved were those owned by Constellation Energy Group Inc., American Electric Power Co., Allegheny Energy Inc., Exelon Corp., FirstEnergy Corp., Pepco Holdings Inc., PPL Corp. and Public Service Enterprise Group Inc., PJM said. The last major upgrades to the grid were authorized by the board in February, PJM said. The board has approved $11.6 billion of improvements since the process began in 2000, it said.
MDE proposes stormwater rules
The Maryland Department of Environment announced proposed regulations to implement the Stormwater Management Act of 2007, requiring developers to use state-of-the-art site design practices, where possible, to control runoff and pollution from new development and redevelopment. The proposal includes a combination of enhanced site planning techniques, alternative permeable covers, vegetative buffers and small-scale treatment practices to address the impacts associated with development, the agency said. The process includes a 30-day comment period, and the agency will hold a public hearing Dec. 8 at 1800 Washington Boulevard in Baltimore. The formal regulations are expected to be adopted in January. More information is available on MDE's Web site, www.mde. state.md.us.
Man in Goucher student's killing sentenced to death
Brian L. Rooney, a 38-year-old construction worker and father of three, was sentenced to death yesterday in Rutland, Vt., in the death of Michelle Gardner-Quinn, a former student at Goucher College. Berated as "evil" and "the lowest of the low," Rooney fought back tears as he expressed condolences to the mother and father of Gardner-Quinn but said he wasn't her killer. "I am so sorry for what you are going through, but I am not the man responsible for this tragic event. And it saddens me to have to tell you that," he said. Gardner-Quinn, 21, had just transferred to the University of Vermont when she happened upon Rooney on a downtown Burlington Street Oct. 7, 2006. Her cell phone had gone dead, and she asked to borrow his. They were seen on surveillance camera images walking past a jewelry store, but she vanished after that. Six days later, her half-dressed body was found covered with leaves and stuffed into a rock crevice at scenic Huntington Gorge.
No resolution in football dispute
HAGERSTOWN : A mediation session with the U.S. Justice Department produced no resolution of the racially tinged dispute between two high school football programs. Coach Craig Jeffries of Dunbar High School in the District of Columbia told the Cumberland Times-News that the meeting Thursday in Hagerstown wasn't meant to resolve the disagreement between Dunbar and Fort Hill High School in Cumberland. Instead, he says, the schools' athletic directors and head coaches discussed a framework for dealing with such events in the future, and he says they made progress. Jeffries and some black players on his team reported that at least one player on the mostly white Fort Hill squad used racial slurs during a game Sept. 19. Jeffries ordered his team off the field in the third quarter.