- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 26, 2006

MARYLAND

HAGERSTOWN

Three E. coli cases not from spinach

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said yesterday that it has ruled out three of the state’s four pending E. coli cases as being part of a national outbreak linked to tainted spinach.

The fourth case, involving the death of a Hagerstown woman, remains under investigation, spokesman John Hammond said.

Relatives said June E. Dunning, 86, died of E. coli illness on Sept. 13, 11 days after eating prepackaged fresh spinach she bought at a grocery store.

Mr. Hammond said the agency hopes to complete that investigation by the end of this week, but Dr. Michelle A. Gourdine, deputy secretary of public health services, said Friday that the condition of tissue and spinach samples from the case may make confirmation impossible.

Public health officials have said there have been three confirmed cases in Maryland of people sickened by bacteria from prepackaged spinach, all children. Two were hospitalized and all have recovered, officials said.

Twenty-five states have reported cases of illness linked to the spinach since last month.

FREDERICK

Man charged in rape of toddler

A man has been charged with repeatedly raping a girl who was 3 when the sexual abuse began.

Donald Fox, 60, had a bail hearing yesterday in Frederick County Circuit Court on charges of second-degree rape, sex offense and child abuse.

A judge set bail at $250,000.

Mr. Fox was indicted Friday after a two-month investigation that began when a close relative of the girl, now 7, reported the suspected abuse to police.

EASTON

Venue changed in locker room case

A man accused of secretly videotaping people in the Talbot County YMCA men’s locker room will be tried in another jurisdiction.

Talbot County Circuit Judge Sidney S. Campen Jr. on Friday granted a defense motion for a change of venue for the trial of Alan Travers because of pretrial publicity and the large number of people affected by the case.

Talbot County Deputy State’s Attorney Ellen B. Grunden withdrew her initial opposition to the motion. She said the people on the videotapes the police seized would prefer a jury pool with whom they have not had any contact.

Mr. Travers is charged with 22 counts of video surveillance with prurient intent, second-degree assault, fourth-degree sex offense and theft.

BALTIMORE

Coal plant runoff causes orange spill

Improperly filtered runoff from a coal plant has caused an orange-colored spill near the Seagirt Marine Terminal, a city fire official said.

Fire department spokesman Kevin Cartwright said the spill covers 2 to 3 acres of water near the 3800 block of Newgate Avenue.

The Coast Guard alerted the city fire department to the spill about 2:30 p.m. yesterday.

Mr. Cartwright said that tests showed elevated acidity in the water and that the Maryland Department of the Environment was alerted.

A marine biologist helped trace the spill to a coal plant, where a filtration pond malfunctioned, sending unfiltered runoff into the water.

Officials said the spill will dilute over time.

COLLEGE PARK

Court-martial delayed; new charges awaited

A U.S. Naval Academy football player could face new charges in the sexual assault case against him, academy officials said yesterday, even as his original case was dropped a day before it was to go to trial.

Midshipman Kenny Ray Morrison, a senior from Kingwood, Texas, was to face a special court-martial today at the Washington Navy Yard on charges that he took advantage of a drunken fellow midship-man Feb. 4 in a D.C. hotel room.

However, Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Rodney Rempt ordered that the original charges be dropped without prejudice because “the Naval Academy anticipates proffering new charges,” academy spokesman Cmdr. Ed Austin said.

He would not say what those charges may be or give details about the new information that has “recently become available” to Navy investigators.

William Ferris, Midshipman Morrison’s attorney, said yesterday that he was notified by Navy prosecutors that charges of indecent assault and conduct unbecoming an officer were dropped. But he said he was given few details why.

“The way this was handled was outrageous,” he said.

NORTH POTOMAC

Student arrested in bomb threat

A 16-year-old girl from Gaithersburg has been arrested on charges of making a bomb threat at Quince Orchard High School, Montgomery County police said yesterday.

The girl was charged as a juvenile on Friday with making a threat to explode or burn a building, reckless endangerment, destruction of property and disruption of the educational process.

A student reported finding a bomb threat written in pink lipstick on a girl’s bathroom wall at about 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 19, police said.

Investigators determined that the girl who had reported the threat to school officials also was responsible for writing it, police said.

VIRGINIA

LYNCHBURG

Alumnae group tries to stop coed move

Members on the board of trustees for Randolph-Macon Woman’s College woke up to an unusual surprise on their doorsteps this weekend — bags of carrots.

They were left by an alumnae group that is raising money for lawsuits aimed at preventing the 115-year-old women’s college from admitting men, after college trustees voted Sept. 9 to admit men in fall 2007 to increase enrollment.

The group — Preserve Educational Choice — has adopted the slogan “Carrot or Stick? Please choose the carrot.”

Ellen Reid Smith, the group’s president, said the campaign urges trustees to choose “the carrot” — increased alumnae financial support, a business plan to help with the college’s financial problems and a team of specialists to implement the plan.

She said “the stick” is litigation attempting to force the board to reverse its decision.

Carrots were placed on the lawns of interim President Ginger Hill Worden and board members across the country.

CHARLOTTESVILLE

UVa. on alert for the mumps

Health officials are on alert after a freshman at the Univer-sity of Virginia turned up with a suspected case of the mumps.

Dr. James Turner, UVa.’s executive director of the Department of Student Health, said the fear is that the case may not be isolated and could even be linked to outbreaks of the virus in the Midwest that started in December in Iowa.

The UVa. student — an unnamed girl — has not been tested for mumps yet. She was visually diagnosed and is resting at her family’s home.

The illness is characterized by the swelling of glands below the ear and jaw. It causes fever, muscle aches and sometimes more serious health problems.

UVa. students are required to get vaccinations before starting school. Authorities said the student thought to have contracted the virus had received the vaccination.

DISTRICT

Teen found dead at construction site

A 15-year-old boy was found dead at a construction site yesterday afternoon after his parents reported him missing earlier in the day, D.C. police said.

The body of Dominick Alonzo Dixon, of the 4700 block of Sheriff Road Northeast, was found a few blocks from his home.

Family members reported him missing at 4 a.m. and began searching the neighborhood, finding him in the rear of a home being built at 1021 51st St. NE at about 12:30 p.m.

Authorities yesterday were still trying to determine the cause and manner of the boy’s death.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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