- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Council rejects fireworks ban

The D.C. Council on Tuesday blasted emergency legislation to ban all fireworks in the city, voting 11-2 against it.

Council members said they opposed the bill because the council has not held public hearings on it.

Complaints from residents are not about fireworks that are currently legal, such as sparklers and fountains, the members also said.

Council member Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat, introduced the legislation at the request of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, who touted the bill as a way to help fire officials and police officers more easily enforce fireworks laws.

Enforcement officials don’t have time to consult the 14-page list of legal fireworks when they respond to complaints from residents, Mr. Graham said.

Spy museum easier to visit

One of the city’s most popular museums reached an agreement with the Justice Department to make its exhibits more accessible to the blind and hearing impaired.

The International Spy Museum is adding closed-captioning to many of its audio-visual exhibits and interactive computer programs.

The museum also is providing scheduled tours for those with poor vision in which guides describe in detail the color and textures of exhibits. Visitors also will be able to touch replicas of items on display.

Officials didn’t provide an exact cost of the changes, but said they spent well over half a million dollars. The changes come after a blind man complained that the museum’s exhibits were inaccessible.



County earns top bond rating

A Wall Street bond rating agency has upgraded Prince George’s County bonds to the top rating, a move that will likely make it easier and cheaper for the county to borrow money, county officials said.

Standard & Poor’s gave the county a AAA rating after meeting with county officials three weeks ago, County Executive Jack Johnson said Tuesday.

A high bond rating usually means governments pay lower interest rates on the bonds they issue. The new rating will be applied to $110 million in general obligation bonds to be sold this week, Mr. Johnson said.

The rating is a sign of the economic health of Prince George’s, built in part on big projects such as the $4 billion National Harbor development on the Potomac River, Mr. Johnson.


Miller to set election plans

The state’s longest serving Senate president, who said two years ago he wasn’t planning on running for re-election, is expected to say Wednesday whether he will run for re-election. Sen. Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., a Democrat, scheduled a news conference to talk about his plans when his term expires in two years.

Mr. Miller’s announcement on Wednesday is set just before a $1,000-per-person fundraiser in Baltimore for him at the InterContinental Harbor Court Hotel. Gov. Martin O’Malley, also a Democrat, is scheduled to attend.

Mr. Miller, 65, was keeping mostly quiet about his decision, opting to wait until the news conference in the Senate office building that bears his name.

“You know, I continue to wrestle with it on a daily basis,” he said during a brief interview outside of his office in Annapolis.



Murder charge filed in officer’s death

A grand jury indicted a man on a charge of capital murder in the shooting death of a police detective during a drug raid.

Ryan Frederick, 28, also was indicted Tuesday on charges of use of a firearm and manufacturing marijuana. He is accused of killing Detective Jarrod Shivers, 34, on Jan. 17 while police carried out a drug search warrant at Mr. Frederick’s Chesapeake home.

Two shots were fired from inside the house as officers used a battering ram on the front door, police said. One shot hit Detective Shivers as he stood on the front steps.

Mr. Frederick has said he fired at what he feared were intruders.


11-year-old boy found slain in home

An 11-year-old boy was found slain in what police are calling a botched robbery.

Sixth-grader Aziz Damar Booth’s body was found in the kitchen of a home early Tuesday, and a neighbor was arrested and charged hours later.

Police charged Waverly “Eddie” Whitlock, 27, with murder, robbery, malicious wounding and other charges.

Police said a man suffering from a gunshot wound directed them to the house where Aziz was found.

Mr. Whitlock is being held in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.

The man who led police to the boy’s body is being treated for injuries. They are not life-threatening. Police did not identify the man.


Suspect charged in I-64 shootings

A grand jury handed up 15 indictments against an Afton man charged in a series of shootings on Interstate 64.

The Albermarle County grand jury on Monday returned charges against 19-year-old Slade A. Woodson that included malicious wounding, using a firearm in the commission of a felony and maliciously shooting at an occupied vehicle.

A co-defendant, 16-year-old Brandon Dawson, has admitted his role in the March 27 shootings and was sentenced to an indeterminate amount of time at a state juvenile facility.

The two have been linked by police to shooting several vehicles and a few homes. Two people in cars were slightly injured.

Mr. Woodson is being held without bail.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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