- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Libraries dodge Friday closings

D.C. public libraries will be able to stay open seven days a week under a new funding plan after it was revealed last week that staff cuts could force the library system to reduce its operating hours.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty announced a plan Monday to provide about $2 million to the libraries from savings in debt service costs in the city budget.

The funding will allow the libraries to maintain their staffing levels and stay open every day of the week, Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper said.

The library system had been planning to close all branches on Fridays and reduce hours on other days because of the staff cuts.



Home sellers throw in car

An Easton family looking to unload a renovated historic home in a slow market is road-testing a new incentive idea.

Catherine and Andrea Poe decided to include a free car with the house. The buyer of the 101-year-old home will also get a hard-to-find Prius hybrid. Andrea Poe says the incentive has brought a surge in interest in the house in the city’s historic district.

The price on the house isn’t changing. The family plans to pay off the car themselves.


Nader to file for ballot slot

Supporters of consumer advocate Ralph Nader plan to submit petitions Monday that could put him on the Maryland election ballot as a presidential candidate.

Monday is the state deadline for petitions from minor party candidates. Mr. Nader’s Maryland coordinator, Tom Shields, told WBAL radio that state law requires 10,000 valid petition signatures.

Nader supporters expect to submit up to 20,000, he said.

State Board of Election records show there are already eight minor party or write-in candidates either on, or seeking to get on the ballot.

Mr. Nader would be the candidate of the new Maryland Independent Party, Mr. Shields said.

Mr. Nader was on the state ballot in 2000 representing the Green Party. He represented the Populist Party on the Maryland ballot in 2004.


Boy burned badly in barbecue pit

A Port Deposit boy suffered severe burns after he fell into a burn pit in his backyard, fire investigators said.

The boy, 2, has third-degree burns on his face and second-degree burns on both arms, the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office said. His is in critical condition at the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in Baltimore.

The boy was burned about 3 p.m. Sunday. He was in his yard with his mother and two other adults when he fell into the homemade burn pit, investigators said.



Senators target ethanol mandate

Virginia’s two U.S. senators are asking the federal government to ease off its ethanol mandate in order to help the state’s poultry, dairy and cattle industries.

The farming community has complained that too much of the nation’s corn crop is being diverted to biofuel. That’s driving up the cost of feed.

A federal mandate passed in December diverts about one-third of U.S. corn to the production of ethanol.

On Monday, Sens. John W. Warner, a Republican, and Jim Webb, a Democrat, said they sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency in support of a temporary waiver of that mandate.

They cited the increased farm costs to farmers, who pass some of those costs off to consumers.

The poultry business said 70 percent of its costs are for feed.


Boat crash brings charge in death

A Chesapeake man faces an involuntary manslaughter charge in a fatal boating crash.

Kirk Rissey, 44, also is charged with boating under the influence and refusing a breath test, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries said.

Mr. Rissey’s boat struck a buoy marker Saturday night on the southern branch of the Elizabeth River. A passenger in the boat, 45-year-old Bobby Ray Ussery of Virginia Beach was killed in the crash.

The investigation is continuing.


Man gets prison for illegals scheme

A Guatemalan native who admitted transporting illegal immigrants up Interstate 81 has been sentenced to 21 months in federal prison.

Pedro Antonio Mateo was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Roanoke. He pleaded guilty in May to transporting illegal aliens.

In April, a Virginia State Police trooper stopped a sport utility vehicle on the interstate in Botetourt County and discovered a group of people inside.

Some of the passengers told investigators they had traveled from Arizona and were headed to New Jersey and to other stops throughout the country.

U.S. District Judge Glen Conrad added two years of supervised release to Mateo’s prison term.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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