- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 2, 2006



Wells test positive for radiation

More than half the wells tested over the past month near Chesapeake City tested positive for increased alpha-radiation levels, Cecil County health officials said.

Chuck Smyser, environmental health director for the Cecil County Health Department, said 13 of the 23 private wells tested so far have shown signs of the low-level radiation, although county health officials said the increase is not enough to pose any significant risks.

In March, county officials were told by the Maryland Department of the Environment that water provided by the county’s Harbour View water system contained an alpha-radiation level higher than the national limit.

According to county public works Director Scott Flanigan, the increase is caused by a natural radioactive decay of minerals found in the wells.

Officials said a person would need to drink about two liters of the water per day for 50 years to be at risk of cancer. And even then, the probability of contracting the disease would be one out of 10,000 people.


Husband charged in stabbing on street

A Howard County man was charged with attempted murder yesterday in the stabbing of his estranged wife on a Columbia street yesterday morning, police said.

Frederick Jones, 53, also is accused of violating a protective order.

Witnesses heard the attack, which took place outside an apartment building shortly after 8 a.m.

Natalyn Tart-Jones, 49, suffered multiple injuries to her head, face and hands. She was taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where she was in serious but stable condition.

Witnesses identified Mr. Jones and described his vehicle. He was found in a hotel parking lot off Route 1 in Elkridge, where he was taken into custody without incident.


Police ID victims in double killing

Anne Arundel County police yesterday identified two men killed in a shooting near a business complex Saturday afternoon.

Rodreco D. Murray, 27, of Glen Burnie, and Lawrence J. Forrester, 29, address unknown, were shot in their upper bodies, police said.

The shootings were reported at 2:26 p.m. Saturday.

One of the men was shot while inside a white sedan, and the other victim was found on the ground next to the car. Both died at the scene.

Police were trying to find anyone who might have information about a light-colored sport utility vehicle reported leaving the area.


Police celebrate 100 years of history

Easton’s police department turns 100 this year, and Lt. Michael Henry is putting together a history of the department that started with three officers and a chief who made $40 a month.

“A lot of the problems they had back then, we still have now,” Lt. Henry told the Easton Star Democrat. He referred to officer complaints about uniforms and work hours, parking issues, speeding, fights and thefts.

“The names change, but everything else stays the same,” he said.

Lt. Henry started the project when working on a family history and noticed that there was little available at the department on its past.

The department plans to celebrate its 100-year anniversary by giving officers a special anniversary badge based on the design of the early badges. Patrol cars are getting a retro look typical of the cars used throughout the department’s history — black in the front and back with silver doors decorated only with the Easton police logo.

On Sept. 16, Easton police will have a parade through downtown followed by an open house at headquarters.


Five injured in brawl during drinking game

Five persons thought to be Frostburg State University students were hurt when police were called to a weekend street brawl involving 150 to 200 people, Frostburg police said.

It took 16 officers — including city, campus and state police — to restore order Saturday night on Maple Street, city police Lt. Kevin Grove said.

Three persons were taken to Cumberland Memorial Hospital, and two refused treatment. The injuries were mainly to the face and hands, Lt. Grove said.

Police were called about 10:20 p.m. to break up the brawl, which Lt. Grove said began with a progressive drinking game known as “bar golf.”


Lawmakers seek review of I-66 plans

Lawmakers are trying to expedite a federal review of planned improvements to ease gridlock along Interstate 66.

Construction of improvements is not slated to begin until November 2009 inside the Capital Beltway. But U.S. Reps. Thomas M. Davis III and Frank R. Wolf are urging a speedy review by the federal Department of Transportation.

The Republican congressmen are also calling for a third lane on the westbound lanes of I-66.

In an April letter to federal officials, they say it would ease congestion and provide an emergency route to evacuate the nation’s capital.

The plan continues to anger residents in Arlington, where most of the highway goes. Opponents of the expansion have been asking for a more thorough study of the issue.

VDOT said the current budget does not include enough money for a third lane.


Man charged in killing after standoff

A standoff at a Rockingham County home after the fatal shooting of a woman ended early yesterday.

Rockingham County Sheriff Don Farley said deputies arrested Jonathan Grattan at about 7:45 a.m. and charged him with murder in the death of the woman.

The woman was killed and her husband wounded about midday yesterday, and a man then barricaded himself in a house in the neighborhood west of Bridgewater.

Authorities didn’t immediately release the names of the victims and wouldn’t say whether the barricade took place in the couple’s home.

Sheriff Farley said the husband’s injuries were not life-threatening.


36 city workers face food-stamp hearings

Administrative hearings are scheduled for three dozen Richmond city government workers accused of stealing food stamps intended for Hurricane Isabel victims.

Investigators said the 36 social services employees stole $13,000 worth of food stamps after the storm three years ago.

They have been placed on administrative leave without pay.

Part of the blame may be due to the major power outage after the storm. People using the system gave their financial information by the honor system.

The suspended employees have two weeks to either prove it was a mix-up or permanently lose their jobs.


Consultant testifies against mayor

A consultant who helped set up a church charity has testified that she falsified minutes documenting a loan to the church’s pastor, Lynchburg Mayor Carl Hutcherson Jr., because “he was a trusted friend.”

The prosecution contends that Mr. Hutcherson was trying to cover up a bank fraud he engaged in with a loan from the Rev. Jerry Falwell and his son in order to pay back taxes and stealing from two Social Security recipients.

Davida Wingfield testified in U.S. District Court in Roanoke yesterday morning that she never attended any meetings of the charity, Trinity New Life Development Corp. She said she used a template from another organization and wrote down what the charity had accomplished.

Under cross-examination, she said Mr. Hutcherson told her about a loan he was to receive from the Falwells with funds he deposited in the charity’s account.

Asked if she advised him it was legal, she said she told Mr. Hutcherson she thought it “was OK.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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