- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 9, 2008



Racial slur put on Obama sign

A Salisbury University professor who moved to a new home last week says he had an unhappy welcome days later when he found a racist message on a Barack Obama campaign sign in the yard of the home he is renting.

James King is renting the home from a colleague, Jerry Miller. Mr. King said Mr. Miller had displayed the sign for months without a problem, but he said he found the sign Tuesday thrown behind a tree with a racial slur scribbled on it.

Mr. King thinks the message was intended for him, and he said he has notified police.

He is beginning his second year teaching African-American Studies at the university.


Public works meetings ‘illegal’

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot refuses to attend the “pre-meeting” of the Board of Public Works.

That’s because he believes the meetings are illegal.

Mr. Franchot, Gov. Martin O’Malley and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, all Democrats, make up the board. The pre-meeting is held out of the public eye to go over the agenda and catch up on member’s personal lives.

But Mr. Franchot says the discussion sometimes involves business that comes before the board.

Mr. O’Malley said the media and public are welcome at the pre-meeting. Mr. Franchot’s aides said that few people know about the event.

“People are not going to trust Annapolis if decisions are made in backrooms in secret,” Mr. Franchot said. “I respect the traditions of the office, but I’m following the advice of my lawyers.”


Slayer of father found to be insane

A Western Maryland man who beat his adoptive father to death with a baseball bat has been committed for psychiatric care after a judge found him not criminally responsible for the slaying.

Christopher Thompson, 23, was charged with first-degree murder in the February slaying of Andrew Clever, 49, at their home in rural Lonaconing.

Doctors at the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center, the state’s only maximum-security psychiatric facility, concluded in June that Thompson was incapable of controlling his actions when he attacked Mr. Clever.

Thompson told police he had heard voices telling him to kill.

Mr. Clever was an assistant principal at Beall Elementary School in Frostburg.


Trade office set in South Korea

Maryland is opening a trade office in Seoul.

Gov. Martin O’Malley announced Friday that the office is scheduled to open in the fall.

The office will be run by IDI Corp., which is based in Ellicott City.

It will be the state’s first foreign office to operate on a contingency basis, meaning that state funding will depend on the company’s ability to attract South Korean companies and jobs to Maryland.

South Korea is the state’s 14th-largest trading partner, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development said.

Maryland also has foreign offices in China, Singapore, Taiwan, Israel and France.


Two national parks to close briefly

Two national parks on the Lower Shore will be closed for a few hours next week while workers spray an herbicide to combat an invasive marsh reed.

The National Park and Fish and Wildlife Service plans to use the spray at Assateague Island National Seashore Wednesday morning and at Chincoteague Island National Wildlife Refuge either Wednesday, Thursday or Friday morning.

The herbicide called Habitat will be used to exterminate the reed known as phragmites, which crowds out native plants, officials said.

Assateague Island will remain accessible but certain portions will be closed. The herbicide breaks down the plant protein but is not harmful to animals or people, project manager Mark Sturm said.



Murder charged in cop’s slaying

Two men face first-degree murder charges in the fatal shooting of a Virginia Beach police detective in a shopping center parking lot.

Virginia Beach police also charged Ted Vincent Carter, 23, and Marshall Demetrius Moyd, 26, on Friday with use of a firearm in commission of a felony and conspiracy to violate the drug conspiracy act.

Police identified the officer as Detective Michael Smith Phillips, 37.

Detective Phillips was working undercover when he was shot about 11:15 p.m. Thursday in the parking lot of the Green Run Shopping Center, police spokesman Adam Bernstein said. The officer died at the scene.

Mr. Carter and Mr. Moyd, both of Virginia Beach, are being held without bond in the Virginia Beach Correctional Center

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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