- The Washington Times - Friday, July 3, 2009

MARYLAND

BALTIMORE

Girl, 5, shot in head during gang fight

A 5-year-old girl was shot in the head Thursday after rival groups fought in southwest Baltimore.

Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld III said the incident occurred shortly after 4 p.m. He said groups of young men were fighting in the street. After the fight broke up, one man chased the intended victim and opened fire. He struck the 5-year-old instead.

Commissioner Bealefeld said that the girl suffered a wound from a small-caliber gun and that she was in critical condition at Shock Trauma.

The commissioner said closed-circuit TV cameras captured the fight and the shooter’s flight from the area. Police are using those videos to develop leads in the case. Some of the men in the fight are in custody.

BALTIMORE

Fire displaces church services

A weekend service will be held at Pier Six Pavilion at the Inner Harbor until a fire-damaged steeple and bell tower are secured at the church’s West Baltimore location.

Frank Reid, pastor of Bethel AME Church, said the church will hold one Communion service, instead of its normal two, at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. He said the church hopes to return to its home on the second Sunday of this month.

Baltimore fire officials blamed lightning for Wednesday’s two-alarm fire that damaged the church at Lanvale Street and Druid Hill Avenue.

Fire Department spokesman Chief Kevin Cartwright said that the church was vacant at the time of the fire and that no injuries were reported.

CUMBERLAND

Former speaker works with Allegany

An Allegany County commissioner said working with the former House speaker, who is now a lobbyist, has been beneficial for the county.

Commissioner Dale Lewis said former Speaker Cas Taylor is the county’s “point man” with the law firm of Alexander and Cleaver. He said Mr. Taylor is “a big help to Allegany County.”

Mr. Lewis said Mr. Taylor, who spent 28 years as an elected officials in the House of Delegates, still has considerable influence in Annapolis.

Mr. Taylor thinks the relationship is a successful one. He said he was hired to monitor, advise and lobby for Allegany County.

The county’s contract with Mr. Taylor comes up for renewal in October.

ELKRIDGE

28 cats found in woman’s home

Howard County police found 28 cats and a guinea pig in a home in Elkridge. Two dead cats were found in a freezer.

Police were called to the home Wednesday by a neighbor who had not seen the residents for several days. The neighbor also reported an odor.

An elderly woman living at the home was taken to a local hospital for observation.

The 17 cats, 11 kittens and guinea pig were evaluated by a veterinarian; 10 cats were referred for further evaluation or treatment.

The owner of the animals, who was not at the home when police arrived, agreed to sign over most of the animals to Howard County animal control.

VIRGINIA

WINTERGREEN

Man left for hike, never returned

Authorities are looking for a Charlottesville man who went missing after leaving his Wintergreen resort home on a hike.

Officials said Michael Comer, 45, arrived at his home about noon Wednesday and went on a hike. His wife reported him missing when he didn’t return by 7:30 p.m.

Wintergreen resort community spokeswoman Dana Quillen said that two teams searched for Mr. Comer overnight but that they were contending with steep terrain and wet ground. She said the Virginia Department of Emergency Management sent search-and-rescue teams Thursday afternoon to continue the search.

The resort has 30 miles of hiking trails throughout more than 6,000 acres of wooded property.

DISTRICT

Seat-belt usage up in the city

A new survey shows seat-belt usage among D.C. motorists is up 3 percent from last year and 10 percent above the national average.

The 2009 Seatbelt Usage Survey conducted for the D.C. Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Police Department, found a 93 percent seat-belt compliance rate in the District.

Authorities attribute the increase to joint enforcement and education efforts to promote safe driving habits. In the most recent Click it Or Ticket campaign in late May, police officers wrote 427 safety-belt citations and 12 citations for children who were not properly secured in child-safety seats. At the same time, radio and television ads helped raise awareness of this important safety issue.

“Its great to see our joint efforts are paying off,” DDOT Director Gabe Klein said. The survey was conducted by the University of the District of Columbias Center for Applied Research and Urban Policy.

Carver makes Lincoln of cheese

Cheese carver Troy Landwehr will put the finishing touches on his 6-foot, 8-inch statue of Abraham Lincoln in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial.

The finishing of the life-size cheesy Lincoln will take place Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Constitution Avenue between 22nd and 23rd streets in Northwest.

The statue is being carved from a 1,000-pound block of cheddar cheese. Mr. Landwehr has also done cheese carvings Mount Rushmore and the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which was made from a one-ton block of cheese.

The event is sponsored by Cheez-It.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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