- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Auxiliary bishop ordained in District

Monsignor Barry Knestout has been ordained auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Washington.

Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl conducted the Mass of Ordination on Monday at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington.

Pope Benedict XVI named the Prince George’s County native an auxiliary bishop in November. Monsignor Knestout, 46, succeeds Bishop Kevin Joseph Farrell, who left Washington last year to become bishop of Dallas.

Monsignor Knestout will assist Archbishop Wuerl in the pastoral care of the 580,000-member archdiocese.



Court OKs reduced leave for judges

Maryland’s highest court has approved cutting five vacation days for 285 active judges because of the state’s fiscal problems.

The seven-member Court of Appeals voted unanimously for the rules change Tuesday.

Chief Judge Robert Bell already has ordered court employees to take furlough days similar to those being taken by executive branch workers to save money.

State judges normally receive 27 days of paid leave, but next year they will only receive 22.

The state will save roughly $600,000 from the leave reduction, because there will be less need to recall retired judges to do legal work.


Police probe Metro shooting

Rockville police are investigating a shooting at the Rockville Metro station bus depot.

A man, 49, was shot in the chest Monday night by two men who demanded money from him, police said. After he was struck, the victim ran through the Metro station and asked for help from a taxi driver waiting in a lane on the other side of the station.

Two officers making a routine traffic stop nearby were able to help the victim.

The man was treated and released from a hospital. Police are not releasing his identity because he is a witness in the crime.

Metro Transit Police are assisting in the investigation.


Lawmaker urges hunting change

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman has formally submitted legislation changing the county’s hunting law after a hunter this month fired a shot that shattered the window of a Clarksville day care center while workers and children were inside.

No one was injured, and police said the shot was fired from more than 270 yards away. The current law prohibits firing guns within 150 yards of any home or building designed for occupancy. Mr. Ulman’s proposed legislation would broaden the safety zone in many areas to 300 yards.

The 150-yard limit would remain for hunters shooting down from elevated stands or using shotguns that contain only shot.


Residents free from holiday fines

Residents of a Frederick-area neighborhood won’t face fines from their community association for the Christmas lights and decorations they placed outside their homes.

Members of the Worman’s Mill covenant committee decided at a meeting Monday to withdraw the fines and decided instead to reconsider guidelines governing the displays.

The decision came Monday evening after the committee met with homeowners Debra Sachs, Elena Lazo and the Rev. Donald Suhaka.

Mr. Suhaka said the community’s guidelines were vague and that he had made every effort to comply with them when he set up a lighted train outside his home.

Letters sent to the homeowners last week warned them they would be fined $25 for each day the lights remained in place after Christmas Eve.


Group to count shore’s homeless

Officials from the Tri-County Alliance for the Homeless Committee say they’re trying to get a count of the number of homeless people in Wicomico, Worcester and Somerset counties.

The results of the survey will help get funding for those in need, the officials said.

In order to get an accurate count, the group is encouraging the homeless to go to their local shelter, health department or social services office Jan. 29. Anyone who attends will receive a bus pass and resource card.


Author’s inn nears opening

Best-selling romance novelist Nora Roberts and husband Bruce Wilder are finally about to become innkeepers.

The couple had already begun renovations at the former Boone Hotel in Boonsboro in February when construction workers knocked over a propane tank and started a fire that gutted the building.

Now called Inn Boonsboro, the three-story inn will open Feb. 17 and is already taking reservations online. Rates range from $220 a night on weeknights to $300 a night on weekends. The inn has eight rooms, seven of which have literary themes, innkeeper Suzanne McErlain said.


Applicants await wind-power grants

About a dozen applicants are on the waiting list for funds that could offset some of the cost of installing wind-power turbines, a Maryland grant administrator said.

The state allotted about $50,000 for grants this year, Maryland Energy Administration chief Joe Cohen said. That money has run out, but Mr. Cohen said the state could more grant funds from the Regional Green Gas Initiative - the multistate program that sells carbon offsets. The state was surprised at the large number of applicants, he said.

Grant recipients collected up to $2,500 per kilowatt or a maximum of $10,000.

Meanwhile, people who have installed wind turbines are eligible for tax credits, Mr. Cohen said.



Funding awarded to preserve farmland

Virginia Beach and 10 counties will share $500,000 in state grants for farmland preservation, Gov. Tim Kaine said Tuesday.

The grants will allow the counties and cities to preserve farmland within their borders through local Purchase of Development Rights programs, the Democratic chief executive said.

Farmers who preserve land by voluntarily placing a conservation easement on it are compensated by the local programs.

Virginia Beach and Albemarle, Clark, Fauquier, Goochland, Isle of Wight, James City, Northampton, Rappahannock and Spotsylvania counties each received $49,900. Cumberland County received $1,000.


Man safe after apparent kidnap

A grocery store manager who disappeared in October in an apparent abduction has been found in North Carolina.

Henry County Sheriff’s Sgt. Curtis Spence said Tuesday that Juan Pedro Lopez, 32, is safe. Mr. Lopez told investigators that his abductors had released him, Sgt. Spence said.

Mr. Lopez’s family notified police that he was in North Carolina about two weeks ago. Sgt. Spence would not say where Mr. Lopez was found, saying the investigation is ongoing.

Police have said Mr. Lopez was forced into a sport utility vehicle bearing North Carolina license plates outside the Mexican Grocery and Deli near Martinsville on Oct. 16. Three men are still being sought.

The abduction may have been retaliation for a $300,000 drug debt owed by Mr. Lopez’s brother, police have said.


Officer faces felony counts

A Newport News police officer has been jailed on sex-related charges.

Officer Ronald M. Hendrickson, 47, was arrested Monday after surrendering to authorities, according to the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office.

Officer Hendrickson is charged with felony abduction with intent to defile, abduction, object penetration and misdemeanor sexual battery, Sheriff’s Lt. Penny Diggs said.

The reported victim in the case is known to Officer Hendrickson, Lt. Diggs said.

Officer Hendrickson is being held without bond in the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail.

He has been placed on administrative leave, the Newport News Police Department said. He has been with the force since 1986.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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