- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 24, 2008


Lanier to fire rehired officers

Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said she is trying to get rid of about 20 officers who she says she was forced to rehire after they were dismissed for misconduct.

The firings were overruled by court judges and arbitrators because the city missed deadlines in their cases. The errors occurred before Chief Lanier took over the department.

But Chief Lanier said she will try to fire them after all based on analysis by D.C. Interim Attorney General Peter Nickles that reinstating the officers would violate D.C. law.

A union official said the city is going back on its word and that the union could sue over the dispute.

The officers were originally fired for such violations as falsifying documents and lying about their working hours.

Families decry school closings

Dozens of city high school students and parents yesterday protested the city’s plan to close 23 schools.

The group held signs reading “Stop the Closings, Education is a Right,” and chanted “Save our schools!” outside Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s office on North Capitol Street.

About 50 students from Dunbar Senior High School marched down the median of the street with signs as passing motorists honked their horns in a show of support. The students participated in a walkout even though their school is not scheduled to close.

The city plans to close the schools in the fall due to declining enrollment.



Man charged in boy’s death

A Culpeper County man is in jail charged with felony manslaughter after state police said they found the body of an 8-year-old boy in the trunk of his wrecked car.

State police investigators said Fielding Taylor Kines, 38, picked up the child’s body after the crash and “threw him in the trunk.”

Police said Orion Bickings was the son of Mr. Kines’ girlfriend, who was not in the car during the single-car crash a week ago.

Two other children in the car were not injured.

Mr. Kines is being held in Culpeper County Jail on a felony charge of drunken driving and a misdemeanor, in addition to the manslaughter count. He has a June 12 court appearance.


No punishment for ballot flub

A special investigation spared Chesterfield County any sanctions for problems at the polling places during the presidential primary.

During the Feb. 12 primary, hundreds of voters had to enter their choices on pieces of scrap paper because some precincts ran out of official ballots for the Democratic primary.

The report on the polling problem was presented yesterday to the State Board of Elections here.

It recommends a review of the county’s election processes. That includes the number of ballots ordered and establishment of minimum standards of training for election officers.

It also said the roles of the County Electoral Board and the general registrar should be clarified.


Chrysler to boost MacArthur site

The Chrysler Foundation is giving $100,000 to help modernize and expand a Virginia memorial to Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who oversaw the U.S. occupation of Japan after World War II.

The philanthropic arm of automaker Chrysler LLC yesterday announced its gift to the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Foundation’s “5 Star Campaign.” It also donated a refurbished World War II-era Jeep.

The money will triple the changing exhibit space at the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, add a multimedia theater and provide a hall for visitor orientation.

The Gen. Douglas MacArthur Foundation commemorates the life and achievements of the general, supports the memorial, offers training courses for military officers and annually honors Army officers with leadership awards.



Officials pan toxic ash

Nature lovers and Cecil County planning officials are hoping to block the use of coal combustion by-products, including fly ash, from being used to reclaim the county’s non-coal surface mines.

County planning and zoning director Eric Sennstrom is expected to present a proposed regulation to the planning commission June 16.

The move follows word in April that Constellation Energy is in negotiations to dispose of fly ash at the Furnace Bay mine near Perryville.

The Maryland Department of the Environment says fly ash is commonly used in construction materials but could contain potentially toxic metal oxides. Critics of the disposal plan worry the fly ash could contaminate local ground water.

Mine co-owner Terry Stancill would not discuss the details of the possible deal because negotiations are ongoing.


Judge allows photo-ID evidence

A Howard County judge ruled prosecutors will be allowed to use a woman’s photo-identification as evidence against a Columbia man charged in two homicides.

A defense attorney representing Charles Richardson, 24, argued unsuccessfully that the photo array was too suggestive and the woman’s identification should be thrown out.

The woman testified at a hearing Thursday that she heard Mr. Richardson having a cell phone conversation on a bus in which he said, “If she’d just given me the money, I wouldn’t have had to pop her.”

Mr. Richardson is charged in the slaying in April last year of clerk Alevtina Zhilina during an attempted robbery at a 7-Eleven store. He’s also charged with killing Trae Allen, 19, the following month.

Mr. Richardson has pleaded not criminally responsible.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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