Officer struck while helping driver
A Metropolitan Police Department officer who stopped to assist a motorist early yesterday morning was struck by another vehicle and injured.
The incident occurred on Interstate 295 at about 4 a.m. when the motorist ran into the back of the officer's car, pushing the cruiser into the officer.
Police say the officer was treated and released. The driver who struck him left his car and ran but was quickly caught and arrested.
Man shot during fight
A 24-year-old man was shot during a fight yesterday outside a Columbia apartment complex, according to Howard County police.
The incident occurred in the early morning in the 5800 block of Thunder Hill Road. Police responded to a report of shots fired and found two groups fighting. The victim has been identified as Wayne Hamlin, 24, who was shot in the shoulder and had cuts to his face. He was treated at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore and released.
Investigators say neighboring apartments were evacuated temporarily after witnesses reported people running into an apartment. No charges have been filed, and police don't think the incident is related to a fatal shooting Saturday in Columbia.
Plant explosion kills one, hurts one
A man was killed and another was injured yesterday afternoon in an explosion at the Greenlight Biofuels plant, in the Princess Anne Industrial Park.
Princess Anne police say one of the two victims, both contractors, was welding as they added a methane line to the plant. The explosion occurred when the men hit a gas line.
The welder was pronounced dead on the scene. The other was taken to the Peninsula Regional Medical Center with unknown injuries but is expected to live. Officials say there are no environmental problems as a result of the explosion.
Madaleno optimistic after marriage ruling
Maryland Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr., Montgomery Democrat, says the California Supreme Court decision last week legalizing gay marriage gives him reason to be optimistic that same-sex couples will gain the right to marry in Maryland.
Mr. Madeleno noted that California was the first state to allow interracial couples to marry. And he said on WBAL radio over the weekend that he's pleased it will be the second to legalize gay marriage.
Legislation to allow gay marriage in Maryland has never advanced far enough to receive a full General Assembly vote. This year, Gov. Martin O'Malley, Democrat, is considering signing two bills that would extend some benefits to same-sex partners that are available only to married couples. The bills would become law without Mr. O'Malley's signature if he doesn't take action by May 27.
Mr. Madaleno, who is openly gay, says it is important for the government to recognize same-sex marriage, rather than just the clergy, because half the marriages in Maryland are performed in civil ceremonies.
Women bitten by rabid foxes
Two Northern Virginia women are undergoing rabies treatment after being bitten by rabid foxes this month.
Laurie Vena was attacked May 9 when taking out the trash in front of her town house. The fox was captured and killed by animal-control officers.
Margaret Burhenn was mowing her lawn in Fredericksburg on May 7 when she was bitten by a fox that latched to her ankle. A neighbor killed the animal with a shovel. Health officials confirmed both gray foxes had rabies.
Man pleads guilty in CIA bomb threat
A man accused of driving a pickup with a snow plow into a gate at CIA headquarters has pleaded guilty to making a bomb threat.
Antoine Lowery, 30, was arrested after the Feb. 22 incident. According to court documents, the D.C. resident told officers that the truck was going to blow up and counted down as if waiting for an explosion. No bomb was found.
Mr. Lowery pleaded guilty on Friday in federal court in Alexandria. The charge carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison
VCU increases tuition 9.4 percent
Virginia Commonwealth University's Board of Visitors approved a 9.4 percent tuition increase for in-state undergraduates next year, and a 5.3 percent increase for out-of-staters.
The board said Friday it decided on the increase for the 2008-09 school year rather than risk progress stalling on other initiatives.
Typical full-time, in-state undergraduate students will pay $6,779 a year for tuition and fees, and the same students living in university housing with meal plans will have a 6.8 percent increase, to $14,693. Fees and tuition for out-of-state students will increase 5.3 percent, to $19,724.
VCU President Eugene P. Trani said the school remains the least expensive for undergraduates among the state's public doctoral institutions.
Judge trims harassment award
A former sheriff's deputy awarded $325,000 in a sexual-harassment lawsuit against her former boss will get $150,000.
U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Wilson said the numbers assigned in the case by the federal jury "cannot be squared analytically" and issued an order reducing the overall payment to Lespia King.
Miss King, who worked at the city jail for about three years, filed her sexual harassment suit in 2005. The jury's verdict came in January.
The initial verdict against former Sheriff George McMillan came after Miss King and nine other former subordinates testified in U.S. District Court that Sheriff McMillan had made sexually suggestive comments about their bodies, gave them unwanted hugs and tried to force kisses on them.
Sheriff McMillan, the sheriff from 1998 through 2005, lost his job in an election shortly after Miss King filed the lawsuit.
Virginia Wesleyan freezes salaries
Virginia Wesleyan College will freeze salaries next year in anticipation of a smaller incoming class.
Billy Greer Jr., the school's president, said a smaller class has not been determined but is expected because the private liberal-arts school has raised its requirements for incoming students.
The reduction will also mean less incoming money.
The college's Web site states it is working for Phi Beta Kappa status, a mark of academic excellence won by only about 10 percent of U.S. colleges.
The increased standards for admission mean an increase in SAT scores from 800 to 900, and an increase in grade-point average for college preparatory classes from 2.25 to 2.5 on a four-point scale, Mr. Greer said.
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