- The Washington Times - Monday, August 13, 2007

DISTRICT

Man fatally shot, tumbles from window

A man who had been shot was either pushed or fell from a third-story window, police said.

Sgt. Joe Gentile said Jameel Bilal, 30, had been shot several times when police were called to his Southeast neighborhood. He was pronounced dead a short time later.

Sgt. Gentile said officers were called about 12:40 a.m. yesterday to the 2500 block of Pomeroy Road Southeast.

Investigators think Mr. Bilal was shot in his third-floor apartment and then fell or was pushed out the window. Police have no motives or suspects. Investigators are asking for any witnesses to come forward.

A 15-year-old boy was charged with second-degree murder in a fatal stabbing on the same block in June.

MARYLAND

BALTIMORE

Escapee found in North Carolina

A Maryland woman who escaped police custody in 2001 while facing several charges, including child abduction, was found last week in North Carolina.

Police in Charlotte, N.C., arrested Maria Baughman, 55, on Wednesday, and she is being held at the Mecklenburg County Detention Center.

In 2000, police said Baughman forged court documents, giving herself custody of the 9-year-old girl she baby-sat. The girl, Caitlin Crowther, was found in Hampton, Va., in May 2001 and returned to her family.

But in August 2001, Baughman escaped from Spring Grove Hospital in Catonsville, where she was sent for competency evaluations.

She was wanted in Baltimore County for violating probation, grand theft and credit-card fraud, and in Harford County for abduction, theft, forgery and fraud.

CAMBRIDGE

Oyster hatchery could triple output

The state”s largest oyster hatchery is due for an expansion this fall that could nearly triple the number of oysters put in the Chesapeake Bay each year.

The University of Maryland”s Horn Point laboratory near Cambridge will begin work this fall on a new pier that will hold a $9 million “setting facility” — a place for baby oysters to sit on shells before being dumped in the Bay. The lab makes about 350 million baby oysters a year, and that number could increase to 1 billion a year once the expansion is complete.

The hope is that the new oysters will not only boost the diminished oyster industry but also help filter pollution and revive the fish habitat.

VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA BEACH

Regent to expand undergrad enrollment

Regent University plans to more than double its undergraduate enrollment this year as a first step toward balancing its budget.

The university founded by the Rev. Pat Robertson is aiming for 2,500 undergraduates, up from 1,046 last year and 236 in 2004 to “05. The goal is 10,000 undergraduates within five years, said Tracy Stewart, the university”s vice president for information technology.

The school had 3,220 graduate students last year.

Regent was faulted in 2006 by credit-rating agencies Moody”s Corp. and Standard & Poor”s for years of deficit spending and heavy withdrawals from its endowment.

Regent borrowed $99 million through bonds in 2006 to build student housing and refinance existing debt.

Fiscal health could be a factor when Regent seeks reaccreditation for the 2008-09 school year. To be accredited, a school must demonstrate financial stability, according to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Dean Wooten, Regent”s vice president for finance, called the credit reports factual but said the analysts were “being conservative.” He said the school expects a balanced budget by 2010.

Regent had operating budget deficits of $12.6 million in 2005-06, $12.5 million in 2004-05 and $13.7 million in 2003-04, according to the school”s IRS tax statements. The 2006-07 statement is not available.

Moody”s and S&P; said Regent covered deficits by tapping its $258 million endowment.

Miss Stewart acknowledged that the university withdraws “quite a bit more than is healthy” from the endowment. To reduce endowment dependence, Regent is pushing fundraising and undergraduate enrollment, she said.

Miss Stewart said that unlike graduate student fees, undergraduate tuition typically more than covers the cost of instruction, leaving a net revenue gain for the university.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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