Friday, August 29, 2008


Boeing donates to King memorial

The Boeing Co. said it donated $1 million to help build the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

The gift was announced Thursday, the 45th anniversary of the civil rights leader’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

The foundation working to build the memorial on the Mall said it has now raised $100 million for the effort. Earlier this month, the group announced it must raise an additional $20 million to complete the project.

The memorial will be an enduring reminder of King’s legacy of inclusion, hope and freedom, said James Bell, Boeing’s corporate president and chief financial officer. Also Thursday, Clear Channel Radio stations across the country held an all-day radio-thon to help complete fundraising for the memorial.

Ford’s Theatre chairs to be sold

As Ford’s Theatre undergoes a major renovation, the public will have a chance to own a piece of its history.

The infamous and uncomfortable wooden chairs that have lined the hall since 1986 are being replaced with plush new chairs. The theater is offering up the old ones for donations to raise money for the $50 million renovation.

The wooden chairs will be sold for tax-deductible donations of $150 each or $500 for a set of four.

The 145-year-old theater where President Lincoln was assassinated is scheduled to reopen Feb. 12, 2009, the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth.



Lawmaker seeks bridge review

An Eastern Shore lawmaker is asking state officials to commission an independent safety examination of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Sen. E.J. Pipkin, eastern Maryland Republican, said his “confidence in the bridge safety inspection process has been shaken.”

In a letter to the Maryland Transportation Authority, Mr. Pipkin said corrosion in the steel inside the bridge’s concrete barrier wall would not have been found had it not been for the special inspection that began after a fatal crash Aug. 10.

The crash killed a tractor-trailer driver when his rig broke through a barrier and plunged into the Bay.

Transportation officials on Tuesday closed one lane of the eastbound span for emergency repairs.


Plant reopens after fatal blast

Town commissioners have issued the permits to allow repairs and the restart of production at the biodiesel plant where a contract worker was killed this spring in an explosion.

However, Greenlight Biofuels will not be able to resume production without the approval of the Maryland Occupational and Safety Administration, which is still investigating the blast, officials said.

The contract worker was welder.

Greenlight has adopted a new process for fusing pipes and will no longer need to weld them, Commissioner Dennis Williams said.

The plant converts chicken fat and other greases to biodiesel for fueling vehicles.


Bear attacks alpaca at farm

Maryland Department of Natural Resources officials are looking for the black bear that attacked and seriously injured an alpaca at a farm in the Frederick area.

The bear has not been seen since the attack last week at the farm near Gambrill Park Road. Diana Wilson said she and her husband were awakened in the middle of the night when her dogs detected the trouble. The alpaca, named Lexie, suffered serious bite injuries but is expected to recover.

Though Mrs. Wilson has seen bears on her property over the years, she said they hadn’t caused any harm until now.


Prosecutor wants gun charge erased

Wicomico County State’s Attorney Davis Ruark is asking that a handgun possession charge brought against him be expunged from the record.

The charge was filed several days after Mr. Ruark was stopped by police Feb. 22 in the resort town. It was filed independently of a driving under the influence charge filed as a result of the traffic stop.

State law prohibits possession of a firearm while intoxicated, but the charge was later dismissed.

A District Court judge is expected to consider the expungement petition this week.

Mr. Ruark says he had a permit for the gun and carried it solely because of threats on his life. He was sentenced to probation for the DUI charge and agreed to surrender his gun permit.


Police recover stolen bleachers

The aluminum bleachers stolen from the football field at Bohemia Manor High School have been found, according to the Cecil County Bureau of Investigation.

The 33 six-foot benches were found Tuesday next to a trash bin at a business on River Road in New Castle, Del., the agency said.

A caller who read a news report about the theft tipped police to the location of the stolen seats, the agency said.

Surveillance video recordings have helped authorities focus on three people suspected in the thefts, an agency spokesman said. He expects arrests soon.

School maintenance workers began reinstalling the bleachers on Wednesday.


State police seek impersonator

State police are seeking a man who is impersonating a state trooper.

The suspect contacted a man Wednesday at his home in Sykesville, troopers said. The suspect was wearing police attire and carried a clipboard that appeared to have state police letterhead on it.

The suspect said he was soliciting donations for the agency’s aviation division and the Carroll County Sheriff’s office.

The man became suspicious, refused to make a donation and called police. Troopers were unable to find the suspect.

State police and the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office are not asking for donations.


Counterfeit shirts found during stop

A traffic stop on Interstate 95 near Perryville led to the seizure of 189 unlicensed rock band T-shirts, state police said.

The van was stopped for speeding in the southbound lanes early Wednesday, police said. A search of the van turned up the T-shirts featuring the names and logos of famous rock groups. The merchandise was counterfeit, authorities said.

The driver, Barry Parker, 35, of Baltimore, is charged with one count of counterfeit trademark. His passenger, Alexander Valdez, 29, of Baltimore, was charged with possession of marijuana.



Matthews honors dead bandmate

Musician Dave Matthews was among 1,000 mourners in Charlottesville who paid homage to LeRoi Holloway Moore, the saxophonist and arranger for the Dave Matthews band.

Mr. Moore died Aug. 19 in Los Angeles from complications stemming from a June 30 ATV accident near Charlottesville. He was 46.

At the service Wednesday, Mr. Matthews remembered Moore as “a great friend” with many talents. He recalled how he and Moore sat together at a Charlottesville restaurant and talked music.

Mr. Moore was one of the founding members of the band and a key part of its eclectic jazz-infused sound. The band formed in 1991 in Charlottesville when Matthews was working as a bartender.


Library branches closed for work

Three branches of the Fairfax County Public Library are relocating temporarily while they undergo renovations.

The Thomas Jefferson Library in Falls Church, the Richard Byrd Library in Springfield and the Martha Washington Library in Alexandria will all close within two months and move to temporary locations. The exact dates of the closings have not been determined.

The renovations are expected to take at least a year and a half.


Columbia Gas to lower fall rates

Customers of Columbia Gas of Virginia will get a break on their monthly bills in the fall.

The Chester-based natural-gas provider said Wednesday that it will lower its rates for September, October and November.

The reduction follows rate increases that Columbia Gas imposed in the summer.

The monthly bill for a typical residential customer using 2,600 cubic feet of natural gas will drop by about 12 percent, from $61.37 to $53.98, the utility said.

Still, the fall rate will be higher than the same period last year, when the average bill was $43.25.

Columbia Gas serves nearly 240,000 customers in portions of Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, suburban Richmond, central Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley, the Lynchburg region and parts of western Virginia.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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