Manhole fire knocks out power
A manhole fire near Georgia Avenue knocked out power to about 1,800 customers in Northwest.
Fire department spokesman Alan Etter said the fire occurred in the 900 block of Farragut Street about 8:45 a.m., affecting power to homes and businesses in the immediate area.
Mr. Etter said pressure from the underground fire caused the manhole cover to pop off.
As a precaution, firefighters checked on residents in a nearby assisted-living facility to make sure they did not have problems owing to a lack of electricity. There were no injuries.
A Potomac Electric Power Co. spokesman said a feeder line faulted and may have overheated insulation, causing the fire.
Campaign chairman pleads to tax charge
Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon’s former campaign chairman pleaded guilty to failing to pay personal income taxes during the years he was a technology consultant to the City Council without a contract.
Dale Clark pleaded guilty to three counts of willful failure to file income-tax returns for 2002, 2003 and 2004 in Anne Arundel County.
Clark‘s business, Ultimate Network Integration Corp., provided computer-networking services to the council, billing nearly $600,000 without a contract.
Clark received a suspended five-year sentence, was fined $5,000 and must perform 1,000 hours of community service during his five years of probation. Under the plea deal, Clark must cooperate with the state prosecutor in continuing investigations.
Arrest attempt leads to chase, standoff
State police arrested a Sykesville man they say rammed a Baltimore police cruiser and tried to run down officers.
On Saturday, Baltimore police said, officers tried to arrest Melville Mason, 29, a suspect in a drug deal. They said he rammed a cruiser and tried to hit officers attempting to arrest him.
Police chased Mr. Mason to Carroll County, where they said he lost control of the car and fled the disabled car on foot.
Investigators tracked Mr. Mason to his grandmother’s house.
After negotiating with Mr. Mason for hours, the state police special tactical team set off tear gas and entered the home, where they found him hiding in a crawl space.
Mr. Mason faces traffic and criminal charges in Baltimore, Baltimore County and Carroll County.
3 inmates stabbed in jail fight
Three inmates at the Baltimore Detention Center were stabbed during a fight Sunday, a Baltimore correctional official said.
It happened about noon at the facility on East Monument Street.
Division of Pretrial and Detention Services spokeswoman Barbara Cooper said correctional officers responded to a fight near a recreation room and found the men bleeding from multiple stab wounds.
Miss Cooper said one man was treated at the center and then taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital. She said two others were taken to the University of Maryland Medical Center, where one was admitted and the second was treated and returned to the detention center.
The incident remains under investigation.
Grant for HIV testing spreads state’s reach
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded a $2.7 million grant to Maryland’s health department to triple the number of HIV tests given to blacks.
Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene officials announced the federal grant yesterday. They said the program will offer free testing to previously undiagnosed individuals who are HIV positive.
Department Secretary John Colmers said they also will be able to connect those individuals to HIV-care services.
The money will pay for new testing programs that reach individuals who don’t use traditional counseling or testing programs.
Maryland is ranked third in the U.S. for the number of AIDS cases per capita — 32,000 state residents have HIV and officials estimate those who have it but don’t know at 10,000.
State looks to expand MARC service
State transit officials are making plans to expand commuter train service and triple capacity by 2035 to 100,000 riders a day.
The Maryland Transit Administration would add more weekday trains on the MARC lines, including midday trains, and weekend service to accommodate the growing popularity of the service now used by more than 30,000 people a day.
MTA Administrator Paul Wiedefeld said the service eventually could run from Virginia to Delaware. The plan includes connections with other transit lines and a hub at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore.
Mr. Wiedefeld said he has started negotiations with CSX, which owns the Camden Line and Western Maryland’s Brunswick Line, and Amtrak, which owns the Perryville-to-Washington Penn Line.
HAVRE DE GRACE
Firefighter charged with setting fire
A volunteer firefighter has been charged with arson after police said he set a public library on fire so he could help extinguish it, state fire officials said.
Daniel Ramsey Jr., 28, of Havre de Grace, is charged with possession of a destructive device and conspiracy to commit arson. A 17-year-old boy also has been charged as a juvenile in the case.
Fire investigators said Mr. Ramsey and the teenager threw an incendiary device through a window at the Havre de Grace Library on Aug 26. The fire caused about $17,000 in damage, officials said.
Mr. Ramsey “was trying to cause work so he would be able to help and put the fire out,” Deputy State Fire Marshal Joseph G. Zurolo Jr. said
Mr. Ramsey started serving at the Susquehanna Hose Company as a probationary member six months ago. He has been suspended until his case has been adjudicated.
He was released from jail this weekend after posting $50,000 bail.
Soldiers take oath at Fort McHenry
More than a dozen soldiers and Marines — including some who have served in Iraq — became American citizens yesterday at Fort McHenry.
After taking the Oath of Allegiance, they helped to raise a replica of the flag that flew at the fort in September 1814, when Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the Star-Spangled Banner.
Among the new citizens is Sgt. Iyan Mohamed, who said she always wanted to be a soldier like her father — who served in the Somalian military. She said she likes the challenge.
She joined the Army in 2003 and is stationed in a security unit at Walter Reed Army Medical Center Institute of Research. She lives in Silver Spring and has a brother in the Marines.
Children rescued from hot car
Two small children were rescued from a hot car in the parking lot of the Frederick County jail Saturday, county deputies said.
The sheriff’s office said the two girls, ages 3 months and 1 year, were treated for dehydration after their mother left them unattended for nearly an hour in the afternoon while visiting an inmate.
High temperatures that day approached 90 degrees.
Trina Hall, 34, of Indian Head, was charged with two counts of leaving a child unattended and two counts of reckless endangerment.
Miss Hall could not be reached for comment.
Hit-and-run kills woman on Route 50
A Salisbury woman was killed in a hit-and-run crash on Route 50 yesterday morning, state police said.
The crash occurred around 4:15 a.m. on eastbound Route 50 near White Richardson Road.
A truck driven by Carolyn Lee Huston, 48, was hit from behind and overturned several times. She was pronounced dead on the scene.
The second vehicle involved had left by the time troopers arrived. Wicomico County sheriff’s deputies found the vehicle and its driver, who was intoxicated. Charges are pending.
Police closed Route 50 in both directions.
Teen attacked with electric iron
A Henry County man has been charged in an attack on his girlfriend that included her being burned with an electric iron.
Henry County sheriff’s officials said Patrick Marquese Hampton, 18, was charged with aggravated malicious wounding and abduction with intent to defile after Sunday’s incident. He is being held without bail in the county jail.
Mr. Hampton forced the 17-year-old victim into his home, then physically assaulted her, struck her with an electric clothing iron and burned her with the hot iron on several parts of her body, sheriff’s officials said. The girl sought help from Mr. Hampton’s mother, who called the sheriff’s office.
The teenager suffered a broken jaw and first- and second-degree burns.
Emergency sirens fail at college
Sirens failed to sound yesterday during a test of the College of William & Mary’s new system for notifying alert students, faculty and staff of emergencies.
The sirens are supposed to alert the campus to check for emergency notifications sent via e-mail, text message, cell phone, telephone and the school’s Web site.
Test notifications went out as planned at 10:30 a.m. but two clusters of sirens that were supposed to blare at the same time did not go off, university spokesman Brian Whitson said
Officials were able to manually override and activate sirens atop the law school building, Mr. Whitson said. The other set of sirens, atop the university’s Integrated Science Center, failed.
Officials were trying to determine what went wrong. The school will schedule another test soon.
“It’s certainly important for people to hear this sound and be able to distinguish it,” Mr. Whitson said.
William & Mary paid $200,000 for the sirens. The notification system costs $20,000 annually, he said.
William & Mary officials had been discussing the messaging system for more than a year.
Installation in July took place three months after a gunman killed 32 persons and himself at Virginia Tech.
In the chaos, many on Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus had complained they didn’t know what was going on, when and where. That spurred other schools to look into emergency-alert systems.
Last week, Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond successfully tested its own new emergency sirens.
Tear-gas canisters found floating in surf
Park rangers found seven tear-gas canisters and an undisclosed number of pepper-gas canisters floating in the surf at Delaware State Seashore Park at the south side of the Indian River Inlet and at Breakwater Beach, respectively.
Natural resources officials have asked the public not to touch any canisters that are found and to call 911 and report the location.
The green tear-gas canisters are about a foot long and the pepper-gas canisters are white and slightly less than a foot long.
From wire dispatches and staff reports