- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 22, 2009


Barry transplant reported successful

Doctors are calling D.C. Council member Marion Barry’s kidney transplant at Howard University Hospital a success.

University spokesman Ron Harris said that doctors began the surgery Friday afternoon and that a healthy kidney was successfully transplanted after hours of surgery, which ended after 11 p.m.

Barry spokeswoman Natalie Williams said longtime Barry friend Kim Dickens, a Ward 6 resident, offered her kidney after he discussed his health issues with her and others during his re-election bid last fall.

Doctors said both Mr. Barry and Ms. Dickens were doing well after surgery. Mr. Barry was alert and talking Saturday, and doctors said he may be released in a week.

Mr. Barry served four terms as mayor. In his third, he was videotaped in 1990 in a hotel room smoking crack cocaine in an FBI sting. He served six months in prison, and in 1994 regained the mayor’s office and later became a council member.



Black bear spotted on Eastern Shore

A black bear has been spotted again on the Eastern Shore.

Harry Demby told the Easton Star Democrat that he spotted a bear Wednesday running in a field outside his house near Centreville.

State officials set a trap last fall in an attempt to catch a bear that had been spotted several times in Queen Anne’s County.

Natural Resources officials said at the time that the bear probably traveled from Pennsylvania searching for suitable habitat.



Eisenhower carrier strike group deploys

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is heading from Norfolk to the Middle East to support maritime security operations.

The group includes about 6,000 sailors, the Navy said. The strike group is scheduled for a five-month deployment.

In addition to counter-piracy operations, the ships will provide options such as disaster relief, humanitarian assistance and crisis response, officials said.

The guided missile destroyer USS Bainbridge left Norfolk on Friday. The Eisenhower and most of the strike group’s other Norfolk-based ships left Saturday. The underway replenishment oiler Big Horn and the dry cargo/ammunition ship Sacagawea also departed Saturday.

The guided missile destroyer USS Stout will be deployed later.


More job cuts expected at Altria

Officials for Altria Group Inc. say that a wave of layoffs is expected this month at its Richmond-area operations.

Company spokesman Brendan McCormick declined to specify the number of employees affected but said reductions have been going on for some time. But he said a larger group of employees is departing this month.

The cuts in February are among salaried, not hourly, staff and include both voluntary and involuntary departures. The parent company of cigarette maker Philip Morris USA said last fall that it was reducing staff as part of a corporate reorganization.

Last month, Chief Executive Officer Michael Szymanczyk said Altria is adjusting its head count in response to ongoing declines in cigarette consumption in the United States.


VCU names new president

Virginia Commonwealth University has named Michael Rao its new president.

Mr. Rao, 42, president of Central Michigan University, will become the fifth president of Virginia’s largest university on July 1. He will succeed Eugene P. Trani, who is retiring as president of VCU and the VCU Health System, but will remain as a professor.

The Board of Visitors announced its selection after a closed meeting Friday evening to finalize Mr. Rao’s contract, which includes an annual compensation package of $615,000 and a separate $275,000 signing bonus paid by private donations to the university.

With Mr. Trani looking on, Mr. Rao was introduced at a news conference at which he said he had a “little lump in my throat.”

“It’s a wonderful surprise and an incredible honor and I look forward to starting,” he said. “This is a wonderful time for me.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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