- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 4, 2009

DISTRICT

9/11 memorial seeks signatures

The public is being invited Saturday to sign steel beams to be used in the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

The beams are available for signing from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Newseum.

Officials from the 9/11 museum under construction at the World Trade Center site have been traveling around the country since 2007 with steel beams. Tens of thousands of people in 27 states have signed their names and shared their thoughts about 9/11.

The memorial is expected to open Sept. 11, 2011.

MARYLAND

O’Malley grants first pardons

ANNAPOLIS | Gov. Martin O’Malley has granted pardons to six former convicts - the first time he has exercised the power during his 2 1/2 years in office.

The Democratic had considered pardoning seven ex-convicts and started the process two weeks ago with public notification. He moved ahead with six of those cases; one remains pending.

Before the pardons issued Thursday, Mr. O’Malley had used his clemency powers only to release two prisoners suffering from AIDS.

Mr. O’Malley has said he is unlikely to use his clemency powers liberally. It’s a big change from his Republican predecessor, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., who pardoned or commuted the sentences of 249 people during his single term.

Only one of the six people pardoned Thursday had served jail time - seven days for petty theft. The crimes included minor thefts, disorderly conduct and marijuana possession.

Those pardoned were: Christopher Bratton, Sonora Michelle Savage Hardy, Betty Davis Purdue, Linda Louise Sawyer Seward, John Michael Spiridon and Darrell Leon Williams.

Local picked for astronaut training

BALTIMORE | A Baltimore native is one of nine candidates to begin astronaut training this summer.

NASA announced this week that Navy Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Reid Wiseman, 33, was selected from among 3,500 applicants for the 2009 astronaut class. Cmdr. Wiseman is a test pilot serving aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. He will begin training in August.

In an interview released by the space agency, Cmdr. Wiseman said he was interested in the space shuttle as a boy and his parents took him to see the Blue Angels perform in Annapolis every year. He said his ambition was sealed when he saw his first space shuttle launch from the side of the road in Cocoa Beach, Fla., in 2001.

Cmdr. Wiseman has a master’s degree in systems engineering from Johns Hopkins University.

Firefighters discover suspected drug lab

LARGO | Prince George’s County firefighters who responded to a condominium fire discovered what authorities say is a PCP lab.

A 911 call about the fire on the top floor of a three-story condo building in Largo came in about 11 a.m. Friday. After the fire was quickly extinguished, officials said firefighters discovered what appeared to be a PCP lab.

Police are investigating the suspected drug lab, while fire investigators look into the blaze, which is also considered suspicious.

Bank robber leaves phone, wallet

FREDERICK | Ever get that sinking feeling when you realize you’ve lost your cell phone? That’s what happened to Carlos Williams - after a bank holdup.

Police said Mr. Williams left two huge clues at the scene of a bank robbery in Frederick in May: his cell phone and his wallet. The items were left on the counter.

The wallet led to an address in Alexandria, but Mr. Williams was able to elude capture. Police said he committed a similar robbery on Tuesday at a bank in Libertytown.

Mr. Williams, 28, and his girlfriend, Denise Smith, 37, were arrested Thursday in District Heights, where they live. Police said they recovered a BB gun used in the robberies and some of the cash taken.

VIRGINIA

Police searching for Apple shooter

ARLINGTON | An employee at an Apple store in Arlington’s upscale Clarendon section is recovering from a gunshot wound.

Police say the 26-year-old woman was shot in the shoulder by a man who rang a doorbell at the back of the store before it opened Friday morning. The shooter fled, and police used helicopter and K-9 units to conduct a sweep of the area.

Police are describing the incident as an attempted robbery.

Woman killed in bike accident

BLACKSBURG | A Virginia Tech spokesman said an Oregon woman has died after a dump truck struck her bicycle on the university’s campus.

Spokesman Larry Hincker identified the victim as 61-year-old Bonnie Tinker of Portland.

Mr. Hincker said the truck was hauling dirt to a construction site near a dining hall when it struck Miss Tinker about 4:30 p.m. Thursday. The accident remained under investigation Friday.

Mr. Hincker said Ms. Tinker was attending a conference on campus with the Religious Society of Friends. About 1,300 people were attending the conference.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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