- The Washington Times - Friday, February 13, 2009


High winds rip region; thousands lose power

High winds caused power outages across the Mid-Atlantic region Thursday.

Shortly after noon, Baltimore Gas and Electric reported outages at more than 11,100 homes and businesses in its service area. Power had been restored to more than 24,000 addresses.

Pepco reported a total of about 1,800 outages in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, and about 100 in D.C.

Delmarva Power and Light reported more than 600 outages in its Maryland service area, and more than 2,600 in Delaware.

Dominion Power reported about 8,700 outages in Northern Virginia.

The National Weather Service issued wind warnings and wind advisories.


Fish seller, son plead guilty

A fish wholesaler and his son pleaded guilty Thursday in the largest investigation of illegal commercial fishing in the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River.

Robert Moore Sr. and son Robert Moore Jr. entered their pleas in U.S. District Court, the Justice Department said. The elder Mr. Moore owns Cannon Seafood Inc. in Georgetown, where his son also works.

The Moores and at least three fishermen illegally harvested and sold hundreds of thousands of pounds of striped bass, which are highly protected, prosecutors said. The men were charged last month with violating the Lacey Act, a federal law that bars the creation of false records for fish and wildlife or transporting illegally harvested wildlife.

Four other fishermen have been indicted on similar charges.

Policing museum scales back plans

Plans for a National Law Enforcement Museum are being dramatically scaled back because organizers say the recession has made it difficult to raise money.

They are cutting $29 million from the $80 million project and reducing its square footage by nearly half. The group also said Wednesday that its completion date for the museum at Judiciary Square will be pushed back from 2011 to 2013.

Craig Floyd, chairman and chief executive officer of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, said the changes were fiscally prudent, given the weak economy. The group has raised more than $37 million, but fundraising has slowed.

Revised plans for the mostly underground building call for eliminating a level dedicated to administrative space, as well as a cafe and atrium. Two-thirds of the exhibit space will be maintained, along with a shop, theater and education areas.



Lawyer convicted in asylum scheme

A Silver Spring lawyer has been convicted of preparing false asylum applications for immigrants seeking to stay in the United States.

During a four-week trial in federal court, witnesses said the paperwork submitted by Patrick Tzeuton included false statements about how long his clients had been in the United States and their fears of prosecution if returned to their home country.

Tzeuton coached his clients to lie in interviews with immigration officials, prosecutors said. The scheme reportedly was carried out from 2002 to 2005.

Tzeuton faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for conspiracy; 10 years for immigration fraud; and 20 years for obstruction of official proceedings.

He is scheduled to be sentenced April 29.


State sees $3.3 billion from stimulus bill

Maryland could receive about $3.3 billion from the federal recovery plan in Congress, said Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat.

The amount is based on results of a report from a conference committee that has been working to solve differences between the House and Senate measures. Some details are still being worked out in the overall plan.

So far, though, Maryland would receive more than $1 billion in Medicaid assistance for two fiscal years. The Medicaid money would more than account for the $350 million Mr. O’Malley assumed Maryland could count on from Washington for his budget proposal.

The state also would receive $800 million for infrastructure and more than $1 billion for education.

Maryland also would get $100 million in immediate and flexible help for the state’s budget problems.



State loses farmland; age of farmers rises

Virginia is losing farmland and its farmers are getting older.

The state lost almost 521,000 acres of farmland between 2002 and 2007, according to the U.S. Census of Agriculture.

The total number of farms declined by 223 during the period. But the number of very small farms that generate $1,000 or less annually increased from 10,502 to 13,667.

During the same period, the average age of a principle farm operator increased from 56.7 years to 58.2 years.

The retirement of farmers is a likely factor in the loss of farmland, said Herman Ellison, the director of the Virginia office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Virginia lost almost as much as farmland in the latest census than in the three previous counts combined, he said.


Kaine, British envoy reach green accord

Virginia and Britain entered a partnership Thursday to jointly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop environmentally friendly technology jobs.

Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, and the British ambassador to the United States, Nigel Sheinwald, signed the deal in the Capitol.

The accord itself will do little to reverse global warming.

Both men said that with Virginia and other states entering international agreements, it prods the federal government closer to meaningful multinational global warming treaties.

The pact calls for closer commercial cooperation between Britain and Virginia in clean energy technology such as solar panels and renewable biofuels.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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