- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 30, 2009


Charities pull out of United Way

Twenty-one Washington-area charities are pulling out of the local United Way chapter and creating their own partnership to increase workplace charitable campaigns.

The groups announced Wednesday that they were dropping their membership and establishing a new federation called Community1st. They say the United Way has not recovered from a decline in giving after being plagued with charges of financial mismanagement in recent years.

The charities include the Whitman-Walker Clinic, Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-Atlantic and WETA. America’s Charities, a Chantilly-based group, will administer the program.

Officials say the new alliance will promote designated giving, allowing employees to select which charities receive their contributions.



Teens arrested in murder plot

Montgomery County police have arrested two high school students accused of conspiring to assault their principal and set the school on fire.

Police said Wednesday that 17-year-old Anthony Torrence and 18-year-old Yonata Getachew, both of Silver Spring, face charges including conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Mr. Torrence is being charged as an adult.

Police said the teenagers had been planning for weeks to assault a Springbrook High School counselor and the principal with explosive devices and to damage the school. During a search of their homes Tuesday, authorities said they found chemicals and written plans, among other things.

Officials said the two students attempted to set fire in a locker room this week. There also were signs a fire had been set earlier in a school restroom.


Man robs armored truck

Montgomery County police say an armored truck employee was robbed as the employee made a cash delivery to a bank in Silver Spring.

It happened shortly before 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Chevy Chase bank on the 11000 block of New Hampshire Avenue.

A man followed the armored truck employee into the bank and showed a handgun, police said. The man forced the employee to the ground and took the employee’s gun and an undisclosed amount of cash.

The suspect fled on foot. There were no injuries.


Overharvesting didn’t affect mushrooms

A study commissioned by the National Park Service concludes that mushroom hunting probably isn’t to blame for a reported decline in morels in two western Maryland parks.

The draft document suggests that reduced morel populations in Catoctin Mountain Park near Thurmont and the C&O; Canal National Historical Park along the Potomac River are more likely caused by increased development and declining numbers of American elm trees, which provide habitat for the tasty mushrooms.

The report urges better communication between park officials and mushroom hunters. It suggests that park managers reconsider any limits that they have placed on morel harvesting.


Student at fault in jogging death

Police say a Mount St. Mary’s University student was improperly running in a traffic lane when she was struck and killed by a pickup truck near the campus in Emmitsburg.

Frederick County Sheriff’s Lt. Tom Winebrenner said Wednesday that 22-year-old senior Elizabeth DiNunzio was running south in the northbound lane of Old Emmitsburg Road shortly after 3 p.m. Tuesday when she was hit by a truck driven by 29-year-old Joshua Cool of Emmitsburg.

Lt. Winebrenner said the road has no shoulder. He said Mr. Cool won’t be charged.

Miss DiNunzio was an education major from Zelienople, Pa., just north of Pittsburgh.

School spokeswoman Linda Sherman said Miss DiNunzio was training for the Pittsburgh marathon.


Water main break halts train service

Amtrak halted service between Baltimore and the District on Wednesday after a 36-inch water main broke north of the station at the Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

Baltimore Public Works spokesman Kurt Kocher said the type of main installed in the 1970s is notorious for defects.

Southwest Baltimore County, Howard County and southwest Baltimore residents were asked to conserve water.



State asked to deny mining permit

Environmentalists and residents are asking state mining officials to deny a permit for a mountaintop mining operation in southwestern Virginia.

The Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy was given a petition signed by 300 people Wednesday opposing a permit for mining on Ison Rock Ridge in Wise County.

The petition asks state officials to follow the lead of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA has asked the Army Corps of Engineers to revoke its permit for the mining operation and to review the proposal under a more complicated permitting process.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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