- - Tuesday, March 22, 2011

DISTRICT

Boy released after cocaine incident

An elementary school student who brought cocaine to school and shared it with other students was to be reunited with his mother after a hearing Tuesday in D.C. Superior Court.

The boy had been in foster care since the incident last week.

Four elementary students at Thomson Elementary School in Northwest were taken to a hospital Thursday after they either sniffed or swallowed the drug brought by the boy. Officials said at the time they were fine but had sore throats.

It was the fifth time this school year that a student was reported with drugs at a school, according to a D.C. schools spokesman. At least twice the substance was marijuana.

Gray changes venue for D.C. address

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced Tuesday that he has plucked his State of the District address out of downtown in favor of a recently renovated high school in Northeast.

Mr. Gray said moving Monday’s address from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Mount Vernon Square in Northwest to the Eastern Senior High School auditorium stemmed from a “strong sentiment to go out into the community and make it more convenient for people to get to.”

Eastern is located at 1700 East Capitol Street NE, two blocks from the Stadium-Armory Metro Station on the Orange and Blue lines. The District held a previous budget hearing in the newly restored facility, and it left a strong impression, according to Mr. Gray.

“For those who were there, you had to be impressed with that building,” he said, calling it “the pride of Capitol Hill.”

Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with guided tours of the new facility until 6:30 p.m. The program is scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m.

Mr. Gray noted that the address will provide his first opportunity as mayor to assess “where we are and where we are headed.”

D.C. investigates council member, charity

The D.C. Office of Campaign Finance has initiated a preliminary investigation of D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. over charges of financial misconduct related to his Team Thomas charity.

The charges, contained in a December complaint filed by D.C. Republican Party Chairman Robert Kabel, allege that Mr. Thomas, Ward 5 Democrat, “failed to disclose” the receipt of a motor vehicle from a company he is associated with, that he paid the company more than $10,000 in campaign funds, and that he did not disclose travel expenses associated with the charity.

A letter to Mr. Kabel from Office of Campaign Finance Director Cecily E. Collier-Montgomery dated Tuesday said officials are also looking into whether Mr. Thomas and his staff used government resources for other than official government business.

“OCF determined that an investigation was warranted following an extensive review of the information compiled in this matter,” Ms. Collier-Montgomery wrote.

The D.C. Office of the Attorney General is already investigating whether Mr. Thomas unlawfully solicited charitable donations to the group.

MARYLAND

Link sought between Olney homicides

OLNEY | Montgomery County police said Tuesday that the suspicious death of an 81-year-old Olney man has been ruled a homicide.

Police found Nazir Ahmed, of the 19500 block of Olney Mill Road, dead in his home on Friday, March 18.

They said Mr. Ahmed was last seen on March 16 at about 6 p.m. at the Muslim Community Center at 15200 New Hampshire Ave. in Silver Spring, where he regularly attended prayer services.

<t-7>When he did not arrive at the Muslim Community Center, a friend went to his residence to check on him. When the friend arrived, he found Mr. Ahmed unresponsive and called police.

Police seek suspect ]after bank robbery

BETHESDA | Montgomery County Police are looking for a man in connection with the robbery of a Colombo Bank on Tuesday.

Police say the man entered the bank in the 6900 block of Arlington Road at 10:13 a.m., showed the bank teller a handgun and demanded cash.

The man, described as black, 50 years old, about 6 feet tall and weighing about 190 pounds, fled on foot after the teller gave him an undisclosed amount of money.

The man was wearing a gray sweatshirt and red hat and carrying a red bag.

REGION

O’Malley, McDonnell talk teacher unions

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley were in the District Tuesday to kick off the three-day Building a Grad Nation Summit in the District.

The two governors were part of a four-person panel on the nation’s dropout rates, which also included Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.

But the local leaders did not escape a question on the hot-button issue of teachers unions and whether they are a burden or benefit to progressing the education system.

Virginia banned public-sector bargaining 20 years ago, but the 60,000-member Virginia Education Association advocates for state school employees.

“I think we manage well without a union,” said Mr. McDonnell, a Republican, “but the influence and input of the association is helpful.”

Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, said that although he’s aware that it’s easy to paint unions as big, bad and evil, “in the toughest of times the people of Maryland would not have come together [EnLeader] if not for the hard work of teachers unions.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports