- The Washington Times - Monday, May 22, 2006


Public meetings set on school closings

The Board of Education will hold meetings next month at the six schools on Superintendent Clifford B. Janey’s to-be-closed list.

Mr. Janey announced last week that he wants to close Fletcher-Johnson, Merritt, Shadd, Wheatley, Terrell and Van Ness elementary schools by this fall.

The school board decided earlier this year to get rid of 1 million square feet of building space by this fall and 2 million more by the fall of 2008.

The public meetings will start June 5 at Fletcher-Johnson and continue through June 16 at Van Ness Elementary. All will begin at 6 p.m.



On federal property, drivers let off hook

Because of a quirk in Maryland law, federal judges are dismissing routine traffic violations at military bases, hospitals and research centers.

One judge at Andrews Air Force Base threw out every traffic citation on his docket this month. Other judges have acquitted defendants charged with driving with suspended licenses at the National Naval Medical Center and National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, the Baltimore Sun reported yesterday.

The decisions hinge on the legal definition of a public highway.

In federal court, judges must apply state traffic laws when no similar federal law exists. When federal prosecutors brought traffic cases based on the legal definition of a public highway in Maryland last fall, several judges started to rule against them, citing new appeals court rulings that the state’s definition of public highways does not include secured roads in and around gated installations run by federal agencies.

That could mean motorists driving through huge installations such as Fort Meade and the U.S. Naval Academy are immune from many traffic citations written by military police officers or the installations’ own police force.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hollis R. Weisman of Maryland said the court decisions do not affect prosecution of serious vehicular crimes, such as reckless or drunken driving. But she warned that the situation must be resolved.

The change started last year when a defense attorney challenged a Virginia law.

Driver Terrence O. Smith said he drove, by mistake, onto a restricted-access road outside CIA headquarters in McLean early one morning in October 2002.

He was stopped at gunpoint by security officers, who found his driver’s license had been suspended.

A federal judge in Virginia convicted Mr. Smith of driving with a suspended license on a publicly accessible “highway.”

But the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded in Janu-ary 2005 that the lower court mistakenly applied the law.

Mr. Smith, according to the appeals court, could not be found guilty of the charge because he was on a road that was not “open to the use of the public” as required under the state’s definition of a highway.

The Virginia definition of a highway was similar to the one in Maryland. Federal prosecutors said Virginia has since changed its law; Maryland has not.


Sarbanes tells grads to get involved

U.S. Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, who has served 30 years in Congress, urged 417 graduates at Hood College to involve themselves in the democratic process instead of complaining from the sidelines.

Mr. Sarbanes, who is retiring this year as the longest-serving senator in Maryland’s history, delivered the keynote address Saturday at the college .

Hood’s class of 2006 was the last group of students who knew the 113-year-old campus as an institution for women only. Four years ago, Hood began allowing male students to live on campus.


Man kills himself after shooting another

One man was critically injured and the man who shot him committed suicide early yesterday in Harford County, police said.

Larry Randal Bank, 50, was shot several times about 6:30 a.m. and was in critical condition last evening at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, sheriff’s deputies said.

Shortly after Mr. Bank was shot, the suspect in the shooting, a 48-year-old Bel Air man, went to a friend’s house, said he had shot Mr. Bank and then fatally shot himself.

Investigators think the shooting was the result of an ongoing feud between the two men.


Duncan: Opponents running from records

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan says his TV ad campaign has his two opponents in the Maryland gubernatorial race are “running away from their records.”

Appearing on “Capital Sunday” yesterday on WJLA-TV (Channel 7), Mr. Duncan, a Democrat, said the ads focus on the records of Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, and Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, because they “haven’t achieved anything of real significance for the people of their jurisdictions.”

The Duncan campaign released two new TV ads in the Baltimore area Saturday, featuring Mr. O’Malley and Mr. Ehrlich as life-size cardboard cutouts.

Other ads have challenged Mr. O’Malley’s performance on crime in Baltimore and Mr. Ehrlich’s stance on assault weapons.



Alum says thank you with $1 million gift

A man who credits what he learned at Norfolk State University with laying the foundation for his success in business is giving the school a $1 million gift.

Ernest Hodge, 56, a native of Martinsville, earned a degree in business administration and marketing from the historically black college in 1975. He said he was an average student, but one who learned it is best to be in charge of his own success.

“I never wanted anyone to tell me how much money I could make,” he said of his career as a salesman. “I wanted to decide that myself. In sales, you can do that.”

Mr. Hodge became co-chief executive officer of his first auto dealership in 1991 in Atlanta, where he is based, and deals mostly in Cadillacs, Lexuses and Hondas. He has dealerships in Florida, Ohio and Connecticut, but hasn’t found a spot in Virginia.

The school plans to announce the gift, its largest ever, today. It says the money will be used to start a center for entrepreneur-ship in the School of Business.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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