- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 27, 2008


Four-alarm fire destroys building

A fierce fire that took more than six hours to extinguish destroyed a condominium building being renovated in Northwest.

Firefighters were called to the 5400 block of First Place in Northwest at about 10:30 p.m. Friday. Eventually about 200 firefighters, including crews from suburban Maryland, were involved.

No one was in the building at the time. Two firefighters were treated for injuries but are expected to recover.

D.C. fire department spokesman Alan Etter said investigators have not determined the cause or the origin of the fire.

Damage was estimated at more than $1 million.



Fried chicken riles some at academy

Some at the Naval Academy are questioning a decision to honor Martin Luther King by serving fried chicken, greens and cornbread.

The meal was served Tuesday because classes weren’t held Monday, the King holiday. Clips of King speeches were broadcast while the midshipmen dined.

An academy spokesman says the menu was chosen because it was a “traditional Southern meal.” In September, midshipmen dined on fajitas, flour tortillas and Spanish rice for Hispanic Heritage Month.

But postings on the message boards at GoMids.com indicated some were offended by the attempt to honor King. One contributor wrote, “I thought we were well past these stereotypes!” The comments have since been removed from the site.


Motorcycle driver killed in crash

A motorcyclist was killed yesterday after he lost control on Interstate 270 in Rockville.

Capt. Oscar Garcia, a Montgomery County fire department spokesman, said the man was traveling north and was attempting to exit onto Interstate 370 when he went over an embankment. No other vehicle was involved in the crash.

Capt. Garcia said the driver, who was not immediately identified, was a man approximately 20 years old.


University restricts late-night parties

The University of Maryland is cracking down on rowdy parties at the campus student union.

The gatherings have drawn more than a thousand people, and police and students say they have sometimes resulted in brawls.

The parties will now be limited to current students and may not go past midnight.

Student leaders say they’re upset about the change, which was made during winter break. And they say minority students, who tend to rely on the Stamp Student Union for social events, will feel the impact of the new policy.

Gretchen Metzelaars, who oversees the building, said non-students are causing 99 percent of the problems at the parties.


City considers ban on trans fats

Baltimore may become the latest city to ban trans fats from restaurants.

City Council member Agnes Welch, a Democrat, plans to introduce a bill banning products containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, including shortening or margarine. The ban would apply to any establishment where food is prepared for sale, including restaurants, delis and fast-food chains.

Philadelphia, New York and Montgomery County are among the jurisdictions that have banned trans fats.

Mrs. Welch said the legislation would protect people’s health, noting that it’s tied to a report she commissioned on childhood obesity.

Melvin Thompson, vice president of the Restaurant Association of Maryland, said the city should wait for a statewide task force to study the issue.



Police say man found dead

Fairfax County Police say a 35-year-old man was found dead yesterday morning in the Huntington area.

Officers found the man, who was not identified, at 5904 Otley Drive shortly after 7 a.m. Police say the man was killed and that the preliminary indication was that he suffered trauma to the upper body.

An autopsy is expected to take place sometime tomorrow.


Lockdown ordered after prank call

Lynchburg College was locked down for a few hours early yesterday and a dormitory was evacuated after a caller said he was being held against his will, but the call proved to be a prank and a suspect was arrested, police said.

Police responded to the campus at 12:28 a.m. after receiving a 911 call that a man was being held against his will by a subject with a weapon, the Lynchburg Police Department said in a news release. While students in Tate Hall were quickly removed and taken to a nearby building, police investigators received information that David Tyler Johnson, 18, had been given a ride to a nearby grocery store shortly after making the call.

Police went to the store and arrested Mr. Johnson, of Hayes, Va. He was charged with falsely summoning or giving a false report to law enforcement, a Class 1 misdemeanor, and was being held without bond at the Lynchburg Adult Detention Center, police said.

College officials said Mr. Johnson is not a student at the school.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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