- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 18, 2007



Homeland Security funds pet shelter

County officials have a new piece of disaster-preparedness equipment: a mobile shelter for pets.

The county used $20,000 in grant funds from the Department of Homeland Security to buy the 20-foot trailer and stock it with food, animal crates, litter pans, identification bands and food and water dishes. Officials said it’s the first of its kind in Northern Virginia.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington will operate the shelter for the county during emergencies.

The league’s executive director, Kay Speerstra, said Friday that officials realized there was a need for a pet shelter after Hurricane Katrina. During that storm, some residents were reluctant to leave their homes because shelters would not allow them to bring their pets.

“Over 60 percent of American households have at least one pet, so it’s important to have a plan that includes them,” Mrs. Speerstra said.

Robert Griffin, director of Arlington’s Office of Emergency Management, said the partnership with the Animal Welfare League will ensure the county “can shelter all family members — even if they have four legs — in the event of an emergency.”

The trailer will remain parked at the league’s shelter. In an emergency, the county will instruct the league to set it up at a selected location.

The $20,000 spent on the trailer was part of a $217,000 Homeland Security grant that Arlington received in 2005 for emergency sheltering.


Apollo 1 capsule moved to new facility

The Apollo 1 capsule, which was destroyed in a flash fire during a training exercise in 1967, killing all three astronauts on board, was moved yesterday to a new storage facility at NASA’s Langley Research Center.

Officials said the new, environmentally controlled facility will better protect the spacecraft, which has been in Virginia since the investigation into the fire was completed.

Lt. Col. Virgil I. Grissom, Lt. Col. Edward H. White II and Roger B. Chaffee died from inhaling toxic gases during a launch-pad test at Cape Canaveral, Fla. on Jan. 27, 1967.

An investigation said the fire most likely started in an area near the floor around some wires between the oxygen panel and the environmental-control system. The 100 percent oxygen environment made it highly combustible and internal pressure made it impossible for the astronauts to open the command module’s inner hatch.



Police warn motorists to clear cars of ice

State police were warning motorists to make sure their vehicles were clear of lingering ice and snow before hitting the roads.

Authorities said they have received numerous calls about damage caused by ice and snow flying off vehicles speeding down Maryland highways. And they were warning motorists that it’s their responsibility to clear off their vehicles before driving.

Drivers can be fined $80 for having snow and ice on their cars and are also responsible for damage that may be caused.


Missing man’s body found near marina

Annapolis Police said they found the body of a man yesterday morning in Spa Creek near the Horn Point Harbor Marina.

Dennis Chiangi, 54, was reported missing by a friend and neighbor yesterday about 6:30 p.m. Mr. Chiangi hadn’t been seen or heard from since Feb. 13.

Police said Mr. Chiangi lived on a houseboat docked at the marina. His body was found under water about 9:45 a.m.

A Maryland Department of Natural Resources dive team found the body. Police said the investigation was continuing and a cause of death had not been determined.


Woman killed by hit-and-run driver

Anne Arundel County Police said an unidentified woman died just before midnight Friday while trying to cross Ritchie Highway in Glen Burnie.

Police said she was hit about 11:30 p.m. in the southbound lanes of Ritchie Highway at Jumpers Hole Road.

Jose Santos Toledo, 20, was driving a 1996 Saturn when the woman stepped into his path. Police said he received minor injuries.

Police said he was arrested on multiple charges, including leaving the scene of a fatal accident. The crash was still under investigation.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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