- The Washington Times - Friday, November 10, 2006

MARYLAND

ANNAPOLIS

Leopold likely winner in Anne Arundel race

Delegate John R. Leopold is the unofficial winner of the race for Anne Arundel County executive, according to a count of absentee ballots.

County elections officials finished their first count of absentee ballots yesterday, and the Republican delegate from Anne Arundel County led Sheriff George Johnson, a Democrat, by about 4,000 votes.

About 15,000 people voted absentee in the county.

Mr. Leopold led Sheriff Johnson by fewer than 350 votes after election night.

BALTIMORE

PSC orders changes to bidding process

The Maryland Public Service Commission is hoping to prevent reruns of this year’s huge electricity rate increases.

The PSC has ordered changes to the bidding system used by utilities to buy power from wholesalers. Utilities will be required to buy power in smaller portions and spread the purchases out over time.

While the changes won’t reverse this year’s increases, the PSC said it will help keep rates stable in the future.

Gov.-elect Martin O’Malley has already pledged to fire the PSC members over the rate increases. Mr. O’Malley confirmed Thursday that Chairman Ken Schisler will no longer lead the PSC.

Former chief joins Honolulu police

Charles Moose, the former Montgomery County police chief who headed the D.C.-area sniper manhunt in 2002 graduated Thursday night as one of 40 new Honolulu police recruits.

The former chief will be on Oahu streets for patrol duty at 6 a.m. Monday along with a Honolulu Police Department veteran.

He said it’s been a long time since he worked the street, but it’s exactly what he wants to do over the next several years. He said he looks forward to meeting and helping people.

He resigned as Montgomery County police chief in 2003 amid criticism from county ethics officials. They said he was cashing in on his job by writing a book about the serial sniper case that made him a national celebrity.

He couldn’t have joined the HPD at a higher rank because the department doesn’t allow lateral transfers from outside departments.

ANNAPOLIS

Suspension upheld, another appeal seen

The Court of Special Appeals has upheld the suspension of a prominent state capital lobbyist by the state Ethics Commission.

Bruce Bereano was ordered to stop lobbying for 10 months and pay a $5,000 fine, but he is already telling his clients he will appeal again to the state’s highest court.

Mr. Bereano was penalized for violating a state law that prohibits lobbyists from entering into contingency contracts, those in which the lobbyist is only paid after getting results for a client.

Mr. Bereano denies that he did anything wrong and said in a letter to clients Thursday that another appeal will allow him to lobby during the upcoming legislative session.

WESTMINSTER

Old abuse charges to be tried in court

Charges against a Carroll County man accused of sexually abusing three girls in the 1970s and ‘80s have been forwarded to Circuit Court for trial.

Dean Trout, 52, of Keymar was arrested in October. Three women told investigators that Mr. Trout had abused them. According to court records and authorities, the girls were 9, 7 and 11 at the time of the purported abuse.

Records show that one reported incident took place inside a Lutheran church where Mr. Trout played piano.

Mr. Trout has been charged with child abuse, third-degree sex offense and assault with intent to have carnal knowledge of a minor. He also has been charged with sexually abusing a 6-year-old girl over the summer.

VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA BEACH

Most owners accept jet-noise settlement

More than a third of the 2,000 Virginia Beach homeowners who sued the federal government over Navy jet noise have agreed to accept part of a $38 million settlement, lawyers said.

At least 96 percent of the plaintiffs must accept by the settlement by mid-January, or it will be void.

The homeowners live near Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach and Fentress Naval Auxiliary Landing Field in Chesapeake. The lawsuits stem from the arrival of the Navy’s F/A-18 Hornets at Oceana in 1998 and 1999. Homeowners said the jet noise devalued their property.

Baltimore attorney Kieron Quinn, who represents some of the property owners, said about 800 of them have approved the deal. The median settlement per household is expected to be about $5,000.

APPALACHIA

Ex-mayor to plead guilty in fraud

A former mayor accused in a vote-rigging and corruption case in southwest Virginia has signed an agreement to plead guilty to 243 felonies, attorney said.

Ben Cooper resigned as Appalachia’s mayor after he was indicted last March.

A Wise County circuit judge will consider his plea agreement Nov. 28.

During a trial for one of Mr. Cooper’s 13 co-defendants last month, witnesses said the ex-mayor oversaw a plot to gain control of the town by rigging an election. The purported scheme included buying votes with beer, cigarettes and pork rinds.

Prosecutors said there were more serious crimes, such as intercepting absentee ballots from the mail and forging the names of the intended voters on the ballots. A jury convicted former letter carrier Don Estridge last month for his role in the case.

Special prosecutor Tim McAfee said the plea agreement makes no promises concerning Mr. Cooper’s sentence, leaving that decision to the judge.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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