- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 7, 2009



Prisoners get choice of kosher meals

Maryland prison officials said inmates will continue to be offered the choice of kosher meals beyond the Passover period that begins Wednesday.

The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services announced in March it would offer kosher meals during Passover to any inmates who are observant Jews.

The agency said Monday that after the seven-day Passover period ends, it will continue offering kosher meals three times daily to any of the approximately 130 inmates registered as Jewish, House of Yahweh, or Assembly of Yahweh.

Two Jewish inmates have sued the state prison agency, contending they were denied their right to religious freedom because the prisons didn't offer kosher meals.

The agency said the religious-diet program won't add to food-service costs.


Armored truck spills quarters on I-95

An armored truck overturned on Interstate 95 early Monday, spilling thousands of dollars' worth of quarters over three lanes of traffic.

The incident occurred around 9 a.m. on northbound 95 near Interstate 895 in Howard County. State Highway Administration spokesman David Buck said major delays continued into the afternoon as Loomis Co. employees and highway crews worked to pick up the spilled quarters.

State police spokesman Sgt. Arthur Betts said a pickup truck towing a utility trailer pulled into the lane in front of the armored truck. Sgt. Betts said that when the armored-truck driver took evasive action, he lost control. The armored truck hit the pickup and overturned, injuring both the driver and a passenger.

Loomis brought in another armored car to carry away the money.


Jury convicts man of attempted murder

The Montgomery County State's Attorney's office said a jury convicted a 31-year-old man of attempted murder.

Prosecutors said a jury found Sebastian Hernandez guilty on Friday on four charges, including attempted second-degree murder and first-degree assault, for an August 2008 incident.

Hernandez had an altercation with two men in Silver Spring, whom he first met at a strip mall and then later encountered on the Talbot Street Bridge. Prosecutors said Hernandez became angry with one of the men, firing several shots at him, but hit the other man. The victim was treated for life-threatening injuries.

Sentencing for Hernandez is scheduled for June 29.


Hours extended at popular museums

Three of the most popular Smithsonian museums will extend their hours into the evening over the summer months to try to increase revenue for the museum complex.

Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough announced the change Monday for the three most visited museums on the Mall, as well as cuts the Smithsonian has made because of declining revenue from its endowment.

The Museum of American History, Air and Space Museum and Museum of Natural History will stay open two hours later, until 7:30 p.m. every day through Labor Day. The museums open at 10 a.m. and typically closed at the end of the workday.

Declining revenue has also led to more than a dozen layoffs at the museum complex.



Kaine pardons two convicted of rape

Gov. Tim Kaine pardoned two men who spent years behind bars before being cleared of sexual assaults by DNA evidence saved in their cases.

Mr. Kaine on Monday granted absolute pardons to Victor Anthony Burnette and Arthur Lee Whitfield. The absolute pardon clears the crimes from the men's records.

Mr. Whitfield spent more than 23 years in prison for two rapes in Norfolk in 1982. He already was exonerated.

Mr. Burnette spent eight years behind bars for a 1979 rape in Richmond.

Both men requested that scientists examine biological evidence saved in their files long before DNA testing was commonly used. Since that evidence was found, the state has begun retesting samples saved in hundreds of cases in which someone was convicted.


WWII codebreaker 'Jack' Good dies

Irving John “Jack” Good, who advised Stanley Kubrick on the science related to the film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” died Sunday. He was 92.

Virginia Tech on Monday reported the death of the professor emeritus, who had also been part of the World War II code-breaking team in his native England. He had been a professor of statistics at Tech since 1967.

Mr. Good had worked for British military intelligence on a team to break the German Enigma code during World War II. He and other scientists developed an early version of the computer to break one of the German encryption systems.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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