- The Washington Times - Friday, December 26, 2008


Amtrak expands inauguration service

Amtrak officials say they plan to increase the number of trains running on their Northeast corridor lines on Inauguration Day.

An Amtrak spokeswoman said that will mean more trains running between Boston and the District. There also will be additional cars on the trains.

The spokeswoman also said the move comes after Amtrak noticed that tickets for several trains that day had already sold out. She says officials are trying to increase service with more southbound trains in the morning and more northbound ones at the end of the day.

Amtrak plans to charge regular fares for the trips.

Off-duty officer intervenes in robbery

An off-duty Metropolitan Police Department officer exchanged gunfire with a robber in Northwest on Christmas Eve, according to the department.

Officials said the officer, who was not in uniform, was in the 2600 block of Georgia Avenue when the incident occurred. He identified himself as a police officer to the purported robber, who fired one shot at him. The officer then fired one shot back.

Police said the suspect fled and that they are not sure whether he was hit.

The officer was not injured.

Officials were searching the Columbia Heights area for the suspect



Woman hurt in menorah fire

An elderly Montgomery County woman was critically injured in a menorah fire, officials said Thursday.

The fire started Wednesday night at an apartment in the 11800 block of Rockville Pike. Officials said a menorah set off a flash fire, injuring the woman, who was taken to a hospital and was in stable condition.


Man gets 1 year for stealing laptops

A Howard County judge has sentenced a man to a year in prison for stealing laptop computers from his former employer, a nonprofit run by Catholic nuns.

Paul Brian Steedman, 28, of Westminster, was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years with all but one year suspended.

A county state’s attorney’s office spokesman said Steedman, who pleaded guilty in October to felony theft, must also pay more than $53,000 in restitution.

Prosecutors said Steedman stole 32 computers from Bon Secours Health System Inc., which manages hospitals, assisted-living facilities, nursing homes and hospices in seven states. They say he listed the computers on eBay with photos that showed serial numbers that matched those of the stolen items.


High court rules against church sign

Maryland’s highest court has ruled against a Lutherville church’s effort to erect a huge electronic sign along the Baltimore beltway.

The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that Baltimore County officials had not violated the Trinity Assembly of God’s right to freedom of religious expression by denying its request to put up the sign.

For six years the church has tried to get permission to erect a 250-square-foot sign near the intersection of Interstates 83 and 695.

The court said the church could reasonably “identify itself and conduct outreach” without a sign four times higher and 10 times bigger than zoning regulations allow. County officials denied the requested variance out of concern that the sign with changeable messages could distract motorists.


Elderly woman killed by SUV

State police say a 76-year-old Hagerstown woman died after she was hit by a car on a Washington County road.

The incident occurred at about 10 p.m. Wednesday on state Route 64.

Police identified the victim as Dolores Weibel. They said she had hit two deer crossing the road and had gotten out of her car. She was fatally struck by a sport utility vehicle as she walked across Route 64.

Miss Weibel was taken to Washington County Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Police said alcohol was not believed to be a factor in the accident, but it is still under investigation. The driver of the SUV was not injured.


D.C. man arrested for summer murder

The Prince George’s County Police Department said Thursday it has made an arrest in an August slaying.

Police say they arrested Leonardo Baty, 22, of the District, after a traffic stop in Southeast. He’s accused of fatally shooting Denver Cannedy, 19, who died Aug. 13.

Police said Mr. Cannedy may have been in an argument just before the shooting.

Mr. Baty is being held at the D.C. jail and awaiting extradition to Prince George’s County.


Firefighter injured in house blaze

A firefighter has been seriously injured while putting out a house fire in the West Lanham Hills area, according to officials in Prince George’s County.

The county fire department said crews arrived Wednesday night at the duplex on Flintridge Drive. The fire spread from the basement to the upper levels.

Officials said a member of the West Lanham Hills fire department suffered burns. He was taken to a hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries.

Two dogs died in the blaze. Damage was estimated at $80,000.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.


Man shot, car stolen

An Abingdon man was shot and his car stolen in Edgewood, according to the Harford County Sheriff’s Office.

The incident occurred at about 9 p.m. Wednesday in the area of Flying Point and Willoughby Beach roads.

Deputies said Richard Donald Wagner, 33, was driving his car along Willoughby Beach Road when he encountered two men. After a short conversation, deputies said, one of the men shot Mr. Wagner multiple times, striking him in the lower abdomen and arms.

Then the two men stole Mr. Wagner’s car, authorities said.

Mr. Wagner was treated on the scene, then flown to Shock Trauma in Baltimore, where he was listed in stable condition Thursday afternoon.



Guard unit wins food-service award

A unit of the Virginia Army National Guard from Southwest Virginia has won one of the Army’s top food-service awards.

The 1032nd Transportation Company has received the Army’s Philip A. Connelly Award for Excellence in Army Food Service in the National Guard Field Kitchen Category.

Soldiers from the Gates City-based unit prepared their meal for the competition in October at Fort Pickett in Blackstone.

They competed against National Guard units from six other regions across the country and were judged in 11 categories ranging from sanitation to the quality of the food.

The 1032nd will receive the award during ceremonies in Atlanta scheduled for April.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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