- The Washington Times - Monday, May 1, 2006

MARYLAND

HAGERSTOWN

Missing plane found; pilot died in crash

A small plane that had been missing for five days in a rugged section of south-central Pennsylvania was found yesterday with the body of the pilot inside the wreckage, the Civil Air Patrol’s Maryland Wing said.

Searchers found the plane about 12:45 p.m. in an area called the “punch bowl,” just north of the Pennsylvania state line, officials said.

The body of pilot David K. Weiss, 72, of Bethesda, was found in the wreckage of the blue and white Cessna 172.

The pilot’s sons, Steve and Mark Weiss, found the crash site and were joined by an air patrol ground team.

The area was being searched because signals relayed automatically to a cellular communications tower in nearby St. Thomas, Pa., indicated that a cell phone belonging to Mr. Weiss was in that area. A Federal Aviation Administration radar had indicated that the area was where Mr. Weiss was thought to be flying. Witnesses also had reported seeing or hearing something consistent with an airplane crash.

Mr. Weiss took off shortly after noon Tuesday from Gaithersburg Airport and was due back at 2:30 p.m. He was flying on a routine “proficiency flight,” needed to maintain his pilot’s certification.

Last contact with the pilot occurred when the aircraft was leaving the Washington Air Defense Identification Zone at 12:17 p.m.

LAUREL

Man on dirt bike shot near park

Prince George’s County police are looking for the person who shot a man riding a dirt bike.

Investigators said the shooting happened Saturday on private property between Van Dusen and Old Gunpowder roads, near Fairland Regional Park.

The victim’s injuries are not life-threatening. Witnesses said the shooter appeared to want to steal the bike, but police said no demands were made and nothing was taken.

ANNAPOLIS

Exotic pet ban awaits signature

A bill passed by the General Assembly that adds species to the list of exotic animals banned as pets now awaits the signature of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

The bill outlaws wolves, primates and big cats, among others. Lawmakers debated the ban for more than a year. Opponents argued that the ban would punish responsible animal owners.

Maryland already considers bears, foxes, raccoons and skunks off-limits as pets. Pets on the new list owned before May 31 would be exempt from the ban, though owners would have to notify animal-control officials by August about their pets.

If the governor, a Republican, signs the bill, Maryland would join a growing list of states with exotic pet bans pushed by the Humane Society of the United States.

VIRGINIA

FAIRFAX

Rescuers practice on VRE train

First responders in Fairfax County rehearsed for a disaster yesterday by simulating an explosion aboard a VRE train.

Volunteers and emergency-response officials practiced for a scenario involving explosions on a train car and on the tracks at the same time.

Two overturned school buses were used to simulate the damaged rail cars, set between two real VRE cars, with smoke simulating the effects of a real explosion.

Emergency crews from several jurisdictions assisted volunteers playing the roles of victims.

Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board, the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force evaluated the drill.

YORKTOWN

Fisherman dies when boat overturns

A fisherman died Saturday when the boat he was on capsized about 11:40 a.m. in the York River, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission said.

The victim was identified as James Perry, 65, of Richmond. Mr. Perry and two other men on the boat were wearing flotation devices, an agency spokesman said. The other men were rescued from the river and have been identified as Siddiq Wilson, 32, and Timothy Mason, 30.

BLAND

Rural county offers free Internet access

Bland County is giving residents free, wireless Internet access.

Bland is the first locality in Southwest Virginia and one of only three in the state to offer such access to residents.

The other two are Fairfax City and parts of Arlington County.

County officials said the installation of the broadband service is scheduled for completion today. The service is scheduled to be activated Thursday in downtown Bland.

The county’s economic development authority said the service will help increase traffic to the downtown area for businesses.

The free service should appeal to Appalachian Trail hikers, travelers passing through on Interstate 77 and professionals visiting the county on business. The cost of the initial phase is estimated at less than $6,000.

NORFOLK

Report: State lags in disciplining doctors

A nonprofit research group says Virginia is lagging behind in disciplinary actions against its doctors.

The Public Citizen group ranked Virginia 34th in the country in 2005 in terms of discipline against doctors. Virginia’s ranking has declined steadily since 2001, when it was 21st, according to the group.

The ranking is based on the three-year-average rate of disciplinary actions per 1,000 doctors in each state. The actions include license revocations and putting doctors on probation.

Virginia’s rate was 2.65 actions per 1,000 doctors.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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