- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 12, 2007

REGION

Tap water called safe despite odor

Washington Aqueduct officials say the tap water is safe to drink despite dozens of complaints about a strange odor.

Washington Aqueduct spokesman Thomas Jacubus said algae is growing in the Potomac River because the water is low and the temperatures are high. He said the water might be flavored from the algae.

Officials said they are adding an extra step to the filtering process to absorb the odor after about 50 people in the District and Northern Virginia complained.

They said the treatment should be noticeable in two or three days.

VIRGINIA

FAIRFAX

Girl, 14, killed in auto crash

A 14-year-old girl is dead after a single-car crash early yesterday.

Police said the victim’s 17-year-old sister was behind the wheel of the Nissan at about 4:45 a.m. when the car hit a utility pole in the 3600 block of Jermantown Road.

The 14-year-old died at Inova Fairfax Hospital. The 17-year-old suffered minor injuries.

Investigators think speed was a factor in the accident, but no alcohol was involved.

The names of the victim and the driver were not released yesterday.

CHESAPEAKE

Fried rat found at man’s business

A South Norfolk businessman said this week that he came to work and discovered a gutted, 14-inch, deep-fried rat that someone left at his business.

Alvin Smith, 60, who is white, said he thinks that he’s become a target in the predominantly black section of the community.

But nearby neighbors described their street as one of the calmer blocks in the area.

Police said there is nothing concrete to link this week’s incident to a hate or gang crime.

Mr. Smith said he did not want to touch the rat, which was drawing flies. And he said animal control did not come to remove it.

But someone or something has since removed the rat from the property.

MARYLAND

GREENBELT

‘Wig Lady’ gets 5-year sentence

A Capitol Heights woman dubbed the “Wig Lady” because she donned disguises while swindling bank customers has been sentenced to five years and one month in prison.

Jacqueline Belim, 47, was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Greenbelt. Belim pleaded guilty in April to federal charges of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Authorities think Belim was part of a larger ring in the District and Maryland that would pick women’s pockets or steal their personal belongings. Belim then took money from the victims’ bank accounts by impersonating them, sometimes using wigs, glasses and other accessories.

Carol Silva, 55, of Westbury, Mass., pleaded guilty to the same charges last month and is to be sentenced in August.

WESTMINSTER

Victim’s mother doubts death was accidental

The mother of a man crushed by a construction loader doubts the findings of an investigation that ruled her son’s death was an accident.

Adrienne Miranda’s son Joseph was crushed by a Bobcat loader almost a year ago while he was working at a Carroll County landscaping company. Police said Mr. Miranda, 19, slipped when he stepped on the loader, and the driver did not see him and ran him over.

The state’s medical examiner initially ruled the case an accident. Five months later, he requested further investigation after discovering new evidence and what he calls “inconsistencies.” The medical examiner said he thinks there is a strong possibility that Mr. Miranda was killed.

Carroll County officials said their investigation has uncovered no evidence of a crime. Authorities planned to meet with Miss Miranda yesterday.

CUMBERLAND

Peace order issued against candidate

A judge has ordered announced congressional candidate and former Cumberland Mayor Frank Nethken to stay away from a local woman.

Allegany County District Court Judge Jack H. Price issued the peace order Tuesday. It bars Mr. Nethken, 76, from contacting a local Long & Foster Real Estate office manager at her workplace or home.

Court documents say that Mr. Nethken went to the office several times in the past two months and disrupted business. He was charged with trespassing, harassment and misuse of a telephone in those incidents.

Another peace order issued last week requires Mr. Nethken to have no contact with a Cumberland woman who works at Memorial Hospital in the city.

Mr. Nethken announced in May that he would run in next year’s Republican primary against 6th District incumbent Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett. The Maryland State Board of Elections Web site does not list Mr. Nethken as having yet filed for the race.

BALTIMORE

Key witness killed; murder trial delayed

A Baltimore murder trial is on hold while police look into the fatal shooting of the key witness.

A postponement was granted Tuesday for the first-degree murder trial of Patrick Byers, 22. He’s charged in the March 2006 fatal shooting of Larry Haynes, 30.

Witness Carl Lackl, 38, was killed last week in a drive-by shooting outside his home in Rosedale, Md.

The new trial date for Mr. Byers is Sept. 13.

ELLICOTT CITY

Boy, 15, admits taking gun to school

A 15-year-old Hammond High School student has admitted that he brought an unloaded gun and ammunition to school last month.

The teenager pleaded “involved” Tuesday in Howard County Juvenile Court. The plea is the equivalent of a guilty plea for a juvenile.

The high school freshman told police that he stole the weapon from his father’s safe to protect himself from gang members with whom he had been feuding with. A judge feared releasing the boy could put him at risk for retaliation, but the teen told the judge that he has worked out the dispute.

He has been released from a juvenile center and is on home detention until his sentencing next month.

BALTIMORE

Teens arrested in girl’s stabbing

Two teenagers are under arrest in the stabbing death of a 15-year-old girl early Tuesday morning in southwest Baltimore. City police said one of the suspects is the girl’s boyfriend.

Police said Calvin Puryear, 19, has been charged with first-degree murder, assault and conspiracy. The other suspect, who is 17, was arrested yesterday. Police said he will face similar charges in the death of Christine Richardson.

The girl’s mother got home from work early Tuesday morning and found her daughter’s body lying on her blood-soaked bed.

According to charging documents, Christine let the two teens into the home and had consensual sex with them. One of them began arguing with her afterward, and one held her down while the other stabbed her and slashed her throat.

DISTRICT

Court ruling favors 2002 protesters

A federal court judge has ruled in favor of protesters arrested during a 2002 protest of the World Bank.

The judge ruled Tuesday that federal law-enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Park Police and the Secret Service, who were present during the protests, could be held accountable for participating in arrests executed by local authorities.

The ruling stemmed from an incident at Pershing Park in Northwest, where hundreds of protesters were arrested, some of whom were hogtied for several hours.

Then-Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey later apologized for the incident.

Council approves single-sales ban

The D.C. Council has approved a moratorium on single sales of alcohol along a stretch of the H Street Corridor in Northeast.

The council Tuesday voted 9-2 in favor of the proposal from the District’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, which recommended a three-year moratorium on the sale of single containers of beer and liquor sold in half-pint volume from the 700 to 1400 blocks of H Street.

The moratorium was spearheaded by advisory neighborhood commissioners and residents in the H Street area and also gained the support of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and council member Tommy Wells, Ward 6 Democrat.

The ban is expected to go into effect after the ABC Board publishes final rules in the D.C. Register and after a 30-day grace period.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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