- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 16, 2007


Apartment fire badly burns woman

A woman was critically burned yesterday in a fire at her Southwest D.C. apartment.

D.C. fire department spokesman Alan Etter said firefighters rescued the woman at about 2:15 p.m. from the home in the unit block of Galveston Street, Southwest. He said the woman is 44 years old.

Mr. Etter said the woman has second- and third-degree burns on about 30 percent of her body. He said she was conscious but badly injured.

The fire was isolated to the woman’s apartment in a two-story building. The apartment sustained significant damage.



Census finds more long-term homeless

About 750 people have been homeless in Baltimore for more than three years, according to a new census report on the city’s homeless population.

The total number of homeless people is estimated at about 3,000 — about the same as in 2005, when the last census was taken. But the percentage of chronically homeless people has increased substantially, to about 25 percent. The report calls that a “troubling change.”

The results of the census will influence the city’s 10-year plan to eliminate homelessness, which is expected to be presented in November.

The census was based on data gathered from agencies that aid homeless people and 500 field interviews conducted in January.


Town lifts ban on watering lawns

A ban on using lawn sprinklers in Mount Airy expired yesterday, but officials asked residents to continue using less water because the region is still enduring drier-than-usual weather.

A meteorological technician with the National Weather Service said total rainfall for the year in the north-central Maryland region is still more than 6 inches below average.

The Town Council imposed the mandatory restrictions in July in response to drought conditions and high levels of water usage throughout the town. It decided Monday not to extend the restrictions.



Private prison gets mixed reviews

Virginia’s only private prison has problems with drugs and high staff turnover, but overall is well-run, according to an independent study.

The study of Lawrenceville Correctional Center was done by MGT of America for the Virginia Department of Corrections.

The medium-security prison is run by GEO Group under a five-year, $95 million state contract.

The report found that Lawrenceville is generally clean and safe, but said serious security breaches allowed drugs and cell phones to be smuggled in.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch, using state figures, reported in March that more than twice as many inmates were caught with drugs at Lawrenceville as in all other Virginia prisons combined.

Two former Lawrenceville officers pleaded guilty recently to federal charges of conspiring to deliver drugs to inmates.

MGT also said there were staffing problems at the private prison, where the employees are paid less than their state counterparts.


Volunteers pick up roadside litter

Wyn Yuhas has seen it all — diapers, a headstone and even a sonogram — as coordinator of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Adopt-a-Highway program for Botetourt, Craig and Roanoke counties.

The roadside trash that volunteers pick up goes beyond the typical cigarette butt.

VDOT planned one of its semiannual pickups this weekend.

It’s part of a statewide anti-littering effort in which volunteers band together to “adopt” state roads and keep them clean.

Annually, volunteers walk 14,000 miles of highways and provide the equivalent of $3 million worth of litter-picking labor. Volunteers write reports about what they find.

They’ve found all kinds of dead animals, pregnancy tests, a headstone and the sonogram of a fetus. Dirty diapers, bottles, cans and cigarette butts top the list.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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