- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 20, 2007

DISTRICT

Officials seek new use for old naval hospital

The Civil War-era naval hospital in Southeast has fallen into disrepair and the D.C. Office of Property Management wants to find someone to care for the 143-year-old building.

The hospital at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE was built to serve Civil War troops and operated as a U.S. Navy hospital until 1911. In recent years, however, the building has been mostly vacant.

“The Old Naval Hospital is tragically underutilized,” said Lars Etzkorn, director of the property office, which has issued a request for proposals. “We want to quickly return it to productive use for the community and the District.”

City officials hope to come up with a plan that emphasizes the historic aspects of the property and promotes its use as a community resource for residents of Capitol Hill.

“This is not going to be a revenue-producing lease for the District,” Mr. Etzkorn said.

The city has tried before to develop the site. In 2004, the office approved a proposal by a yoga institute to renovate the building and use it for meetings and classes. But that plan was opposed by Mayor Anthony A. Williams because it would not fully incorporate the community, Mr. Etzkorn said.

MARYLAND

ANNAPOLIS

Equipment shortage led to fatal shooting

The investigation into the fatal shooting of a Glen Burnie man by Anne Arundel County police showed that officers were unable to get a nonlethal weapon that might have ended the standoff.

The report, released last week, says that 15 minutes before Justin Fisher, 18, was shot in Pasadena, an officer requested someone bring a beanbag shotgun to the scene. At the time, only special-operations officers carried the devices, and none was on duty on the overnight shift.

Police said Mr. Fisher was shot when he charged officers with scissors.

Since the shooting, the county police force has increased the number of beanbag shotguns issued to officers.

FALLSTON

One death, one injury in sledding accidents

A man in his 50s was killed and a woman in her 60s was seriously injured in separate sledding accidents in Harford County on ice-covered hills.

A 62-year-old woman was flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore on Sunday after she crashed into a tree while sledding on a big hill.

Dave Williams, a Harford County Fire Department spokesman, said that the ice-covered hills were extremely fast and that control of a sled was next to impossible. After Sunday’s accident, rescue workers had to use ropes to get up and down the hill safely.

On Friday, Gary Jastrab, 57, crashed into a tree and died while sledding near his home in Bel Air.

After Sunday’s accident, neighbors put up signs warning people not to sled down the hill.

ELKTON

Suspect released after IDs retracted

Prosecutors in Cecil County are calling it a case of mistaken identity.

They freed a Prince George’s County man being held on murder and robbery charges after three witnesses retracted their identifications of the man.

Shiloh Beale, 29, of Forestville, was indicted Jan. 31 in the fatal shooting of William Clark, 18, five days earlier in an apartment in the 300 block of Landing Lane.

Mr. Beale was released Friday, and the charges were dropped.

Police said the investigation is back at square one.

Mr. Clark was fatally shot when he resisted a robbery.

VIRGINIA

RICHMOND

High-immigrant schools decry literacy rule

Officials in Virginia school districts with large numbers of immigrants are taking issue with the federal requirement that children trying to learn English take the same reading tests given to their native-speaking classmates.

The U.S. Department of Education is threatening Virginia with sanctions if the state doesn’t enforce the No Child Left Behind Act’s provision that requires English learners to take grade-level reading tests.

The Virginia Department of Education asked for another year, but the federal department denied the request, telling Virginia officials that they have had time to come up with a satisfactory substitute test for English learners.

Some superintendents have said teachers can’t measure students’ reading progress if the children fail the tests because they can’t understand them.

School boards in Harrisonburg and Fairfax, Prince William and Arlington counties are among those that have recently signaled their intent to defy the federal mandate, and others are considering following suit.

ROANOKE

Officers involved in two shootings

Roanoke police are investigating two officer-involved shootings over the weekend.

Police were called Friday night to serve Geoffrey Stephenson, 30, with an emergency custody order, police spokeswoman Aisha Johnson said.

But Mr. Stephenson met officers with at least one firearm and what appeared to be a sword, police said, and the officers said he appeared to reach for one of the weapons. Officer Andrew Pulley Jr. shot Mr. Stephenson, who died later at a hospital.

On Sunday morning, officers responded to a call for help involving a man with a gun inside a house. Miss Johnson said the man shot at them, and three officers fired back.

Both the suspect and a 7-year-old were being treated for gunshot wounds. Police did not release their names or their conditions.

The officers involved in the shootings are on paid administrative leave while the incidents are being investigated.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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