Monday, April 2, 2007


Tech project falls short of goals

A multimillion-dollar plan to streamline technology in the D.C. government is behind schedule and over budget, according to a recent audit.

The D.C. Office of the Inspector General says the city’s “administrative services modernization program,” or ASMP, also “has not achieved the desired results,” according to a report last week.

Among the findings was that the Office of the Chief Technology Officer has mistakenly touted the program as resulting in a one-time savings to taxpayers of $157.4 million.

In addition, the program has cost $94.2 million, a 44 percent increase over the projected cost of $65.5 million, the report found.

“Not only have the planned monetary benefits failed to materialize, ASMP also did not obtained the level of operational implementation called for in original … plans,” auditors wrote.


Metro plans new way to pay for parking

Metro officials plan a pilot program to make it easier for “park and ride” customers to pay for parking at some stations.

Currently, customers can only pay with cash or a SmartTrip card. But many riders don’t carry cash and don’t ride Metro often enough to have a SmartTrip card.

So Metro is planning a three-month trial of allowing drivers to pay for parking with credit cards at a few locations. The stations are Anacostia, Franconia-Springfield, Largo, Vienna, Shady Grove and New Carrollton.

Steven Taubenkibel, a spokesman for Metro, said the service may be extended to all Metro stations if commuters like paying with credit cards.



Souped-up cars to prowl highways

The Virginia State Police have a new set of high-powered wheels in their patrol fleet.

The new 340-horsepower Dodge Chargers can go from zero to 60 mph in about six seconds.

Officials say many of the 32 Chargers have been placed along busy parts of Interstates 95 and 81.

Trooper Helms Jaime is one of the Virginia troopers assigned to the department’s new high-performance patrol car.

He and other troopers who are driving the Chargers were trained at Fort Pickett. They learned to maneuver the high-performance vehicles at high speeds. Trooper Jaime said he drove the Charger as fast as 135 mph during the session.

Trooper Jaime’s Charger doesn’t bear the department’s logo or have lights on the top, making it easier to nab people driving at high speeds.



County reaches deal with 5 closed clubs

Five nightclubs that successfully fought police efforts to close them last week will be allowed to stay open under the terms of an agreement announced by county officials yesterday.

Under the agreement, the owners of the five clubs will meet with county police to develop a security plan to enhance the safety in and around their property.

County officials moved to close nine nightclubs Thursday, citing the high number of violent incidents and 911 calls police responded to near the clubs.

The club owners got a restraining order Friday that allowed them to remain open through the weekend. The clubs were Millennium, Cuzco Restaurant and Tick Tock Restaurant and Bar in Hyattsville, the Crossroads Entertainment Complex in Bladensburg and LePearl in Capitol Heights.

County officials hailed yesterday’s agreement as a victory.

“Our enforcement actions on Thursday night resulted in the parties wanting to come to the table and determine how they can run safer clubs,” said Vernon Herron, the county’s public safety director. “Our interest all along was ensuring the safety of our residents and this process will move us in that direction.”


Police say man beat mother to death

A man in his 50s was arrested for beating his mother to death during a domestic dispute.

The incident occurred at about 7:15 p.m. in the 5100 block of Kenilworth Avenue. Cpl. Debbi Carlson, a police spokeswoman, said the mother was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police last night had not released the name of the victim or her son.


Hospital ER closed by strange odor

Hazardous-materials crews yesterday responded to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital and closed the emergency room for about an hour because of a strange odor.

Montgomery County fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said crews were called to the hospital in the 9900 block of Medical Center Drive at about 1 p.m. for reports of an undetermined odor in the emergency room. It turned out to be from an overheated elevator motor.

The emergency room went into what’s called mini-disaster mode, with officials closing it and temporarily relocating patients and staff.

There were no reports of illness, but crews were evaluating anyone who might have been exposed to the smell.


Last WWI Navy vet dies at 105

Lloyd Brown, the last-known surviving World War I Navy veteran, has died. He was 105.

Mr. Brown’s family says he died at the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home in St. Mary’s County.

His death comes days after the death of the last-known surviving American female World War I veteran, 109-year-old Charlotte Winters.

The fourth of nine children, Mr. Brown was born Oct. 7, 1901, in Lutie, Mo. As a 16-year-old in 1918, Mr. Brown lied about his age to join the Navy and was soon on the gun crew on the battleship USS New Hampshire.

When Mr. Brown ended his military career in 1925, he joined the D.C. fire department’s Engine Co. 16, which served the White House and embassies.

Even after reaching 100, Mr. Brown remained independent, living alone in his Charlotte Hall bungalow and driving a golf cart around his neighborhood.

Services are planned for today at Brinsfield-Echols funeral home in Charlotte Hall. Burial will be tomorrow at Our Lady Queen of Peace cemetery in Saint Mary’s County.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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