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DISTRICT

Officer accused of soliciting minor

A Metropolitan Police Department officer was arrested yesterday on federal charges in connection with an exchange of text messages to entice a minor.

The arrest of Officer Kenneth Longerbeam, 39, of Gwynn Oak, Md., follows a joint investigation by D.C. police and the FBI.

Officer Longerbeam, an 11-year member of the department, is on administrative leave with pay until the case is resolved.

Panda undergoes eye surgery

The National Zoo's 10-year-old male giant panda, Tian Tian, is recovering from surgery to treat an inflamed eye.

Veterinarians are using eye drops and ointment to treat his third eyelid, which usually covers the eye when the outer lids are closed. They say Tian Tian is responding well and should make a full recovery.

Zoo workers noticed the inflammation late last week, but initial treatment didn't work. They called in a veterinary ophthalmologist from Northern Virginia to perform the surgery Sunday, with Tian Tian under anesthesia.

Tian Tian is one of three pandas at the zoo. Mei Xiang is an adult female, and Tai Shan is their 2-year-old cub.

Mechanical fire forces hotel evacuation

Smoke from a mechanical fire forced the evacuation of dozens of guests last night from the Red Roof Inn in the 500 block of H Street Northwest.

A D.C. fire department spokesman said guests and others were safely evacuated after equipment on the fifth floor began smoking. Metro buses were used to keep guests warm while firefighters worked to ventilate the smoke from the 10-story hotel.

MARYLAND

BALTIMORE

Murder rate nears 2006 number

The 275 homicides in the city this year is one less than in 2006, with 12 days left on the calendar.

The city reached the 2007 number Tuesday following the additions of two deaths earlier this year. One case involved the death in June of a 3-year-old boy. An autopsy ruled the death a homicide, but the case was not reported until this week.

The second case involved the death in September of a woman who was shot when she was 16 years old in 1999. An autopsy concluded that injuries caused by the bullet caused her death. The man convicted in the shooting is still incarcerated. Police are asking prosecutors to consider filing murder charges against the man.

BALTIMORE

Sequel made of 'Snitching' video

The makers of the infamous "Stop Snitching" street video are promoting a sequel.

In a trailer posted on a Web site, an unidentified man says the DVD will define what snitching really is. The first "Stop Snitching" DVD threatened retaliation against those who cooperate with police and highlighted the culture of witness intimidation in Baltimore.

Urly Media, the promoters of "Stop Snitching 2" says the new DVD continues "to show the reality of hard times on hard streets."

A small child is shown waving a large revolver, and a man is shown firing into the air. A city police spokesman said the department is aware of the promotion, but officers have yet to see it for sale on streets.

HAGERSTOWN

Stolen wheelchair left at church

The Hagerstown Police Department say the wheelchair stolen from a man at a Wal-Mart store has been returned.

The wheelchair was found yesterday morning outside Concordia Lutheran Church. Officers picked up the wheelchair and returned it to Tony Faison, 23.

Police said the chair did not appear damaged and that they have a lead on the identity of the thief.

Mr. Faison left the wheelchair with a store greeter Friday while he used a motorized cart to do some shopping. When he returned, the chair was gone.

A store camera shows a young man in a baseball cap sit down in the chair, then wheel himself out of the store, popping a wheelie along the way.

After news of the theft spread, a local retirement community loaned him a chair. Wal-Mart announced Tuesday it would buy Mr. Faison a new chair.

BALTIMORE

Two arrested in bus stabbing

The Maryland Transit Administration said yesterday at least two juveniles are in custody in connection with the stabbing of a teenage girl on a municipal bus.

The attack was the third on a municipal bus in the city this month.

The most recent incident occurred Tuesday at about 4 p.m. Transit officials say a fight broke out among several juveniles on the bus near Mondawmin Mall. The driver alerted police and stopped the bus, and the victim ran to a nearby city police officer for help.

She was treated at the scene and is expected to survive.

Earlier this month, a woman suffered broken facial bones and other injuries after she was beaten while riding a bus in Hampden. Nine teenagers are charged in the attack. Last week, several men attacked two men on bus in Brooklyn. No arrests have been made.

ANNAPOLIS

Panel recommends modest growth

A committee created to make sure state spending doesn't spiral out of control is recommending modest growth.

The Spending Affordability Committee says such spending shouldn't grow by more than $820 million next year, about a 4.3 percent increase.

The committee gave the recommendation to Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, who recently called a special General Assembly session to pass a package of tax and spending increases. Mr. O'Malley will submit the state budget in January to the General Assembly.

URBANA

Battlefield center a big draw

The new visitor's center at the Monocacy National Battlefield is a bigger attraction than its predecessor.

Park officials say the number of visitors has nearly doubled in the six months since the facility opened. They also say the attractions of the new building are its location, roominess and interactive displays.

CENTREVILLE

Venue change denied in crash

A Queen Anne's County judge denied a request to move the trial of the man charged in the traffic accident that killed a county school official.

An attorney representing Daniel Savage, 24, argued unsuccessfully Tuesday that it would be impossible to find an impartial jury inside the county.

Mr. Savage is charged with vehicular manslaughter in the death of John Andrews, 71, a vice principal at Queen Anne's County High School. Mr. Andrews was killed Aug. 23 in Centreville when his car was struck by a stolen sport utility vehicle that state police say was being driven by Mr. Savage. Authorities say Mr. Savage was fleeing police and ran a red light.

VIRGINIA

CHARLOTTESVILLE

U.Va. chosen for teacher program

The University of Virginia is among four institutions chosen for a new program to encourage top graduates to pursue teaching careers in high-need classrooms.

Stanford University, the University of Washington and the University of Pennsylvania also were selected yesterday for the Leonore Annenberg National Teaching Fellowship, funded by grants of $5 million from the Annenberg Foundation and $1 million from the Carnegie Corp.

Over three years, the program will provide a $30,000 stipend and one year of graduate education to 100 outstanding recent college graduates and career-changers who agree to work for three years in urban and rural secondary schools serving high proportions of disadvantaged students.

WILLIAMSBURG

Carter's Grove sold for $15.3 million

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation sold for $15.3 million the Carter's Grove Plantation — an 18th century mansion built by one of Virginia's founding families.

Halsey Minor purchased the property, which includes a Georgian-style mansion and 400 acres that are subject to a conservation easement, and 76 acres adjoining the property.

Mr. Minor said he'll use the site as a residence and as a center for a thoroughbred horse-breeding program.

The property was purchased in 1709 by Virginia planter Robert "King" Carter. The foundation has owned the 35-room, two-story home and land since 1969. Citing financial pressure, the foundation announced plans to close Carter's Grove to the public in 2002. The home was shuttered in 2003.

RICHMOND

Kaine names business official

Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, yesterday named a Virginia Department of Health official to oversee efforts to include more minorities in state procurement.

Samuel Hayes III will start January 10 as director of the Virginia Department of Minority Business Enterprise.

Mr. Hayes now coordinates $97 million a year in procurement activities for the health department, and is credited with increasing the level of small, women- and minority-owned business participation there by roughly 3 percent in the past year.

Mr. Haynes is an Old Dominion University graduate and was one of 22 applicants. He replaces Stacy Burrs.

Mr. Hayes said he welcomes the challenge to put more state money into minority hands.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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