- The Washington Times - Friday, November 14, 2008


Classes canceled for inauguration

Many area schools and some universities have canceled classes for Inauguration Day on Jan. 20 or are considering it.

Classes are canceled for D.C. public schools and for Virginia schools in Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun counties, as well as Alexandria. Prince William County schools will have a half-day of classes.

In Maryland, Montgomery County schools will remain open. The Prince George’s County school board was considering an emergency resolution Thursday night to cancel classes for their 130,000 students.

Parents want their children “to witness the historic occasion instead of learning about it in schools,” said school system spokesman John White.

There will be no classes at American University and George Washington University so students can attend the inauguration.



Inmate sentenced for killing in jail

A Baltimore teen has been sentenced to four years in prison in the death of a fellow inmate during a fight in jail over a board game.

Davon Cole, 19, was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years with all but four years suspended after pleading guilty in August to involuntary manslaughter in the death of Xavier Tilghman, 21, at the Baltimore City Detention Center.

Tilghman died in November last year, one day after his voice box was crushed in a fight with Cole over a game of Monopoly, prosecutors said. The men had been friends since childhood, prosecutors said.

Cole was serving a six months for attempted drug manufacturing and distribution and Tilghman was serving nine months for concealing a dangerous weapon.


13 students arrested in gang brawl

Thirteen students at a lower Eastern Shore high school have been arrested after a brawl that police say was gang-related.

The fight broke out early Tuesday morning at Crisfield High School. It stemmed from a dispute over a girl between two rival gangs — the Crisfield Bloods and the Marion Bloods, Crisfield Police Chief Mike Tabor said.

Members of a third group, the 420 Gang, also got involved in the school fight, Chief Tabor said. Police are familiar with everyone involved in the gangs, he said.

Police arrested eight students Tuesday, then made five more arrests Wednesday after watching surveillance video. All the arrested students have been suspended, and some could be expelled.


State revenue falls 8.7% in October

There is little, if any, good news in October revenue collections, and the worst news might not be immediately clear, said Comptroller Peter Franchot.

On Thursday, the comptroller’s office released revenue figures for the month that were down 8.7 percent from October 2007.

Individual income tax receipts fell last month, as did lottery sales, Mr. Franchot said. Corporate income tax receipts increased, but all the growth came from final payments.

The poor October results do not reflect the full impact of the “marked deterioration” of the country’s economy, Mr. Franchot warned.



Cell phone left in lingerie heist

A woman who fled with thousands of bras and panties from a Virginia Beach lingerie shop left without her cell phone, which had her picture downloaded on it, according to the Virginia Beach Police Department.

Police have issued a photo of the suspect, a young woman who they think stole $3,300 worth of undergarments from Victoria’s Secret.

The woman dropped her cell phone as she ran from the store Sunday after a clerk asked if she needed help, a police spokesman said.

The woman is suspected of taking 45 low-cut bras and 105 pairs of panties.

Police also released another photo found on her phone. They think the man is either an accomplice or an acquaintance.

Investigators think the woman has stolen from other Victoria’s Secret stores in the state.


Businessman guilty in mortgage fraud

A well-known Northern Virginia businessman has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme.

In U.S. District Court Thursday, Vijay K. Taneja, 47, of Fairfax admitted that through his company, Financial Mortgage Inc., he defrauded banks of at least $33 million by creating fake mortgage loans and selling the same loans to several investors. Mr. Taneja then pocketed the proceeds generated from refinancing loans, authorities say.

The case is the largest in Virginia in at least two decades.

Mr. Taneja faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Sentencing is scheduled for January.


Tech ‘gunfire’ a false alarm

An exploding cartridge from a nail gun was the source of gunshotlike sounds that prompted a lockdown of a residence hall on Virginia Tech’s campus Thursday, authorities said.

Police secured Pritchard Hall about 1 p.m. after two people reported hearing something that sounded like gunfire. Officials searched every room in the 1,000-student dormitory, and reopened it two hours later after finding no evidence of gunshots.

Witnesses told police the sounds were like firecrackers going off, but officers found an exploded cartridge from a nail gun near trash bins outside the building. Police theorized that someone mechanically exploded the construction shell, possibly by slamming the lid of a trash bin, and the sound echoed.

There are several construction projects nearby, campus police spokesman Lenny Session said, and authorities were looking for two men who apparently set the cartridge off.

The situation was a test for the university’s emergency response procedures for alerting students of possible danger. Those methods were revised after a gunman killed 32 people and himself in a 2007 rampage.

Police responded to the dormitory within a minute of the report, campus spokesman Larry Hincker said, and the campus was alerted with messages sent to e-mails, to cell phones, on the school Web page and to classroom message boards.

At least two of the alerts sent to cell phones did not work because of a problem with a subcontractor, the university said.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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