- The Washington Times - Monday, December 28, 2009



Local governments face budget woes

County and municipal governments across Virginia are facing the grim prospect that 2010 might not be much better than 2009.

A survey conducted by the Virginia Association of Counties and the Virginia Municipal League found that nearly 60 percent of local governments instituted hiring freezes or cut funding.

About 45 percent dipped into reserves to close budget gaps, and 70 percent reduced or eliminated capital projects.

Cities and counties hope their budgets will balance come June 30, the end of the fiscal year, but a crucial piece of the puzzle - whether state funding will be further slashed - is still unknown.

Jim Campbell, executive director of the association of counties, said the strain will likely last for several years.


Jefferson’s estate open to functions

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello is swinging open its historic doors to private functions.

Although Jefferson’s home is not part of the new policy, his library, portions of the Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center and other areas are now available for corporations and other organizations to use for various functions.

Ann Taylor of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns and operates Monticello, said the new policy is in the Jeffersonian tradition. The nation’s third president was known for his hospitality and also designed Monticello as well as the historic center of the nearby University of Virginia.

Miss Taylor said Monticello might some day book weddings or wedding receptions.

The estate covers 2,400 acres overlooking Charlottesville.



Donors to pay for girl’s funeral

Relatives of an 11-year-old Sarah Haley Foxwell, who died after police say she was abducted by a registered sex offender, will not have to pay for her funeral or burial.

John Holloway of Holloway Funeral Home in Salisbury told WBOC-TV that local donors have paid for Sarah’s funeral. Mr. Holloway said the donors want to remain anonymous. No date has been set for the memorial service.

Sarah was abducted from her home Tuesday night. Her body was found on Christmas Day after a massive search that included more than 3,000 volunteers.

Thomas Leggs Jr., 30, of Salisbury, has been charged with kidnapping and burglary in her disappearance. He is a registered sex offender in Maryland and Delaware and is being held without bail.


3 men killed in 3 incidents

Baltimore police said three men were fatally shot in separate incidents Saturday.

Among the victims was a jewelry store owner who was shot in his place of business. Detective Donny Moses, a police spokesman, said a relative found Wayne Ruder, 56, suffering from a gunshot wound in the back room of his store.

Detective Moses said there was no sign of forced entry, and nothing had been taken from the store. Police have no motive in the slaying.

Meanwhile, police said Ashley Harper, 53, was fatally shot outside his West Baltimore home Saturday evening after he came to the aid of his sons during a fight.

Late Saturday night, a man was found in East Baltimore with gunshot wounds to his head and upper body. He died in a hospital.


Woman dies of carbon monoxide

Baltimore County fire officials said one of four people who suffered carbon monoxide poisoning in a Rosedale apartment complex more than a week ago has died.

Two women, a man and an 11-month-old child were hospitalized Dec. 18 after the carbon monoxide leak on Twin Crest Court.

Fire officials said one of the women died Saturday. Investigators haven’t determined the case of the leak.

Earlier last week, the Baltimore County Council passed a law that requires all rental units heated by fuel-burning equipment to have carbon monoxide detectors. The law also applies to any unit attached to a garage. It takes effect in 45 days.

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