- The Washington Times - Monday, June 18, 2007


Attic catches fire in senator’s building

A Capitol Hill house where Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois rents an apartment caught fire yesterday, but a spokesman said the Democratic presidential contender was out of town to celebrate Father’s Day.

The fire appeared to be on the third floor of a town house at Sixth Street and Massachusetts Avenue Northeast, and likely was caused by a faulty ceiling fan, said Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs. Mr. Obama rents an apartment on the second floor.

Mr. Obama was with his family in Chicago yesterday, Mr. Gibbs said.

Fire department spokesman Alan Etter said the fire began in the attic, and that investigators are looking at “an old fan” as the cause.

“It appears to have been a relatively minor fire,” Mr. Etter said.



Naked runner hit, killed on highway

A naked pedestrian was killed Saturday night on Indian Head Highway, police said.

Cpl. Stephen Pacheco said the man was running naked along the road when he was struck by a sport utility vehicle.

The man has not been identified.

Cpl. Diane Richardson, a police spokeswoman, said police are investigating whether the victim was under the influence of drugs. An autopsy will be performed.

The driver of the SUV stopped at the scene.



Driver swerves into crowd, hurts 8

A Virginia Tech student was charged with drunken driving after swerving off the road and into a crowd, injuring eight persons as bars were closing in downtown Blacksburg, police said.

Mary Elizabeth Bowen, 20, of Winchester, told police that she was sending a text message on her cell phone when she lost control of her sport utility vehicle just after 2 a.m. Saturday. The SUV knocked down a small tree planted in the sidewalk along Main Street and broke a light pole before slamming to a halt against the corner of a restaurant.

Six persons were taken to Montgomery Regional Hospital and two were taken to Carilion New River Valley Medical Center near Radford, Blacksburg Police Capt. Bruce Bradbery said. He said none appeared to have life-threatening injuries.

Miss Bowen was not injured, Capt. Bradbery said. A breath test indicated that her blood alcohol content shortly after the crash was 0.20 percent, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent, he said.


County registrar retiring — at 95

If only the term in office were shorter.

Alta Finks will retire at the end of the month as Culpeper County’s registrar. The 95-year-old is the state’s oldest and longest-serving registrar.

Miss Finks, who assumed the position in 1971, said she thought about applying for another term.

“I would have had to put in for four more years, and at my age, I felt I just couldn’t do it,” she said.

That’s fine with Miss Finks, who said she is looking forward to having more free time to work in her vegetable garden.

“I feel good about retiring,” said Miss Finks, an active congregant and choir member at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.

She assumed the registrar’s job as a sideline and operated the government office out of her Valley Music record shop. Running to the courthouse every time a new voter registered proved to be an inconvenience, so she moved her office downtown.

Miss Finks, who was born in an era when voters marked their ballots with an X, oversaw the county’s transition to a touch-screen voting system a few years ago.

Registrars are appointed to keep localities’ voter registration records in order and to educate the public about registration.

From wire dispatches and staff reports



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