- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 9, 2006


McCain resigns from Gallaudet board

Sen. John McCain has resigned from Gallaudet University’s board of trustees after disagreeing with its decision to revoke the appointment of the school’s incoming president, the university announced yesterday.

The university also announced the resignation of Brenda Jo Brueggemann, the board’s chairwoman.

The resignations come in the wake of the board’s Oct. 29 vote to remove the incoming president, Jane K. Fernandes, after a month of demonstrations and hunger strikes by students.

“I cannot in good conscience continue to serve on the board following its decision to terminate [Mrs. Fernandes’] appointment, which I believe was unfair and not in the best interests of the university,” said Mr. McCain, Arizona Republican.

Miss Brueggemann, a professor at Ohio State University who had supported Mrs. Fernandes, said her personal life and work had suffered since May, when she took the job after the interim board chairwoman, Celia May Baldwin, resigned amid protests over Mrs. Fernandes’ appointment.

Students and faculty said Mrs. Fernandes was autocratic and had been unable to tackle some of the university’s long-term problems as provost.

The board is scheduled to meet Saturday on campus for discussions on choosing an interim president.

Man guilty of role in identity-theft ring

A former government security guard from the District was convicted in North Carolina for his role in an identity-theft ring that used the personal information of more than 40 federal employees.

Xavier Vidal Jennette was convicted by a federal jury in Raleigh on charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Three others pleaded guilty for their roles in an extensive scheme that began in Virginia. Federal employees’ names and Social Security numbers were used to open cell-phone and retail accounts, and to purchase IPods, televisions, chain saws and other merchandise.

Jennette was accused of stealing the personal information when he ended his employment with a government contractor in Alexandria in 2004. Prose-cutors said he brought the information to North Carolina.

Sentencing was scheduled for February.


Widened lanes debut on I-66

Four new lanes opened yesterday on Interstate 66, part of a widening project between Manassas and Gainesville, Va., that should move traffic through a bottleneck where vehicles backed up for several miles every day, even on some weekends.

The new lanes are expected to provide relief to drivers who exit near Manassas but will not solve problems for commuters who live in the scores of new developments farther west, because the bottleneck will just be shifted a few miles west.

Construction on the two-mile widening to Gainesville is expected to begin in the spring.



Eight injured in two-vehicle crash

Eight persons, including five children, were injured yesterday morning when two vehicles collided in the 2900 block of Brightseat Road, Prince George’s County police said.

Two women and five children — ages 1 to 11 — in a Honda CRV and the driver of a Mercedes-Benz were hurt, police said.

All three adults had serious injuries that were not life-threatening. The children were transported to a children’s hospital. There was no word on their conditions.

At the time of the crash, a heavy mist was falling and the roads were wet, officials said.


Man stabbed, left in bathtub

A man apparently stabbed another man multiple times and left him in a bathtub, Anne Arundel County police said.

Kenneth Nichols, 26, was found by police with his hands and feet bound at the Ramada Inn on Laurel-Fort Meade Road yesterday morning. He had been stabbed multiple times in the upper body.

Byron Hawkins, 25, was arrested after his father told police that his son said he had stabbed a man. Mr. Hawkins has been charged with attempted first-degree murder.

Mr. Nichols was in critical condition at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.



Gas leak sends 39 to hospital

A carbon-monoxide leak yesterday morning at a downtown post office forced the evacuation of 41 employees and sent 39 of them to a hospital, fire officials said.

The injured employees were treated for dizziness and headaches, said Capt. Jim Judkins of the Suffolk fire department. He said none of their injuries was life-threatening.

A post office employee called 911 just before 8 a.m. to report the gas leak. Capt. Judkins said firefighters determined the carbon monoxide came from two portable generators that were used after a power outage.

Firefighters evacuated the building, which was filled with mail carriers collecting the day’s mail.

The generators were shut down and moved away from the building, and the building was aired out before it reopened.


Sheriff won’t work after drug charges

The Henry County sheriff accused of taking part in a scheme to sell drugs seized from criminals will stay off the job until the case is resolved.

John Lichtenstein, the attorney for Sheriff H. Frank Cassell, said the sheriff has removed himself from day-to-day operations of his office.

Sheriff Cassell, 68, has not been in the office since he and 12 of his current and former officers were indicted last week in the federal drug case. Seven others also were indicted.

Cocaine, steroids, marijuana and other drugs seized by the sheriff’s department were resold to the public in the past eight years, prosecutors said.

Supervisors in the rural county along the North Carolina border have asked Sheriff Cassell to resign.


Suits filed to keep jets at Oceana

The state and the city of Virginia Beach are suing the Department of Defense to keep Navy jets at Oceana Naval Air Station.

The governor, state attorney general and mayor of Virginia Beach announced yesterday that two lawsuits were filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in the District.

One lawsuit challenges an order by the Base Realignment and Closure commission calling for the Master Jet Base to be moved from Virginia to Jacksonville, Fla. The suit argues that neither BRAC nor the president has the authority to move a military function to a location that is not an existing military installation.

The second lawsuit challenges a ruling by Department of Defense Inspector General Thomas F. Gimble, who found that Virginia Beach did not meet BRAC’s requirements.

BRAC said the city must condemn and buy property in accident-prone zones around the base.

State and city officials said they have taken steps to stop or roll back development there.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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