- The Washington Times - Friday, February 16, 2007


Metro runs well after big storm

Metro officials said train, bus and MetroAccess paratransit services operated with few problems yesterday.

Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said Metrorail trains were operating normally, and Metrobuses were able to run their posted routes.

He also said MetroAccess drivers have been able to respond to their calls for regular service.

The transit agency faced some weather-related problems yesterday, but service was adjusted to accommodate customers. Metrorail’s morning commute period was extended until 11 a.m. because so many of the region’s employers opened later than usual.

Metrobus operators also had to stay on snow-emergency routes because of icy conditions on many streets. Dozens of buses were temporarily stuck.



Officials look to close power plant

Alexandria officials are using a federal report to help support their efforts to close the Mirant Potomac River Generating Station.

The study suggests that sulfur dioxide released by the coal-burning power plant could pose health problems for people with asthma.

An official from the Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has encouraged the city’s health director to issue advisories informing people of hazards posed by certain air pollutants.

Alexandria is pursuing several legal efforts to force closure of the plant.

Mirant has insisted that emissions from the plant do not pose a health risk to the community.


Virginia man among ‘Idol’ semifinalists

It’s down to 24 semifinalists on “American Idol.”

And among those semifinalists is Chris Richardson, 22, of Chesapeake.

The Fox talent show trimmed down the competition Wednesday night, leaving 12 men and 12 women to vie for the “Idol” title and a record contract. The decision-making finale will be held in May.

The last Virginia finalist was Elliot Yamin of Richmond, who made it to the final three last year.


6 students hurt in school bus crash

Six students and a school bus driver were injured yesterday afternoon in a crash in York County that also involved a car, Virginia State Police said.

The students were taken to Mary Immaculate Hospital in Newport News with injuries that were not life-threatening, state police Sgt. D.S. Carr said.

Bus driver Terry Fletcher, 43, of Seaford, also was hospitalized. He was charged with making an improper left turn, Sgt. Carr said.

The driver of the car, Rachel A. Wakelin, 18, of Yorktown, was charged with improper stopping on a highway, Sgt. Carr said. She was not injured, Sgt. Carr said.



Woman gets 2 years in prostitution case

A Germantown woman was sentenced yesterday to two years in prison for her role in a plot to transport hundreds of prostitutes to Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

Federal prosecutors said Rosibel Aparicio Jandres, 45, was sentenced yesterday on her guilty plea to conspiracy charges. She also will have to serve three years of supervised release.

Court documents show that she conspired with several relatives to transport hundreds of women from New York and New Jersey to Maryland and employ them as prostitutes.

The women worked for a week at a time in 15 places of prostitution that the ring operated, including apartments and houses in Gaithersburg, Germantown, Langley Park and Wheaton. A doorman collected money from customers and provided security for the prostitutes.


Police release images of remains found in ‘89

Frederick County authorities released pictures yesterday of the reconstructed face of a man whose skeletal remains were found more than 17 years ago.

The images show a white man, 25 to 40 years old whose nose was broken about a year before his death. He had a small to medium build, said Cpl. Jennifer Bailey of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.

The remains were found Nov. 10, 1989, in the Frederick watershed, a wooded area northwest of the city, Cpl. Bailey said.

She said Detective Sgt. Donald C. Stahl of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office did the facial reconstruction by building a face on the skull. Many police agencies use the method to trace the identity of unidentified remains, Cpl. Bailey said.


Inmate challenges capital murder charge

A state prison inmate charged with strangling another inmate aboard a prison bus is challenging the state’s plan to seek the death penalty by claiming, among other things, that he is mentally ill.

Attorneys for Kevin Johns Jr. filed the motion Tuesday in Harford County Circuit Court, where arguments on pretrial matters will be heard April 16.

Johns also has raised insanity as a defense in the case.

Ann Brobst, a Baltimore County assistant state’s attorney who is prosecuting the case, said the 28 defense motions filed Tuesday are typical of death-penalty cases and have no merit.

Johns, 24, is charged with first-degree murder and other offenses in the death of his cellmate, Philip Parker Jr. Parker was killed Feb. 2, 2005, aboard a Division of Correction bus that was carrying a group of inmates from Hagerstown to the maximum-security Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center in Baltimore.


Mayor wants property-tax cuts

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon says a city task force needs to cut the city’s property-tax rate.

The city must provide some relief since the tax rate is the state’s highest, Miss Dixon said yesterday.

Comptroller Joan Pratt — who has said she will run against Miss Dixon for mayor later this year — is the committee’s co-chairwoman. But both say politics won’t affect the committee’s duties.

A report is expected Sept. 18 — which is a week after the election.


6-year-old thwarts burglary at home

A 6-year-old helped thwart a burglary Tuesday afternoon when he observed a man stealing a safe from his home.

Timothy Allen Revels, 32, of Cumberland, was later charged with burglary and theft after a 45-minute foot chase that drew the assistance of several law-enforcement agencies and concerned neighbors.

Lt. Kevin Grove said a woman and her two children were in the basement of their home about 4:30 p.m. when the 6-year-old went upstairs and then came back down saying a man was stealing their safe.

The mother then called her husband, who was a short distance away, on her cell phone.

As the husband arrived home, he saw a man fleeing with the safe in a garbage bag and tried to hold him until police arrived, but the suspect managed to escape. He left behind his coat, which contained stolen jewelry.

Mr. Revels was later found and arrested without incident at Frostburg State University’s athletic facility. All stolen property was recovered.

He was being held on $200,000 bond at the Allegany County Detention Center.


Police probe special treatment

Ocean City police have begun an internal investigation into an anonymous charge that officers acted improperly when they failed to arrest Mayor Rick Meehan’s daughter on drunken-driving charges in 2005.

The Salisbury Daily Times said it received an unsigned document saying Ocean City Police didn’t act properly when Kellie Meehan, 26, was stopped and cited for speeding. At the time, Mr. Meehan was Town Council president.

Mr. Meehan said his daughter told police that she had had a few beers, and they called him to take her home as a safety precaution. He said his daughter never mentioned her father’s title.

“I had no knowledge of this happening at the time. I’m turning it over to Internal Affairs, and they’re going to get to the bottom of it,” Ocean City Police Chief Bernadette DiPino told the Daily Times.


Landmark restaurant damaged by fire

The Bay-n-Surf Restaurant caught fire early yesterday morning.

The blaze broke out about 6:30 a.m. at the restaurant in the 14000 block of Baltimore Avenue and severely damaged its rear section.

Prince George’s County fire department spokesman Mark Brady said damage is estimated at about $200,000.

The cause of the fire has not been determined, but investigators said it appears to have begun in the food storage and refrigerated preparation area.

The restaurant has been open at the location since 1965.


Trout afflicted with spinal disease

A parasite that causes trout to swim in circles until they die has been found in two hatcheries in far Western Maryland, prompting plans by state fishery managers to destroy 80,000 infected fish that would have been stocked in lakes and streams this year.

The Department of Natural Resources will test for “whirling disease” in Maryland waterways that hold wild trout in hopes of learning how far the organism has spread, H. Robert Lunsford, director of freshwater fisheries, said yesterday.

“We’ll do a pretty big effort when the swim-out fry emerge from gravel in late spring,” he said.

The infected fish were discovered last month at the Bear Creek Rearing Station near Accident in northern Garrett County and at a contract trout-rearing operation at the Mettiki Coal Co. near Table Rock in southern Garrett County, Mr. Lunsford said.

As a result, 20 percent fewer rainbow and brown trout will be stocked this spring for anglers across Maryland to catch, Mr. Lunsford said. Last year, the state stocked 197 streams and ponds with 418,250 trout, the Baltimore Sun reported.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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