- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 11, 2011

D.C. officials say they will use the days leading to the long-awaited Aug. 28 dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial to spotlight the city’s efforts to achieve statehood, which includes a member of Congress with full voting rights, according to The Washington Times. Among the scheduled events is an Aug. 27 march. Officials say what the civil rights leader “has done for our country must also be done for the residents of our nation’s capital.” On Aug. 23 the city will hold a viewing for D.C. residents only.

D.C. and Prince George’s County police gave separate and largely contrasting reports Wednesday on violent crime in their jurisdictions this year. The county so far has 69 homicides and is on pace to reverse three years of declines. The District of Columbia so far has had 65 homicides — down from 71 over the similar period in 2010. The city is on pace to improve upon last year’s total of 132 killings, which was the lowest total in four decades, The Washington Times reports.

Prince George’s police also said they closed the MSG nightclub in Capitol Heights using a new law that cracks down on clubs and dance halls with violent reputations after a drive-by shooting Monday resulted in the 69th homicide victim, Jasmine Banks, 20. She was shot in the head as she left the club about 2:44 a.m. Monday, police said.

Maryland Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot lashed out Wednesday at federal lawmakers, blaming recent scrutiny of the state’s finances on Congress’ contentious national debt-ceiling debate, writes The Times‘ David Hill. Mr. Franchot, a Democrat, said during a state Board of Public Works meeting that Maryland is in sound fiscal shape, despite recent worries that it could lose its triple-A bond rating in the wake of last week’s federal downgrade by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services. “I think it’s a wake-up call for all of us in public service,” Mr. Franchot said. “I think it’s time to put down the partisan brickbats and put country above party.”

The Gaithersburg man held in Aruba as part of a high-profile missing-persons case has been accused by two Montgomery County women of domestic abuse or threats, according to requests for restraining orders filed in Rockville courthouses. A former girlfriend alleged that the man, Gary Giordano, posted pornographic images of her on the Internet, according to county filings. Mr. Giordano, 50, is being held in Aruba as authorities investigate the disappearance of 35-year-old Robyn Gardner, a Frederick County woman he was vacationing with on the island. Mr. Giordano reported that Miss Gardner failed to return when the two went snorkeling, and a judge has ordered him held for questioning. Mr. Giordano has not been charged with a crime in Aruba, The Washington Post reports.

Police now have identified a total of nine female shoppers slashed on the buttocks at retail outlets in Fairfax County, according to the Associated Press. Police said Wednesday that three more victims have filed reports since police announced last month that the attacks had been linked. The attacks stretch back to February and have occurred at malls and shopping centers, with Fair Oaks Mall the most frequent location. Several victims have suffered bleeding wounds. Police have released video footage of a possible suspect, who’s described as Hispanic, in his late 20s, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and heavyset.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said Wednesday the $311 million surplus the state closed the last fiscal year with will grow by more than $50 million because of additional state savings. This is the second consecutive year Virginia has closed the fiscal year with a surplus, a balance sheet Mr. McDonnell and other Republicans tout as a testament to austere budgeting, but that Democrats say is the result of accounting gimmickry and cuts to core government programs, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Supporters of the national nonprofit MoveOn.org gathered in front of Maryland GOP Rep. Andy Harris’ Salisbury office Wednesday to demand he focus on job creation and not spending cuts, reports the Daily Times. The group of about 15 to 20 people presented Mr. Harris’ community liaison with its Contract for the American Dream, which outlines 10 points it says will create jobs. Mr. Harris was not at his Salisbury office during the protest. Salisbury Mayor Jim Ireton was among the protesters.

The face of Maryland’s future will be vastly more colorful than its present, with nine of the state’s 24 jurisdictions already majority-minority among young children, according to 2010 census figures released today, The Washington Times reports. In addition, the number of same-sex couples in the state increased by 51 percent over the past decade, and more than a quarter of those couples are raising children, as reported by the Baltimore Sun.