- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 16, 2008


Smithsonian board to hold open meeting

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is scheduled Monday to conduct the first public meeting held by the Smithsonian Institution’s governing board.

For 162 years, the Smithsonian Board of Regents has met behind closed doors, but the board is breaking with that policy. The move comes as the regents work toward more transparency and accountability.

Chief Justice Roberts serves as the chancellor of the regents. He is expected to attend the meeting along with most of the board’s 15 active members.

The meeting will begin at 1:30 p.m. at Baird Auditorium in the National Museum of Natural History.

The Smithsonian bought newspaper ads inviting the public to attend. Subjects will include how the Smithsonian can better serve a changing U.S. population and attract more diverse audiences.



City cop indicted in off-duty assault

An Anne Arundel County grand jury has indicted a Baltimore city police officer after a fight at a Glen Burnie banquet hall while he was off-duty.

The indictment handed up on Friday charges Melvin Jones, 28, of Perry Hall with first- and second-degree assault and a weapons charge in the fight that occurred at La Fontaine Bleu on Oct. 18.

In a statement of charges, Charles Smith, 45, wrote that Officer Jones got into a dispute with Mr. Smith and punched him in the head until he lost consciousness.

Mr. Smith wrote that several people saw Officer Jones hit him “in the back of the head with a shiny metal object in or on his hand.” Mr. Smith received 12 stitches for cuts.

Officer Jones, who has been on the force since 2002, was arrested Oct. 24. He has been suspended without pay, Baltimore police said.


Man gets 15 years for stabbing teen

A Howard County judge has sentenced a 19-year-old man to 15 years in prison for stabbing another teen outside The Mall in Columbia.

Bernardo Leconte of Columbia was sentenced Friday to 20 years with five years suspended.

Leconte pleaded guilty in August to attempted second-degree murder in the stabbing of Julian Lichtenstein, then 17, in January.

Mr. Lichtenstein arranged to sell marijuana to Leconte and co-defendant Cordero Taylor, prosecutors said. But when they met outside the JCPenney store, prosecutors say they argued over the quality of the drugs and Leconte stabbed Mr. Lichtenstein several times.

Taylor was convicted of assault in July and sentenced to 10 years in prison.


Water-main break hits Largo area

Some Prince George’s County residents are being advised to boil their water following a major water-main break in the Largo area.

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission says there’s no indication the water system is contaminated, but advises residents to boil water for one minute as a precaution.

The water-main break occurred about 2:30 a.m. Saturday in the area around Central Avenue and the Capital Beltway, leading to a loss of water pressure or water service for large areas of the county. The WSSC says service was restored by late afternoon.

Residents affected by the water-main break are advised to boil their water until tests confirm the quality of the drinking water. The process is expected to take at least five days.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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