- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 13, 2007

MARYLAND

PRINCESS ANNE

UMES police arrest four in campus thefts

Campus police at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) have made four arrests and expect to make more in connection with a series of thefts.

The thefts include $20,000 worth of computer equipment taken last summer from the Hazel Hall education building. Four former students were charged in that case.

The items were recovered last fall at an address in Bowie. Three men are awaiting trial and a fourth, Byron Stoddard, 20, of Landover, has been found guilty and has agreed to pay $5,000 restitution.

SALISBURY

Woman enters plea to letting teens drink

A Pittsville woman will avoid jail time on charges that she hosted a drinking party for teenagers in her home.

Janet Lane, 44, entered an Alford plea Monday on a charge of having a disorderly house. The plea was a concession that there is sufficient evidence for a conviction but is not an admission of guilt.

In exchange for the plea, multiple charges of reckless endangerment and contributing to the condition of a child were placed on the inactive docket.

Mrs. Lane was ordered to pay $357 in fines and costs.

Court documents say five persons who attended the September party had blood-alcohol levels above the legal limit, including a 15-year-old boy who was taken to a hospital.

GREENBELT

Court ends decree over canine unit

A federal judge has agreed to release the Prince George’s Police Department’s canine unit from a consent decree the county reached with the Justice Department over charges of excessive force.

U.S. District Judge Roger Titus granted a joint motion filed by Prince George’s and Justice Department officials that ends the three-year consent decree March 11. The joint filing concluded the department had made significant changes to reduce incidents of excessive force.

Under the decree’s terms, Prince George’s restructured its canine unit, changed the way it trains dogs and handlers, and implemented new ways to monitor incidents. The changes include adoption of a “bark and hold” policy, where a dog confronts a suspect instead of biting.

The Justice Department began an investigation of the canine unit in 1999 after reports that dogs were set on suspects with little or no provocation. In 2001, a county officer was convicted in federal court of improperly setting her dog on two homeless men and given a 10-year term in prison.

BALTIMORE

Two suspended after trainee’s death

Two Baltimore fire department officials were suspended without pay yesterday after the death of a trainee last week during an exercise at a city building set on fire.

Division Chief of Training Kenneth Hyde and Lt. Joseph Crest, the lead firefighter instructor, were suspended, the fire department said. The investigation showed fire safety procedures during live fire training exercises were not followed.

The fire department announced a day earlier that it will stop setting city buildings on fire for training until the probe is complete.

Other training practices will be re-evaluated, a spokesman said.

Racheal Wilson, 29, collapsed during an exercise Friday and died at a hospital. Two other firefighters were injured when they went to her aid.

She was one of 24 recruits taking part in the exercise and was on the third floor with two other trainees responsible for punching holes to ventilate the building. A fire had been set on the second floor.

The cause of Miss Wilson’s death has not been determined.

VIRGINIA

SPOTSYLVANIA

Foot in landfill apelike, not human

A foot pulled from a landfill was not the human variety.

Cleaned and X-rayed, the appendage was determined to be apelike, authorities said Monday.

The discovery Saturday prompted a search through 127 tons of garbage, which ended with news of the medical analysis at the state forensics lab in Richmond.

“The good news is that we don’t have a homicide,” Spotsylvania Sheriff Howard Smith said.

About 35 fire, rescue and sheriff’s employees had been looking through the garbage for about an hour Monday and all day Sunday.

Authorities will not look for the remainder of the apelike species.

The foot appeared to have been cleanly sawed off above the ankle, and Sheriff Smith said there was just skin and bone, no hair.

ROANOKE

Bill would protect wilderness areas

Nearly 55,000 acres of the Jefferson National Forest would be protected as wilderness or scenic areas under legislation introduced in Congress yesterday.

U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher and Sens. John W. Warner and James H. Webb Jr. are behind the bill, which would expand six existing wilderness areas in the 723,000-acre forest.

The bill also would create six new wilderness areas and a wilderness study area as well as two national scenic areas.

Mr. Boucher, Virginia Democrat, whose district encompasses the areas proposed for protection, said the wilderness and scenic designations would enhance tourism in the region.

The legislation was first introduced by Mr. Boucher and Mr. Warner in 2004.

The new wilderness areas would be in Lee, Smyth, Montgomery, Craig and Bland counties, while the expanded areas would include tracts in those counties as well as in Grayson and Giles.

DISTRICT

Four hospitalized after apartment fire

Four persons were hospitalized yesterday afternoon — two in serious condition — after an apartment fire in Southeast.

D.C. firefighters carried 11 persons from the burning building on D Street using ladders.

Two women, ages 18 and 19, were in serious condition with smoke inhalation. Two boys, ages 5 and 10, also were taken in for observation.

The fire was on the third floor of a seven-story building. The cause hasn’t been determined.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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