- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 26, 2007



Guard troops prepare for Iraq deployment

Hundreds of men and women with the Maryland Army National Guard have been saying goodbye to family and friends this past week as they prepare for training for deployment to Iraq.

The first stop of that journey will take them to Fort Dix, N.J., where they’ll get about two months of training before deploying to Iraq in July.

About 640 soldiers gathered at armories in Frederick, Dundalk, Towson and Elkton.

They included soldiers such as Pvt. 1st Class Matthew Frazier, who got engaged two months ago. Pvt. Frazier and his fiancee, Kym McDermott, plan to marry in a small, courthouse ceremony in July before he leaves for Iraq.

More than 100 soldiers gathered at the White Oak Armory in Montgomery County. Many of them had returned from a year’s deployment in Iraq as recently as May 2006.

About 1,300 soldiers were called to duty earlier this year.

Once in Iraq, the Maryland units will be conducting security patrols and running checkpoints, among other duties.


Constellation to pay, improve power plants

Constellation Energy has agreed to pay a $100,000 penalty and install about $9 million worth of pollution-reducing technology at three of its power plants in Maryland.

The agreement is part of consent decree filed in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court.

The three plants are Brandon Shores and H.A. Wagner, both in the Pasadena area of Anne Arundel County, and the C.P. Crane plant in Baltimore County. State officials said the coal-burning plants regularly exceeded state standards.


Deputy resigns amid sex scandal

A Harford County sheriff’s deputy has resigned amid an internal investigation into accusations of sexual impropriety.

The sheriff’s department would not release the name of the deputy, who resigned last week, because the investigation is continuing.

The detective is accused of having consensual sex while on duty.


Ticket-writers get high-tech help

The city is about to debut handheld machines designed to make ticket writing faster and more efficient.

The handheld computers even have a built-in camera and recording device so that the city’s ubiquitous parking agents will have more evidence in case a driver challenges the ticket in court.

The new machines debut Tuesday.


Homeowner finds Realtor dead in house

Police in Prince George’s County are investigating the death of a real estate agent who was found in the basement of a vacant home Friday afternoon.

Police said the body of Samuel D’Costa, 36, was found at the 12800 block of Ninth Street with multiple gunshot wounds.

He was found by the homeowner, who came to check on the house he was selling.

Investigators learned that the victim was a Realtor and may have been in the process of selling the home when he was shot.

The investigation is continuing.



Army gives troops more medic training

The Army is increasing the medical training it gives to soldiers in the hope that they can treat wounded comrades on the battlefield — in some cases saving lives.

The service’s five basic training bases will begin offering combat lifesaver training by June 15. The training includes instructions on starting an intravenous drip and helping soldiers breathe through a tube.

Officials said medical care given immediately after injuries such as gunshot wounds and those caused by improvised explosive devices could mean the difference between life and death.

And they said simple lifesaving techniques could cut down on long-term injuries and deaths.

Previously, a limited number of soldiers in each unit were trained on advanced lifesaving procedures. Most soldiers received only basic first-aid training, such as bandaging and performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Officials said the skills also improve how soldiers react in situations because they know there is responsive medical care to keep them alive.


Center helps train world’s veterinarians

The Wildlife Center of Virginia is offering a chance for veterinary students from other countries to study here.

The center in Waynesboro is offering externships — advanced study opportunities — to students from several countries this summer. It expects to have veterinary school graduates from Mexico and Brazil as interns.

The wildlife hospital tries to heal animals and send them back into the wild. It has treated more than 47,000 animals in its 25 years, from bald eagles to bunnies to opossums.

Along with helping animals, the center provides a worldwide education link, by hosting interns and externs from within the U.S. and abroad and through a weekly education conference with the University of Mexico in Mexico City. They are just ending a months-long study of reptiles and plan to study birds soon.

Dr. Dave McRuer, one of two full-time veterinarians at the center, said that by fall, the center plans to have a similar relationship with the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota.


School seeks donors to keep college open

Virginia Intermont College officials are looking for donations to help keep the school open until students return in the fall and pay tuition.

After that, officials at the private liberal arts school in Bristol hope that increasing tuition by 20 percent, cutting financial aid and changing business operations will keep the school running.

College officials have been cutting expenses and refinancing debt. They said donors have provided nearly half of the $5 million needed to keep the school open.

Virginia Intermont has enough money to pay its 200 staff members through the end of the month and its 45 full-time faculty through August, but faculty members don’t have contracts for next year.

College President Michael Puglisi said payroll is the top priority.

The financial crisis comes from years of unfunded scholarship assistance for students and poor financial management practices.

Virginia Intermont has set new spending practices and cut four sports programs and its culinary arts program a year ahead of schedule.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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