- The Washington Times - Friday, December 25, 2009


Obama nominates new U.S. attorney

President Obama has nominated Ronald C. Machen to be U.S. attorney for the District. The nomination was sent to the U.S. Senate for confirmation Wednesday.

Mr. Machen, a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, was assistant U.S. attorney in the District from 1997 to 2001 and was a law clerk for two years for U.S. Appeals Court Judge Damon Keith of the 6th Circuit.

According to Wilmer Hale’s Web site, Mr. Machen has handled civil litigation, white-collar criminal defense and internal corporate investigations. He recently represented Boeing Co. in a dispute over the Air Force tanker contract.

Mr. Machen graduated from Stanford University in 1991 and Harvard Law School in 1994.

Channing D. Phillips has been acting U.S. attorney since Jeffrey A. Taylor resigned in May.

Police make arrest in 1993 homicide

Metropolitan Police on Thursday announced an arrest in a 16-year-old homicide.

Police said members of the departments warrant squad arrested Jobe Toby, 35, at 5:45 a.m. Wednesday in connection with the 1993 killing of LeCedric Gaino.

Police said Gaino was found fatally shot in the 3500 block of 11th Street in Northwest in June 1993.

Mr. Toby was charged with first-degree murder.



Man charged in 3 set fires

Fire marshals have issued an arrest warrant charging a man with setting fires at the Days Inn in Westminster.

Authorities said John Owen Hollis, 22, of Westminster, was being held in Harrisonburg, Va., pending extradition to Maryland.

Mr. Hollis is charged in two fires set at the hotel last year and one this year. The blazes were set in a wooden shed, a metal shipping container and a discarded mattress. The three fires caused $4,000 in damage.


Crowds prompt change in plunge

Taking a New Year’s Day dip in the chilly Potomac River has become so popular that organizers of the annual event in Williamsport are beefing up their crowd control.

The Hagerstown Herald-Mail reports that the Polar Bear Plunge committee also is adding changing tents, participant armbands and spectator bleachers to the noon event at River Bottom Park.

The Humane Society of Washington County, which benefits from the event, says 165 people registered for last year’s plunge.


GOP sets deadline for delegate filings

Republican leaders in Frederick and Washington counties have set a Tuesday deadline for those seeking appointment to the state delegate seat vacated by Rick Weldon’s resignation last week.

The Republican committees will jointly recommend a replacement whom Gov. Martin O’Malley can appoint before the 2010 General Assembly session begins Jan. 13.

The district is mostly in Frederick County. The Hagerstown Herald-Mail reported Thursday that four Frederick County Republicans have indicated interest in the seat but none have formally applied.

Republicans get to recommend someone because Mr. Weldon was elected as a Republican, even though he switched last year to “unaffiliated.” He resigned to take a job at Frederick City Hall.


Man fights stench at treatment plant

A Westernport man has asked a government agency to cut the stench from a wastewater treatment plant that serves the western Maryland town and a nearby paper mill.

Tom Marsh said the persistent stink is unhealthy and detrimental to economic development of the Potomac River town and nearby communities.

The plant is run by the Upper Potomac River Commission, a three-member board with members appointed by the governor and Allegany and Garrett counties. It treats industrial wastewater from the NewPage paper mill and municipal sewage from Westernport, Luke and Piedmont, W.Va.

Commission member and Republican state Delegate Wendell Beitzel said he doubts that anything can be done. But he said the commission may consider the issue when it meets Wednesday in Westernport.



State warns drivers to watch for ice

The Virginia Department of Transportation is advising motorists to adjust their travel plans around icy precipitation heading toward southwestern Virginia.

Officials say they expect ice to begin accumulating on roads late Christmas Eve and continuing through Christmas afternoon.

Officials noted that a difference in just a few degrees of air or ground temperatures will impact how much ice or sleet accumulates.

Road crews are prepared to use chemicals and abrasives to treat ice-covered roads. They also are prepared to deal with downed trees as the forecast is calling for wind gusts of about 50 mph.

Traffic alerts and traveler information re available at 511Virginia.org or by calling 866/MY511VA (866/695-1182).


Guard remains in storm-hit counties

About 100 Virginia National Guard soldiers continue to help two southwestern counties hit hard by last weekend’s winter storm.

The soldiers are delivering food and water and going to door to door in Wise County to check on residents’ health and welfare.

They’re also operating a water distribution sites in Dickenson County. That mission was scheduled to end Thursday.

The National Guard said the soldiers are expected to remain in Wise County through Sunday.

Gov. Tim Kaine declared a state of emergency Dec. 18 ahead of the storm. The declaration authorizes the Guard to assist state and local authorities.


Historic diner on landmarks list

The 61-year-old Triangle Diner in Winchester has been placed on the Virginia Landmarks Register.

The diner also has been nominated to the National Register of Historic Places.

It’s one of 10 prefabricated stainless-steel diners in Virginia and has stood in Winchester since 1948.

The Triangle Diner is owned by Dulles-based Medallion 7 Financial. Managing director Michael Lessin says the diner is one of the few remaining examples of that type of architecture.

The diner is closed but Mr. Lessin said the company plans to restore it and reopen it in the spring or summer.

Mr. Lessin said the company plans to invest about $1 million in the restoration.

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