- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 3, 2007

DISTRICT

‘Rodent activity’ closes popular burger joint

A popular hamburger restaurant in Georgetown has been temporarily shut down by the D.C. Health Department.

Johnny Rockets on M Street in Northwest has been cited for numerous problems, including failing to reduce the presence of rodents and operating with gross unsanitary conditions that might endanger public health.

Health inspectors this week found “recent rodent activity” including “gnawed hamburger rolls.”

Restaurant officials said they have corrected most of the problems.

Spokesman Daryl McCullough said all of the health issues were immediately addressed and corrected. He said the only reason the restaurant remains closed is to correct structural problems with the floor.

The health department did not immediately confirm whether the violations had been corrected. It is not known when the restaurant will reopen.

Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder recently announced that he will buy the 1950s-style diner chain, which operates more than 200 restaurants nationwide.

Douglass home opens after 3-year restoration

The National Park Service has reopened the Anacostia mansion where abolitionist Frederick Douglass spent his final years.

The 150-year-old home has undergone a three-year restoration. The nearly $3 million project included the restoration of the building’s 56 historic windows, the installation of 61 louvered shutters and a fire protection system.

Specialists also restored the building’s exterior and wallpaper, carpeting and woodwork to reflect the home’s 1890s appearance.

Artifacts housed in the home’s historic collections include books, clothing, letters and other personal items that once were used by Douglass and his family.

VIRGINIA

ALEXANDRIA

Elderly man admits to bank robberies

A 70-year-old man has pleaded guilty to a series of bank robberies in Northern Virginia.

Peter Yow Ling Lin, of Springfield, has admitted robbing one bank in Fairfax County three times over an 11-month period.

The Bank of America branch was hit in December 2005, and in October and November. In two of those robberies, the suspect handed notes to tellers stating that he had a gun. In the third robbery, the suspect showed a teller a knife.

The Taiwanese national also admitted robbing a United Bank branch in Arlington.

Court records indicated that the suspect was armed with a knife during that Nov. 17 incident.

Arlington police recovered nearly $3,400 from that robbery after dye packs included with the stolen money exploded.

Lin surrendered to police in Atlantic City in November. During an interview with the FBI, he confessed to all four robberies.

He faces sentencing May 18.

ROANOKE

Applications increase at newly co-ed college

The decision by Randolph-Macon Woman’s College to end a 116-year tradition of being a single-sex institution appears to be resonating with prospective students.

Applications to the school, which will become Randolph College July 1, are up 85 percent over last year. As of Feb. 23, the school had received 1,086 applications from women and 300 from men for this fall’s freshman class, spokeswoman Brenda Edson said.

The 700-student college in Lynchburg received 426 applications through an online filing option available for the first time this year, Miss Edson said.

The applications filed by the traditional method were up 28 percent over last year.

The fall application deadline was Thursday, but admissions officials said they won’t know the size and sex breakdown in the freshman class until about mid-May.

After Randolph-Macon officials decided last fall to make the school coed, 41 students left at the end of the semester, a higher number than usual, Miss Edson said.

Nine of the 27 who transferred to other schools said they did so because of the decision to admit men, and seven of them went to women’s colleges.

Officials decided to admit men in an effort to achieve more financial stability, after having to dip into the $140 million endowment for operating funds.

The school ran into financial difficulties as interest in single-sex colleges declined in recent years.

Alumnae opposed to the college’s decision are continuing with a court challenge.

ETTRICK

2 killed, 2 injured by house fire

Two persons were killed and two others hospitalized with serious injuries after a fire tore through a home yesterday morning, officials said.

The fire began when a cigarette was accidentally dropped into some bedding materials, Chesterfield County police Lt. Matt Coffin said.

The state medical examiner’s office has not identified the two persons who died, but the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported on its Web site yesterday that the victims were children.

Neighbors said a woman and a young girl were taken to the hospital. Lt. Coffin said he could not confirm that information.

The two rescued victims were transported to VCU Medical Center with “very serious” injuries, Lt. Coffin said. An update on their conditions was not immediately available.

Firefighters were unable to reach the two victims who died because of the intense heat and flames, Lt. Coffin said. Firefighters brought the blaze under control in about 30 minutes, but the home was heavily damaged.

The house was equipped with a smoke detector, but it did not have a battery, Lt. Coffin said.

MARYLAND

ANNAPOLIS

Juvenile treatment center to close Friday

The residential juvenile treatment facility where a Baltimore teen died in January after a struggle with staff members, will be closed, officials said yesterday.

Donald DeVore, the department’s new secretary, said Bowling Brook Preparatory Academy in Carroll County will be closed next Friday.

Mr. DeVore said the state was working to remove the eight Maryland juvenile offenders who are still there.

Beth Blauer, a special assistant to the secretary, said 41 juveniles from Pennsylvania also remain at the facility and that officials in that state have been notified about the school’s closing.

The decision to close the school was made voluntarily by the school’s board Thursday night, Mr. DeVore said.

Isaiah Simmons, 17, died Jan. 23 after a struggle with two staff workers at the school in Keymar.

The school was under contract with the state to educate young people who have been in trouble with the law.

Mr. DeVore said an investigation into the matter was not yet complete.

BALTIMORE

Man charged in scam released from custody

A man accused of scamming investors out of millions of dollars has been released from federal custody pending trial.

David Robinson, 56, declined to comment to reporters as he left the federal courthouse in Baltimore yesterday.

A judge ordered Mr. Robinson to stay with his estranged wife, who has agreed to house him at her Baltimore home.

But since she was not in court yesterday, Mr. Robinson will go back to the halfway house where he has been staying for the past several weeks. Mr. Robinson spent much of the past year in federal prison for violating the terms of his release from a previous prison term for fraud.

Mr. Robinson will have to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet, and he was ordered to have no contact with the investors he is accused of bilking. He also was ordered not to use the Internet except for work.

JESSUP

Police identify body found in ravine

A body found near a Jessup ravine last month has been identified, Anne Arundel County police said.

Police said a resident found Leonard Prahl, 55, in a streambed Feb. 24. Police said the body appeared to have been there for some time.

An autopsy performed the following day showed Mr. Prahl had no outward signs of trauma. Police said the investigation into the cause and manner of his death is continuing.

Police said Mr. Prahl has family living in the Severn area.

ANNAPOLIS

Ground rent bill OK’d, sent to governor

The Maryland Senate approved a ban on new ground rents yesterday.

The unanimous vote sends the measure to Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is expected to sign the bill into law.

Ground rents date to Colonial times and are rare. But in some cases they can be used to evict landowners from their homes for small debts.

The House already has passed an identical bill.

Current ground rents would still be valid, but the bill would prevent any new ones from being established.

HAGERSTOWN

Bill seeks to raise hiring age for officers

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would raise the minimum hiring age for correctional officers from 18 to 21.

Veteran prison workers and their unions support the move. The minimum age was lowered in 2002 to expand the pool of potential applicants.

The Department of Legislative Services said 173 out of nearly 4,900 correctional officers are younger than 21.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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