- The Washington Times - Monday, April 28, 2008



2 killed when plane crashes into house

Two people aboard a medium-sized private airplane were killed yesterday morning when the aircraft crashed into a Chesterfield County house, Virginia State Police said.

Sgt. Tom Cunningham said Melissa Bowen, 22, who was inside the home, was taken to Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center with life-threatening burns. He did not know whether she lived at the home or was visiting.

Names of the pilot and passenger were not released. Sgt. Cunningham also declined to release additional information about the aircraft.

The crash occurred at about 10:20 a.m. roughly eight miles from the Chesterfield County Airport just moments after takeoff. The house was engulfed in flames and destroyed, Sgt. Cunningham said.

Debris was strewn through the neighborhood, but no other homes appeared damaged. The scattered debris was being tagged for Federal Aviation Administration investigators.

The plane’s destination was being withheld, Sgt. Cunningham said.


Museum hits goal for Monitor Center

The Mariners’ Museum has raised the last of the $30 million needed to meet the construction costs of its new USS Monitor Center.

The campaign that started in 2002 was the largest in the museum’s 75-year history. The funds will cover the costs of the 63,500-square-foot Civil War attraction and conservation lab that opened about a year ago.

The iconic Union ship fought the Confederate ship CSS Virginia to a tactical draw in the first clash of ironclads. The USS Monitor Center houses more than 1,200 artifacts from the wreckage of the Civil War ship and includes an interactive exhibition on both armored vessels.


City looks at paying for graffiti removal

The City Council is considering paying $50 to residents to clean up graffiti on their property.

A vote on an ordinance establishing the payout program is scheduled for June.

Councilman Timothy Coyne said graffiti has become a big problem as gangs tag their territory. In the past four months, 62 properties in the city of 25,000 people have been defaced with graffiti.

Zoning & Inspections Administrator Vincent P. Diem said the $50 payouts would pay for chemicals, sandblasters or paint that could be used to cover the graffiti.



Tractor-trailer crash closes Interstate 70

Interstate 70 was closed in both directions for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon after a tractor-trailer crashed and spilled an unspecified chemical.

The interstate’s eastbound lanes were closed at Route 632, and westbound traffic was diverted onto Interstate 81.

The Maryland Department of the Environment and firefighters were on the scene cleaning up the chemical.


Consultant to study water resources

Wicomico County and the city of Salisbury have hired an outside consultant to tally the region’s water resources for state and local planners.

The study is expected to give governments a comprehensive grasp of planning opportunities and limitations. Officials say planners will use the data to make better land-use decisions.

But the study isn’t likely to get to the bottom of mysterious water shortages that have plagued the region.

The latest figures from the U.S. Geological Survey place groundwater levels near or at record lows at the region’s monitored wells.

Hydrologist Wendy McPherson with USGS said stream flow is in the bottom 10 percent of all-time lows, too.

University of Maryland engineering professor Gerald Galloway said no accurate information is available about the true conditions of the Lower Shore’s aquifers.


Community college celebrates 50 years

Frederick Community College celebrated its 50th anniversary Saturday afternoon.

Pat Standifer started working in the college’s finance department 38 years ago, and she remembers hand-writing receipts for students after they signed up for courses, which were $10 per credit. Now, tuition is about $120 per credit for in-county residents.

College President Carol Eaton said the school, now with 5,000 students, is committed to providing broad access to education.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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