- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 4, 2008


Officials eye Hanna, see impact Saturday

District and Maryland officials said Wednesday they are preparing for the worst from Tropical Storm Hanna.

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency is operating 24 hours a day, and staffers are holding regular conference calls with the National Weather Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency , the Maryland National Guard and local emergency managers. Gov. Martin O’Malley, Democrat, is being briefed twice a day on the storm’s progress.

Early forecasts indicate the storm could hit the region Saturday, bringing heavy rain and high wind.

D.C. officials are urging residents to prepare an emergency kit that includes nonperishable food and water for three to five days. Residents also are advised to obtain a battery or crank-powered radio.

Unconscious person delayed MARC

The delays Wednesday morning on the MARC trains between Baltimore and the District were the result of an unconscious person found near the tracks, according to the Maryland Transit Administration.

The adult, who was not identified, was found northeast of Union Station shortly before 7:45 a.m., said the Metropolitan Police Department, which is conducting an investigation. Details on the person’s condition were not available.

The Brunswick- and Camden-line trains were rerouted to stations in Silver Spring and Greenbelt so commuters could take Metro, a MARC spokeswoman said.

Full service resumed about 9 a.m. The Penn Line was not affected.


First D.C. dealer to offer gun sales

District residents soon will be able to purchase a handgun and legally bring the weapon into the city now that a gun dealer has renewed his federal license.

Charles Sykes Jr. told WTOP radio he will begin transferring firearms Tuesday.

The Supreme Court lifted the city’s handgun ban in June. But because there are no gun shops in the District, prospective buyers must go elsewhere, such as Maryland or Virginia.

Under federal law, people can purchase a gun out of state, but the weapon must be shipped to a licensed dealer in their home jurisdiction, where the buyer can arrange to pick it up.

Mr. Sykes is the only gun dealer in the District who has expressed interest in handling such transactions. He plans to charge $125 for each gun transfer. His business, CS Exchange, is in Anacostia.

Report: Victims stood on bus seats

The two Virginia passengers killed in a July 12 bus accident in which their heads struck a bridge overpass were standing on their seats, the Metropolitan Police Department said Wednesday. The open-air, double-decker bus was taking fans to a Nationals baseball game.

Toxicology tests indicate that alcohol may have been a factor in the deaths of Michael Feiock, 35, and Joshua Stoll, 24.

The agency reconstructed the crash, at the 11th Street overpass, and found Mr. Stoll, of Sterling, had been standing on the first seat on the right side of the bus and Mr. Feiock, of Centreville, had been standing directly opposite of Mr. Stoll on the left side.

The crash remains under investigation by the agency’s Major Crash Investigations Unit. No charges have been filed.



Lawmaker plea seen in child porn case

The child pornography case against a former state delegate could be resolved as early as Friday.

The lawyer for Robert A. McKee, Western Maryland Republican, said Wednesday his client will plead guilty to a federal count of possessing child porn when arraigned Friday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

Mr. McKee, 59, resigned from the General Assembly in February after police raided his house in Halfway. He also resigned in February as executive director of the local Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization.


UMd. selected as cancer center

The Greenebaum Cancer Center at the University of Maryland has been chosen as a National Cancer Institute cancer center.

University officials said Wednesday the Maryland center will be one of 63 NCI centers nationwide.

Center Director Dr. Kevin Cullen says the center is known for its commitment to minorities and underserved communities. More than 40 percent of its patients are black and nearly half take part in clinical trials. Nationally, less than 2 percent of black cancer patients participate in clinical trials.

The Greenebaum Cancer Center will receive up to $3 million in NCI funding over the next three years. The designation also means the center is able to receive grants and NCI-funded cancer studies offered only to designated centers.


Stinging caterpillar hits Eastern Shore

A species of stinging caterpillar more common in southern climates appears to have arrived on the Eastern Shore.

A pest-management consultant with the Queen Anne’s County Extension Office said a woman needed medical treatment last week because venom from a puss caterpillar traveled up her arm to her lymph nodes.

Puss caterpillars do not bite, but their hair contains venom.

Extension specialists said some people are more sensitive to the caterpillars than others, but children should be told not to touch them.

Cecil County Extension master gardener Eileen Boyle said the caterpillars also may have arrived in Cecil County.


D.C. men charged in counterfeit case

Three District men have been arrested in Ocean City on charges they tried to pass counterfeit money.

A game operator at Jolly Rogers Amusements contacted police Sunday when a man tried to pay for a game with a phony $50 bill, resort police said.

Officers arrested the man and two associates. They are identified as David Bailey, 23; Antonie North, 19; and Marquise Young, 18.

Officers recovered more than $900 in counterfeit $20 and $50 bills, police said. The men were charged with possessing-issuing forged currency. Each of the suspects posted $3,500 secured bond.



Man pleads guilty in illegal IDs case

A Harrisonburg man has pleaded guilty to conspiring to obtain bogus Ohio identification cards for illegal immigrants in Virginia.

Edwin Roberto Mendez was among eight people indicted in the case in March. He was accused of taking three illegals to Ohio in October to obtain fraudulent IDs.

Mendez chose Ohio because its Bureau of Motor Vehicles offices are franchises that can be obtained by individual state contractors, federal prosecutors said .

He pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to violate federal immigration laws and aggravated identity fraud.

He faces up to seven years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 10.

Five co-defendants also have pleaded guilty and two others are awaiting trial.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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