- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 5, 2006

MARYLAND

WHEATON

Dump truck slams into school bus

Thirteen children riding on a school bus were bumped around but not seriously injured yesterday when the bus taking them to Parkland Middle School was hit on the left side by a dump truck on Veirs Mill Road.

The accident happened after 8 a.m. on the heavily traveled commuter route at Robindale Drive.

Montgomery County fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said speed didn’t appear to be a factor. The children were taken to Holy Cross or Suburban Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

The driver of the dump truck was hospitalized with chest pains. He was charged with running a red light.

ROCKVILLE

Driver who hit building had suspended license

The driver of a sport utility vehicle that crashed into an apartment complex Monday afternoon should not have been driving, officials said.

Katalin Budi, 26, apparently had a seizure before her vehicle plowed into a gas meter at the Rollins Park Apartments, sparking an explosion and fire, said fire department spokesman Pete Piringer.

Miss Budi’s license had been suspended by the Maryland Medical Advisory Board, authorities said. She was charged with driving with a suspended license.

The only person hurt was a 37-year-old pregnant woman hit in the leg by debris.

The blast destroyed six units in the two-story building and caused about $1.8 million in damage, displacing seven families.

A Red Cross spokesman said the organization has made plans to accommodate five of the families in hotels while the building management finds them new housing.

BALTIMORE

Police: Woman sought hit man to kill stepmom

A Newark, Del., woman was arrested yesterday morning on charges she tried to hire a man to kill her stepmother.

Federal authorities arrested Lucille Thorn, 49, at the Maryland House rest area on Interstate 95 in Harford County, where she purportedly met an undercover agent posing as a hit man. Federal prosecutors said Miss Thorn’s 83-year-old stepmother inherited more than $1 million when Miss Thorn’s father died.

She is charged with travel in interstate commerce to commit murder for hire. Federal prosecutors said she told the “hit man” that she wanted help extorting the money and having her stepmother killed.

Prosecutors said Miss Thorn wanted the person she thought was a hit man to extort as much money as he could from Olivia Defeo Caltabiano, of Upper Darby, Pa., and then kill her. They said Miss Thorn planned to split the proceeds with the hit man.

Prosecutors said she met with the undercover agent more than once last month to show him photos and give him directions to the woman’s house.

BALTIMORE

Officer wounded in attack near home

A Baltimore police officer was in serious-but-stable condition last evening after being shot while off duty near his home, police said.

Officer Momodu Gondo, 24, was expected to survive his injuries, which included a wound in the back.

The shooting occurred about 12:30 a.m. yesterday in the 5700 block of the Alameda near the officer’s home shortly after his shift ended, police said. He was taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Detective Donny Moses, a police spokesman, said Officer Gondo was conscious and receiving visitors.

Detective Moses said more than one person was thought to have approached Officer Gondo, who was able to return fire during the attack.

Police weresearching last night for the attackers.

Officer Gondo was wearing a bullet-resistant vest, which Detective Moses credited with protecting him from a potentially more serious injury.

“Doctors expect him to make a full recovery, but it will just take time,” Detective Moses said.

MCHENRY

Snow making under way at Wisp

Officials of Maryland’s only ski resort, the Wisp Resort at Deep Creek Lake, are making snow and hope to open by this weekend.

Wisp started its snow-making machinery Saturday after an unusually mild November, spokeswoman Lori Epp said.

BALTIMORE

Woman pleads guilty in license scheme

An Adelphi woman pleaded guilty yesterday in a conspiracy to sell 162 Maryland driver’s licenses, mostly to illegal aliens, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

In a plea agreement, Ana Maria Lorena Creque, 45, said she worked for an automobile dealership in Beltsville where she prepared paperwork relating to automobile titles and tags, a job that brought her into contact with employees of the state Motor Vehicle Administration.

From 2005 to 2006, she met with people who were willing to pay to obtain a driver’s license illegally, usually because they were illegal aliens.

Prosecutors said Creque and others were paid $2,500 to $3,800 for each fraudulently issued Maryland driver’s license.

Creque helped the applicants get to the Beltsville Branch of the MVA and directed the applicants to a co-conspirator’s workstation at the agency. She then paid the co-conspirator employed with the MVA about $1,300 for each license.

Creque faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

VIRGINIA

FAIRFAX

County crime rate falls 22 percent

The most recent crime statistics for Fairfax County show a drop in reported serious crime for the fourth consecutive year, numbers that officials say are the lowest in the region.

The statistics reflect what officials say is a 22 percent drop in reported crimes from 2001 through 2005.

The statistics also reflect a nearly 4 percent drop in reported crimes last year, even as the crime rate increased by more than 2 percent, according to FBI statistics.

The Fairfax report noted a 23 percent drop in reported larcenies in 2005, compared with the previous year, a number that has been declining steadily since 2001.

RICHMOND

BET founder gives $5 million to UVa.

Sheila Johnson, co-founder of the Black Entertainment Television network, is donating $5 million to the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported yesterday.

Mrs. Johnson and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine are expected to announce the pledge today in Richmond.

Most of the gift will go toward financing clinics that help children with psychological disorders that impede their learning, the newspaper said.

Mrs. Johnson, who was a big contributor to Mr. Kaine’s campaign last year, is a member of the school’s foundation.

She and her husband, businessman Robert Johnson, founded BET in 1980 and became billionaires when they sold it to Viacom in 2000. They divorced in 2002.

Mrs. Johnson lives on a 200-acre farm near Middleburg.

RICHMOND

Medicaid payments a priority for legislators

Virginia must find a way to increase the amount it reimburses physicians who care for Medicaid patients, legislators and health care professionals said yesterday at the Associated Press’ Day at the Capital.

Delegate Phillip A. Hamilton, Newport News Republican, said finding a way to better reimburse doctors and dentists who participate in the program is one of the biggest challenges facing the General Assembly.

He and other panelists said Virginia’s current reimbursement rates deter some doctors and dentists from participating in the program.

Panelists said the state needs to look at other programs to deliver medical care to the needy and to encourage doctors to volunteer their services.

FARMVILLE

Two patrons pledge $5 million to Longwood

Two Richmond philanthro-pists have pledged $5 million to Longwood University to fund scholarships in the arts and sciences and meet programming and operational needs.

A school spokesman said the commitment by longtime patrons John Randall Cook and Dr. Waverly Manson Cole is in current and deferred gifts.

In response, Longwood has named the College of Arts and Sciences after the two men — the Cook-Cole College of Arts and Sciences.

Mr. Cook was among Longwood’s first male graduates after the school went coeducational. He is a former guidance supervisor for the Virginia Department of Education.

Dr. Cole is a retired anesthesiologist who often has honored his mother, Sallie Sterling Manson Cole, with gifts to the school.

REGION

ANNAPOLIS

Officials dispute danger of parasite for oysters

Maryland and Virginia officials don’t think that the oyster parasite Bonamia could doom efforts to introduce Asian oysters into the Chesapeake Bay.

“Our research suggests that if Bonamia became present in the Bay, the impact would be likely limited to the lower portions of the Bay,” Eugene M. Burreson, a professor at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, said yesterday.

A scientist at the institute, Ryan Carnegie, reported Monday that the Asian oysters being studied for possible introduction to the Chesapeake had faced “almost total mortality” in experiments when exposed to the parasite Bonamia from the earliest stages of life.

However, officials from the two states said yesterday that experiments throughout the Chesapeake Bay in the past 10 years using sterile Asian oysters have not found Bonamia in the Bay. If the parasite did become established, the latest findings suggest it would be limited to high-salinity areas.

A comprehensive evaluation of the risks associated with Bonamia and other risks involved in the introduction of the Asian oyster is expected to be released next year.

Overharvesting and disease have nearly eliminated the Bay’s native oyster population.

DISTRICT

Envelope tossed over fence at OEB

Streets around the White House were closed for about two hours yesterday morning after a woman threw an envelope into the courtyard of the Old Executive Office Building.

A spokesman for the Secret Service said the woman was taken into custody without incident and charged with disorderly conduct.

The envelope turned out to contain nothing threatening.

The president was in the White House at the time of the incident.

George Washington names new president

George Washington University has chosen Steven Knapp as its new president.

Mr. Knapp, 55, is provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at Johns Hopkins University. He has 30 years of higher education experience and was chosen unanimously by the board of trustees.

Mr. Knapp will take office in August, replacing Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, who will become president emeritus and professor of public service.

Mr. Knapp, a specialist in English literature, joined Johns Hopkins in 1994 as dean of the School of Arts and Sciences after teaching for 16 years at the University of California at Berkeley.

He has been provost since 1996.

Boy, 17, charged in attack near Howard

Police have arrested a 17-year-old and charged him with one of the assaults in a string of attacks on women near Howard University.

Avon Marquell Pittman of Temple Hills was charged Monday as an adult with one of the assaults that took place mostly around Fifth and U streets Northwest.

In all of the assaults last month, a man groped the women and, on two occasions, brandished a knife. Police think the attacks are connected.

Police arrested the Pittman youth Saturday afternoon after they noticed him following a woman on T and Second streets Northwest and found a knife on him.

They had to let him go, but after developing additional leads, they arrested and charged him late Monday.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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