- The Washington Times - Friday, February 20, 2009

UPDATED:

MARYLAND

HAGERSTOWN

Teen faces charges; puppy frozen to tree

A Hagerstown teenager is facing animal-abuse charges after neighbors found his weeks-old puppy frozen to a tree.

The puppy named Duncan survived the ordeal, the Humane Society of Washington County said. But the now-8-week-old shepherd mix lost a patch of hair when the neighbors freed him Jan. 30 from a tree in a wooded area behind an apartment complex, officials said.

Christopher William Lorshbaugh, 18, faces four misdemeanor charges, court records show. The teenager has surrendered the puppy to the society, which hopes it will be adopted, Humane Society spokeswoman Katherine Cooker said.

ANNAPOLIS

Agencies affirm AAA bond rating

Maryland remains one of seven states to hold a AAA bond rating, Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp said.

The rating is significant because it means the state can borrow money for building projects at lower interest rates.

Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch Ratings all have affirmed the rating for Maryland.

The Board of Public Works is scheduled to hold the sale of up to $515 million in Maryland general obligation bonds next month.

OCEAN CITY

City allows private wind turbines

Ocean City residents and businesses looking to produce their own electricity will be allowed to install wind turbines.

The Town Council passed a law allowing the turbines Tuesday.

Roof- or pole-mounted turbines will be allowed as long as they meet noise and height restrictions. The windmill-style turbines also must be set back from property lines using a formula based on their height.

Councilman Lloyd Martin said he felt the turbines would not be any more of an eyesore than television antennas.

GREENBELT

Five plead guilty to poaching rockfish

Five St. Mary’s County fishermen pleaded guilty to poaching more than $2 million worth of rockfish, federal prosecutors said.

Thomas Crowder, 40, of Leonardtown; John Dean, 53, of Scotland; Charles Quade, 55, of Churchtown; Thomas Hallock, 48, of Catharpin, Va.; and Keith Collins, 57, of Deale, were charged with illegally overfishing rockfish. They pleaded guilty Thursday.

Commercial fishermen in Maryland are allowed a maximum quota in pounds of rockfish. But prosecutors said the men dodged state regulations from 2003 to 2007, overcatching the fish and underreporting their catch to state authorities.

The fair market value of the fish caught by all five men totals more than $2.1 million.

BALTIMORE

16 bus passengers injured in crash

Sixteen bus passengers and a woman driving a car were taken to hospitals after a crash Thursday, the Maryland Transit Administration said.

Spokeswoman Cheron Wicker said the preliminary investigation into the crash about noon near the Patapsco light rail station shows that the woman apparently drove into the left rear of the bus as the bus was turning left into traffic.

The passengers were taken to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening. The driver of the car was taken to the hospital in unknown condition, Miss Wicker said.

VIRGINIA

RICHMOND

John Warner to be an honorary knight

Former Sen. John W. Warner will receive an honorary British knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II.

The tribute for Mr. Warner’s work to bolster British-American ties was announced by British Ambassador Nigel Shienwald on Wednesday, Mr. Warner’s 82nd birthday.

Mr. Warner, a Republican, represented Virginia for 30 years in the Senate and served as Armed Services Committee chairman.

Before that, he was secretary of the Navy and led the national commission heading up the bicentennial commemoration in 1976.

Other Americans who have been made honorary knights include former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and film director Steven Spielberg.

RICHMOND

VDOT announces layoffs, deep cuts

The Virginia Department of Transportation will lay off 450 hourly workers and close 25 rest stops and welcome centers to reduce costs because of slumping transportation revenue.

The cost savings announced Thursday also will see maintenance centers closed, ferry services reduced and fewer grass cuttings along highways.

The department’s measures are an attempt to scale back spending to deal with a projected $2.6 billion shortfall in transportation revenue projected over the next six years. Last week, the department cut the state’s six-year highway plan by $2 billion.

The cost cutting will ultimately see VDOT’s current employment fall from approximately 9,000 to a goal of 7,500 workers by July 2010.

RICHMOND

Lawmakers reject fetal pain bill

Legislation promoting anesthesia for fetuses during abortions failed for the fifth time in six years Thursday.

A Senate committee with a long history of killing pro-life bills voted 11-4 to reject the fetal anesthesia bill by Delegate Ben Cline, Richmond Republican. The measure would have required doctors to tell women seeking an abortion that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks of gestational age, and that anesthesia is available.

But a member of the Education and Health Committee who also is a pediatric neurologist disputed that fetuses have the nerve connections to transmit pain at 20 weeks. Sen. Ralph Northam, Norfolk Democrat, said that doesn’t happen until 27 or 28 weeks.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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