The Washington Times - July 20, 2011, 09:03AM

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY’S NEW SPEED CAMERAS will be provided by a company that has come under scrutiny this year about the accuracy of its devices, county officials said Tuesday. A panel of county agencies has selected Optotraffic, a Lanham-based vendor that already operates speed-monitoring systems in about 15 county municipalities, to lead the county’s new program, which includes speed cameras in as many as 113 locations, according to The Washington Times. Officials chose Optotraffic from several vendors, despite complaints from residents and some officials that the company’s devices have questionable accuracy and often are placed by municipalities in areas where they will catch the most speeders without necessarily improving pedestrian safety.

THE METROPOLITAN WASHINGTON AIRPORTS AUTHORITY meets today to weigh a compromise proposal that could reverse its decision to build a below-ground Metrorail station at Washington Dulles International Airport. The proposal was put forth by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood following calls — and political maneuvering — for a less-expensive, above-ground station. Fairfax and Loudoun counties, which will help pay for the station, support the LaHood plan. Later today, Mr. LaHood will meet with stakeholders.


When Virginia decided to hand over control of the Dulles Metrorail project to the airports authority in 2006, the intention was to create a more cost-effective, better-managed project protected by the unelected board from fickle political winds. But now, authority board members are feeling the heat on all sides, as federal, state and local officials seek to shave costs and reverse the board’s decision, The Washington Times reports.

AMID THE GRUMBLING OVER THE DULLES METRORAIL STATION, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is feeling the heat over a proposal to double the size of its boardroom and expand its headquarters.The panel has plans to spend $7.2 million to double the size of its boardroom and build a three-story expansion of its headquarters, with a $350,000 multimedia system, The Washington Post reports.

HOME DELIVERY OF WINE IN MARYLAND appears off to a fast start since the law took effect, with more than 100 wineries applying for direct wine-shipping permits, the state comptroller’s office said. Maryland was one of 13 states that banned residents from receiving wine at their homes until the General Assembly enacted the law this spring. A total of 150 wineries — 17 in state and 133 out of state — have requested the $200-a-year permits since they became available July 1. Eleven of the in-state wineries and 55 out of state have received their permits, according to The Washington Times.

FIVE PEOPLE WERE INJURED BY A FALLING TREE BRANCH while attending a vacation Bible camp at a Capitol Hill park, according to the Washington Examiner. The tree-size branch fell from an oak tree that was more than 70 years old at Garfield Park at about 1:45 p.m. Tuesday, said Pete Piringer, spokesman for the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department.

The branch injured a 51-year-old man, a 17-year-old boy and three children, Mr. Piringer said. They were part of a group from a Bible camp at the nearby Peoples Church. The adult and 17-year-old were in serious condition. Mr. Piringer said the children also were listed in serious condition, but their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

A MARYLAND CHEF WANTS THE SNAKEHEAD FISH ON RESTAURANT MENUS, and some Washington-area chefs like the idea, according to the Baltimore Sun. The idea comes from Chef Chad Wells of Alewife restaurant in Baltimore, now that the Asian interloper has settled with alarming ease into Chesapeake-area rivers, streams and perhaps the Bay itself.

The chefs think serving invasive species could represent an important new twist on the sustainable seafood movement. Some of the biggest names in regional restaurants — “Top Chef” rivals Bryan Voltaggio and Mike Isabella, Scott Drewno of Washington’s the Source by Wolfgang Puck — are trying to get their hands on the fish so they can slice, dice and pan-sear the thing into oblivion.

“We’ve been doing the complete opposite and focusing on conserving species,” said Mr. Voltaggio, owner of Volt restaurant in Frederick, Md. “Here’s a fish you can feel good about depleting.”

Chef Barton Seaver, formerly of the sustainable seafood restaurant Hook in Georgetown, served snakefish in June as part of an invasive species sushi bar at the National Geographic Society gala.