- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 6, 2008



Judge gives go-ahead for sex education

The Montgomery County school system can continue teaching new sex education lessons to middle- and high-school students because of a recent ruling by a county judge.

Circuit Judge William Rowan III upheld a decision last year by the Maryland State Board of Education that it should not second-guess whether the county’s curriculum was appropriate.

The decision, dated Thursday, dismissed a legal challenge from religious conservative groups that have fought revisions to the county’s sex education lessons for six years. Those groups have said the lessons do not give enough credence to people who believe homosexuality is a sin.

The lawsuit, argued by the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Thomas More Law Center, said the county was illegally teaching that homosexuality was innate and that a reference to anal intercourse violated state prohibitions on discussing “erotic techniques” in class.


Father to be charged in bridge homicide

A father faces homicide charges as police continue searching the Patapsco River for the body of his 3-year-old son, who reportedly was thrown off the Francis Scott Key Bridge, police said yesterday.

Stephen Todd Nelson, 37, was in police custody at the University of Maryland Medical Center last night, said Cpl. Jonathan Green, a spokesman for the Maryland Transportation Authority Police. A Baltimore city police spokeswoman said she did not know why Mr. Nelson was hospitalized.

“Our investigation leads us to believe that he is involved,” Cpl. Green said. “We have been consulting with the city state’s attorney’s office about this case and homicide charges are pending against Nelson.”

The body of 3-year-old Turner Jordan Nelson has not been found. Cpl. Green said police will continue search efforts in the area of the bridge in Baltimore.

Mr. Nelson had been in a custody battle with his wife, according to records in Baltimore County Circuit Court. There was also a domestic violence complaint against him that was dismissed.

Police have been investigating the case since late Sunday, when they received a 911 call about the possibility that a child had been thrown from the bridge.

“We have interviewed several witnesses that observed a vehicle matching the suspect’s vehicle on the Key Bridge within the time frame in which this incident occurred,” Cpl. Green said.

Police have Mr. Nelson’s 2001 silver Mitsubishi Gallant, Cpl. Green said.

Mr. Nelson’s mother reportedly called Baltimore police after hearing from her son about what had happened, police said.


Teen gets 18 months in death of friend

A 19-year-old Frederick County man was sentenced to 18 months in jail after pleading guilty to negligent homicide in the drunken-driving death of his best friend.

Nicholas Gaines of Ijamsville was 18 when his pickup truck crashed into a tree along state Route 75 last March, killing 16-year-old Tyler Murray, a fellow student at Urbana High School.

Under a plea agreement, the Frederick County Circuit Court judge suspended 3½ years of the sentence, and prosecutors dropped eight other charges.

Gaines is the brother of the late Billy Gaines, a University of Pittsburgh football player who was legally drunk when he fell on his head from a crawl space above the ceiling of a Catholic church in suburban Pittsburgh in 2003.


TB case reported at Parkdale High

Officials at Parkdale High School sent a letter to parents warning that someone at the school has been diagnosed with tuberculosis.

Health officials have not said whether the infected person is a student or staff member. Meanwhile, they are trying to determine how many people might have been exposed.

The school said it will send letters to anyone who might need to be tested.

Tuberculosis is spread through the air, usually by coughing or sneezing. But a person typically would have to be exposed to an infected person for a long period to catch the illness.


Wife gets 25 years in husband’s death

A Cambridge woman was ordered to serve 25 years in prison for the fatal beating of her husband.

Tina Travers, 41, was sentenced Monday for second-degree murder in the death last February of her husband William Travers, 55.

Travers was accused of kicking and beating her husband during an argument that began when he returned home from a night of drinking. She called 911 the next day when he did not regain consciousness.

Dorchester County Circuit Judge Brett Wilson told Travers that if her husband had been flown to a hospital soon after the beating, he might still be alive.


Police say man fired shots at repo man

A man charged with firing several times at a repossession agent is jailed in Dorchester County on $75,000 bail.

The Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office arrested Scott Robinson, 25, of Preston, on Saturday and charged him with first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and using a handgun to commit a crime.

Police said the repo man was not injured when the shots were fired at him last Wednesday.



Board delays vote on illegals crackdown

Prince William County lawmakers yesterday delayed a vote on using nearly all of a contingency reserve fund to pay for one of the country’s toughest local crackdowns on illegal aliens.

The Board of County Supervisors postponed the vote for two weeks because Supervisor John T. Stirrup, a Republican, was not present.

The board was expected to vote on whether to transfer nearly $800,000 from the fund to its police department to enforce a resolution enacted last year to deter illegal aliens from settling in the country. That would leave less than $3,400 in the fund for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends in June.

Lawmakers said the contingency reserve fund is used for costs that arise during the fiscal year and is not part of the county’s general reserves.


300 UVa. students stricken with flu

Nearly 300 students at the University of Virginia have fallen ill with the flu in recent weeks, university health officials said.

Dr. James C. Turner, executive director of UVa.’s Elson Student Health Center, said it was the biggest flu outbreak since the mid-1990s.

At least 281 UVa. students have sought treatment for flu symptoms since Jan. 21.

About two dozen students with flulike symptoms visited the student health center over the holidays, but Dr. Turner said the number of cases “exploded” after students returned from break in mid-January.

The Virginia Department of Health declared two weeks ago that the flu had officially become “widespread.” That means at least half the state’s jurisdictions are reporting significant increases in cases or flu outbreaks.


Tanning salon owner accused of peeping

The operator of a tanning salon was sentenced to 15 days in jail for using a mirror to peep at a nude customer.

A judge sentenced Michael Bolden to jail yesterday and fined him $250 for the spying incident in December at Deep Creek Tanning. Mr. Bolden also was ordered to have no contact with the female victim.

The victim testified that Mr. Bolden directed her to a specific tanning booth, and she noticed a small mirror appear under the door no more than five minutes after entering the booth.

Mr. Bolden and his wife declined to comment.


Black achievement still lags at UVa.

A dean at the University of Virginia says there is still a margin between black and white students in grade-point averages, graduation rates and enrollment at the university’s medical and business schools.

Maurice Apprey, dean of UVa.’s Office of African-American Affairs, told an audience at the school Monday that there has been improvement, but more must be done.

UVa. records show that only 17 black undergraduates and 17 graduate students are enrolled in the McIntire School of Commerce and only 37 black students are enrolled in the School of Medicine. Mr. Apprey called those numbers “quite dismal.”

He said a new program will be announced in the coming weeks that will allow black graduates to serve as mentors for current students.


Man found guilty in two 1990 killings

A truck driver was convicted of capital murder for the execution-style killings of two supermarket employees in Chesterfield County 17 years ago.

Circuit Judge Frederick Rockwell III found William T. Wallace, 42, guilty yesterday. Wallace faces two life sentences when sentenced on May 1.

He was convicted of killing two Food Lion workers during a store robbery in October 1990.

The judge found Wallace guilty on all counts, including capital murder, abduction, robbery and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Wallace also is charged with killing Matthew Boykins in 1991. Police said Boykins helped him plan the robbery.


Arrest made in theft of 20,000 bricks

Police arrested and charged a man with stealing about 20,000 bricks from a sidewalk bordering Shockoe Cemetery.

Herbert Johnson, 39, had been stealing bricks for about six weeks by shoveling them into a van and then selling them for 50 cents each to an area antiques gallery, Maryland State Police said. He was charged with grand larceny.

Police said a city public works employee first reported Jan. 29 that someone was taking the bricks.

The replacement cost is estimated at $2 per brick.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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