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Marina fire damages 2 boats, causes Middle Branch fuel spill

A fire Monday morning at a Baltimore marina damaged two boats and caused a fuel spill in the Middle Branch, authorities said. The fire broke out on a boat at the marina in the 3100 block of Waterview Ave. and spread to a 40-foot cabin cruiser, which was heavily damaged by flames, said Chief Kevin Cartwright, a city Fire Department spokesman. An unknown amount of fuel also leaked into the water, according to Cartwright, and fire officials requested assistance from the Maryland Department of the Environment and the U.S. Coast Guard for the cleanup. MDE officials reported a "minor sheen of diesel fuel" coming from the boats. The fuel was not expected to affect the environment, said Jay Apperson, a spokesman for the agency. The marina and the owner of the boat where the fire began were required by the MDE to hire a contractor to contain and clean up the spill, he said. No one was injured.

- Liz F. Kay

MTA worker faces charges of stealing more than $400,000

A Maryland Transit Administration employee is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Baltimore federal court on charges he stole more than $400,000 in bus fares. David Mark Pattawi, who lives in White Marsh, worked the night shift at the MTA repairing communication problems on buses and light rail vehicles. But a criminal information filed against him last month in Baltimore's U.S. District Court alleges that he also used that time to collect thousands of dollars in cash that hadn't been turned in during the day, using an electronic key that opened the fare boxes. Computer records show more than 1,600 late night collections occurred on the night watch from January 2007 through March 2008. Pattawi, 36, is charged with "theft by an agent from an organization receiving federal funds;" the MTA received nearly $300 million in federal funding during the past three fiscal years. Pattawi could not be reached yesterday, and a woman who answered his phone said she did not know if he had a lawyer.

- Tricia Bishop

Stimulus dollars to go to police crime labs in the state

Four police crime labs in Maryland will receive $1.2 million in federal stimulus funding. Gov. Martin O'Malley announced Monday that state police as well as police in Baltimore City and Montgomery and Prince George' counties will receive funding for their DNA crime labs. State police and the Baltimore Police Department will receive about $375,000, while Montgomery County will receive $275,000 and Prince George's County will receive about $210,000.

- Associated Press

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