The Star-Democrat from Easton, Maryland on September 3, 1993 · Page 2
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The Star-Democrat from Easton, Maryland · Page 2

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Easton, Maryland
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Friday, September 3, 1993
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Page 2
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Page 2A The Star-Democrat Friday, September 3, 1993' Maryland State review School transfers deemed legal TOWSON (AP) The state Department of Education has ruled Baltimore County's transfer of hundreds of disabled students into regular classrooms doesn't violate federal or state law. Superintendent Stuart Berger's controversial plan has provoked a federal lawsuit by angry parents and teachers and drawn a scathing review from an independent panel. But in a report released Wednesday, state education officials said they found only six violations among 115 specific complaints raised by parents and advocates for the disabled. According to the state's review, the only charges with validity involved the county school system's failure to notify parents in writing of their children's placements and a failure to give parents information about their legal rights. The report comes just one day after a task force issued a lengthy report that called the Berger plan ill-timed and improperly executed. The task force said the school system's handling of the matter has severely damaged the district's credibility among parents and teachers. Berger has declined to comment. Masked robber strikes again ARNOLD (AP) A man wearing a rubber mask of a former president and brandishing a handgun has robbed a third Ritchie Highway restaurant, Anne Arundel County police said. Twice the deed has been done by a well-dressed Richard Nixon, once by a dapper Ronald Reagan. County police said they believed the same man is responsible for all the three robberies committed during an eight-day period. In all three cases, the bandit wore a suit or a sports coat and may have had a woman accomplice driving a getaway car. The crimes also bear a resemblance to the 1992 movie "Point Break," in which a group of beach bums staging robberies covered their faces with the rubber masks of former presidents. In Tuesday's holdup, a man masquerading as Nixon burst into the Subway sandwich shop in the Arnold Station Shopping Center and threatened the owner, Sherri L. Anderson, with a revolver. The man jumped over the counter and took the cash drawer containing an unknown amount of money, police said. He ran outside and jumped into a car that was driven by someone who witnesses said appeared to be a woman. Woman 's body identified COVE POINT (AP) Maryland Natural Resources Police said Thursday they have identified the body of a woman found floating in the Chesapeake Bay. Nancy Lynn Manni, 33, was last seen Sunday at the Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship in Piney Point. She was a student at the school. Natural Resources Police said they are investigating Ms. Manni's death. Results from an autopsy conducted by the State Medical Examiner's Office had not yet been released Thursday. Her body was discovered Monday floating about 250 yards from the Cove Point Lighthouse by an unidentified boater. City hires design team BALTIMORE (AP) A design team has been hired by the city to develop plans for a $32 million expansion and renovation of police headquarters. The city's Board of Estimates on Wednesday awarded a $2.6 million contract to a joint venture between RCG Inc. of Baltimore and HOK of Washington, a division of the firm that designed Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The design team was selected from a field of seven candidates, project coordinator David Mitchell said. Plans call for the project to be completed by July 1997. An annex will be built first, then contractors will remove asbestos and renovate the headquarters. Owner of Elvis Bar' dies BALTIMORE (AP) Lavonda "Bonnie" Hunt, who kept a shrine to the memory of Elvis Presley in her eastside tavern, has died of a heart attack. She was 62. The landmark barroom, known as Miss Bonnie's Elvis Shrine, featured a 15-by-12-foot mural of Elvis on the side of the building, a jukebox packed with Elvis hits and hundreds of Presley artifacts, including an iron pole from the gates at Graceland. Such curios, enhanced by the quiet hospitality of Miss Bonnie, as she was known, attracted visitors from around the world. "I like running this bar," she said recently. "It's my life." Business hadn't been good for years. She blamed poor business on drunken driving laws, the wane of the traditional neighborhood bar, "harassment" from the liquor board, intolerant neighbors and simple misfortune. Miss Bonnie claimed to have met Elvis once in the check-out line of a Florida supermarket. CAFE 25 Increases in cable television rates spur angry calls from customers BALTIMORE (AP) Thousands of angry cable subscribers have called their local companies to complain about rate hikes despite recent federal legislation designed to lower costs. Comcast Cablevision reported receiving 16,000 calls Tuesday from its 250,000 customers in Baltimore, Harford and Howard counties. Calls were running at the same rate as of late Wednesday, according to David H. Nevins, spokesman for Comcast. And some of Comcast's Baltimore-area subscribers have yet to receive their notices of rate and channel changes. Comcast is receiving an average of 5,000 to 6,000 calls daily. Previously, the most calls the cable company received in one dar was 10,000. t The flurry of calls has prompted Comcast to triple the number of customer service representatives manning its phones. "How are the calls running?" Nevins said Wednesday. "It's amazing. We're doing everything we can to explain what's happening." The Cable TV Act of 1992 was designed to reduce rates with an initial goal of a 10 percent rollback, starting this month. Instead, as many as 40 percent of all cable subscribers in the Baltimore area will see their rates increased. The problem is in the FCC regulations, not the law, according to Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., a sponsor of the 1992 law. The FCC set certain benchmark prices for cable companies, based on number of subscribers. Companies that charged more than the prescribed amount had to reduce prices by 10 percent or down to the benchmark, whichever was the lesser cut. Companies also were ordered to reduce prices for equipment, like remote controls and converter boxes, to just over their cost. Income from programming and equipment was considered separate, but as companies started to implement the rules this week, it be-' came clear that high profits on remote controls, converter boxes and multiple hookups had long been used to offset negligible profits on programming. Many cable operators that were below their benchmarks pushed rates up as far as they could to cover those losses, leading Markey's office to criticize the benchmarks as too lenient. Responding to complaints from Markey and cable users, FCC officials promised they would recalculate its benchmarks. And Markey has schedule a hearing for later this month to investigate what went wrong with the 1992 law. State says tax hike decreased smoking BALTIMORE (AP) Maryland officials claim me number of smokers has dropped more than 21 percent since the state hiked the price per pack, but the Tobacco Institute claims people are just crossing over the border to buy cigarettes at bargain prices. Smokers have been paying 20 cents more per pack since May 1, 1992 when the excise tax was increased from 16 cents to 36 cents per pack. "I am pleased to see that the increase in the excise tax on cigarettes has had an immediate effect in reducing cigarette smoking in the state," Gov. William Donald Schaefer said Thursday. "This will help us a great deal in our fight against cancer and ridding our state of the distinction of having one of the highest rates of this disease in the nation." About 836,000 out of 3.6 million adult residents smoked in 1991, compared to 672,000 in 1992 a decrease of 164,000, said Norma Kanarek, an epidemiologist with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. "We believe it is because of the change between the first and the second half of 1992," she said. "In the previous three years, we had had a plateau. This was the first year, in 3' years, that we had a decline." But Ms. Kanarek said the news was not as optimistic for teen-agers. According to a survey conducted by the state Department of Education in 1990, about 27 percent of high school seniors said they had smoked during the past month. That figure increased to 31.5 percent in 1992. Dr. Nancy Rigotti, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard University who heads an anti-smoking program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, said increasing cigarette taxes is an effective measure in fighting adult and teen-age smoking. "We know that tax increases discourage smoking," she said "The higher the tax goes the more it will discourage young people from starting to smoke and encourage' current smokers to quit." Thomas Lauria, a spokesman for the Tobacco Institute in Washington, said most Mary landers haven't quit smoking. They're just buying the cigarettes in Virginia, West Virginia and Delaware, where they cost much less. "Maryland abuts Virginia, the state with the lowest tax rate, and Delaware has no sales tax," he said. , , , Report: AIDS on rise among heterosexual women BALTIMORE (AP) Although still relatively small, the number of women in Maryland acquiring AIDS from heterosexual contact is growing, according to state study. "More and more women are getting AIDS from heterosexual contact," Dr. Joseph Horman, of the Maryland AIDS Administration said. The number of Maryland AIDS victims that are women has grown from under ten percent in the early 1980s to almost 20 percent in 1993. Among the 90 women who have been diagnosed with AIDS in 1993, 30 percent of the cases were attributed to heterosexual contact. That is slightly higher than the 26.6 percent average since 1981. Horman said it's hard to draw conclusions from the new data because of the small number of women infected through heterosexual contact, but the numbers indicate a trend. The report said AIDS continues to rise in other groups. So far in 1993, there have been 476 new cases of AIDS in Maryland. Of the new cases 379 were adult men, 90 were adult women, and seven were children. The majority of the new cases are in Baltimore, where 210 people have been diagnosed with AIDS. Of them, 31 have died. In Prince George's County 101 people have been diagnosed and 18 have died. In Montgomery County 52 people have been diagnosed and two have died. So far this year, homosexual contact between men and intravenous drug use are still the leading causes of AIDS. Intravenous drug use accounted for 36.1 percent of new AIDS cases and homosexual contact accounted for 36.1 percent of cases. Since 1981, 6,847 Maryland residents have been diagnosed with AIDS, and 4,024 have died. AIDS weakens the immune system and leaves the body vulnerable to deadly illnesses. Although more women are getting AIDS, the proportion of women with AIDS increases as other risk groups shrink, according to David Vla-hov, an AIDS researcher at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. For instance, in the early 1980s many more people got AIDS from tainted blood transfusions. Now, relatively few people get the disease from infected blood. As the proportion of blood transfusion infections shrink, the proportion of other risk groups, including women, grows. SfflBBSBk. Fund-Raiser at LAKE BONNIE CAMPSITES Rt. 313 Goldsboro 10:00 A.M.-NOON - Kids' Carnival & Bake Table NOON-1:00 P.M. - Skydiver 1:00 P.M. - Auction 8:00 P.M.-MIDNIGHT - Dance 'PARTYTIME' 10:00 A.M. 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