- The Washington Times - Friday, October 6, 2006


Two-way traffic on MLK Avenue

A section of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Southeast will change over from a one-way street to two-way traffic tomorrow.

The District Department of Transportation has overseen the conversion, which stretches roughly a quarter-mile from Good Hope Road to W Street. Agency crews recently finished preparation, including resurfacing and painting the road. The traffic signal at the intersection of W Street and MLK Avenue was upgraded and message board signs informed drivers of the switch.

Letters were sent out last month to residents and businesses to alert them to the upcoming change. The conversion is part of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative and Mayor Anthony A. Williams’ Great Streets Initiative.

Streets to close for AIDS walk

The 20th annual AIDS Walk Washington will be held today, beginning at 9 a.m.

Pennsylvania Avenue South will be closed between 14th and 13th streets NW from 2 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The following streets will be subject to rolling closures from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.:

• Pennsylvania Avenue between 13th and Third streets NW.

• Third Street between Pennsylvania Avenue NW and D Street SW.

• D Street SW between Third and Fourth streets.

• Fourth Street SW between D Street and Independence Avenue.

• Independence Avenue between Third and Fourth streets SW.


Steele campaign raises $1.9 million in quarter

Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele’s U.S. Senate campaign said yesterday it raised $1.9 million from July to September.

Mr. Steele’s campaign manager, Michael Leavitt, sent a memo to reporters in which he announced the fundraising totals. Mr. Steele has now raised $6.3 million in less than a year of campaigning.

Mr. Steele, a Republican, is running against Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, Baltimore Democrat, and Kevin Zeese, the Green party candidate.

Mr. Cardin’s spokesman did not respond to a question about the 10-term congressman’s fundraising in the third quarter.

Mr. Cardin had about $2.6 million at the end of June, while Mr. Steele had $3 million. The latest polls have showed Mr. Cardin’s lead over Mr. Steele shrinking from double digits to five or six points.

The candidates also have agreed to their first televised debate, Oct. 25 on cable NewsChannel 8. The one-hour debate will include independent candidate Kevin Zeese and will be broadcast at 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. Mr. Cardin and Mr. Steele will meet again Oct. 29 for a nationally televised debate on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”


Death penalty sought for guard’s slaying

Prosecutors will seek death sentences for two men accused of stabbing a correctional officer to death inside the Maryland House of Correction. Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Frank Weathersbee announced the decision yesterday.

He said three aggravating factors in the cases against Lamarr Harris and Lee Stephens warrant death sentences for the July 25 killing of Officer David McGuinn. Harris and Stephens, who have been charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy, have pleaded not guilty.



Classes resume after bomb threat

Nearly 12 percent of Culpeper County public school students stayed home yesterday, a day after the schools were closed because of a bomb threat. School officials say about 850 of the more than 7,000 students were absent, which is roughly triple the number who were absent last Friday.

Police say the search Thursday by officers and 20 bomb-sniffing dogs found no evidence of explosives. Fifteen schools were searched. The telephoned threat was not specific. Officials decided to err on the side of caution and close schools because of a string of deadly school shootings in Colorado, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Sheriff H. Lee Hart said the caller hadn’t been identified, but authorities are exploring leads.


Housing discrimination claims to be reviewed

A federal investigation into whether the city of Manassas is discriminating against Hispanic families through its efforts to fight crowded housing has been turned over to the Justice Department.

The decision was made after the city failed to adequately settle complaints, Bryan Greene, deputy assistant secretary for enforcement and programs for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said Thursday.

In a statement yesterday, the city said it was “surprised and disappointed” by the federal agency’s actions.

“We have responded to HUD with interviews, information, proposals including mediation,” City Manager Lawrence D. Hughes said.

Though the agency cannot bring charges against a municipality under the Fair Housing Act, it can forward cases to the Justice Department for possible litigation. The agency turned over the case to the Justice Department last week.

A Justice Department spokeswoman would not comment on the possibility of a federal lawsuit.

In January, HUD opened a federal investigation into the city’s anti-crowding efforts over the past two years. In December, the city passed a measure that narrowed the legal definition of a family to the point where it banned extended family members from living together.

The rule, which was repealed in January after threats from civil rights groups, was enforced only when complaints about infractions were received. The city set up a hot line allowing residents to anonymously file complaints about neighbors they suspected of violating city ordinances. Most of those targeted were Hispanic immigrants living with distant relatives to help defray housing costs.


Boyfriend charged with shooting family

A woman, her 2-year-old son, her father and nephew were found fatally shot, and the woman’s boyfriend was arrested and charged yesterday, authorities said.

Jessi Ashton Jephson, 20, was arrested early yesterday, said the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office. Mr. Jephson was armed but surrendered without a struggle.

The dead were identified as Amanda Dawn Orndorff, 19; her father, Samuel William Orndorff, 60; her toddler son; and her 17-year-old nephew. The names of the two younger victims were withheld until relatives were notified.

Mr. Jephson was charged with a one count of capital murder in the slayings of Amanda and Samuel Orndorff, a designation that could subject him to the death penalty. He also faces two counts of first-degree murder for those deaths, the sheriff’s office said.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Larry Ambrogi said this is the county’s first capital murder case in his 37 years as prosecutor. A preliminary hearing has been set for Dec. 12. Mr. Jephson was being held without bond.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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