- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 13, 2009



Budget crisis bags county leaf removal

A leaf-removal program has been discontinued in Prince George’s County after 25 years because of budget cuts.

Some county residents said they raked their leaves to the curb as they had for years and expected they would be vacuumed up by the county. But they were surprised to learn the leaf-removal program was cut.

Susan Hubbard of the county’s Department of Public Works and Transportation said the service was only offered in about 350 communities and that a notice about the program being discontinued went out to community representatives over the summer, WTOP-FM radio reported.

Still, many residents said they weren’t told. Now they have to bag their leaves or risk facing a fine. The county says canceling the program should save $2 million.



Tax district likely for Dulles rail stops

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has given preliminary approval to create a special tax district to pay for three planned Metro stations in Northern Virginia.

A nonprofit group, the Western Alliance for Rail to Dulles, gathered support of about 60 percent of affected landowners to create the tax district. It would pay for $330 million in construction costs for stops from Reston to Washington Dulles International Airport.

The tax district plan calls for an initial rate of 5 cents for every $100 of commercial property value. The rate would increase by 5 cents a year to 20 cents in 2013. Under the plan, the tax rate would be capped at 25 cents.

The tax district is expected to be formally approved Dec. 21.


Wife is charged in husband’s shooting

Virginia State Police said a woman has been charged in the shooting of her estranged husband, an investigator with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Brenda Lee Canosa, 49, faces charges of attempted first-degree murder, malicious wounding, and using a firearm in a felony. State police said she was arrested at her Madison County home Friday night and was taken to the Central Virginia Regional Jail.

Robert Canosa, 55, was shot several times Friday morning at his Orange County home. Police said Mr. Canosa, who has been with the sheriff’s office since August 2007, remains in stable condition at the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville.


Boating deaths ruled accidental

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission said the deaths of two boaters found in the Chesapeake Bay have been ruled accidental.

Commission spokesman John Bull said all the evidence pointed to accidental drowning. He said there’s no way of knowing for sure, but officials think one man fell in and the other went in after him, either on purpose or by mistake.

Virginia Marine Police investigated the deaths of Jefferson Sykes, 83, of Chesapeake and Allen Fuller, 75, of Portsmouth. The men had gone boating the morning of Dec. 4, and their bodies were found a few hours later north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.


Marine Science jobs lost in budget cut

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science will cut 16 positions in January, and 10 additional faculty positions won’t be filled.

The cuts are the product of $6.1 million in state budget reductions over two years.

The institute is the graduate school in marine science for the College of William & Mary. Faculty and staff conduct coastal ocean and estuarine research and advise state and local agencies, industry and the public. The campus is in Gloucester Point on the banks of the York River.

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