- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 11, 2006

MARYLAND BALTIMORE Woman, 19, sentenced in firebombing A 19-year-old Baltimore woman was sentenced yesterday to four years in prison for her role in the firebombing of the home of an activist who was leading a fight against drug dealing in her community. Prosecutors said Shakia Watkins conspired with a gang of drug dealers who planned the January 2005 attack on Harwood Community Association President Edna McAbier, who repeatedly had complained to police about drug trafficking. The complaints were disrupting the dealers’ business and the firebombing was an attempt to silence Miss McAbier, prosecutors said. Watkins’ role in the conspiracy was to divert or delay police response by reporting a fake crime to 911 just before the home was bombarded with Molotov cocktails. The ringleader, Terrence Smith, 24, of Baltimore, was sentenced last month to 80 years in prison. Nakie Harris, 30, and Richard Royal, 21, received 60-year sentences. Three others face 30-year sentences after pleading guilty to witness tampering and use of fire and explosives to commit a felony. Sentencing in their case has not been scheduled. Miss McAbier escaped unharmed, and her home sustained minor damage. DUNDALK Body of boy, 7, found off pier The body of a 7-year-old boy was found yesterday in water off of a pier near his home. Police had been searching for Edward Deshawn Blue since his family reported him missing about 9:20 p.m. Sunday. The family told Baltimore County police that he had been riding his scooter in the neighborhood about 7 p.m. and failed to return home. The scooter was found on the pier at Lynch Cove, but police looked for the boy without success until unfavorable conditions forced them to suspend their search. They found him shortly after the search resumed at 7:30 a.m. yesterday. There was no indication of foul play, pending the results of an autopsy, police spokesman Bill Toohey said. FREDERICK Teen drops suit against restaurant A Frederick teenager who sneaked into a charity bartender contest to drink has dropped her suit blaming the restaurant for injuries she suffered after a drunken fall in the parking lot. Tyler Catherine Bauer of New Market had sued TGI Friday’s for $200,000. She had accused the restaurant of negligence for allowing her to drink beer and alcohol even though she was just 17. She dropped the suit Friday for personal reasons, her attorney said. Tyler and an 18-year-old companion joined a charity bartenders contest in October. Leaving the restaurant two hours later after drinking heavily, Tyler shattered her teeth, lips and gums when she passed out and fell on her face in the parking lot with a blood alcohol level of 0.238 percent — nearly three times the legal limit of 0.08 for operating a motor vehicle. Police reported that Tyler had fallen off the tailgate of a pickup truck while leaving the bar. The Frederick County Liquor Board fined the restaurant $1,600 for allowing Tyler and her underage friend to drink. ANNAPOLIS Burning ban lifted in parts of state The state has lifted a ban on open-air burning in eight jurisdictions in Maryland. The decision by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is due to recent rainfall and projected wildfire conditions. The ban was implemented March 31. It has been lifted in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and Baltimore city effective yesterday. The ban remains in effect in the rest of the state that have experienced lower than normal rainfall and are at a higher risk for large wildfires. ANNAPOLIS New House officesn ear completion The $28 million addition to the House of Delegates building, space lawmakers had hoped would be finished before the session started in January, will be completed by the summer. “There’s a lot of prettying up to do,” House Administrator Barbara Oakes said. The 95,000-square-foot addition was designed to relieve cramped office conditions for committee staff members, Miss Oakes said. She said remaining tasks include landscaping, installing more furniture and adding the final touches to a new audiovisual system. When the work is finished, hearing rooms will average 10 additional chairs and plasma screens will display the status of legislation. ELLICOTT CITY Vandals damage high school, fields Howard County police are looking for the vandals who damaged the Mount Hebron High School building and its athletic fields over the weekend. Police said someone painted a 7-foot swastika on the football field, ruined a foul pole and a sign on the baseball field and broke at least 16 windows in the building. VIRGINIA FAIRFAX Free trees available for community planting Officials in Fairfax County are getting a lot of phone calls from residents looking for free trees. But the tree giveaway is for residents looking to plant them on public or community property, not their own yards. The county has set a goal of planting 2,006 trees this year, and said it hopes to meet that goal by offering the free trees. The trees available include crab apple, green ash, hackberry, hazelnut, red maple and common buttonbush. The program is a partnership of the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District, the county Tree Commission and other groups. The trees will be available April 21 through the end of the month and again late in September. For information, call Fairfax ReLeaf at 703/324-1409. ACCOMAC Man awaits extradition hearing A man taken into custody after the slayings of four relatives will remain in a Maryland jail until an April 21 extradition hearing. Ronald Lee Shrieves, 32, was arrested Saturday in Worcester County, Md. The bodies of his parents, niece and nephew were found Friday in the parents’ home in the Accomack County community of Modest Town. Accomack County Sheriff Robert Crockett said Mr. Shrieves has been charged with stealing his father’s pickup truck but has not been charged in the slayings. Mr. Shrieves was caught after a police chase Saturday near Girdletree, Md. He is being held on charges that include traffic offenses and possession of stolen property. RICHMOND Kaine announces scholars program Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has announced a program aimed at encouraging students to take tougher classes. The pilot program and promotional campaign would reward students in 11 participating school systems who take a suggested set of more rigorous courses. The students would be recognized as Commonwealth Scholars. Those students who complete the scholars program will be eligible to receive a diploma seal from their school system in recognition of their achievement. A $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education is funding the program. Virginia is among eight states selected in a national competition to participate in the scholars program. NORFOLK Man arrested in baseball bat attack Police said they have apprehended a man wanted in the attack of three persons with a baseball bat. Michael Ray Marsh faces three counts of malicious wounding. Two adults and a 15-year-old girl were injured Sunday after being beaten by a baseball bat in what police said was a domestic dispute. Police spokesman Chris Amos said one of the injured adults was Mr. Marsh’s estranged wife. Mr. Amos said that the adults were expected to be released from the hospital and that the girl’s condition was improving. SHENANDOAH Fish kills continue in Shenandoah River Officials with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality said massive fish kills in the Shenandoah River show no sign of stopping. Last week, members of a task force looking into the cause of the kills found about 25 dead smallmouth bass in the North Fork of the Shenandoah River between Woodstock and Strasburg. A week earlier, a few dozen smallmouth bass were found dead along the South Fork near Port Republic. Last year, 80 percent of the smallmouths and redbreast sunfish were wiped out in the South Fork. The fish had lesions that looked like cigar burns. Similar kills occurred in 2004 in the North Fork of the Shenandoah and in 2002 in the South Branch of the Potomac River. Officials said determining the cause of the fish kills is going to take some time. DISTRICT Smithsonian receives $15 million gift Boeing Co. has given $15 million to the National Air and Space Museum, the largest single gift ever from a corporation, the Smithsonian Institution announced yesterday. The gift will help fund museum programming, the care of artifacts and the remaining construction at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington Dulles International Airport. In recognition of the gift, Smithsonian officials said the central structure at the Chantilly annex will now be known as the Boeing Aviation Hangar. Boeing gave $5 million in 1998 for the first phase of construction of the Udvar-Hazy Center, which opened in 2003. It provides space for the Smithsonian to display thousands of artifacts that cannot be exhibited at the museum on the Mall. The Smithsonian has been trying to raise money to add a restoration hangar, archives and storage facilities at the Chantilly site. Celebrity chef coming to Newseum Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck will have his signature on a restaurant slated for the future Newseum complex on Pennsylvania Avenue. The Freedom Forum announced the deal yesterday for the restaurant to be named Source by Wolfgang Puck. It will be part of a 641,000-square-foot complex opening in fall 2007 that includes retail space and 135 apartment units. Mr. Puck is famous for his Los Angeles restaurant Spago, and he said his first D.C. restaurant will offer the same type of cuisine. He also plans additions inspired by Maryland and Virginia flavors. The original Newseum, with exhibits on the press and First Amendment in Arlington, closed after five years when officials announced plans for a larger facility near the Smithsonian museums. From wire dispatches and staff reports

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