- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 26, 2008

MARYLAND

BALTIMORE

Former city officer mourned at cathedral

Mourners remembered an FBI agent fatally shot in a drug raid last week near Pittsburgh as a superhero and family man.

Agents and police Tuesday filled the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore, the city where Special Agent Sam Hicks was a police officer for five years before he joined the FBI.

Mr. Hicks, 33, started with the FBI in 2007 and picked up the skills so fast when he was assigned to the agency’s Joint Terrorism Task Force that new members thought he was a veteran, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III said in the overflowing church.

“To Sam, it was not about building a resume or about getting recognition,” Mr. Mueller said. “He was motivated not by personal success, but by public service.”

Police say Mr. Hicks was shot in the chest, just above his bulletproof vest, by Christina Korbe, as Mr. Hicks and other officers raided her home in Indiana Township, Pa., on Nov. 19. Agents were at the house to arrest her husband, Robert, one of 35 people targeted in a suburban drug sweep.

Mrs. Korbe, who told police she thought she was firing at a home invader, was charged with criminal homicide. Agents said they identified themselves before forcing their way into the home.

Mr. Hicks is survived by his wife, Brooke, 28, and their 2-year-old son, Noah.

“He went to the front lines every day, but he wanted Noah to grow up to be a scientist, or a golfer - something that would not place him in danger,” Mr. Mueller said.

SALISBURY

State troopers must observe speed limit

Maryland State Police superintendent Col. Terrence Sheridan has ordered state troopers to obey posted speed limits when responding to nonlife-threatening situations.

The directive was issued Saturday, one day after a trooper in Dorchester County was involved in a traffic accident that killed a Delmar woman.

Troopers will be allowed to exceed the speed limit in nonlife-threatening situations if authorized by a supervisor, state police spokesman Sgt. Arthur Betts said.

Trooper First Class Paul Zimmerman was responding to an accident when his patrol car slid on some ice and struck a car driven by 34-year-old Kristin Underkoffler. She was killed when her car struck a tractor-trailer, police said.

Sgt. Betts said the trooper’s speed at the time remains under investigation.

FREDERICK

VA opens new office

The Department of Veterans Affairs said Tuesday it has opened a new office in Frederick, Md., that aims to reduce waste and mismanagement in the agency’s headquarters contracting division.

The Center for Acquisition Innovation and the related VA Acquisition Academy are in leased office space along Interstate 270 about 45 miles north of Washington.

With a total employment of 60, including 30 academy interns, the center is part of a reorganization announced last year stemming from revelations about millions of VA dollars wasted on mismanaged contracts for services in recent years.

“We want to develop an acquisitions work force that will understand the complexities of the VA and understand the suppliers so that we can write good, clear contracts and leverage the best deal for the government,” VA Secretary James B. Peake said in a telephone interview.

The agency said the Frederick office will help transform the contracting unit from a reactive organization to one that is strategically driven to get the most out of every dollar spent.

The office includes an academy to train a professional contracting work force.

CHEVY CHASE

Fire heavily damages home of socialite

A fire at the home of a Washington socialite has resulted in about $1.5 million in damage, Montgomery County fire officials said.

Crews responded to the Chevy Chase home about 11 a.m. Tuesday, where a basement fire was under way, fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said. Two women in the home escaped, one of them with a minor injury.

Mr. Piringer said the home’s owner is Mary-Stuart Montague Price, 86, founder of the National Debutante Cotillion and Thanksgiving Ball, which is scheduled for Friday. She was not home when the blaze broke out.

Investigators think a cat knocked over a lamp in the basement, which landed on a pillow that ignited, Mr. Piringer said.

Firefighters were able to salvage some items, including the seating chart for more than 1,000 ball guests, he said.

OCEAN CITY

Trash, bus service could see budget ax

Ocean City officials are looking at measures to save money, including possible reductions in off-season trash collections and bus service.

In a memo to town leaders, public works Director Hal Adkins said reducing trash pickups to once a week could save the town more than $15,000 in fuel costs. He suggested workers could be reassigned to other jobs. Some areas of the resort currently have three trash pickups per week.

Meanwhile, officials are looking at ending overnight bus service in the off-season. Ending the service could save an estimated $120,000.

TOWSON

Police arrest man in stabbing death

Baltimore County police have arrested a Woodlawn man accused of fatally stabbing a woman while she waited in line at a liquor store.

David Briggs, 23, was arrested at his home on charges of first-degree murder Monday. Security camera footage and evidence recovered from Mr. Briggs’ home link him to the killing, police said. He is being held until his bail review hearing, which hadn’t been scheduled.

The victim, Aysha Ring, 24, was waiting in line at the store in Catonsville when Mr. Briggs stabbed her in the neck from behind, police said. Miss Ring was taken to a hospital, where she died.

Police have not determined a motive.

VIRGINIA

RICHMOND

Fewer Va. workers being killed on job

Fewer workers in Virginia are being killed while on the job.

Federal figures released Monday show workplace fatalities declined by 15 percent, from 165 in 2006 to 141 last year.

Highway accidents were the top cause of workplace fatalities, despite a decline from 61 in 2006 to 35 last year.

Falls and homicides also were major causes of workplace deaths, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

From 2003 to last year, 818 workers were killed on the job. More than half of these deaths occurred in three sectors: construction, transportation and warehousing, and government.

During this five-year period, 92 percent of the workers killed, 749, were men.

RICHMOND

College president will resign

The president of Virginia Union University is planning to step down.

Belinda Childress Anderson announced Tuesday that she is resigning from the Richmond university to pursue new opportunities.

Miss Anderson is the 11th president of the small, historically black university and the first woman to serve in the 141-year history of the school. She was appointed president in 2004.

In a statement, Miss Anderson said she wanted to “make way for the university to secure new leadership positioned to meet new challenges.”

She notified the chairman of the university’s board of trustees and promised to work with the university to structure a transition plan.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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