- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 7, 2007


Fenty set to name new fire chief

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty is expected to announce today that he has named Atlanta Fire Chief Dennis L. Rubin to head the District’s fire department.

Chief Rubin, a 31-year firefighter who has served as fire chief in Atlanta since December 2003, began his career in the District. He also served as a firefighter in Norfolk.

In Atlanta, he managed a 1,100-member department with an $88 million budget. He also served as city manager and public safety director of Dothan, Ala., which had 1,000 workers and a $125 million budget. The D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department has about 2,000 employees and a budget in excess of $150 million.

An Atlanta television station reported yesterday that Chief Rubin will resign from the department effective April 13. His resignation letter said he had “decided to move and accept a position elsewhere.”

Chief Rubin holds an associate’s degree in fire science from Northern Virginia Community College and a bachelor’s degree in fire administration from the University of Maryland.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Fenty did not return a call seeking comment, but an announcement is expected today at the Office of Unified Communications in Southeast.

Brown withdraws bill for school repairs

D.C. Council member Kwame R. Brown yesterday withdrew his proposed emergency legislation that would have created an independent authority to manage school construction.

The creation of such an agency is also a part of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s plans to reform the public school system.

Mr. Brown, at-large Democrat, said last week that he planned to introduce his bill in order to speed up repairs before the next school year.

“It is an emergency as it relates to our [school] facilities in the District of Columbia,” Mr. Brown said yesterday. He said he withdrew his measure after conferring with Mr. Fenty, who assured him that repairs would be on track by the time schools open in the fall.

National Gallery gets 1,700 abstract prints

The National Gallery of Art will acquire about 1,700 proofs from abstract expressionist Jasper Johns, which will make the gallery the largest institu-tional repository of his works.

The purchase of Mr. Johns’ lithographs, etchings, relief prints and screen prints will be completed by the end of next year. The gallery doesn’t release exact dollar values on its purchases, but a gallery spokeswoman said this was a multimillion-dollar acquisition.

The exhibition “States and Variations: Prints by Jasper Johns” will open at the gallery’s East Building on Sunday and will run through Oct. 28. It includes eight works from the latest acquisition.



Hotel to reopen after outbreak

Arlington County health officials have cleared the Hyatt Regency Crystal City hotel to reopen.

The hotel near Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport has been closed since Thursday after about 150 guests were sickened by the contagious norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea.

An outside contractor was brought in to scrub and disinfect guest rooms, kitchens and other hotel facilities.

The norovirus is common on cruise ships, hotels, prisons and nursing homes, and has cropped up several times in the region this winter, health officials said.


Woman gets 20 years for nephew’s abuse

A judge sentenced a Hampton woman to 20 years in prison for ignoring her 4-year-old nephew’s severe burns and leaving him in the hands of the “monster” who killed him.

Matriesha Turner was convicted in April of felony child abuse and felony child neglect for beating Davion Mutts with a switch and neglecting to get him medical help after her boyfriend, William Shanklin, scalded him with hot liquid.

Shanklin later killed the toddler. He was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life plus 10 years in prison.

A weeping Turner told Hampton Circuit Court Judge Louis Lerner on Monday that she regrets not getting Davion the help he needed.

Judge Lerner was unmoved. Although sentencing guidelines called for one day to six months in jail, the judge imposed the maximum term of 10 years on each count, to be served consecutively.

Shanklin’s mother, Vivian Shanklin, goes to trial next month on charges of abuse and neglect. She also is also accused of failing to seek medical attention for Davion’s injuries.



Two state troopers injured in I-270 crash

A traffic accident yesterday morning on Interstate 270 injured two Maryland State Police troopers and the driver of a car that hit the troopers’ cruiser.

Trooper 1st Class Matthew Cantwell, 37, a seven-year veteran, and Trooper John Davis, 31, a trainee, were injured when a 2003 Mercury Sable driven by Thomas J. McClellan II, 62, of Alexandria, struck their unmarked Crown Victoria parked on the right shoulder of northbound I-270 at Montrose Road, state police said.

Mr. McClellan appeared to be having a medical emergency when he hit the police vehicle, Montgomery County fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said.

Trooper Cantwell, who was in the driver’s seat, was trapped for about 15 minutes before being freed by emergency personnel. He was taken by helicopter to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he was treated and released later in the day.

Trooper Davis and Mr. McClellan were taken to hospitals for treatment of minor injuries.

All lanes of northbound I-270 were closed for 45 minutes after the 10:30 a.m. accident.


Trial set for teacher accused of sex abuse

A Howard County teacher accused of molesting his students will go on trial July 23.

Alan Beier, 52, a River Hill High School science teacher, has been charged with four counts of sexual abuse of minors, three counts of sex offense and four counts of assault.

He is accused of undressing and photographing a 16-year-old male student and fondling a 16-year-old female student.

Mr. Beier is on paid administrative leave from the school system and remains free on $85,000 bail.


Patient found 10 miles from hospital

A patient at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, W.Va., left the hospital and wandered for about 10 hours before he was found on the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal towpath, 10 miles from the hospital across the Potomac River, fire officials in Washington County said.

The unidentified man wasn’t dressed for winter weather, Williamsport Volunteer Fire Company spokesman Will Ball said.

The 41-year-old man took a 10 a.m. bus to Harpers Ferry, W.Va., where he apparently crossed the river and started walking up the towpath, he said.

The man used a cell phone to call the hospital from near Shepherdstown, W.Va., at about 4:30 p.m., Mr. Ball said.

The Williamsport Fire Company learned at about 7 p.m. that he might be in their area. Fire and rescue crews located him at about 8:15 p.m. on Taylors Landing Road near Sharpsburg.


Man held in scam of own grandmother

A Gaithersburg man who is accused of scamming his own grandmother in a mortgage scheme has been charged with nine counts of felony theft.

Nicholas David McLeod, a mortgage processor, faces 21 counts, including nine for misappropriation of funds by a fiduciary for posing as a foreclosure consultant, Montgomery County State’s Attorney John J. McCarthy said.

Mr. McLeod fraudulently used a 2005 Maryland law to acquire new mortgages on nine homes in foreclosure between Aug. 10, 2005, and June 1, 2006, authorities said. Instead of using the more than $2.7 million from the mortgages to make monthly payments, authorities said, he stole it and used much of the cash in a failed attempt to start a boxing promotion business in Thailand.

One of Mr. McLeod’s purported victims was his grandmother. Authorities say he persuaded her to mortgage her home by convincing her it was in distress and then took the proceeds for himself.

Mr. McLeod is being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $500,000 bail.


53 guns seized; 35 persons arrested

Baltimore police seized 53 guns last week and arrested more than 35 people who possessed the guns.

Deputy Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld announced the seizures yesterday morning. Police are trying to get guns off the streets and out of the hands of repeat violent offenders, he said.

Neighborhoods with high violence and gangs members who police know are violent are receiving extra attention, he said.

An important part of the measure is setting higher bails — some as high as $500,000 — so that the worst offenders aren’t freed before they go to court, he said.


Mayor debunks curfew hoax

A flier promising a curfew in the Fells Point neighborhood is a hoax, Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon said.

Miss Dixon met yesterday with business owners and residents at a Fells Point restaurant.

The letter, which resembles city letterhead with Miss Dixon’s signature, says increased crime in the neigh-borhood necessitates a curfew between 2:30 and 5:30 a.m.

The letter also said those not carrying identification or a work permit risk a fine or jail time.


Doctor killed in crash en route to hospital

An Ellicott City pediatrician who practiced medicine for more than three decades died Monday night in a two-car crash while traveling to visit a patient, Howard County police said.

Dr. Allan Theodore “Ted” Leffler II, 66, and Christopher McCullough, 21, of Ellicott City both died after the vehicle Mr. McCullough was driving crossed the center lane of Route 103 and hit Dr. Leffler’s car, police said. Dr. Leffler’s wife, Melissa, was in critical condition yesterday at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, police said.

Dr. Leffler was en route to Howard County General Hospital, a fellow doctor told the Baltimore Sun.

Dr. Leffler started Ellicott City Pediatric Associates in his basement in 1970, Dr. Edward Cahill said. It now has five partners.

“He set the standard, in my mind, for attention to his patients,” said Victor A. Broccolino, Howard County General Hospital president and chief executive. “Even when they were in the pediatric care unit and not under his direct care, he’d come in and see them.”


Judge dismisses trainee death claims

A federal judge in Baltimore has dismissed all constitutional claims in the heatstroke death of a Frederick County firefighter trainee.

District Judge Richard Bennett ruled that the July 2002 death of Andrew Waybright, 23, did not support claims of U.S. and Maryland constitutional violations.

Mr. Waybright collapsed during a training exercise run by an officer who didn’t recognize his symptoms of hyperthermia.

The judge ordered the case back to Frederick County Circuit Court for rulings on other issues, but an attorney for Mr. Waybright’s parents said they may appeal the decision.

Kenneth Berman, the attorney, said Judge Bennett applied the wrong standard to the case, and that his ruling could leave the Waybrights with no compen-sation for their son’s death.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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