- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 10, 2007



Mine evacuated in partial collapse

A Buchanan County coal mine was evacuated and shut down yesterday after a section of the roof fell and may have sparked an underground fire.

A Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy spokesman said no injuries were reported in the incident at Consol Energy’s Buchanan No. 1 mine.

The spokesman also said the department issued an order closing the mine indefinitely and dispatched a crew to join the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration and the company in sampling for gases, including carbon monoxide and methane.

Pittsburgh-based Consol said about 120 people were working in the mine when the incident occurred shortly before 10 a.m. The company also said it was not clear whether the roof collapse just caused a “flash” or whether a fire continued to burn underground.

Officials said it could take up to 72 hours to determine whether a fire is still burning.


Sevens sell but don’t pay

There was nothing lucky about the number seven for Virginia Lottery players on 7-7-07.

Saturday was July 7, 2007, and it came as no surprise to state lottery officials that the number combination 7-7-07 sold out for both the night and day Pick 4 drawings.

It’s not unusual for certain popular Pick 4 combinations to sell out, and it seemed likely that the “unique date” would result in a sellout Saturday, a lottery spokesman said.

However, lottery officials were surprised that 7-7-0-7 sold out again for Sunday’s drawing.

Even more astonishing, the spokesman said, was that the combination 7-7-7 sold out for both day and night Pick 3 drawings Friday and Saturday.

Unfortunately for those players, the numbers drawn came nowhere near matching the sold-out combinations.

The Virginia Lottery limits specific number combinations to 16,000 in Pick 3 and 12,000 in Pick 4 to limit the potential payout to $8 million and $6 million, respectively.

For Pick 3, the top prize is $500 and the odds of winning are one in 1,000. Pick 4 players have to beat 1-in-10,000 odds to win the top prize of $5,000.

The lure of “lucky sevens” did not translate into a huge boost in sales for Saturday’s drawing. Pick 3 sales were up 4 percent and Pick 4 sales were up 8 percent from the previous Saturday, the spokesman said.



Boy, 8, dies after ATV crash

An 8-year-old boy died Sunday when the all-terrain vehicle on which he was riding with an adult family member crashed into a tree, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office said yesterday.

Dominick L. Gonzales of Mount Airy was pronounced dead at the scene after the accident at about 6:30 p.m., police spokeswoman Cpl. Jennifer Bailey said.

Cpl. Bailey said the boy was wearing a helmet while riding on the vehicle with an adult family member in a field near New Windsor owned by a family friend. The adult family member was not hurt, police said.


Talks begin on renewable energy

A state task force charged with finding ways to boost production of renewable fuels met for the first time yesterday in Annapolis.

State officials are meeting with farmers and energy-industry specialists throughout the summer and fall to gather suggestions for how the state can increase its share of the alternative-fuels market. But the first meeting showed that there are many obstacles. Farmers aren’t always able to sell byproducts that could be processed into fuel. And customers don’t always have a way to buy the fuel.


Amusement park asks for tax help

The owners of the carousel and arcade along the Ocean City boardwalk is increasing pressure to have its tax bill reduced.

Trimper Rides created a Web site yesterday asking fans of the park to write to local officials to ask for a reduction to Trimper’s $914,000 property-tax bill. Three years ago, the tax bill was $387,000.

Owners of the amusement park have said the park may close because they cannot afford to pay the property taxes on the waterfront parcel.

The Web site, www.savetrimpers.com, asks visitors to share memories of the amusement park and its 1902 Herschel-Spellman antique carousel.


ACLU challenges anti-loitering law

The ACLU is challenging Elkton’s anti-loitering law after it was used last year to destroy items belonging to homeless people living in the woods.

A lawsuit filed yesterday accuses the town of harassment, intimidation and property destruction for the raid last August, during which property belonging to homeless people was cleared away. The lawsuit states that the raid was unconstitutional and seeks to invalidate the town’s anti-loitering law.

“The town’s senseless seizure and destruction of the clothing, blankets, medications and irreplaceable personal mementos of its poorest residents was cruel and indefensible,” said Deborah Jeon, legal director for the ACLU of Maryland.

Town attorney Norman Wilson could not be reached for comment.


Murder suspect dies in gunfight

A man wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of his mother and wounding of his father Sunday night during a domestic dispute in their Dunwood Valley Drive home in Bowie was killed last night in Wilmington, Del.

Police identified the man as Christopher Wayne Gary, 27, of Georgetown, Md.

The Prince George’s County Police Department issued a lookout for Gary. He was spotted driving a wanted Toyota Camry crossing the Delaware Memorial Bridge. The Delaware River and Bay police initiated a pursuit that ended in Wilmington, said Wilmington Police Department Police Chief Michael J. Szczerba.

Gary’s car collided with two vehicles, and the suspect fled on foot. When confronted by several officers, Gary stood in a vacant lot and held a gun to his head, threatening suicide, according to police.

At one point, he lowered his weapon toward police officers and shots were fired by Gary and two Wilmington police officers, officials said.

Gary was pronounced dead at the scene.


Mom sues son-in-law over daughter’s death

A Hagerstown woman has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against her former son-in-law, stating that he is responsible for the crash that killed her daughter. Lilly Younker filed the $1 million lawsuit Friday in Washington County Circuit Court against Steven Huff, 46, of Hancock. Miss Younker said Mr. Huff failed to keep his pickup truck under control and operated it recklessly in the August 2005 crash that killed Michelle Huff, 39. The crash happened in Warren Township, Pa. Mr. Huff told police that he swerved when a deer ran onto the road. He was charged by Pennsylvania State Police with homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence and recklessly endangering another person. His trial is pending.

Ms. Younker is suing for funeral expenses, medical bills and pain and suffering.


Fight erupts at bar where man stabbed

Police in Cambridge reported more violence near the city bar that was the scene of a fatal stabbing this spring. Police said two persons were shot, one person was stabbed and a fourth person had head and face injuries in a fight around closing time Thursday at the Zebra Room on Pine Street.

Police have made no arrests. During a fight outside the bar in April, Donnie Cooper, 27, was fatally stabbed.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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