- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 28, 2006


Mayor extends youth curfew

Mayor Anthony A. Williams yesterday extended the 10 p.m. youth curfew put in place after a spike in violent crime during the summer.

The temporary, tighter curfew approved in July would have expired last night. But Mr. Williams’ action means it will now expire Oct. 19.

The mayor’s announcement came only days after three teenagers were killed in a 24-hour period.

“We are all saddened by the recent deaths of three of our young people, but we feel that the curfew has worked to save the lives of others,” Mr. Williams said.

Officials became alarmed by a sudden increase in violent crime in July — 14 killings during the first 12 days of the month. There also had been a 13 percent increase in robberies in the first seven months of the year compared with the first seven months in 2005.

Police data shows that juvenile involvement in crime has declined since the stricter curfew was implemented.



Pre-emptive zoning eyed for strip clubs

Eastern Shore towns should be ready for an adult business, officials said at a countywide planning session in Wicomico County.

Eight municipalities in the county were told they need to pre-emptively tweak zoning ordinances after the town of Willards was considered as a home for the first strip club on the lower Eastern Shore.

“Don’t wait to be approached,” Wicomico County Attorney Edgar A. Baker Jr. told city officials Wednesday. “There is a tendency to overreact.”

Willards had no ordinances governing the use of adult-oriented businesses and essentially was unprepared for the potential application, Mr. Baker said.

Mr. Baker said the county is considering a change in its own zoning for adult-entertainment businesses in order to fully comply with a strip club’s constitutional right to exist.

Mr. Baker said he and County Planning and Zoning Administrator John F. Lenox would make a presentation to the joint Planning and Zoning Commission soon, the Salisbury Daily Times reported.


Police: 14-year-old’s report of rape false

A 14-year-old girl’s report of rape is false, Baltimore County police said yesterday

The girl told police that she was raped at 11:20 p.m. last Friday in the 400 block of Chumleigh Road while she was walking to a friend’s house in the Rodgers Forge area.

She said a man followed her into an alley behind the Royal Farms Store in the 7200 block of York Road. As they walked toward the alley near Chumleigh Road, she told police that the man forced her to the ground and raped her.

Detectives concluded after forensic examinations and interviews that the girl’s story is false, police said.

No charges will be filed against the girl.


University counters record low enrollment

Frostburg State University’s enrollment has fallen to a nearly 20-year low, prompting newly hired President Jonathan Gibralter to take measures aimed at countering a $2.7 million shortfall in this year’s projected revenues.

In his first convocation address Tuesday, Mr. Gibralter said the school will use a part of its reserve fund over the next two years, a move that required approval from University System of Maryland Chancellor William E. Kirwan.

Mr. Gibralter also said Frostburg State will delay some major, unidentified expenditures, consider not filling some job vacancies and use revenue from its inter-session and summer-school programs for general operations.

“We will achieve these ends without resorting to layoffs, furloughs or departmental givebacks. It is my utmost goal not to cause any lasting financial harm to the institution,” Mr. Gibralter said.

Frostburg State has 4,252 undergraduate and 658 graduate students enrolled this semester, spokeswoman Elizabeth Medcalf said.

Mr. Gibralter said he aims to resolve the enrollment shortfall by 2008.


Bill considered to help renters

Talbot County officials are considering an ordinance giving tenants more rights against landlords after 11 rental homes were evacuated for serious repairs.

Talbot County Council member Philip Carey Foster proposed the bill to amend the minimum livability code. It would require landlords to assist tenants with rent and expenses in cases where the landlord has not fixed or tried to fix serious, ongoing problems.

Landlords would not be affected if they could show that the condition occurred within the previous six months or that it was caused by a natural disaster or by the tenant or guests.

The bill might be voted on by the council’s Oct. 24 meeting, the Easton Star Democrat reported.



Man killed in crash on GW Parkway

A 21-year-old man was killed when a car he was traveling in veered off the George Washington Memorial Parkway early yesterday morning, police said.

U.S. Park Police Lt. Scott Fear said five persons were in a black Lexus when it went off the road about 1:30 a.m. near the Spout Run Parkway.

Lt. Fear said the man was sitting the back seat of the vehicle, as were two other passengers who were hospitalized with serious injuries. He said the 16-year-old driver and a front-seat passenger suffered minor injuries.

The accident closed the southbound lanes of the parkway between Spout Run and Route 123 for several hours.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.


Two women attacked in crime spree

Police think the abductions of two women Wednesday evening were part of a series of attacks in the area.

A 30-year-old woman was walking on a path that runs along North Shore Drive and Wiehle Avenue about 7:30 p.m. when she was grabbed from behind by a man who brandished a knife and dragged her into the woods, Fairfax County police said.

The woman screamed and was able to get away, police said. The attacker fled on foot.

While investigating this abduction, a second woman told an officer about a similar attack at about 1:30 a.m. the night before.

The 22-year-old woman was sitting outside her apartment in the 1500 block of Northgate Square when a man pulled out a knife. The victim was able to free herself, and the man fled.

Officials think both attacks were committed by the same person responsible for three previous attacks in the Reston area.

The man is described as dark-skinned and 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall with a thin build. He was wearing a dark, hooded sweatshirt or windbreaker with the hood pulled over his head.

Anyone with information should call police at 703/691-2131.


Fishermen fined for exceeding limits

Four Virginia scallop fishermen have agreed to sanctions and fines to settle federal charges that they exceeded catch limits.

The four men were videotaped unloading scallop meat from their vessels in amounts topping the 400-pound trip limit in Chincoteague in 2004, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said.

The men are Andrew Willey Jr. of Hallwood, William Williams of Virginia Beach, and John Keller and Dwight O’Neal of Mappsville.

The boats sold the legal portion of their catch to a Chincoteague dealer, NOAA spokesman Mark Oswell said. The rest of the catch was delivered to a dealer in Maryland.

Atlantic scallops are the most valuable fishery in Virginia, according to NOAA fishery statistics. They bring $6 to $8 per pound to fishermen who catch the shellfish offshore.

Last year, more than 11 million pounds of scallops were landed in Virginia ports.


Toll-lane timeline for I-95 criticized

Officials in the Fredericksburg area are criticizing the timing of a project to build toll lanes on Interstate 95 from the District to Massaponax.

The original proposal had lanes reaching Massaponax by 2011. But a Virginia Department of Transportation presentation Wednesday showed the work would not be finished in the Fredericksburg area until 2014 — if anything is built south of Dumfries.

Stafford Supervisor Robert C. Gibbons said the delay will kill the project’s public support.

Plans call for Fluor Virginia and Transurban USA to add a third car-pool lane from Washington to Dumfries.

Cars with three or more occupants would still ride for free, but vehicles carrying one or two persons could pay a toll.

The companies want to build two lanes from Dumfries to Massaponax that would be a combination of car-pool and toll lanes.


Two rest areas closing for renovations

Motorists looking for relief will have to wait longer when two frequently used interstate rest areas close today for renovations.

The westbound Interstate 64 rest area between Williamsburg and Richmond — near the Providence Forge exit — will close at 9 p.m., the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) said.

The Fredericksburg Welcome Center on Interstate 95 southbound is also scheduled to close today for major renovations.

VDOT said the rest areas will reopen next summer with newer equipment and additional facilities, as well as energy and conservation systems that will cut maintenance and utility costs.

The projects are part of a $20 million statewide improvement program to renovate 11 Virginia rest areas and to reconstruct three safety rest area and welcome center locations.


Grad student finds Frost poem

An unpublished Robert Frost poem has been rediscovered and will appear next week in the fall issue of the Virginia Quarterly Review, the University of Virginia said.

The poem — “War Thoughts at Home” — is a tribute to a friend killed during World War I.

It first emerged in 1918 when Frost inscribed it in a copy of “North of Boston,” his second collection. The poem was not seen again until a graduate student at UVa. recently spotted it while looking through some Frost papers.

Frost is the celebrated New England poet known for such verse as “The Road Not Taken” and “The Gift Outright.” He spent much of World War I teaching English at Amherst College.

At the start of the war, he had been living in England and befriended British poet Edward Thomas. Thomas was in his mid-30s when the war began, but volunteered for duty and was killed in France in 1917.

From wire dispatches and staff reports



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