- The Washington Times - Monday, February 26, 2007


Citywide ‘blitz’ put on school repairs

D.C. Public Schools announced yesterday a $2.2 million “whole school blitz” to repair the first of 70 schools from top to bottom.

The first three schools are Martin Luther King, Green and Hendley elementary schools.

This is the first phase of a citywide repair program. Next week, a “component blitz” will commence. In that program, contractors will make repairs to systems in every school building in the city this spring.

The systems have been identified has having the greatest effect on the quality of life of students and staff.

Ex-Treasury worker sentenced for theft

A former Treasury Department employee was sentenced to nine months in federal prison yesterday for stealing more than $67,000 in uncut sheets of $100 bills that he tried to launder through casinos.

David C. Faison, 56, also was ordered to pay back the government $37,200 — the amount he fed to slot machines in Atlantic City, West Virginia and Delaware from May to August last year.

The rest of the money — nine sheets of partially printed $100 bills — was recovered at Faison’s house in Largo, hidden inside a roll of Christmas wrapping paper.

Faison pleaded guilty Sept. 6 to federal charges of theft of tools and material for counterfeiting purposes. Additionally, he will be put on supervised release for three years after serving his prison term.

Faison had worked as a stock control recorder, distributing currency paper within the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, when he stole 21 sheets of partially printed $100 bills. Each sheet contained 32 bills, which were missing serial numbers and Treasury Department seals.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington said Faison hand-cut at least 360 bills, then drove to the casinos. There, he put the bills through slot machines that issued tickets redeemable for cash. Surveillance video showed him feeding bills into slot machines, playing for a while, then cashing out for new bills.

Smoke closes Metro stations at rush hour

Smoke reported outside the Smithsonian Metro station forced Metro officials to close the Smithsonian and Federal Triangle stations yesterday during the evening rush hour.

The two stations were closed from about 4 to 5 p.m.

Metro was forced to cut power to the tracks between the stations while workers conducted a visual inspection of the tracks, a Metro spokesman said. Metro did not determine the source of the smoke and planned to conduct additional inspections overnight.

Commuters attempting to ride Blue and Orange Line trains experienced delays as trains approaching the closed stations were forced to turn around. Metro provided shuttle bus service between L’Enfant Plaza and Metro Center for affected riders.

Gallaudet president addresses problems

The interim president of Gallaudet University said that he is committed to high standards and that he is working on several proposals to strengthen programs at the school.

Robert R. Davila said he wants to improve recruiting, enrollment and retention at the school. He also is working on a shared governance plan to involve more students and staff in university decisions.

Gallaudet is the nation’s only liberal arts college for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Earlier this year, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education said it was delaying a decision on whether to renew the school’s accreditation. A 2005 federal report that rated Gallaudet “ineffective” prompted the accrediting body to request more information from the school.

Middle States has given Gallaudet until April 16 to provide revised documentation, Mr. Davila said. Extension of a March 1 deadline is an indication that officials at Middle States think improvements are taking place, he said.



Jeweler replaces soldier’s wedding ring

A jeweler donated a new wedding band to a wounded soldier who lost his ring while being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in the District.

George Rue, the owner of Eagle Jewelers in Mount Airy, donated a simple gold wedding band to Cpl. Dennis Leonard, of the 72nd Engineer Company, 1st Infantry Division based at Fort Riley, Kan. Cpl. Leonard, 24, was wounded in Iraq on Jan. 12.

Cpl. Brian Ellis, originally from Mount Airy and Cpl. Leonard’s close friend, said the lost ring was the first thing his wounded buddy mentioned when he visited him at the hospital. Cpl. Ellis told the story to his uncle, Ivan Betancourt of Mount Airy, who mentioned it to Mr. Rue.

Mr. Rue called Cpl. Leonard’s wife, got a description of the ring and the proper size, and sent the couple a replacement last week.


Pedestrian killed by hit-and-run car

A pedestrian was killed in a hit-and-ran accident last night, Prince George’s County police said.

The accident took place about 5:30 p.m. in the 5200 block of Kenilworth Avenue, police said. Police shut down the busy suburban street to conduct an investigation.

Police did not have a description of the vehicle that struck the pedestrian, whose name was not released.


Firefighter trainee promoted after death

The firefighter apprentice who was killed earlier this month in a live-fire exercise has been awarded a posthumous promotion, allowing her two children to receive full pension benefits.

Racheal Wilson, 29, was killed Feb. 9 during training at an abandoned row house where instructors had set seven fires. A report on the fatal exercise, released Friday, found several safety violations, including that no instructors were inside the burning building to help recruits, no radios were available to call for help and more than one fire was set — a violation of national standards.

The report also found that the row house was never supposed to be used in a live burn. Recruits had used the building to practice pulling down walls and ceilings, which “enabled the fire to spread,” the report found.

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon on Friday fired the head of the training academy and suspended without pay two officers supervising the exercise.

Miss Wilson’s posthumous promotion to full firefighter/paramedic status was in recognition of her “willingness to put her life on the line for the citizens of Baltimore,” the mayor’s office announced over the weekend.

Miss Wilson’s children are 8 and 11.


Teenager charged in fatal bat brawl

A melee between two groups of young adults ended with the death of an 18-year-old youth who was struck on the head with a baseball bat and the arrest of an 18-year-old who has been charged with first-degree murder.

Police think the two groups — about 20 people in all — arranged to meet on the grounds of Mount Hebron High School about midnight Friday to resolve an ongoing dispute, police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said. Many of the members of one group attended Hammond High School and many in the other group attended Mount Hebron.

Police were called about 12:30 a.m. Saturday and found three young men seriously injured. All three were taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Robert Brazell, a former student at Mount Hebron, was pronounced dead from injuries to the head. Jacob Sams and Evan Tubbs, both 17, were treated at a hospital and released.

Police charged Kevin Francis Klink, a recent graduate of Oakland Mills High School, with murder, assault and reckless endangerment. He was arrested at a gas station in Ellicott City on Sunday evening and is being held at the Howard County Detention Center without bail.

The fatal beating was Howard County’s first homicide of the year. Last year, the county had four homicides.


Muskrat skinner repeats as champ

Defending champion Wylie Abbott Jr. has repeated as the men’s winner at the World Championship Muskrat Skinning Contest.

He skinned five muskrats in 1 minute 44 seconds to win the title Saturday.

Helen Foxwell won the women’s crown by skinning three muskrats in 1 minute 37 seconds.

The competition was held at the conclusion of the two-day National Outdoor Show at South Dorchester School.



Guards plead guilty to drug charges

Two former correctional officers pleaded guilty yesterday to federal drug charges.

Federal prosecutors said Theresa Marrow, 48, of Victoria, and Tiffany Goodrich, 23, of Lawrenceville, planned to smuggle the drugs into the Lawrenceville Correctional Center, where they worked.

Marrow pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute five grams or more of crack cocaine. Goodrich pleaded guilty to possession with the intent to distribute the drug.

The pleas were announced by the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and the FBI.

The two women were arrested in December with 14.6 grams of crack cocaine.

Prosecutors said each woman will face a minimum mandatory sentence of five years up to a maximum of 40 years in prison when they are sentenced May 25.


Priest to enter plea in embezzlement case

A Catholic priest accused of embezzling money from two Louisa County parishes will be arraigned in two weeks. At a hearing yesterday, a judge set the arraignment date for March 12 for the Rev. Rodney Lee Rodis, 50, to enter a plea in the embezzlement case.

His attorney, John Maus, said Father Rodis is not legally married to the woman he lived with in Spotsylvania County. He later declined to say whether Father Rodis is the father of the three children who lived with the couple. The woman and children have moved to New Mexico, he said.

Father Rodis and Joyce Sillador-Rodis, the woman living at the home, are identified as husband and wife on a 2005 deed of trust filed in Spotsylvania Circuit Court.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond has said Father Rodis, 50, embezzled more than $600,000 from his two parishes. Father Rodis was indicted Jan. 8 on one count of felony embezzlement.

He had been pastor at St. Jude in Mineral and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Bumpass before retiring in May.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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