- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 7, 2007



Wren Cross returned to permanent display

The Wren Cross is back on permanent display in Wren Chapel at the College of William & Mary.

The cross is enclosed in a display case with a plaque explaining its roots in the school’s history.

The arrangement is a compromise reached after college President Gene R. Nichol ordered the 2-foot-tall brass cross removed from the altar in November, saying he wanted people of all religious beliefs to feel comfortable in the chapel.

Many alumni and other critics raised a ruckus.

By displaying the cross in a historical context, college officials hope to satisfy all sides and end the debate.

In recent months, the cross was displayed publicly in the Wren Chapel only on Sundays and kept in the chapel’s sacristy the rest of the time.


Hill to lie in repose in governor’s mansion

The body of Oliver Hill, the civil rights lawyer at the forefront of the court battle that outlawed the nation’s segregated public schools, will lie in repose in the Executive Mansion on Saturday.

Mr. Hill, who died Sunday at age 100, will be on public view in the governor’s residence in Capitol Square from noon to 5 p.m., said Gov. Timothy M. Kaine’s office.

A public memorial service for Mr. Hill is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

Mr. Hill’s body is the first since that of tennis legend Arthur Ashe to receive public viewing in the Executive Mansion, then occupied by Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, the nation’s first elected black governor.

Thousands waited in the cold to file past Mr. Ashe’s remains on Feb. 9, 1993, three days after he died of complications from AIDS.


Group settles lawsuit over school fliers

A group that advocates therapy to convert homosexuals settled a lawsuit with Arlington Public Schools after officials refused to distribute the group’s fliers to high school students.

The group is now considering targeting its message to students in middle schools.

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, or Pfox, sued school officials earlier this year in federal court, claiming they improperly blocked Pfox’s request to send out fliers.

School officials denied any discrimination. They said all outside groups are barred from distributing fliers at high schools, basically because students don’t read them.

A settlement, reached last week, states that Pfox will have the same access given to other groups and can submit fliers for distribution to middle- and elementary- school students.


Engineers to inspect a dozen bridges

Highway engineers are examining a dozen Virginia bridges similar to the Minnesota bridge that collapsed last week, killing at least five persons.

Anwar Ahmad, assistant state bridge engineer for the Virginia Department of Transportation, said his group will devise a plan if it finds anything unusual.

The Federal Highway Administration urged states Friday to review inspection reports on their deck-truss bridges.

Among the 12 Virginia spans being examined this week are the Boulevard Bridge and the northern approaches to Interstate 95’s James River Bridge in Richmond, the Coleman Bridge on the York River at Yorktown and the Norris Bridge over the Rappahannock River at White Stone.

The department said it inspected all of the structures within the past two years. Two are being replaced, and Mr. Ahmad said Virginia is soliciting bids to replace another.

The replacements for the Route 340 bridge at Overall Run in Page County and the Virginia 100 bridge at the New River in Wythe County are under construction, and the project to replace the Route 340 bridge at Jeremys Run in Page will open for bids in October.


Navy divers to aid in Minnesota recovery

Navy divers based in Virginia intend to help recover victims and salvage debris from last week’s bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Navy officials said.

About 25 sailors from Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base deployed to Minneapolis yesterday. The group includes divers, a command and control team and photographers.

The efforts will help transportation authorities determine the cause of the collapse in downtown Minneapolis, which killed at least five persons and injured more than 100. Eight persons remain missing.

The same unit salvaged the Titan 4 spacecraft off the coast of Florida, and a military helicopter downed in the Red Sea.


Metro breaks rider record

July was the biggest month in Metro history.

Officials with the transit system said 19.2 million people rode the rails last month, more than in any other month in Metro’s 31-year history.

The previous record was set in June, when 19.08 million riders took Metro.

General Manager John Catoe credits mild weather, local sports events and concerts, and continued high gasoline prices.



Man critically injured in bar-fight stabbing

An Edgewater man was in critical condition after being stabbed at a Crofton sports bar, Anne Arundel County police said.

Police said two men began an altercation at Krazy Otto’s Sports Saloon at about 1 a.m. Saturday.

One of them was stabbed in the neck and taken to Shock Trauma in Baltimore with life-threatening injuries.

Police said witnesses helped detectives find the suspect, who was arrested later at his Bowie home.

Richard Horton, 39, is charged with attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault and deadly weapons charges.


Second teen dies after July crash

A second teen died after a Glen Burnie crash last month that killed a Pasadena teen and injured two others.

Anne Arundel County police said Ronald Houck, 19, died at Shock Trauma in Baltimore on Saturday night.

He was riding in the back seat of Nicholas Vakoutis’ car on Marley Neck Boulevard near Tanyard Cove Road when the vehicle crashed. Police said excessive speed was a major factor in causing the 18-year-old to drive off the road.

Justin Grahe, 16, died at the scene after the car struck two trees. Mr. Vakoutis and passenger Joshua Grahe, 17, were taken with Mr. Houck to Shock Trauma.


Four rescued in Bay after boat sinks

Four men were rescued in the Chesapeake Bay after their 25-foot powerboat sank after hitting a crab net Sunday night, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard, Maryland Natural Resources Police and rescue crews from Anne Arundel and Calvert counties responded to a cell-phone call from one of the men shortly after 10 p.m. The boaters were about two miles offshore.

Orlando Phillips was found clinging to a pole at about 11:30 p.m. His brother, Gregory Phillips, and friends Francois Koryak and Pantalakis Panayi had life jackets and drifted more than a mile away. They were rescued at about 1 a.m. Monday.

Authorities said none of the men had to be hospitalized.


Man sentenced to life in woman’s slaying

A Harford County judge sentenced a man to life without the possibility of parole yesterday in the murder of an Elkton woman.

Charles Burns, 35, was convicted in April of first-degree murder in the death of Lillian Phelps.

Police arrested Burns in June 2006 after six prostitutes came forward, saying he sexually assaulted them in remote locations.

The bodies of four women were later found, and prosecutors said they recovered the blood of at least two of them, including Miss Phelps, from the bottom of Burns’ Dodge Neon.

Burns has not been charged with the other killings, which authorities say are still under investigation.

Investigators think Burns attacked Miss Phelps, then hit her with his car.

A strand of hair was found under a front wheel of his car and attached to a bolt, which was similar in size to two holes found on the right side of Miss Phelps’ skull.


Comptroller lists top 50 tax defaulters

The Maryland Comptroller’s Office named the state’s top 50 tax defaulters.

The list includes 25 persons and 25 businesses. Maryland officials seek more than $6 million from the delinquent taxpayers.

The comptroller’s Web site states that Lawrence and Leslie Polakoff of Baltimore owe the state nearly $415,000 in unpaid taxes.

Diane’s Family Restaurant of Havre de Grace is the business that owes the most: nearly $320,000.

The list is posted on the comptroller’s Web site, www.comp.state.md.us/.


Police officer’s trial postponed till fall

A Baltimore judge granted a defense request to postpone yesterday’s scheduled trial of city police Officer William Welch.

The new trial date is Oct. 29.

Officer Welch faces charges of second-degree rape and misconduct in office for the sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl at the Southeastern District house. The girl was being held there on a Baltimore County warrant for prostitution.

Officer Welch’s attorney Warren Brown said last month that clothing gathered for DNA evidence during the investigation vanished from the police department’s evidence control unit.

The request for postponement is related to a directive outlined last week by the Court of Appeals, requiring that a comprehensive search be conducted.


Bars raise funds for assault victim

More than two dozen Baltimore bars and restaurants are donating funds to help pay the medical bills of a city man in a coma after a beating two months ago in Canton.

The bars dedicated a portion of their proceeds Sunday to Zach Sowers, 27, who was beaten and robbed near his Patterson Park home as he returned from a local bar.

Four youths are charged in the attack. They are accused of stealing credit cards, $10 in cash and a Timex wristwatch.

The fundraiser, called Neighbors’ Night Out, was also an opportunity for the leading mayoral candidates to spread an anti-violence message.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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