- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 5, 2008


Service set to aid renters

The city should soon have a housing clearinghouse to help match affordable apartments with people who need them.

The D.C. Council gave final approval Tuesday to a bill that would establish such a directory. The vote was unanimous. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, a Democrat, is expected to sign the bill, a spokesman said.

Council member Tommy Wells, Ward 6 Democrat, who introduced the bill, said he often hears from families who have trouble finding affordable housing. He said he also hears from developers who say they have trouble filling their affordable units.

The legislation would create a database of affordable units with information on income qualifications, number of bedrooms and accessibility for the disabled.



Troupe’s van found in the District

The Thunder From Down Under is mobile again.

The male troupe’s van was stolen last week from behind Ram’s Head Tavern after the group performed there. Someone left the keys in the van, which held its costumes, equipment and items that are sold on tour.

The group had to cancel its next performance and offered a $5,000 reward for the return of the property.

The van was recovered Wednesday in the District, Annapolis police said. Officers did not know if the contents of the van were recovered.



Graduation rate at 73% in 2005

Nearly 73 percent of the state’s high school class of 2005 graduated.

A national report released Wednesday shows 72.9 percent of students in the class of 2005 received a diploma that spring, down slightly from the class of 2004’s 73.1 percent rate. The figures were the most recent available for the Diplomas Count study, conducted by Editorial Projects in Education, publisher of Education Week.

The report said 84.5 percent of students of Asian descent graduated in four years, compared to 77.4 percent of whites, 60.7 percent of black students, 56.7 percent of American Indians and 56.5 percent of Hispanics.

Virginia’s rate was higher than the 70.6 percent national graduation rate in 2005.


Convicted spammer back in court

An attorney for one of the world’s most prolific spammers says the state’s anti-spam law violates the First Amendment.

Jeremy Jaynes in 2004 became the first person in the country to be convicted of a felony for sending unsolicited bulk e-mail. He was sentenced to nine years in prison.

The state Supreme Court rejected Jaynes’ appeal 4-3 in February. However, the court later agreed to reconsider whether Jaynes has the right to argue that the law infringes on protected political and religious speech.

Jaynes’ attorney, Tom Wolf, told the justices Wednesday that Jaynes should be allowed to make that argument, and that the Virginia law is too broad. An attorney for the state argued that the court should not entertain Jaynes’ challenge.

The court is likely to rule in September.


Ministers discuss black issues

Thousands of ministers are meeting at historically black Hampton University this week to discuss a black America full of contrasts, and the role of the church in improving everything from graduation numbers to marriage rates in the community.

Organizers describe Hampton’s annual Minister’s Conference as a chance for church leaders to discuss issues of faith and relate them to daily life. This year’s theme is hermeneutics - or ways of interpreting Scripture.

Speakers Tuesday told the majority-black audience of the importance of using faith to promote healthy relationships in the black family. Wednesday’s topics include reaching out to black men.

The conference runs through Friday.


Greece may get Liberty ship

Federal officials are pursuing an agreement to transport the last Liberty ship in the James River Reserve Fleet to Greece for use as a museum.

The Department of Transportation said maritime officials signed documents with the Greek government seeking an agreement regarding the Liberty ship Arthur M. Huddell.

The Huddell is a World War II-era vessel currently moored at Fort Eustis. It’s the last of its type in the Maritime Administration’s fleet.

At least two other Liberty ships have been converted to museums.

During World War II, U.S. shipyards built 2,751 Liberty ships. Those ships were used to carry troops and military cargo all over the world. After the war, Greek businessmen purchased many of the ships to build up what is now the largest merchant fleet in the world.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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