- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 3, 2008


New Web site aids ride-sharing

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments launched an improved ride-matching service Tuesday as gas prices have motorists looking for more affordable ways to commute.

The council presented the revamped Commuter Connections Web site after a preliminary launch last month. The new site, www.mwcog.org/commuter2, allows users to manage their profiles directly to more easily find car pools, van pools and other options that match their commuting needs.

Commuter Connections helps motorists find others who live and work near them. It also operates the Guaranteed Ride Home program, which provides car-poolers and transit users with a ride home in the event of an emergency or if they are required to work unscheduled overtime that causes them to miss their usual ride.

In addition, the new Web site provides comprehensive information about transit options, park-and-ride lots and teleworking centers along a given route.



Motorcycle crash kills elderly man

The elderly man who crashed on his motorcycle last weekend in Kent County died Monday from his injuries, state police said.

Police have identified the victim as Alvin White, 83, of Smyrna, Del. Mr. White lost control of his motorcycle about 5 p.m. when he veered off Route 29, near Millington, and crashed into a bean field. The crash is still under investigation.


Ex-delegate cited in child porn case

The Justice Department has charged former state Delegate Robert A. McKee, Western Maryland Republican, with one count of possessing child pornography stemming from a search of his home and personal computers earlier this year.

U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein said Tuesday that Mr. McKee, 59, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted. No court date was scheduled.

The charge was in the form of a criminal information rather than a grand jury indictment, which generally indicates a plea agreement is forthcoming.

Mr. McKee resigned Feb. 15, about two weeks after Washington County sheriff’s deputies raided his home in Halfway, an unincorporated community near Hagerstown.


Guardsmen go to hurricane site

About 55 Maryland National Guardsmen are going to Louisiana to provide logistical support to the Hurricane Gustav relief effort.

The troops will coordinate an airfield in Baton Rouge and help with air traffic control, allowing supplies and relief workers to be flown in from across the country.

State officials also are preparing to respond if Hurricane Hanna hits the Atlantic Coast. Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, and Gen. James Adkins, head of the Maryland National Guard, were briefed Monday afternoon by the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.

The state has improved its planning for a natural disaster, agency Director Richard G. Muth said. The agency last year identified people who would need transportation in the event of an evacuation and has contracted with bus companies.


Retailers report slow holiday sales

Store owners on the resort’s boardwalk said business Labor Day weekend was slow, like the rest of the summer.

Business was already off by 10 percent this summer and the holiday weekend was no different, said Allen Sklar, owner of Bike World.

Yakov Katane, owner of three T-shirt shops, said his revenue is down nearly 40 percent this year.

Many business owners said they were hoping Labor Day would mean crowds of eager shoppers. But their hopes were deflated. Some retailers think many people did not make the trip because of concerns about Chesapeake Bay Bridge traffic.

Last year, nearly 280,000 people visited the resort on Labor Day. This year’s number has yet to be released.



Guard to mobilize for Afghan mission

Members of the Virginia National Guard are mobilizing this week before being sent to Afghanistan to train that country’s army and police.

Officials said the 16 soldiers will depart Thursday to Fort Riley, Kan. , to train for the mission. The soldiers are expected to deploy to Afghanistan in late November.

The team will train and mentor members of the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police. Training will include logistics, tactics, strategic planning and military decision-making processes.

Maj. Gen. Robert Newman Jr., the adjutant general of Virginia, announced the mobilization in June.


Holiday fatalities post sharp decline

Virginia recorded a sharp decline in highway deaths over the Labor Day weekend compared with last year.

Preliminary numbers released Tuesday by the Virginia State Police show that seven people died in crashes over the four-day period. Last year, a record 22 were killed during the long holiday weekend.

This year’s number is the lowest since 2001, when the state recorded six highway fatalities.

State police were out in force through the weekend, patrolling a total of 337,154 miles.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.



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