- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 3, 2009

DISTRICT

Officials restore schools funding

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said he has reached an agreement with the D.C. Council to restore $24 million for the city’s schools in the upcoming budget.

D.C. Council members voted last month to strip more than $27 million from the schools, saying they were skeptical of projections that enrollment would increase by 3,000 students next year.

As part of a compromise announced Tuesday, the school system and council agreed to fund the audited enrollment figure of about 44,700 students from the current school year.

Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee warned that unless the money was restored, hundreds of teacher positions could be eliminated.

Gallery commissions Paine for sculpture

The National Gallery of Art has commissioned Roxy Paine to create a stainless- steel treelike installation for the museum’s Sculpture Garden on the Mall.

Gallery officials announced Tuesday that they have asked Mr. Paine to make one of his Dendroid sculptures, as he calls this series of works. The sculpture, titled “Graft,” is scheduled to be installed this fall.

It will be the first contemporary piece added to the Sculpture Garden in the nearly 10 years since it opened.

VIRGINIA

RICHMOND

State notes death swine-flu-related

Virginia health officials have confirmed the first death in the state related to the swine flu.

State Health Commissioner Karen Remley announced the death on Tuesday. Although the cause of death has not been confirmed, officials said the H1N1 virus appears to have been a factor.

Health officials said the patient was an adult female from the Chesapeake Health District and a resident at the Southeastern Virginia Training Center.

In a release Tuesday night, Gov. Tim Kaine said the news serves as a reminder that Virginians must remain vigilant against the spread of the disease.

RICHMOND

Keenan supported for appeals court

Virginia’s U.S. senators have recommended Virginia Supreme Court Justice Barbara Keenan for appointment to the federal appeals court based in Richmond.

Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner announced the recommendation Tuesday. If nominated by President Obama, Justice Keenan’s appointment to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals would require Senate confirmation.

Justice Keenan, 59, has served on the state Supreme Court since 1991. Before that, she served as general district and circuit court judge in Fairfax County and on the Virginia Court of Appeals.

The 15-member federal appeals court, which has four vacancies, hears appeals of federal cases from Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Maryland.

GREENVILLE

Pilot injured in helicopter crash

Engine failure is suspected in the crash of a helicopter during a tree-trimming operation near Greenville, Virginia State Police said.

The pilot, Brian Keith Lacks, 41, of Arlington, Tenn., was taken to a Charlottesville hospital with non-fatal injuries, authorities said. No other injuries were reported.

The two-seat Hughes 369D crashed at about 11 a.m. Tuesday behind two homes.

The helicopter was owned by Aerial Solutions Inc. of Tabor City, N.C.

Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative said the company was clearing right of way for the co-op near its Cold Springs substation.

Aerial Solutions General Manager Ted McAllister said the pilot was “very well experienced.”

RICHMOND

Advocacy agency’s lawsuit tossed

A federal appeals court has thrown out a state advocacy agency’s lawsuit against Virginia’s mental health commissioner and two other officials.

The Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy claimed in the lawsuit that Commissioner James Reinhard and others were illegally denying the agency access to records relating to the deaths or injuries of three people at mental health facilities.

The state agency was created to advocate for the mentally ill.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the doctrine of sovereign immunity bars one state agency from suing another in federal court. The judges said the plaintiffs can seek relief in state court.

VIRGINIA BEACH

Death penalty sought in officer’s slaying

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against a man charged with fatally shooting a Virginia Beach police detective during an undercover drug purchase.

A Jan. 26 trial was set Tuesday in Virginia Beach Circuit Court for Ted Vincent Carter, 24. He is charged with capital murder, first-degree murder, robbery and several other offenses.

Mr. Carter is accused of killing 37-year-old Detective Michael Smith Phillips at a Virginia Beach shopping center in August 2008.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Harvey Bryant said Tuesday the killing meets the aggravating criteria required by law for the death penalty.

A July trial is scheduled for co-defendant Marshall D. Moyd on robbery, first-degree murder and drug conspiracy charges.

SUFFOLK

Planters Peanuts home in disrepair

Preservationists hope that someone will come forward to restore the former mansion of the man who founded Planters Peanuts.

Preservation Virginia recently named the former home of Italian immigrant Amedeo Obici as one of the state’s nine most endangered sites. It sits on the Suffolk-owned Sleepy Hole Golf Course and once was a popular spot for banquets and other events. It was placed on the national historic register but has fallen into great disrepair.

Mr. Obici’s great niece, Jolyne Dalzell, is among those working to save the mansion. She said Mr. Obici built the home on a farm that he bought in 1924. He used Italian craftsmen to install a tiled roof, stained glass and parquet floors.

MARYLAND

ANNAPOLIS

Safe Streets credited with cutting crime

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley says a year-old program has helped reduce crime in Annapolis.

The Capital City Safe Streets program was started last year to pool local, state and federal resources to fight crime in Maryland’s capital city.

House Speaker Michael Busch, whose district includes the city, noted that reported homicides dropped 64 percent in Annapolis. The city had 11 murders from April 2007 to March 2008. That compares with four homicides from April 2008 to March 2009.

The administration says plans for the program include more joint-agency initiatives, closed-circuit video in and around low-income housing communities, and updated technology.

$589 million available to schools

Rep. Frank Kratovil Jr., a Democrat, said the U.S. Department of Education has made more than $589 million in stimulus funding available to Maryland schools.

The Eastern Shore congressman said Maryland will be eligible to apply for an additional $290 million this fall.

Mr. Kratovil said that in order to receive the funds, the state provided assurances that it would collect, publish, analyze and act on a variety of data including the quality of classroom teachers, annual student improvements, college readiness, and the effectiveness of state standards and assessments.

The state also is required to report the number of jobs saved through Recovery Act funding, the amount of state and local tax increases averted and how funds are used.

BALTIMORE

City remains among deadliest

Homicides in Baltimore were down 17 percent last year. But newly released FBI data show tha it remains one of the most violent big cities in America.

Baltimore had 37 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2008. That makes it the deadliest city with a population of 500,000 or more. Detroit had 34 homicides per 100,000 residents, and Washington had about 31.

Among cities with 100,000 residents or more, Baltimore ranked third, behind New Orleans and St. Louis and ahead of Birmingham, Ala., Jackson, Miss., and Detroit.

Baltimore, which has 634,000 residents, recorded 234 homicides in 2008. So far in 2009, there have been 95 homicides in Baltimore, putting the city on a pace to record fewer slayings than last year.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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