- The Washington Times - Monday, May 7, 2007


House to vote on schools takeover

House lawmakers are scheduled to vote today on Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s plans to take over the struggling D.C. public school system.

Mr. Fenty’s proposal would place the school system under his office as a Cabinet-level division and change the role of the Board of Education.

The D.C. Council passed the plan April 19, and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat, introduced legislation to Congress for final approval April 30.

The bill must be passed by a two-thirds vote in the House. The plan then would head to the Senate and must be signed by the president before the shift in school governance is legally in place.

Wounded 3-year-old shot self, police say

A 3-year-old boy who suffered gunshot wounds Saturday night accidentally shot himself inside his Northeast apartment, authorities said yesterday.

An assault rifle was recovered from the apartment in the 3600 block of J Street, but it hasn’t been determined if it was the weapon used, police said.

No one reported the shooting to police, who were alerted by the hospital staff about 12:15 a.m.

Police have not said whether the child’s parents or any other adult was in the apartment at the time.

Authorities initially were told that the boy was shot about two hours earlier at a playground in the 3800 block of Hayes Street Northeast.

However, after interviewing witnesses, including several youths, investigators concluded the shooting took place inside the boy’s apartment.

The boy, who suffered gunshot wounds to his foot and hand, was treated and released from a hospital.

Deliberations begin on gang killings

A jury this week is expected to begin deliberations in the case of a D.C. man who could face the death penalty if convicted of carrying out killings in his purported role as enforcer for a violent D.C. gang.

Larry Gooch, 27, a member of the M Street Crew drug gang, took part in five killings from 2000 to 2003, prosecutors say. Defense attorneys have argued that Mr. Gooch didn’t shoot anybody.

Closing arguments were scheduled yesterday after months of testimony in the case in federal court.

The death penalty is banned by the D.C. government, but it can be sought in certain federal crimes.



Diabetic emergency may be factor in crash

The National Transportation Safety Board says a Pennsylvania dentist was “wrestling” with a friend who was having a diabetic emergency moments before the dentist’s plane crashed in Virginia last month.

Dr. William Price, 63, of Upper St. Clair, Pa., and his friend, Robert Depp, 64, of Mount Lebanon, Pa., were killed in the crash April 19 near Danville.

The NTSB will not issue a final report on the crash for months, but the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says the preliminary report details Dr. Price’s last radio contact with air traffic controllers in Virginia.

Dr. Price told controllers that Mr. Depp was having tremors and that he was wrestling with him moments before the crash. The men were headed to a golf outing in Myrtle Beach, S.C., when they crashed.

The NTSB found no mechanical problems with the plane.


Straight pins found in food at school

Employees at Rachel Carson Middle School have found straight pins in cafeteria food three times in the past two weeks.

No pins have been swallowed, and nobody has been injured.

School officials have increased security at the cafeteria. Police are investigating, and they warn that food tampering is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Two of the inch-long pins were found by cafeteria workers, and a third was found by a teacher. The pins were found in applesauce, in cranberry sauce and poking through the foil top of a yogurt cup.


Town to pay fine for sewage discharge

The town has agreed to pay a $13,200 fine because of multiple violations at its sewage treatment plant in which wastewater was discharged into the Potomac River.

Mayor G.W. “Pete” Bone Jr. signed a consent order with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality agreeing to fix problems at the plant and develop a management and maintenance plan. The voluntary agreement must be approved by the State Water Control Board.

The problems began in March 2006 when the plant exceeded ammonia-nitrogen limits on seven occasions and discharged 1,300 gallons of sewage into Monroe Bay, and continued until December, when 1 million gallons of sewage were released because of pump failures.

The public has until June 14 to comment on the proposed agreement.


Smoke in tunnel closes Metro station

An electrical problem was to blame for heavy smoke that briefly closed the Pentagon City rail station last night, fire officials said.

Smoke in the tunnel between the Pentagon and Pentagon City station was reported shortly after 8:45 p.m.

Arlington County Fire Department spokeswoman Carol Saulnier said that when firefighters got there, the smoke had already dissipated. Investigators traced the smoke to electrical equipment in the tunnel.

Metro’s Blue Line trains were turned around at the Arlington Cemetery station and Yellow Line trains were turned around at Crystal City.

No one was injured, and Metro announced plans to reopen the station shortly after 10 p.m.


Former softball coach indicted on sex charge

A grand jury has indicted a former Washington & Lee High School softball coach on sex charges involving a 14-year-old girl.

According to Richmond County court records, Melvin Antonio Smith III was arrested Friday and released to the custody of his parents on $50,000 bail. Mr. Smith, 20, lives in Essex County.

Mr. Smith was indicted April 23, four days after Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge J. Maston Davis found no probable cause to certify earlier charges against him to the grand jury. The earlier charges of rape, sodomy, animate object penetration and taking indecent liberties with a child were obtained on Virginia State Police warrants.

The new direct grand-jury indictments include two counts of carnal knowledge of a child, animate object penetration and taking indecent liberties.

A hearing was scheduled for May 23, when a trial date will be set.



Eight teens caught after Hickey escape

Two Baltimore teenagers remained at large after a group overpowered two female staffers and escaped from the Hickey School in Baltimore County on Sunday night, Gov. Martin O’Malley said.

State Police spokesman Greg Shipley said 10 juveniles escaped about 10:30 p.m. from the school northeast of Baltimore.

“Something like this should not happen,” Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, said yesterday, adding more work needs to be done at the facility to make sure such an escape doesn’t happen again.

Interim Department of Juvenile Services spokeswoman Beth Blauer said most of the escapees were awaiting placement at an out-of-state facility. All were being held as juveniles on felony convictions, Mr. Shipley said.

Baltimore County police arrested a 16-year-old near Woodlawn High School about 12:30 p.m. yesterday. Less than an hour later, city and state police located a 19-year-old at a relative’s home in Baltimore.

State, county and city police were still searching for the remaining fugitives, who are 14 and 16.

Earlier yesterday, one of the teenagers turned himself in at the school and was arrested by state police.

Four of the teenagers were taken into custody about 1:45 a.m. yesterday not far from the school, which opened in 1850, Mr. Shipley said. Another was captured about 15 minutes later.

Former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, closed treatment facilities at the multidisciplinary facility in 2005 amid accusations of civil rights abuses, including physical abuse of juveniles and deficient suicide-prevention measures. A 72-bed area for youth with pending court trials or placement at out-of-state facilities remains open.


Men get life terms for killings, trafficking

Two men convicted of drug offenses after a carjacking and murder in Forestville were sentenced to life in prison yesterday.

Federal prosecutors said Sean Simpson, 24, of Suitland, and Norberto Quinones, 24, of Upper Marlboro, were charged with drug and firearms conspiracy counts related to violent drug trafficking and several murders in Prince George’s County.

Prosecutors said the two men dealt marijuana and crack cocaine from 2000 to 2002 in the Hilmar area of Forestville.

Simpson also had to pay nearly $7,000 in restitution to the murder victim’s mother. Prosecutors said the money had to be used for paying for the man’s funeral and burial expenses.


Smoke prompts college evacuation

A University of Maryland, Baltimore building was evacuated yesterday after smoke from an incinerator set off sprinklers.

A university spokesman said low-level radioactive medical waste that was being burned did not make it all the way into the incinerator. That allowed smoke to travel out from the incinerator, setting off the sprinklers at the Medical School Teaching Facility building.

There were no injuries. The sprinklers were set off on the building’s 11th floor.


O’Malley names aides for Veterans Affairs

Gov. Martin O’Malley has formally announced the appointment of James Adkins to be secretary of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs.

Mr. Adkins is a Cambridge resident and a 22-year veteran of the Army and the Maryland National Guard.

Mr. Adkins said he will work with Maryland’s congressional delegation to support veterans when they return from war and expand opportunities for them.

Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, also announced that Wilbert Forbes will serve as deputy secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The governor also formally introduced Luwanda Jenkins, who has been named special secretary of the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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