- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 8, 2006


Manholes explode in Logan Circle

A series of underground explosions yesterday involving underground Pepco equipment in Logan Circle sent manhole covers flying and caused hundreds of power outages.

The blast occurred in the early afternoon near 13th and Q streets Northwest.

About 250 customers in the area were without power, according to the utility company’s Web site.

No injuries were reported, but pedestrians were prevented from walking through the area.

Alan Etter, a spokesman for D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services, said several of the manholes exploded with enough force to shatter windows in nearby buildings. He said most of the damage was to a seminary on the corner and to two homes.

Mr. Etter also said the blasts were followed by smoke coming from the manholes. Firefighters were called to the scene while utility crews checked the underground equipment for damage.

A Pepco spokeswoman said a large cable that brings power into the area developed problems that might have been related to moisture from the heavy rain. Mr. Etter said wires shorted, then burned through insulation. Old manhole covers without vents to release gasses and moisture also could have been a contributing factor.

Fatal shooting in Southeast

The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating a shooting incident early yesterday morning in Southeast in which a man was killed and his female companion was wounded.

The shootings occurred at about 12:45 a.m. in an apartment building in the 5300 block of E Street. Officers found a 35-year-old man with multiple gunshot wounds to the head and upper body. He was taken to Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly where he was pronounced dead.

The man’s identity is being withheld until his family can be notified. The 21-year-old woman was found in the hallway of the building with gunshot wounds to her legs. She is being treated at an area hospital. The woman’s identity is being withheld because she is considered a witness to a crime.



Man charged in homeless killing

A Frederick County grand jury has indicted a Montgomery County man on a charge of first-degree murder in connection with the February bludgeoning death of a homeless man.

Thomas William Deal, 40, of Dickerson, was identified by two witnesses who came forward in August, two months after Mr. Deal was incarcerated in Loudoun County on unrelated theft charges.

Authorities said Mr. Deal and the victim, David Lee Stull, had been friends for years.

The state medical examiner’s report shows Mr. Stull was hit at least nine times on the head.

Deputy State’s Attorney Charlie Smith said the motive for the crime apparently was to silence Mr. Stull.

Detectives say they will continue to investigate the motive.


County schools plan more security

The Washington County public school system plans to use $200,000 in emergency facilities funds to install key-card entry systems and camera systems.

The decision was made a day after reporters for the (Hagerstown) Herald-Mail tested security at five county schools.

School Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said Friday in a letter that she made the decision based on recent school shootings, not because the reporters were able to walk through the schools unnoticed for up to 20 minutes.

However, she acknowledged the newspaper’s investigation on school safety was “factored in.” The letter will be published today in the newspaper.


Investigators say house fire deliberate

Arson investigators in Prince George’s County say a fire early yesterday morning that gutted a vacant house and destroyed a nearby barn is the most recent in a series of suspicious fires in the area over the past 31 months.

Investigators say the fire, which started at about 1:30 a.m. in a two-story home in the 17000 block of Livingston Road, was deliberately set.

There have been 12 fires since March 2004 just along Livingston Road in Accoceek.


Martial arts teacher charged with abuse

A tae kwon do instructor who runs a studio in Rockville has been charged with molesting two former female clients when they were teenagers.

The Montgomery County Police Department said Ramy Latchinian, 37, of Frederick, owns the World Taekwondo Masters studio in Rockville. A 24-year-old Laurel woman told investigators Mr. Latchinian began molesting her in 1996, when she was 14, and began having sex with her when she was 15.

Police also said a 16-year-old New Jersey girl told investigators that she was sexually abused at Mr. Latchinian’s academy from last November to January.

Police say Mr. Latchinian was arrested at his home Sept. 28 on charges of child abuse, sexual abuse of a minor and various sex offenses. He was released from jail the next day.


Worcester woman teacher of the year

Michelle M. Hammond, a language arts teacher at Stephen Decatur Middle School in Berlin, has been named the 2007 Maryland Teacher of the Year.

Mrs. Hammond has been a teacher for 12 years. She has taught integrated language arts since 1996. Mrs. Hammond also serves as a mentor for new teachers and student interns, lectures on ADHD at Salisbury University and runs after-school tutoring for at-risk students.

She is a graduate of Hobart and William Smith colleges in New York, having earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s equivalency in reading instruction.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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