The Washington Times - January 19, 2012, 08:05AM

A billionaire history buff has stepped forward to donate the $7.5 million matching gift that’s needed to start repairing cracks near the top of the Washington Monument from last summer’s East Coast earthquake. David Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group, told the Associated Press he was inspired to help fund the repairs to the 555-foot obelisk when it became clear how severely damaged it was by the 5.8-magnitude quake on Aug. 23.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley proposed a state budget Wednesday that would increase tax payments for the top 20 percent of Maryland wage earners, prompting criticism that the move will further burden families in difficult economic times. Under the governor’s proposal, single residents making between $100,000 and $125,000 a year and couples making $150,000 to $175,000 would be allowed to deduct only $1,200 from their taxable income for each personal exemption, rather than the standard $2,400, reports David Hill of The Washington Times.

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Violations of Prince George’s County’s dance-hall law remain prevalent, despite a crackdown that resulted in guilty pleas Wednesday from the first club operators charged under the new statute, prosecutors tell Andrea Nobles of The Times.

Washington Times columnistDeborah Simmons writes that D.C. Council member Marion Barry this year appears to be facing the toughest re-election challenge in his long, controversial political career. Mr Barry — a Ward 8 Democrat and former D.C. mayor — recently has been on the wrong side of several political and class skirmishes. And a longtime supporter tells Mrs. Simmons the 75-year-old Mr. Barry is now clearly “in survival mode.”

The group in charge of building the Metro rail extension to Washington Dulles International Airport is considering eliminating the Metro station at the airport. Metro’s new Silver Line would instead drop off airport passengers in Fairfax County. Riders would then have to ride a bus or a light rail train, according to a proposal discussed Wednesday by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. Altering the course of the Metro line, which is already under construction, would shave about $70 million off a nearly $6 billion price tag. For months, the airport authority was at odds with local and state officials in Virginia because members wanted to build an underground Metro station, though it cost $300 million more than the above-ground station favored by Virginia officials, the Washington Examiner reports.

Paul D. Craney has resigned as executive director of the D.C. Republican Committee after about four years. Under Mr. Craney’s leadership, the party has been a city hall watchdog in heavily-Democratic Washington. And it was a Republican candidate for the D.C. Council, Timothy Day, who first raised questions, with the committee’s backing, about former council member Harry Thomas Jr., which led to the investigations that ended in his felony pleas and resignation, reports The Washington Post.

A woman used three young children in an elaborate ruse to rob an 84-year-old woman of several thousand dollars last week, Prince George’s County police say. The incident began about noon Jan. 12 in the parking lot of Murry’s Steaks on New Hampshire Avenue, said police Capt. Marc Alexander. That is where the woman, along with two young boys and an infant, approached the victim to ask for help cashing a check, according to The Post.

An international group seeking to preserve the legacy of Winston Churchill will announcing plans Thursday to create the first U.S. research center devoted to the longtime British leader. The new National Churchill Library and Center will be established between 2013 and 2015 at George Washington University with an $8 million pledge from the Chicago-based Churchill Centre. Rare books and research materials will be transferred to the university’s library and housed in a new street-front center with exhibit space, officials told the Associated Press.

A D.C. police officer is accused of attacking a female bartender at a club in Southeast Washington. ABC7 reports that Sgt. Yurell Washington is charged with assault and was put on administrative leave over the incident early Wednesday morning. The police report states Sgt. Washington was at Georgene’s when he started yelling at the bartender, whom he dated four years ago. The report said he grabbed her and threw her to the ground before being pushed outside. The TV station reported that public records show previous domestic violence claims and orders against the officer.