- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 8, 2008


Fire may burn for months

Fire officials have warned people living near a massive wildfire at a federal wildlife refuge in eastern North Carolina that the blaze could smolder for months in the peat-filled soil.

The fire had burned about 30,000 acres in and around the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in eastern North Carolina, about 70 miles south of Norfolk, as of Saturday.

North Carolina Forest Service spokesman Bill Swartley said the fire spread rapidly early last week, but was now burning new land much more slowly.

The soil in the area is full of peat, which burns easily and will likely smolder for months unless several inches of rain fall at one time, Mr. Swartley said.

High temperatures this weekend were expected to be near 100 degrees, creating ripe conditions for the blaze to keep burning, he said.

Winds shifted from the west Saturday, blowing smoke toward the Outer Banks.

No injuries or structure damage were reported.



Mikulski also backs Obama

Democratic Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, one of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton‘s staunchest supporters, is following Mrs. Clinton’s lead and endorsing Sen. Barack Obama for president.

Ms. Mikulski was a national chairwoman of the Clinton campaign.

Ms. Mikulski said she’s proud to join Mrs. Clinton in her endorsement of Mr. Obama, calling the end of the drawn-out Democratic primary battle “a historic event.” She said she’ll lend her “voice and energy” to the Obama campaign.

Maryland’s senior U.S. senator also said her respect for Mrs. Clinton only increased during the grueling campaign.


Man arrested in shooting

After a two-week search, Harford County sheriff’s deputies have captured a man wanted in a drive-by shooting in a Waffle House parking lot.

Reginald Bolden, 24, was apprehended after a brief foot chase Friday night on North Avenue in Baltimore.

Mr. Bolden was wanted in the May 24 shooting that injured Robert Ringgold, 24.

Last week, Mr. Bolden’s brother Justin, 25, died in the custody of sheriff’s deputies, who said he had tried to swallow plastic bags filled with suspected cocaine and one became lodged in his airway. He was a suspect in a kidnapping and assault that deputies said was unrelated to the Waffle House shooting.


Youth facility assault probed

State officials said a recent assault at a privately run juvenile facility was first reported as an accident, and several agencies are now investigating to figure out why.

The incident took place last week at the Thomas O’Farrell Youth Center, a medium-security residence for juvenile delinquents in Carroll County. The facility is run by a private firm under contract with the Department of Juvenile Services.

Officials said one boy choked another in a bathroom at the center, causing the victim to fall forward and hit his head. He was flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center with a brain injury.

Marlana Valdez, the state’s juvenile justice monitor, said she’s looking into why staff at the facility falsified the report.


Bear spotted near agency

Officials are warning people not to approach a young black bear that has been wandering on the campus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Officers first spotted the bear Saturday morning, said agency spokeswoman Gail Porter.

The federal agency has more than 35 buildings on about 500 acres of land, which includes several wooded sections. The bear likely came from a nearby forest, authorities said.

Animal control and state natural resources authorities advised that the bear be left alone and allowed to make its way back to where it came from, Ms. Porter said. If people see the bear, they should notify authorities.



Police officer fatally shot

A city police officer answering a call about a domestic dispute was fatally shot, and the suspect died minutes later after exchanging gunfire with other officers, police said.

Officer Todd Bahr, 40, was killed late Friday by a single gunshot wound to the head, police spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe said. Gregory Berryman, 47, later was shot several times during a confrontation with other officers in an apartment complex parking lot near the police station.

After being wounded, Mr. Berryman put his own gun to his head and fired, police said.

The trouble started at about 8:30 p.m., when Berryman’s former girlfriend called police and reported he had threatened her over the phone.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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