- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 27, 2009

DISTRICT

DHS worker pleads guilty to theft

A Department of Homeland Security employee has pleaded guilty to stealing $3,000 in gift cards from a Washington facility and agreed to resign.

Federal prosecutors said Wednesday that Kirk Washington, 46, pleaded guilty to stealing the retail gift cards from a government building under his jurisdiction. He was charged with theft of government property.

The Temple Hills resident agreed to make restitution. He was the branch chief of building services at six Customs and Border Protection offices in the District.

In December, he took the key from a supervisor’s desk and opened a locked safe where he knew $3,000 in retail store gift cards were stored.

He spent most of the cards on himself but gave some to family members and co-workers.

Activists to rally for gay marriage

Activists from D.C.’s gay community plan to hold a meeting to rally people around the campaign to allow gay couples to marry in D.C.

Advocates said Wednesday they’ve scheduled the gathering for 7 p.m. on Sept. 30, at the True Reformer Building on U Street in Northwest. They are dubbing the event a “call to action” to legalize same-sex marriage in the city.

D.C. leaders recently voted to recognize such unions performed in other states and countries. Council member David A. Catania has said he intends to introduce a bill by the end of the year that would allow same-sex wedding ceremonies to be performed in the District.

At the September gathering, organizers say they will outline steps residents can take to help make the anticipated legislation successful.

MARYLAND

BALTIMORE

High court upholds closure of gun club

Maryland’s highest court has upheld the closure of a Western Maryland gun club for noise violations.

The Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the state Department of the Environment had legal authority to enforce state noise regulations against the Lonaconing Trap Club.

The 80-member club ceased its shooting activities in 2005 after two longtime neighbors filed a lawsuit charging excessive noise.

State regulators took readings showing that the noise exceeded the legal limit for a residential area.

The club argued unsuccessfully that it was exempt from noise regulations and that the enforcement action violated its due-process rights.

VIRGINIA

FALLS CHURCH

Police charge man in double stabbing

Fairfax County police said Wednesday a 42-year-old man was charged in a stabbing at a Falls Church apartment.

Authorities said Jose Argueta, who has no fixed address, was charged with two counts of malicious wounding in the stabbing of a 68-year-old woman and a 2-year-old girl Tuesday afternoon in the 3400 block of Glen Carlyn Drive.

The victims are in serious but stable condition. Police said additional charges against Mr. Argueta are pending.

The stabbing occurred shortly after 2 p.m. Police said a man in an upstairs apartment heard the commotion, confronted Mr. Argueta and struggled briefly with him.

Police said Mr. Argueta then fled to a nearby apartment building, where another man disarmed and subdued him until officers arrived.

LOCUST GROVE

Preservationists take fight to Wal-Mart CEO

Preservationists are taking their battle against a Wal-Mart store near a Virginia Civil War battlefield to Bentonville, Ark.

As they said they would, the Wilderness Battlefield Coalition is appealing to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. President and CEO Michael Duke. The coalition wrote a letter to Mr. Duke to state it remains “gravely concerned” about the retailer’s plans to build near the Wilderness Battlefield in Locust Grove.

Local officials in Orange County gave approval for the store this week.

The coalition stressed it is not opposed to a Wal-Mart in Orange County - just one near the Wilderness, where Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee met in battle.

Wal-Mart has said the store will be located out of view of the battlefield.

RICHMOND

2 troopers honored with Medal of Valor

Gov. Tim Kaine on Wednesday honored two Virginia State Police troopers with Public Safety Medal of Valor awards.

Mr. Kaine conferred the awards to Justin T. Mahalik and Trooper Kenneth J. Brown during a ceremony at the State Capitol in Richmond.

Trooper Mahalik was recognized for rescuing a passenger from his police cruiser after it was engulfed in flames after a rear-end collision during a traffic stop on Interstate 66 in Fairfax. Trooper Brown was recognized for his rescuing a driver who had a diabetic seizure and crashed his vehicle on I-66.

The Commonwealth Public Safety Medal of Valor awards have been given annually since 2002. They are the highest honors for heroism conferred upon a public safety officer in the state.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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