- The Washington Times - Friday, August 4, 2006



Tuition increases across the state

Undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees at Virginia’s four-year colleges increased this year by an average of 9.3 percent, according to a report this week from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

The average increase in tuition and mandatory fees at community colleges in the upcoming school year will be 6.3 percent.

Three of the state’s four-year institutions raised tuition and fees by 12 percent or more: Virginia State University, 12.5 percent; Radford University, 12 percent; and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, 12 percent.

James Madison University had the lowest combined percentage increase, at 6.9 percent.

Room-and-board charges — about half the cost of a college education — will increase an average of 6 percent.

SCHEV reports that fees that support student-health services, athletics and campus transportation also are rising — on average — 7.9 percent.


Parties look to fill chairman post

Democrats and Republicans are gearing up for a special election now that Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Sean T. Connaughton has been confirmed by the Senate to lead the U.S. Maritime Administration.

President Bush nominated Mr. Connaughton for the position last month, and he was confirmed by the full Senate yesterday.

The Republican Party in Prince William County is planning a nominating convention for candidates Aug. 19 for Mr. Connaughton’s post. Democrats are waiting for Mr. Connaughton to leave his job.

So far, County Supervisor Corey A. Stewart, Occoquan District Republican, and Gary Friedman, a Democrat, have said they are running.

If a special election is called within 60 days of a general election, the special election would likely be held on Election Day.



Security increased after firebombing

Security is being increased at synagogues and other buildings after a firebomb made from a beer bottle ignited after being thrown at a door of a library building at Baltimore Hebrew University on Wednesday.

Local groups also are mindful of worsening conflict in the Middle East and a recent attack at a Jewish center in Seattle.

Since 2004, more than 30 Jewish organizations around Baltimore and the District have received $1.6 million in federal Homeland Security grants to improve safety, said Arthur C. Abramson, executive director of the Baltimore Jewish Council.

Institutions such as schools, community centers and synagogues have used the money to install alarms, security cameras and lights and to take other steps to increase protection, he said.

No one was hurt, and there was little property damage in the attack at the university in Northwest Baltimore. An employee heard a bang at a steel side door, said Agent Donnya Moses, a police spokesman.

The employee saw a flicker of fire at the door, which was near an emergency exit of the library, said a spokesman from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

The staff member called maintenance workers, who put out the fire and called police, who determined that the fire had been caused by an incendiary device.

ATF officials estimated that the firebomb, described as a Molotov cocktail, caused about $200 in damage.

Police are investigating the incident as arson, not as a hate crime, because no notes or other messages were found, Mr. Moses said.


Multilingual posters detail victims’ rights

Montgomery County police are using a $70,000 federal grant to kick off a campaign to distribute 1 million multilingual posters, bookmarks and pamphlets on crime awareness to immigrants and illegal aliens in Silver Spring.

Ellen Alexander, director of the police department’s victim assistance unit, said her office has teamed with schools, restaurants, libraries and retail establishments to distribute the Spanish-, English- and French-language materials to Hispanic, African and Caribbean immigrants later this month.

The campaign, called “Do You Know?,” explains that sexual assault and domestic violence are crimes and details government, faith-based and community groups where women can go for help.

The literature also explains victims’ rights, protective orders and that crimes can be reported anonymously — a largely unknown fact among many illegal aliens who resist reporting crimes because they fear deportation.

“In some countries, violence toward women is a normal part of life,” Miss Alexander said. “There’s a need to explain what may be crime here but are not crimes there … [and they] have victim rights that they may not have or may not be available to them in their home countries.”

The competitive grant came from the U.S. Office for Victims of Crime.

Montgomery County police said they hope to implement the program countywide.


Former officer pleads guilty to theft

A former Baltimore police officer has been sentenced to three years probation on charges of theft under $500.

Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office said Che Christopher Jackson pleaded guilty yesterday. His plea included a resignation from the city police department and a $1,500 donation to the police athletic league.

Jackson was arrested earlier this year for removing four rims and tires valued at $1,800 from a vehicle seized by police. The vehicle was seized as part of a shooting investigation on Brehms Lane in Northeast Baltimore.

Later, the rims were found on a 1999 Cadillac Deville belonging to Jackson.

Part of his sentence is paying for the rims to be reinstalled on the owner’s car.


Woman charged in daughter’s stabbing

A 15-year-old girl who tried to prevent her drunken mother from getting behind the wheel was stabbed in the head with a butcher knife, and her mom has been charged with attempted murder.

Sherry Ann Allen, 34, of Glen Burnie, was also charged with child abuse, assault and lesser offenses after the incident Wednesday evening.

“You would think this would be a great story about a daughter trying to protect her mother,” said Officer Sara Schriver, an Anne Arundel County police spokeswoman. “Instead, there are attempted-murder charges.”

Miss Allen’s teenage daughter, Katelynn Thompson, was treated at a local hospital and released, police said.

Police said Miss Allen had been drinking and wanted to drive. When the girl took away her car keys, an argument ensued and Miss Allen got a knife.

Police said the girl and her boyfriend closed the door to her bedroom, but Miss Allen stabbed at the door and screamed for her keys.

When they thought it was safe, the girl left the room, but police say her mother attacked her, stabbing her in the head, pulling out much of her hair and ripping an earring from her ear.

The girl somehow managed to run for help and neighbors called police.


Fire marshals probe restaurant blaze

Fire investigators are looking for the cause of a blaze yesterday morning at a one-story restaurant in downtown Westminster.

The fire was reported by an employee about 6 a.m. at Harry’s Main Street Grille.

The flames were controlled in five minutes but not before they caused an estimated $10,000 damage to the building.

Investigators said the fire began in the basement. No one was hurt, but the restaurant is closed.


State park reopens after renovations

Calvert Cliffs State Park in Calvert County has reopened after more than $800,000 in renovations.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources officials said a new parking lot for buses was created. Parking areas also were repaved, and a loop was created to enable easier travel within the park.

The improvements also include picnic tables, grills, improvements to a fishing pond and a recycled-tire playground.

The 1,000 acre state park features hiking, camping and fossil hunting along 30 miles of the Chesapeake Bay.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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