- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 6, 2007


Smithsonian appoints inspector general

The Smithsonian Institution’s chief auditor has been named its permanent inspector general.

The Smithsonian board’s appointment of A. Sprightley Ryan comes nine months after her predecessor quit, citing shrinking resources to provide proper oversight for the Smithsonian.

Recent audits revealed unauthorized spending by Secretary Lawrence M. Small.

It also showed Mr. Small was paid more than $1 million over the past seven years for making his house available for official functions by using a “hypothetical mortgage.”

Mr. Small owns his home free and clear.



Geography textbook comes with warning

Virginia Tech officials are making some changes to a new geography textbook.

Students are happy with the book, called “Plaid Avenger’s World,” written by Tech instructor John Boyer, who teaches the course. He calls the textbook an experimental approach aimed at getting students to better learn the material.

It’s chock-full of foul language, recipes for cocktails and more than a few cultural stereotypes. The book features a central character — the Plaid Avenger — who travels to different parts of the globe and explains culture and history in 21st-century college student vernacular.

The administration got a complaint about the book from a faculty member a couple of weeks ago, a college spokesman said.

University officials decided to add a warning sticker noting that some of its language is explicit, Mr. Boyer said. A disclaimer would urge underage readers not to drink alcohol and all readers to respect diversity and to stand up for racial and sexual equality.

The university does not review the content of textbooks written by its faculty, officials said.


Men lost in Colorado mountains rescued

Two Virginia men are recovering after a wrong turn in Colorado’s backcountry led to several hours being lost in the cold and snow.

Crews found Byron Chafin, 39, and Alec Davis, 38, both of Richmond, about 11:30 Saturday night, about four hours after Mr. Chafin’s wife called the ski patrol to report that the two had not returned as expected.

Mr. Chafin is a former Colorado resident who has skied several times in the area but never the exact route that he and Mr. Davis took over the weekend.

Ski patrol members located the pair near Beaver Lake and used a Sno-Cat to get them down from the mountain.

Mr. Chafin suffered frostbite on both feet after falling into a frozen creek.



Two drivers killed in I-70 crash

The drivers of two trucks were killed yesterday morning in a fiery rush-hour crash on Interstate 70, police said.

A westbound pickup truck crossed the median and hit a tractor-trailer, rupturing the larger vehicle’s fuel tank, state police said.

The rig’s cab was crushed by a 40,000-pound steel coil that broke loose from the trailer and rolled forward, Sgt. Arthur Betts said.

The crash occurred about three miles west of Frederick near Hollow Road, Sgt. Betts said.

The highway was closed in both directions for almost an hour after the 8:20 a.m. crash. It wasn’t fully open until nearly noon, Sgt. Betts said.

Drivers of both vehicles were killed, Sgt. Betts said. The 2005 Chevrolet pickup truck was driven by James H. Martenot, 41, of Hagerstown, he said. Police were awaiting a positive identification by the state medical examiner’s office and notification of next of kin before releasing the name of the tractor-trailer driver, he said.

The tractor-trailer was owned by PI&I; Motor Express of Masury, Ohio, Sgt. Betts said.


Man pleads guilty to YMCA peeping

An Ocean City man pleaded guilty to using a camera in his locker at the Talbot County YMCA to tape unsuspecting men and boys, one of whom he inappropriately touched, according to court documents.

Sentencing for Alan Travers, 44, is expected in April. He pleaded guilty Friday to Kent County Circuit Judge J. Frederick Price on one count of second-degree assault and 20 counts of video surveillance with prurient intent.

Dorchester County sheriff’s deputies found peeping videotapes in Travers’ Fishing Creek home, according to court documents obtained by the Easton Star-Democrat, including one video showing Travers touching a 14-year-old boy.

At least 20 persons were taped, police said.


Child porn found at instructor’s home

A gymnastics instructor from Harford County has been charged with possession of child pornography.

Hundreds of sexually explicit videotapes and images of children were found during a search of Patrick Bogan’s Edgewood home, federal prosecutors said. Investigators also found girls’ underwear.

Mr. Bogan, 42, has worked for the past 11 years at Baltimore County Gymnastics near White Marsh, instructing children between the ages of 5 and 15.

Mr. Bogan is not charged with molesting any children — something the owner of Baltimore County Gymnastics was quick to point out. There is no place at the facility where instructors are alone with girls, owner Thomas Bonomo said.

A federal magistrate judge postponed Mr. Bogan’s detention hearing until later this month to give investigators more time to collect evidence.


Juvenile’s death ruled a homicide

The death of a 17-year-old at the Bowling Brook Preparatory Academy in Carroll County has been ruled a homicide by the state medical examiner’s office.

The death of Isaiah Simmons in January prompted the school’s decision to close. Maryland officials announced late last week that the school would close this Friday.

Isaiah died Jan. 23 after being restrained by staff at the residential juvenile-treatment school, which was under contract with the state.

The medical examiner’s finding does not necessarily mean a crime was committed, Dave Daggett, deputy state’s attorney in Carroll County, said.

The eight remaining Maryland youths were moved over the weekend, Department of Juvenile Justice spokesman Edward Hopkins said.

Last week, there also were about 40 youths from Pennsylvania who were being housed at Bowling Brook. Mr. Hopkins said there were fewer than 40 there yesterday.


Disabled man killed, boy hurt in shooting

A man fatally shot at his mother’s home yesterday morning appears to have been “targeted,” a Baltimore police spokesman said.

A 5-year-old boy in the house was wounded in the shooting yesterday in the 2000 block of Smallwood Street, police said.

Two men knocked at the door, the boy answered the door and was shot in the foot, police said.

At least one of the two men went upstairs and fatally shot Michael Woods, 28, who was in bed. He was hit multiple times in the stomach and died at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Woods was paralyzed from an earlier shooting and had a lengthy criminal record.

The boy was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital.


Human skull, bones found in woods

A human skull was found in a black cauldron in a wooded area in Conowingo.

Police also found a second cauldron, human and animal bones, a plastic skull, a small statue and other items.

The discovery was made by area residents Thursday.

Police said the skull showed no signs of trauma and appeared to be very old. It was sent to the medical examiner’s office.

Authorities are wondering whether the items were being used in a religious ritual. It was not clear if any crime was committed.


Near-record jackpot draws ticket buyers

They stood in lines yesterday filling out lottery tickets and handing over crumbled bills in exchange for a chance to win a record $355 million jackpot from tonight’s Mega Millions’ drawing.

Hopefuls lined up in convenience stores and elsewhere in Maryland and Virginia and 10 other states after the jackpot increased to $340 million, the second highest in Mega Millions’ five-year history.

Still, sales appeared to slow by yesterday afternoon around Northern Virginia.

Cheekong Ng of Virginia One Stop News in the Pentagon City mall said business was steady only during the lunch hours and the morning commute.

“Not as many people came in as they did before for the last lottery over $300 million,” he said. “Maybe the $355 million isn’t enough anymore.”

Mr. Ng expects more customers today because many wait until the last minute to buy tickets.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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