- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 23, 2008

DISTRICT

Bus terminal urged for Union Station

Some members of Congress want to see intercity buses at Union Station.

The District’s current bus terminal is several blocks from the station, which is used by Amtrak and commuter rail lines.

Rep. James L. Oberstar, Minnesota Democrat, and Rep. John L. Mica, Florida Republican, have both expressed support for the idea of putting the bus terminal at Union Station. Mr. Oberstar heads the House transportation committee, and Mr. Mica is the committee’s ranking Republican.

The two have written a letter to David Ball, president of Union Station Redevelopment Corp.

According to the letter, the corporation, the D.C. government and Greyhound Lines are in discussions to relocate bus service to the station. The congressmen say they support the idea because Union Station is the city’s surface transportation hub.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat who chairs the subcommittee on economic development, also signed the letter.

REGION

Peeps take Metro to new ballpark

Metro is using fluffy marshmallow Peeps this Easter in a lighthearted attempt to get Washington Nationals fans to take the train to the new ballpark.

The transit agency has created a “Peeps in the Park” infomercial in which two neon marshmallow bunnies ask a pal to take Metro with them to the opening game.

But their buddy refuses, and instead straps himself on top of a green Volkswagen. He ends up missing the game while the bunnies who ride the rails get to the ballpark without any problems.

Metro says the 2½ minute video didn’t cost much. The transit agency already had video equipment, borrowed the remote toy car, and staff members did the voices.

The video is posted on Metro’s Web site, at https://wmata.com, and YouTube.

MARYLAND

POTOMAC

Rescuers free man trapped in trench

A worker putting in a sewer line for a home yesterday became stuck in a collapsed trench for about two hours.

As workers were finishing at about 12:30 p.m., the man jumped in to secure something. Dirt suddenly came down on him and trapped him.

Montgomery County fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said the man was buried nearly up to his chest. About 50 or 60 rescuers worked to get him out.

Mr. Piringer said the man was in serious but stable condition, and his injuries were not life-threatening.

ANNAPOLIS

Host of measures rejected by House

Loose cigars are safe, cloned meat doesn’t have to be labeled, and English won’t become Maryland’s official language. Bills dealing with those issues are among the dozens that state lawmakers have rejected.

When House members returned for a rare Saturday session, they found a long list of proposed bills that were rejected by committees, or in some cases, withdrawn by their sponsors.

The losing bills include a formal recognition of English as the state’s official language and a bill to ban the sale of cigars in packages of less than five.

Also on the rejected list were a study of possible health problems caused by the proposed Intercounty Connector highway through Montgomery County and a bill requiring cloned meat to be labeled as cloned.

ANNAPOLIS

Quiet car measure moves ahead

The Maryland House of Delegates has signed off on a preliminary version of a bill that would study quiet hybrid vehicles. The proposal developed after complaints from blind people that quiet vehicles pose a pedestrian risk for those who rely on their ears to know when it is safe to cross the street.

A similar proposal is pending in the Senate. The bills would set up a task force to investigate whether Maryland officials should require noisier cars.

ANNAPOLIS

Bill would ban dogs from backs of trucks

Dogs in the backs of Maryland pickup trucks would need to be caged under a bill moving ahead in the state legislature.

The House of Delegates has given preliminary approval to a bill that would ban loose pets in the backs of pickup trucks. Dogs could ride in the backs of pickup trucks, but they’d need to be in cages.

The bill does not apply to livestock, only to pets. Violators could be fined up to $250. Twenty-five states have similar laws, including Virginia.

One more vote on the measure is required before the bill heads to the Senate.

ANNAPOLIS

House approves development curbs

Waterfront landowners in Maryland would be banned in most cases from installing riprap, or immovable shorelines, under a bill approved by state lawmakers.

The House of Delegates voted 114-22 yesterday to pass a bill that would require so-called “soft” shorelines, often plants and marshes planted to stop erosion, and not concrete seawalls or stone piles. Existing walls would be allowed to remain.

The bill is backed by scientists and environmental activists, who say “hard” shorelines cause ecological damage. The bill was opposed by some lawmakers, who say the measure would take away landowners’ rights. The bill now heads to the Senate.

VIRGINIA

PETERSBURG

Historic school may be closed

A 132-year-old Catholic school in Petersburg may be forced to close.

St. Joseph School was the first Catholic school to be certified by the Virginia Board of Education.

The school had budget deficits of $121,000 this year and $188,000 last year, putting its future in doubt.

But already, a grass roots endeavor independent of the school is urging parents and others to get in touch with the Catholic Diocese of Richmond in an effort to save the private school.

A committee that’s meeting tomorrow will look at ways to save the school, which enrolls students through eighth grade but is under capacity, with 149 students enrolled out of 250 spaces. Saving the school could mean raising money in the community.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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