- The Washington Times - Friday, April 3, 2009

REGION

O’Malley, Fenty eye regional safety issues

Maryland’s governor and the District’s mayor committed Thursday to regional crime fighting by monitoring repeat violent offenders and sharing information on high-risk offenders.

Gov. Martin O’Malley and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, both Democrats, also said that they will meet regularly to discuss public safety issues that affect the region.

DISTRICT

WASA manager Johnson to step down

Jerry N. Johnson, general manager of the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority since its inception in 1997, will leave his post, the authority’s board said Thursday. Mr. Johnson will stay for the next several months as the board searches for a successor.

“We have been fortunate to have had Jerry Johnson’s skilled leadership and appreciate his service on behalf of the people who live and work in the District of Columbia and the Metro region,” said William M. Walker, chairman of the board.

Mr. Johnson drew sharp criticism in 2005 for his agency’s response to reports of high lead levels in the District’s water supply. Residents in some areas continued to drink the water for a year because the authority delayed reporting test results and failed to take accurate water samples.

MARYLAND

BALTIMORE

Developer to bid on three racetracks

A Baltimore developer said that his firm will bid on Pimlico Race Course, Laurel Park and the Preakness Stakes, which are for sale by their bankrupt owner.

David Coldish told the Baltimore Sun on Wednesday that he is also interested in purchasing Bowie Training Center.

Track owner Magna Entertainment Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month. Magna has asked a federal judge for permission to auction Laurel, Pimlico and other tracks, including Santa Anita Park in Southern California. A hearing is set for Friday.

Coldish Cos. bid against Magna for Anne Arundel County’s sole license to operate slot machines.

GREENBELT

Man sentenced in apartment fires

A man was sentenced Thursday to more than eight years in prison for setting nine fires at the Springhill Lake apartment complex in Greenbelt.

Jeremiah Jones, 26, of Greenbelt, was sentenced in U.S. District Court. A restitution hearing is set for June 29; the government is asking for $2.4 million in restitution.

According to a plea agreement, Jones set the fires between March 25 and Aug. 2, 2007, at the apartment complex.

No one was injured in any of the blazes.

HALFWAY

Cereal typo sends callers to sex line

An Oregon company has ordered new packaging for its Peace Cereal after a typo on the box sent callers to a phone sex line instead of the cereal maker’s 800 number.

Instead of reaching Golden Temple of Oregon, callers were greeted by a recorded voice advertising explicit conversations.

Eugene, Ore.-based Golden Temple ordered new packaging when the mistake was discovered in December and new boxes have been shipped out for weeks, spokeswoman Elissa Brown said.

However, 13 varieties of the cereal were on shelves Wednesday at one Halfway grocery store, including seven varieties in boxes bearing the incorrect telephone number.

VIRGINIA

RICHMOND

Huckabee tires joke falls flat on Democrat

Former Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee has told Republicans if they can’t beat Democrats in this fall’s Virginia governor’s race, flatten their tires.

The former Arkansas governor made the remark Monday at an event for presumptive Republican nominee Bob McDonnell in Tazewell County. Video posted on YouTube.com shows Mr. Huckabee and the crowd chuckling at a seemingly facetious laugh line.

But former Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe isn’t laughing.

In a media conference call Thursday, the current Virginia gubernatorial candidate said denying people the right to vote is “not a laughing matter.”

Mr. Huckabee, grinning, told supporters they had two Election Day duties: get McDonnell voters to the polls, and deflate the tires of people not voting for Mr. McDonnell.

Mr. McDonnell is running against R. Creigh Deeds and Brian J. Moran in the Republican primary.

FAIRFAX

Stafford man charged with fondling girl

Fairfax County police have arrested a Stafford man on charges of fondling a girl, 12, in Lorton when her parents were away.

Owen Brown, 20, was arrested at his home in the 100 block of White Pine Circle on Tuesday, police said.

Last week, Mr. Brown arranged to see a Lorton girl he met online while her parents were out of the house, police said. He touched her inappropriately, police said, and fled when the girl’s parents came home unexpectedly.

Two days later, the parents called police when they learned the person who fondled their daughter was an adult.

Police have charged Mr. Brown with use of a communication device to solicit a juvenile, indecent liberties with a minor and aggravated sexual battery.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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