- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 1, 2009


D.C. cruise boat hits rescue boat

A river cruise boat struck a fireboat Saturday, causing severe damage, D.C. fire officials said.

The Spirit of Washington was backing out of its dock on the city’s southwestern waterfront about 1:15 p.m. Saturday when it collided with the 70-foot John Glenn fireboat, D.C. fire spokesman Alan Etter said.

The collision caused about a 15-foot-long gash in the middle of the John Glenn, above the water line, he said.

Three fire department members on the John Glenn were shaken, but uninjured. Four crew members on the Spirit were also uninjured. There were no guests aboard at the time.

The Coast Guard and D.C. police harbor patrol officials are investigating. The John Glenn will be out of service until further notice.



Retired librarian gives $650,000 to library

A retired librarian has left the public library system more than $650,000, officials at Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library said.

Sara Siebert left an estate of more than $2 million after her death at 88 last year.

With no survivors, she divided her assets among the Pratt, the Walters Art Museum and the Broadmead Retirement Community in Cockeysville. She also created a $600,000 trust for her alma mater, Goucher College.

The amount she left to the library system exceeds the total of all the paychecks that she took home in her 34 years as Pratt’s director of young adult reading.


Court dismisses firefighters’ suit

A Frederick County Circuit judge has dismissed nine suits filed by career firefighters against the county commissioners.

The firefighters sued over what they called pay disparities and promotion procedures.

Judge Julie Stevenson Solt wrote in her decision on Monday that the firefighters failed to show that the board decision was arbitrary, capricious or illegal.

Forty firefighters started suing in October 2006 over a ruling that grievances could not be filed over compensation and promotions.

Judge Solt denied the firefighters’ request to order collective bargaining.

John Neary, president of the county career firefighters’ union, said the union is “disappointed with the results.”



Virginia tallies inauguration costs

Virginia will bill the federal government for $7 million in costs associated with the inauguration of President Obama.

The office of Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, said Friday that the state’s largest expenditure was $3.9 million by the Virginia Department of Transportation. That includes $2.5 million for snow and ice removal on roads to speed traffic to Washington.

Nearly $800,000 was spent on additional law enforcement by the Virginia State Police and $500,000 for free buses to shuttle inaugural attendees to mass transit.

Kaine spokesman Gordon Hickey said the state expects to be reimbursed by the Department of Homeland Security.


Alito calls students to public service

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said Saturday that despite worries of a gradual decline in the legal profession, he’s optimistic there’s a place for those who want to serve the public good.

Justice Alito told an audience of about 300 people at the University of Virginia School of Law on Saturday that public service remains a core ideal and a central part of the profession.

He also encouraged the students and faculty to accept the commercialization of the profession and find new ways to incorporate working for the public trust into their work.

The former federal prosecutor and appeals court judge spoke at the university’s 10th annual Conference on Public Service and the Law. His keynote address came exactly three years from the day he joined the nation’s highest court.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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