- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Lockers catch fire, school evacuated

A middle school in Northeast was evacuated after two lockers caught fire yesterday afternoon.

Kelly Miller Middle School at 301 49th St. NE was evacuated about 1:40 p.m., fire department spokesman Alan Etter said.

One student was treated for smoke inhalation on the scene, Mr. Etter said. There were no other injuries. There was heavy smoke in the building, and the school must be ventilated before students return.

Fire investigators haven’t determined the cause, but the fire is considered suspicious, Mr. Etter said.



Planes stuck on icy runways at Reagan

Officials at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport are trying to determine why two commercial airliners wound up on closed taxiways Tuesday night.

The incidents involved airliners that landed about 9:30 p.m. and just before midnight. A Northwest Airlines plane from Memphis, Tenn., turned onto a taxiway and got stuck in ice that had not been cleared since last week’s winter storm.

A United Airlines flight turned onto a different taxiway about 11:45 p.m. and got stuck.

In both cases, shuttle buses and fire department vehicles cruised over the tarmac to the stranded airliners and passengers were safely evacuated, airport spokesman Robert Yingling said.

Both taxiways were listed as out of service on advisories issued to the airlines, airport officials said. Investigators want to know why flight crews for the two jets weren’t informed.


Residents say street honors terrorist

About 20 people turned out for a protest Tuesday night against the name of a road they said honors a terrorist.

Sheikh Gilani Lane is in the Muslims of America enclave in Charlotte County. The Christian Action Network, based in Bedford County, contends that the street was named after an international terrorist.

The road was named after Pakistani cleric Sheik Mubarik Gilani, who founded the area about 10 years ago and similar sites in the United States.

Opponents of the road name said the Muslims of America communities are hide-outs for terrorists. But residents of the communities repeatedly have denied terrorist ties.

This month, the county supervisors declined to change the name of the road, citing their long-standing policy against changing road names. County rules allow residents to name their private lanes, Supervisor Joseph Carey said.


Charge upgraded vs. death-row inmate

An Arlington man on Virginia’s death row for killing a Richmond family faces another capital murder charge in a Culpeper County case.

A Culpeper judge notified Ricky Jovan Gray, 29, on Tuesday that four new charges have been filed and the first-degree murder count lodged against him in the 2005 murder of Sheryl Warner, 37, has been upgraded to capital murder.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Gary Close would not say why the charge was amended.

Miss Warner was found dead in her burning home in Reva in December 2005.

Gray’s court-appointed attorney, Kevin Smith, is not certified as a capital defender and not qualified to represent Gray on the capital case.

The judge tentatively appointed two Richmond defense attorneys — Jeffrey Everhart and Ted Bruns — who represented Gray last year in Richmond, where he received two death sentences in the killing of the Harvey family.

Gray told the judge that he’s “not satisfied” with the earlier representation by Mr. Everhart and Mr. Bruns.


Equine center, farm quarantined for virus

Virginia Tech’s equine medical center and one farm in Northern Virginia are under a state-ordered quarantine because of a suspected infection of the neurologic form of equine herpesvirus, officials said yesterday.

The quarantines will restrict movement of horses at the center and the affected farm and is intended to limit the spread of the disease.

The Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center is owned by Virginia Tech and operated as one of three campuses that comprise the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.

The quarantine was based on three suspected cases of the highly contagious EHV-1 at the Leesburg center.

Hospital officials expect the quarantine to last anywhere from 14 to 28 days.

Two horses that had contact with the infected Leesburg animals are at a rehabilitation center in Maryland.

EHV-1 poses no known health threat to humans.



Human remains belong to gunman

Human remains found Tuesday in a burned-out liquor store belong to a gunman who police think tried to rob the store before starting a standoff, Frederick police said.

The state medical examiner determined that the remains were those of James Douglas, 29, of Frederick, police said. The body was found inside the locked front door. The cause of death was smoke inhalation.

Mr. Douglas entered Jim’s Liquors, and the store clerk recognized him. The robbery attempt led to a standoff that ended after the liquor store was set on fire, police said.

Police also found a .25-caliber Colt pocket pistol in the rear of the store yesterday.


Ice falls on van crossing Bay Bridge

A large chunk of ice fell from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on Saturday afternoon, striking a minivan traveling in the middle of the westbound span.

The ice dented the roof and shattered the windshield of Denise Golder’s vehicle. Miss Golder and her two passengers called 911 and slowed down, but the high speeds of vehicles around them kept them from being able to change lanes and stop.

But behind them was Kim Jones, who had seen the ice fall.

Miss Jones turned out to be Miss Golder’s “guardian angel” when she put on her emergency lights and drove straddling the right and center lanes. That allowed Miss Golder to move over and eventually make it off the bridge and into the Sandy Point weigh station.


Historic theater saved by donations

The Senator Theatre has been spared from financial ruin thanks to the generosity of movie lovers.

First Mariner Bank had scheduled a foreclosure auction for yesterday because owner Tom Kiefaber was in arrears on his $1.2 million mortgage.

Two weeks ago, Mr. Kiefaber began soliciting donations in person and online. Tuesday night, Mr. Kiefaber said he presented a bank representative with certified checks covering the $110,000 needed to stop the auction.

Coming close to losing the Senator was a “wake-up call,” he said. But he is not giving specific plans for keeping the theater solvent. He will continue his fundraising efforts and hold town hall meetings to discuss the theater’s future, Mr. Kiefaber said.


40,000 dead fish found in Potomac

The Maryland Department of the Environment is trying to determine what killed more than 40,000 yellow perch found dead in the Potomac River in Charles County.

The dead fish were found Monday in a four-mile stretch between Morgantown and Swan Point. The site is near a power plant, but state officials have ruled out the plant as a potential cause of the fish kill.

The cold weather might have been a factor, officials said.


Off-duty officer foils bank robbery

An off-duty Baltimore police sergeant moonlighting as a uniformed bank security guard shot and wounded a would-be bank robber, police said.

The attempted robbery happened about 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Wachovia Bank branch in the Loch Raven Shopping Center.

An armed man announced a bank robbery then fired at least one round in the direction of Sgt. Robert Eiseman, police said. The officer then fired several rounds and hit the gunman at least once.

The officer wasn’t hurt.

The gunman was not carrying any identity and is in serious condition at Sinai Hospital, police said.


Pelosi’s brother dies at 73

The older brother of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Franklin Roosevelt D’Alesandro, died this week, a spokesman for the congresswoman said yesterday.

“Roosie died as he had lived, surrounded by his family, loved by his friends, grateful for God’s blessings on his life,” Mrs. Pelosi said.

Mr. D’Alesandro, 73, who lived in Baltimore, died late Tuesday or early Wednesday, a Pelosi spokesman said.

Mr. D’Alesandro was also the brother of former Baltimore Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro III and the son of Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., who also served as mayor and in Congress.


Dentist gets 5 years for drug distribution

A dentist was sentenced to more than five years in prison for distributing cocaine and painkillers from his office, federal prosecutors said.

Derek Curtis, 63, of Seabrook, also was sentenced yesterday to three years of supervised release.

He pleaded guilty in November to distributing Oxycodone and cocaine out of his Forestville office. Prosecutors say he wrote prescriptions for nearly 27,000 pills from 1997 to 2004.

Prosecutors said he sold Percocet prescriptions to a confidential source in 2004. He also sold cocaine to the same source.


House-buying dealer sentenced to 11 years

An Upper Marlboro man was sentenced yesterday for cocaine distribution and buying multiple homes to launder drug money, federal prosecutors said.

Steven Fenwick, 34, pleaded guilty to distributing large quantities of crack cocaine and cocaine. He used some of the drug proceeds to buy houses in Forestville, Oxon Hill and Fairmont Heights, prosecutors said.

The laundered money totaled more than $400,000.

Fenwick will serve 11 years in prison and five years of supervised release. He also had to forfeit several vehicles and nearly $17,000 in cash.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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