- The Washington Times - Monday, August 14, 2006


Woman with machete held near White House

A woman carrying a 13-inch machete was arrested yesterday afternoon near the White House, the Secret Service said.

Ashwak Saleh, 32, was arrested about 2:20 p.m. along the north fence and charged with possession of a prohibited weapon.

Kim Bruce, a spokeswoman for the Secret Service, said Miss Saleh was arrested “for possession of a prohibited weapon.” The spokeswoman described the weapon but did not say whether Miss Saleh was behaving in a threatening manner, or where she was from.

She was turned over to D.C. police.

President Bush had returned to the White House from his home in Crawford, Texas, just minutes earlier.

DDOT urges residents to water trees

Weeks of hot, dry weather have prompted D.C. officials to urge residents to water young trees planted by the city near their homes.

Since January 2005, the District Department of Transportation has planted about 8,000 trees throughout the city. Many were planted along sidewalks on land owned by the city.

City foresters said the saplings need about five to 10 gallons of water every seven to 10 days when the area does not get regular rainfall. The city has been using grant money from a nonprofit foundation to preserve trees and finance plantings.



Teen charged in several fires

A teenager has been charged with setting fires that destroyed at least three vehicles in Montgomery County this weekend.

Firefighters were called to fight five small blazes over several hours in Takoma Park early Saturday.

Another car fire occurred about 4:15 a.m. in the 400 block of Beech Avenue.

Yesterday afternoon, investigators got a tip from a resident that led to the arrest of a 16-year-old boy.

Pete Piringer, a spokesman for the Montgomery County fire department, said the teen has been charged with three counts of arson, five counts of attempted arson and six counts of malicious burning. Other charges are pending, and the case remains under investigation.

The teen is being held at the juvenile detention facility in Rockville.


Body found in lake after car plunges in

A body was recovered from a lake last night after someone drove a car into the water.

The body was recovered about 10:30 p.m., about two hours after witnesses notified authorities that they had seen the car drive into the lake near Shore Harbour Drive, Montgomery County fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said.

The car was found upside down in about 25 feet of water about 75 feet from the shore of Little Seneca Lake in Black Hill Regional Park.

Rescue workers and divers searched the general area to see if there were any other victims. Mr. Piringer said the car would be left in place overnight and that recovery efforts would resume this morning.


Communities work to stem gangs

Organizations are rallying together to take Wicomico County communities back from gangs.

The state’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention has offered a $15,000 grant to the Wicomico Partnerships for Families and Children to design a comprehensive gang-reduction plan.

Beverly Ward, planning grant coordinator, said more than 30 organizations, agencies and churches will focus on gang prevention, intervention and suppression.

She said the initiative will attempt to steer youth away from the desire to be in gangs by offering after-school programs.


Woman found dead in swimming pool

A woman’s body was found in a swimming pool of a home yesterday morning. Investigators said it appears the woman drowned.

A police spokeswoman said the resident of the home in the 100 block of West Farmington Road called authorities about 8:30 a.m. The woman’s remains were pulled from the water, and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Cpl. Diana Richardson, a county police spokeswoman, said the man told authorities that he knew the woman. Her body was taken to the state medical examiner’s office in Baltimore to determine the cause of death.

The woman’s name is being withheld until her relatives are notified.


Man fatally shot; another injured

A man was fatally shot early yesterday outside an apartment building.

Police found Andre Donnell White, 28, of an unknown address, at 1:45 a.m. in the 4400 block of 23rd Parkway. A 19-year-old was found nearby with injuries not thought to be life-threatening.

After calling police, Mr. White’s friend drove him to a nearby hospital, where he died several hours later.

There are no suspects, and investigators have not determined a motive.



Group aims to attract filmmakers to area

A new, film-friendly group hopes to lure producers of movies, television shows and other film projects to Tidewater.

Makers of the action-thriller “Mission: Impossible III” spent five days filming a chase scene on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel last year and spent $500,000 at local businesses.

But the crew originally had planned to stay longer and bring in $6 million. Filmmakers left early because of trouble with arrangements such as closing streets.

The Hampton Roads Film Office hopes to be a go-between with film crews and local officials. The Norfolk group formed last month, and organizers said they have gotten about $160,000 from 14 southeastern Virginia localities.

They will use the funds to woo what film office Commissioner Jeff Frizzell described as “super-tourists.” They do not visit typical tourist sites and instead stay in hotels for a month and spend a lot of money.

The crew of “The New World,” for instance, filmed in the Williamsburg area and bought 1,100 nights of hotel rooms.


Too-tall trucks clog traffic in tunnel

A year after a crackdown, state transportation officials said trucks that are too tall still are trying to squeeze into the westbound tube of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel.

The Virginia Department of Transportation said the problem occurs almost exclusively at the older, westbound tube because its height limit of 13 feet, 6 inches is lower than the eastbound tube.

Officials toughened penalties last summer for too-tall trucks at the tunnel. VDOT and Norfolk International Terminals installed new height-detection equipment.

Fines go as high as $500 for truckers who violate the restrictions, and three demerit points are added to an offending trucker’s commercial driver’s license.

But there have been more violations in recent months, and many are repeat violators.

VDOT said the stuck trucks are one of the biggest reasons for tunnel congestion. Traffic backs up in both directions while officials get the trucks out of the way.

Dale Bennett, executive vice president of the Virginia Trucking Association, said driver turnover might help partly explain the problem.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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