- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 20, 2008


Burned-out renters will get subsidies

Residents displaced by a five-alarm fire in a Mount Pleasant apartment building last week will receive subsidies for comparable housing until they can move back into their renovated homes, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said yesterday.

Residents are in the process of having their rental costs in the building assessed, and officials hope to begin moving them by Monday to similarly priced housing.

The relocations will cost $275,000 and last for two years. Officials hope to have the apartment building renovated in 12 to 18 months, Mr. Fenty said.

“It is our renewed commitment, both legislative and executive branch, that we will make sure that every tenant who lived in the building, who was paying rent, will be able to get a new unit at that same rent,” said Mr. Fenty, a Democrat.

Mr. Fenty said roughly 200 residents of the apartments — in the 3100 block of Mount Pleasant Street Northwest — were affected. The blaze occurred overnight Thursday and destroyed much of the four-story structure and the neighboring Meridian Hill Baptist Church.

Mr. Fenty said officials have not yet determined what started the fire. The building had been previously cited for code violations.

Mei Xiang again inseminated

The National Zoo’s giant female panda was artificially inseminated yesterday in hopes that she will give birth to another cub.

The zoo said the female panda, Mei Xiang, and the male, Tian Tian, were brought together Tuesday to mate naturally. But veterinarians determined they weren’t successful and performed the artificial insemination.

Giant pandas only have one breeding season per year. It could be months, though, before scientists know whether the insemination was successful.

Mei Xiang gave birth to cub Tai Shan in 2005 after being artificially inseminated.

Boy, 7, injured when hit by car

A 7-year-old boy suffered a serious head injury when he was struck by a car in Southeast.

Fire department spokesman Alan Etter said the boy was hit just before 9 a.m. at 25th Street and Alabama Avenue, apparently on his way to school. He was not in a crosswalk, Mr. Etter said. The car involved in the crash stopped at the scene.



Charges dropped against official’s son

Weapons charges were dropped against the son of a prominent Annapolis civil rights activist.

Anne Arundel County Police arrested Kojo Snowden, 22, in February on Interstate 97 after officers found a loaded handgun in his vehicle. He is the son of Carl Snowden, the civil rights director for the Maryland Attorney General’s Office.

Kojo Snowden was charged with possession of a handgun in a motor vehicle and gun possession after a felony conviction.

Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office spokeswoman said the charge was dropped because Mr. Snowden had no knowledge of a presence of a firearm in the vehicle. However, she said weapons charges will proceed against one of his passengers.

Mr. Snowden pleaded guilty in December to possession and intent to distribute marijuana in a separate case and is scheduled to be sentenced next month.


Dixon offers budget with tax-rate cut

Mayor Sheila Dixon proposed a budget of nearly $3 billion, a 10 percent increase over last year’s budget despite cuts to property tax rates.

Mrs. Dixon released the $2.92 billion proposal Monday. It uses federal grants to fund most of the increases. The cost of city operations is almost 5 percent higher and both police and schools’ budgets were increased slightly.

The budget includes a cut of 2 cents per $100 of assessed value in the city’s property tax rate. However, many homeowners may still pay more because assessments are up.

City Council hearings are planned for next month on the budget, which has a June deadline.


Seized horses returned to owner

A Somerset County judge ordered the return of four horses seized from their owner during an animal neglect investigation.

District Court Judge R. Patrick Hayman also ordered owner Christine Paulino to pay $1,000 to the Humane Society to cover costs of caring for the animals while they were in the agency’s custody.

The decisions came during a hearing Tuesday. Judge Hayman had ruled last week to dismiss four charges of abuse or neglect of animals filed against Miss Paulino by county prosecutors.

Officials said Miss Paulino’s horse farm on East Ridge Road has been brought up to standard and the horses are to be returned tomorrow. Under an agreement with the Humane Society, she must keep the horses supplied with food, water and adequate shelter.

Arrest warrant won’t be dismissed

A judge in Clinton, N.C., declined to dismiss the arrest warrant used against an ailing 81-year-old prison escapee from Maryland who had been on the lam for 43 years.

Willie Parker was told yesterday to return to court April 18. Sampson County District Judge Henry L. Stevens IV rejected defense arguments that the warrant was technically flawed because it was signed by a prison warden instead of a judge.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys said they haven’t heard from Maryland authorities about a possible extradition request.

Federal marshals arrested Parker last month at a home near Clinton. He spent about a week in jail before a judge granted a $25,000 bail.


Loyola considers name upgrade

Loyola College in Maryland is considering a name change.

Spokeswoman Courtney Jolley said the time has come to replace “college” with “university.” The Jesuit school in North Baltimore thinks the change would better reflect the work it is doing today.

Miss Jolley said Loyola is considered a comprehensive university by many groups because of its schools, including the Sellinger School of Business and Management, the College of Arts and Sciences and a planned School of Education.

Any change would have to be approved by the trustees.

Loyola officials are holding meetings and taking comments on the possible new name from students, alumni, faculty and staff members.


Jury-found evidence invalid at retrial

A judge ruled that evidence discovered by a jury during the trial of a robbery suspect won’t be admissible at the defendant’s new trial.

While going over evidence while deliberating, the jurors who eventually convicted Moses Streete in October found about $1,300 in cash, a rubber glove and a ring in the pocket of a coat taken from him shortly after his arrest.

The discovery led to a ruling in December granting a new trial for Streete, one of three suspects arrested after an armed robbery spree March 6.

In ruling out the new evidence, Circuit Judge Theresa M. Adams said the court could not overlook the time that elapsed between the time the coat was taken from Streete and the time the jury found the items.

The trial is set for April 22.



‘Three-time loser’ freed from prison

The first woman barred from parole under Virginia’s “three-time loser” law is free after 23 years in prison.

Gov. Tim Kaine on Tuesday signed a conditional pardon for Ollin Renaye Crawford, 49, saying she had paid her penalty to society. He was the fourth governor to consider her request.

Crawford was then freed from Virginia Correctional Center for Women in Goochland County.

She was convicted in 1985 of robbing four Fairfax County banks in an eight-week period using a fake grenade.

Crawford was one of nearly 500 state prison inmates barred from parole consideration under a 1982 law aimed at protecting the public from dangerous repeat criminals convicted of three or more armed robberies, rapes or murders.


Rejected corn flake back on the market

Two sisters trying to sell a corn flake shaped like the state of Illinois on EBay say the online auction Web site canceled their listing.

But the flake is back.

The sisters say the Land of Lincoln twin is still available.

“Something really dramatic just happened with our corn flake,” Melissa McIntire, 23, said Tuesday night, explaining that the sisters received an e-mail from EBay saying the cereal was in violation of the site’s food policy.

“We’re not exactly sure how we’re in violation of it,” Miss McIntire said.

The listing “was removed because it violated the EBay Food policy. We notified members who placed bids on the item that the listing has been canceled,” the EBay e-mail read.

A telephone message left with San Jose, Calif., company after business hours on Tuesday was not immediately returned.

Emily McIntire, 15, a sophomore in high school, pulled the cereal from a box of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes on her way to school. The sisters listed “The Great Illinois Corn Flake” EBay auction last week, saying they hoped to create family memories and maybe earn enough to buy more Frosted Flakes.

But the corn flake drew much attention and had dozens of bids, some at nearly $1 million, which the McIntires deemed fraudulent. They were forced to cancel some bids and narrow the number they could accept.

Then copycat items started popping up, including corn flakes shaped like Hawaii and Virginia. There’s also a potato chip shaped like Florida .

The sisters said they have relisted the flake on EBay, but this time they are auctioning a coupon redeemable for their corn flake.

Bidding on the 2-inch-by-13/8-inch flake was to end today . Bidding on the coupon is set to end tomorrow.


Man gets 90 days for killing family pet

A security guard who shot a family pet faces 90 days in jail for the crime.

A jury in Circuit Court on Tuesday recommended the sentence for Mathias Acholi, 41, who was convicted of shooting a 7-year-old boxer named Socks at an apartment complex in October 2006.

Mr. Acholi testified that the dog was charging at him and he feared for his safety.

But a prosecution witness testified that the dog was urinating about 25 feet away when Mr. Acholi shot the dog for no apparent reason.

The shooting outraged residents and animal rights activists, and many of them contacted city police to demand an investigation.

Sentencing is set for May 2.


220 pounds of pot found in truck

A semitrailer loaded with more than 200 pounds of marijuana led to drug charges against two men, authorities said.

Calvin J. Stevens, 53, and Letroy Norman, 35, were charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Court documents show Mr. Stevens is the owner of a used-car lot called Extreme Auto Sales and Mr. Norman had an office there.

The two men were arrested after state police stopped the truck containing 11 bales of marijuana that weighed 220 pounds. The driver and an occupant agreed to cooperate with authorities and made their delivery to the car lot under police surveillance. From wire dispatches and staff reports

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