- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 21, 2009

DISTRICT

House arrest nixed for former manager

A federal judge has denied a request that a former city government employee be released from jail and placed under house arrest.

Yusuf Acar, a top official in the District’s technology office, has been jailed since his arrest last week on charges that he defrauded the city through a bribery and kickback scheme.

Prosecutors argued earlier this week that Mr. Acar is a flight risk, and U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola ordered him to remain held without bail. Mr. Acar spoke of jumping on a plane to his native Turkey to avoid arrest, prosecutors said. He also considered opening foreign bank accounts, they said.

Mr. Acar’s attorney sought Friday to revise the order, suggesting 24-hour house arrest. But Judge Paul Friedman said the evidence indicated that Mr. Acar might still attempt to flee.

Cherry blossoms to peak earlier

The cherry trees surrounding the Tidal Basin will peak earlier this year than initially expected, the National Park Service said.

Park Service horticulturist Rob DeFeo said Friday that he now thinks that most of the 3,700 trees will be bursting with pink and white blossoms from April 1 through April 4.

Mr. DeFeo initially predicted the peak bloom period would run from April 3 to April 9. He cited warmer-than-expected weather in announcing the earlier dates.

Peak bloom occurs when 70 percent of the flowers are out. The entire blooming period is expected to last from March 28 to April 11.

This year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival runs from March 28 to April 12.

MARYLAND

ANNAPOLIS

State to claim school excess funds

Maryland’s House Appropriations Committee has voted to take back about $36 million in state overpayments to county school systems that Gov. Martin O’Malley initially had hoped to let them keep.

The committee is expected to make between $500 million and $600 million in cuts and spending transfers to help address a $516 million budget gap.

The committee is working to move the state’s $14 billion budget to the floor of the House of Delegates next week.

BALTIMORE

Man sentenced in food stamp plot

A federal judge has sentenced a Hagerstown man to 18 months in prison for trading cash for food stamps and defrauding the government of more than $300,000.

The judge also ordered Mohammad Khan to pay $319,000 in restitution, federal prosecutors said.

The owner of Nadia’s Convenience Store in Hagerstown pleaded guilty to illegally exchanging cash for food stamp benefits.

He gave customers cash in exchange for electronic food stamp cards, prosecutors said.

The actions were first discovered in 2004, and authorities fined Khan. But authorities learned that the scheme was continuing in 2006 and arrested him in 2007.

BEL AIR

Teacher charged in teen solicitation

A Harford County middle school teacher was arrested Friday on suspicion of sending sexual text messages to a 15-year-old Prince George’s County boy, Maryland State Police said.

Jonathan Dick, 43, of Bel Air was charged with two counts of solicitation of a minor, police said.

Mr. Dick, a physical education teacher at Fallston Middle School, sent sexual text messages to the boy that the boy’s parents discovered last month, police said. Mr. Dick also is a boys lacrosse coach at Fallston High School.

Mr. Dick solicited the boy for several weeks after the two met on a social networking Web site, police said.

Authorities seized computers, printed documents and pictures from Mr. Dick’s home.

SALISBURY

Medical board pulls doctor’s license

Maryland’s State Board of Physicians has revoked the license of a Salisbury doctor acquitted in a criminal trial of sexually assaulting four women.

Board Executive Director C. Irving Pinder said Mahmaud Shirazi is a disgrace to the medical profession who would pose a danger to patients if he continued to practice medicine.

The board made its decision this week after an administrative law judge concluded that the allegations by four women that Dr. Shirazi sexually violated them with his hand were true. Dr. Shirazi gave evasive and dishonest testimony, Mr. Pinder said.

A Wicomico County jury acquitted Dr. Shirazi last year of sex offense and assault charges.

VIRGINIA

SPRINGFIELD

Man charged with murder of infant son

A father was charged Friday with murdering his infant son in a suspected case of shaken baby syndrome.

Elmer Midence, 38, of Springfield was charged with felony murder by Fairfax County authorities. He had initially been charged only with child abuse.

Police responded to a 911 call Monday for an injured infant. The boy, 8-month-old Albert Midence, was taken to the hospital, where he died Wednesday.

The preliminary assessment is that the infant suffered from shaken baby syndrome, police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said.

Mr. Midence is being held at the county jail.

RICHMOND

Drug-addicted miners benefit from $285,000

More help is on the way for miners in Southwest Virginia who lost their jobs because they were addicted to prescription painkillers.

Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, said Friday that substance abuse treatment programs will receive $285,000 in federal funding.

Programs administered by the Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services help miners end their addictions so they can regain their mining certifications.

The funding targets Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell and Wise counties as well as the city of Norton.

There were 33.4 drug-related deaths for every 100,000 Virginians in that region in 2006 compared with 8.3 deaths per 100,000 across the state, Assistant Commissioner Frank Tetrick said.

NORFOLK

Teen in shootout faces murder charge

A teenager involved in a confrontation with a Norfolk police officer that ended in gunfire faces a murder charge.

Police arrested Brighton E. Alderman, 18, of Norfolk early Thursday on charges of malicious wounding and attempted robbery.

The murder charge was added after a man found with a gunshot wound in a car near the scene of the confrontation died late Thursday, Norfolk police spokesman Chris Amos said. Mr. Amos identified the victim as Brian Carter, 24, of Suffolk.

Mr. Carter was the victim of a robbery attempt, police had said earlier.

The officer confronted two men after hearing gunshots, Mr. Amos said. He fatally shot Marlon Sanders, 19, of Norfolk in an exchange of gunfire.

Mr. Alderman doesn’t face charges in the gunfight because he complied with the officer, Mr. Amos said.

NEWPORT NEWS

Fort Eustis team deploying to Kuwait

Fifteen soldiers from Fort Eustis are heading to Kuwait Naval Base to provide support for harbor clearance, dam inspections and repairs, and other operations.

A departure ceremony for the 86th Engineer Dive Team is scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday at Anderson Field House.

The deployment will last one year.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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