- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 5, 2006


$1 million given to King memorial

The national memorial to honor Martin Luther King is inching closer to reality.

State Farm Insurance has donated $1 million toward the project. Edward Rust, the company’s chief executive, is urging other businesses to support the four-acre memorial, slated for the Tidal Basin near the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, as well.

So far, $58 million has been raised for the $100 million project — a big jump from the $5 million that was raised in all of 2004.

Organizers said the recent deaths of civil rights icons Rosa Parks and King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, have inspired a jump in contributions.

Memorial designers are scheduled to go before the National Capital Planning Commission for further review of the project soon.

City mulls enforcing littering laws

The D.C. Council is considering giving police the authority to write tickets for littering.

Legislation introduced by council member Kwame R. Brown, at-large Democrat, would allow police to fine people who leave a beer bottle on a curb or toss a fast-food bag out a car window.

Littering carries civil penalties under existing law. A first offense carries a $75 fine or eight hours of community service. The penalties increase with each violation, but enforcement of the law is lax.

Mr. Brown said lawmakers should support anything that makes for a cleaner city.

The Department of Public Works already teams up with police to target illegal dumping, but a spokeswoman said it doesn’t issue citations to people who toss individual pieces of trash on the ground.

Litter often ends up in area waterways, and officials estimate that about 70 tons of trash is removed every month from the Anacostia River.



Woman, 20, charged in ambush of officer

Police arrested a 20-year-old woman they think master-minded the ambush and attempted robbery of a plainclothes Baltimore police officer that ended in a shootout that left the officer critically wounded.

Police said Sherray Douglass lured undercover vice Detective Dante Hemingway into a southwest Baltimore public housing community by calling him on a cell phone, posing as a friend and asking to meet him.

When the officer, who was on duty, arrived during his lunch hour Thursday, he was confronted on the street by a man armed with a handgun, according to court documents.

The two men exchanged gunshots. Detective Hemingway fired 14 shots, striking his assailant once in the leg.

Detective Hemingway, 28, was shot in the neck, chest and stomach and was in critical condition yesterday after undergoing at least two operations at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

On Monday, police arrested Miss Douglass and charged her with attempted murder, armed robbery and several handgun violations.

She planned the ambush and stood ready to assist with the robbery, court documents say. She was ordered held without bail yesterday.

A District Court judge Monday ordered Jobrey Lodge, 28, held without bail. He was charged Friday with attempted first-degree murder, armed robbery and numerous handgun violations.


State House cleared after bomb threat

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele were among the hundreds of people evacuated from the State House for about two hours yesterday after a bomb threat was called in to Baltimore police.

State General Service Secretary Boyd Rutherford said the threat was called in just after 3:30 p.m. Baltimore police notified state authorities, and the State House was evacuated in 15 minutes.

Authorities allowed employees to return to work about 5:30 p.m. after a search of the building by three bomb-sniffing dogs.

Members of the House of Delegates were starting to gather for a 4 p.m. session, but it was canceled.


Youth center escapee found after two weeks

A teenager who escaped March 15 from the Cheltenham Youth Center has been caught in Montgomery County, state juvenile services officials said.

Authorities got a tip where the 18-year-old was staying, and state police arrested him Saturday. He has been taken to an adult jail.

The teen had been held at Cheltenham for a month while awaiting a hearing on car theft and other charges.

Authorities said he escaped by stealing a volunteer’s van and crashing through a fence.


Police say DVD star was making sequel

A man featured prominently in the “Stop Snitching” DVD celebrating witness intimidation has been arrested, and police said they found evidence that he was working on a sequel.

Ronnie Thomas, 30, who was identified in the video by his street name “Skinny Suge,” was arrested Sunday after a confidential informant told police that he would be in South Baltimore.

Mr. Thomas has been at large since February, when, police said, he beat a woman who worked in Mondawmin Mall and robbed another woman days later. He was charged with assault, robbery and probation violation.

Mr. Thomas was being held on $30,000 bail at Central Booking, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore state’s attorney’s office told the Baltimore Sun.

The “Stop Snitching” DVD created an uproar in part because Carmelo Anthony, the Denver Nuggets basketball star and Baltimore native, appeared briefly in the homemade film.

It also features drug dealers who warn residents they could “get a hole in their head” for cooperating with authorities.


Senate approves help for state’s farmers

After promising for months that farmers would get a boost in the legislature this year, lawmakers have approved bills authorizing more money to help them stay in business and adopt environment-friendly practices.

The Senate yesterday gave unanimous approval to a bill authorizing millions for farmer assistance, including more money for winter cover crops and more soil conservation officers. The House already has passed a similar bill, and differences in the two versions are slight. Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has said he supports more help for agriculture.

“It’ll certainly help, not every farmer, but it’ll help a lot a farmers remain in agriculture,” said Earl Hance, who grows soybeans and grain in Calvert County and is president of the Maryland Farm Bureau.

The bills came out of months of work by farmers, lawmakers and environmental groups, who agreed that preserving agriculture is a key component in taming growth. Maryland farmers said they wanted to do a better job reducing nitrogen and other pollutants that run into the Chesapeake Bay, but they needed more money from the government to afford cleaner methods.



Former justice named to university board

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine appointed John Charles Thomas, the first black justice on the Virginia Supreme Court, to the board of visitors at the College of William & Mary.

Justice Thomas will fill a post initially intended for former Delegate James H. Dillard II, Fairfax Republican, Mr. Kaine announced yesterday.

Justice Thomas was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1983 and sat on the bench for seven years. He will serve a term that ends in June 2009.

“Justice Thomas’ personal story, from public housing in Norfolk to the commonwealth’s highest court of law, is a compelling one,” said Mr. Kaine, a Democrat.

Mr. Dillard, who had served 32 years representing Fairfax County, was appointed to the board by former Gov. Mark Warner, a Democrat, but the Republican-controlled House of Delegates refused to confirm their former colleague Feb. 9.


Dead newborn found in abandoned car

A dead newborn found in an abandoned car was the child of a 15-year-old girl, police said.

Sheriff Charles Jett said the Stafford girl’s parents did not know she was pregnant but had asked about her weight gain. The child may have been born three to four months premature.

Police do not know whether the girl was born alive. The body was taken to Richmond for an autopsy.

No charges have been filed.

The teenage mother was taken to a hospital Saturday morning by her parents after complaining of abdominal cramps. Doctors realized she had given birth,. and authorities began an investigation.

The teen eventually told police that she had wrapped the baby in a bag and put her in a vehicle on the family property. Authorities found the body Sunday.


Man accused of shooting puppy

A Lynchburg man has been charged with animal cruelty in the fatal shooting of a neighbor’s pit bull puppy.

Police initially charged Jeffrey Bradley, a Liberty University law student, with two misdemeanors — recklessly handling a firearm and discharging a firearm in the city.

On Saturday, they arrested and charged him with cruelty to animals, a felony that carries a penalty of one to five years in prison or up to 12 months in jail.

Mr. Bradley, 31, said he felt threatened by the 7-month-old dog and was forced to shoot it using a 12-gauge shotgun in his back yard. This is the second time in two years that Mr. Bradley has shot a neighbor’s dog, the News & Advance newspaper reported.

But the puppy’s owner, Hernandez Glover, said her pet, Canaan, was not dangerous. She said Mr. Bradley knew her dog well and knew he wasn’t a threat.


Man indicted in pit bull attack

The owner of a pit bull terrier that attacked several people in a Richmond park has been indicted on three charges of assault and battery.

Rodney Douglas is also facing a warrant for his arrest for failing to appear in court last month on charges related to his ownership of the dog.

Authorities say Douglas remains a fugitive. His dog, named “Killer,” has been in the custody of the Richmond Animal Control office since the attacks last month.

Officials with the Richmond commonwealth’s attorney’s office say the dog may have attacked up to six persons before it was apprehended.

Douglas was cited by Virginia Commonwealth University police for failing to have his dog on a leash and for failing to register the animal or have it vaccinated for rabies. Each of those violations carry $250 fines.

If convicted on the assault and battery charges, Douglas faces up to three years in jail.



Godspeed replica will visit six ports

A new replica of one of the three ships that carried Jamestown’s founders will set sail May 22 for a tour of six East Coast ports to begin commemorating the 400th anniversary of America’s first permanent English settlement.

The Godspeed is to depart from its home berth at the Jamestown Settlement outdoor living history museum and head to Alexandria, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Newport, R.I. Each port will have a free “Landing Party Festival” featuring live music, family entertainment and historical and cultural displays about Jamestown.

The Godspeed will dock in Alexandria from May 27 to June 3 and at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor from June 9 to 12 before heading north.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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