- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Cabbies warned about meters

Taxi authorities said yesterday that hundreds of drivers have received warning tickets for working without a meter in their cabs.

The city began requiring cabs to use time-and-distance meters on May 1. Leon Swain, chairman of the D.C. Taxicab Commission, said his inspectors have since issued about 600 tickets to cabbies caught without meters.

The $1,000 fine that comes with the ticket is being waived until June 1.

Mr. Swain says more than half of the taxis in the city have installed meters.



Rueful bank robber gets five years

A 72-year-old Virginia man who attempted to rob a bank, then tried to return the money, has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Duval Alexander Davis’ sentence Friday includes a mandatory minimum three years for use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and two years for attempted bank robbery. He pleaded guilty to the charges in February.

His attorney, Andrew Childress, said at last week’s sentencing the mandatory firearms sentence was out of line with the crime.

Police said Duval entered Carter Bank and Trust on Nov. 29 armed with a gun and told the branch manager, “Give me all your money.”

Witnesses said Davis then handed the money back and told the teller to call the police.


Missing motorcyclist found dead in woods

Authorities yesterday found the body of a motorcyclist who drove off the George Washington Memorial Parkway on Monday night.

The body of Nathan Townsend, 22, of Alexandria, was found at about 6 a.m. in woods along the banks of the Potomac River, said the U.S. Park Police.

The accident occurred in the northbound lanes shortly after 6 p.m. Monday. The motorcycle was found later that night.

Mr. Townsend was in the military and was stationed in the area, but further details were not available.



Ex-officer sentenced for shooting men

A former Prince George’s County police officer who also served as a county homeland security official was sentenced yesterday to 45 years in prison for shooting two furniture deliverymen last year.

Keith Washington received the maximum sentence from Circuit Court Judge Michael Whelan for the January 2007 shooting that killed a deliveryman and seriously wounded another. The men had gone to Washington’s Accokeek house to drop off bed rails.

Brandon Clark, 22, was killed and Robert White, 37, was badly wounded during a confrontation. Washington said during his trial that the two attacked him. Prosecutors said Washington had a volatile temper and that the shooting was unprovoked.

Washington was convicted in February of involuntary manslaughter, two gun charges and two counts of first-degree assault.

Prince George’s State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey said the sentence was appropriate for a person who opened fire “basically because bedroom furniture was delivered late.”


Group wants to protect slots vote

A political-watchdog group is asking Maryland lawmakers to reject contributions from gambling interests until after November’s referendum on slot machines.

Ryan O’Donnell, executive director of Common Cause Maryland, is sending a letter to Maryland senators and delegates to request that they not allow the decision-making process on slots to be tarnished by campaign donations.

The group is not taking a position on the slots issue, but hopes the matter will be debated without the influence of political contributions.

The group already has asked organizations on both sides of the slots debate to reject money from corporate gambling interests.


Nursing homes under federal watch

The federal government has added two Maryland nursing homes to a watch list of facilities that it says have provided consistently poor care over three years.

The homes are ManorCare-Rossville in Baltimore County and the Waldorf Center in Charles County.

The list is compiled by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It’s been around for decades, but was just made available for public viewing in November after CMS was criticized for only allowing industry lobbyists to see it.

The 131 nursing homes on the list must be inspected twice a year and face possible penalties.

State officials say the two facilities have persistently violated state and federal regulations. ManorCare-Rossville was placed on the list in January, and an update last week placed it under the category of “facilities that have not improved.”

Officials at the nursing home say they have made several management changes.


Body found in River Front Park

A woman’s body was found by someone walking on a path in a wooded area behind a community pool, Laurel police said.

The victim, with trauma to the upper body, was found yesterday morning in River Front Park near the pool at Ninth and Main streets.

The woman had not been identified.

The nearby pool was crowded with people during the day Monday, leading police to think the attack happened Monday night or early yesterday.


Shad populations drop off sharply

Researchers are reporting a significant decrease in the number of shad migrating up the Susquehanna River.

The number of shad counted at the Conowingo Dam has fallen more than 90 percent in seven years.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission said the numbers are down all along the East Coast. The numbers have fallen since authorities stepped in to protect a leading predator, the striped bass, but pollution and excessive fishing also are considered factors in the shad’s decline.

The commission is planning public hearings on whether more restrictions should be imposed on catching American shad. Fishing for shad is banned in Maryland and in some Pennsylvania waters, but not in several nearby states.


Ground-level ozone rules tightened

Environmental officials are expecting an increase this summer in the number of ozone-action days, and federal regulations governing ground-level ozone were tightened yesterday.

The clean-air outreach coordinator for the Baltimore Metropolitan Council said the new rules slightly reduce the allowable ozone content in the air before a declaration of Code Orange, indicating the air is unhealthy for some sensitive people.

The coordinator said local areas that too often exceed the limits could lose federal transportation-improvement funding.

Ground-level ozone is created by nitrous oxides from car exhaust and power plants in the presence of heat and sunlight.


Missing woman found dead

Montgomery County police said two children playing in a wooded area found the body of a woman who was reported missing about two weeks ago.

Police said the body was found shortly before 7 p.m. Monday. The woman’s name has not been released, but police said she was reported missing May 12.

Police said she had moved from Virginia to Germantown to live with her brother.

The cause of death had not been determined. Police said the woman had several health problems.


Man fined $1,000 in hunting accident

An Allegany County man has been fined $1,000 and placed on two years of unsupervised probation for fatally shooting a fellow deer hunter last fall near Rawlings.

Eric Riggs, 32, also forfeits his gun-ownership rights and hunting privileges for two years, and he must appear in a state-produced hunter-safety video.

The Mount Savage man was convicted in April after entering an Alford plea to a charge of negligent hunting in the death of James Dawson, 46, of Rawlings.

Riggs told investigators he mistook Mr. Dawson for a deer. Prosecutors said he fired his weapon about 15 minutes before sunrise, the start of legal shooting hours.

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