Saturday, February 28, 2009


Barry released from hospital

Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, 72, was released from the hospital Friday after successfully undergoing a kidney transplant.

The D.C. Council member was released from Howard University Hospital one week after receiving a kidney from longtime friend Kim Dickens, 47.

An upbeat Mr. Barry said he feels better than he did before the surgery.

His kidney problems are the result of diabetes and hypertension, a spokeswoman has said.

The kidney transplant came as prosecutors were seeking to have Mr. Barry jailed for failing to file his 2007 federal and local tax returns. A hearing is set for April 2.

Former NPR editor faces porn charge

A former National Public Radio editor is facing federal child pornography charges.

David Malakoff, 46, of Alexandria, was charged Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington for possessing child pornography. Malakoff possessed the images between April and June of last year, according to court records.

Malakoff was charged by information, which indicates a person has waived the right to have a grand jury hear the evidence and that a plea agreement has been worked out.

NPR spokeswoman Anna Christopher said Malakoff resigned in June, but said she could not comment further because the case is pending. Malakoff was a science editor and an on-air reporter, she said.

Malakoff’s attorney, Danny Onorato, said he had no comment.

Smithsonian picks Hirshhorn director

The Smithsonian Institution has selected the former director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles to lead the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden on the Mall.

Richard Koshalek, 67, will take over the modern and contemporary art museum April 13.

The move marks a return to the museum world for Mr. Koshalek, who was ousted last year as president of Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design. Students complained he didn’t pay enough attention to rising tuition costs and focused too much on expanding the campus and its reputation.

Mr. Koshalek is credited with building up the Museum of Contemporary Art structurally and financially in the 1980s and 1990s.

On Thursday, Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough said Mr. Koshalek’s creativity “brought modern and contemporary art to bear on issues of the day.”



Miller seeks probe of high utility bills

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., Prince George’s Democrat, has called for an investigation into “abnormally high” electricity bills this winter.

Mr. Miller directed the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and Senate Finance Committee to question regulators and utility companies about electricity bills.

The two committees will hold hearings Thursday in Annapolis.


Juvenile services called underfunded

The governor’s proposed $274 million juvenile services budget for the coming fiscal year is “significantly underfunded,” unless department leaders drastically change their spending patterns, Maryland legislative analysts said.

Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, has proposed a fiscal 2010 budget that is roughly $5.7 million, or 2.1 percent, larger than the prior year.

But analysts said the department has consistently failed to live within its means, and note that funding for overtime, personnel and contractual staffing is lower in fiscal 2010 than in the past two years. The department will ultimately wind up between $9 million and $15 million short, they said.

Nearly 75 percent of positions added to the budget in the current fiscal year have been or will be abolished in the coming year because of cost savings measures.


Man pleads guilty to unpaid taxes

One of Maryland’s biggest tax dodgers has pleaded guilty to not paying nearly $400,000 in business taxes, the Comptroller’s Office said.

Lloyd Binion, who owns Diane’s Restaurant in Havre de Grace, owes the state $394,771 for not paying taxes from January 1998 to March 2007. He pleaded guilty Wednesday.

A complaint was filed in June 2005 that Binion and his wife weren’t paying taxes and a yearlong audit was launched. He was ordered to close his business in August 2007 after the comptroller’s office verified the business was collecting but not paying certain taxes.

He will be sentenced April 29.

Binion was fourth highest on the state’s list of delinquent taxpayers, according to the comptroller’s Web site.


Man gets life terms for four murders

A Baltimore man convicted of four murders in one year was sentenced Friday to nine life terms plus 60 years in prison.

Willie Mitchell, 31, was sentenced for the Baltimore and Randallstown murders and drug trafficking, federal prosecutors said.

The killings began because Mitchell thought a rival drug organization had a contract on him, authorities said. So he killed a man he thought would kill him, and a woman with the man. Then, later in 2002, he killed two brothers in an armed robbery.

Mitchell and others operated a violent criminal organization in the Baltimore area and Pennsylvania, prosecutors said.

The group created schemes of killings, armed robbery and home invasions from 1996 to 2006, prosecutors said.


Man who hit officer turns himself in

The driver of a car that hit and seriously injured an officer during a traffic stop turned himself in Friday, Montgomery County police said.

The suspect, identified as Nicholas Omar Banks, was being treated at Fort Washington Medical Center following Thursday night’s incident in Silver Spring.

Police said they stopped the car about 8:15 p.m. on Castle Boulevard. As officers spoke with the driver outside the car, Mr. Banks got behind the wheel and began driving off.

An officer tried to stop him, but police said Mr. Banks kept going and struck the officer. The officer fired at Mr. Banks, but he got away.

The officer was hospitalized with injuries that are not considered life-threatening. He was scheduled to undergo surgery.


Republicans want ban on detainees

Three Republican congressman from Virginia want to ban prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility from being transferred to the state.

Reps. J. Randy Forbes, Eric Cantor and Frank R. Wolf have introduced a bill that would prohibit the detainees from being transferred to any federal prisons or military bases in Virginia. Mr. Cantor is the No. 2 Republican in the House.

President Obama has ordered the terrorist detention center in Cuba closed within a year. Several detention facilities based inside the United States, including some in Virginia, have been mentioned as possible locations where detainees could be relocated.

Several other lawmakers have come out against moving the prisoners to their states.


Va. Guard returns after service in Iraq

About 165 members of the Virginia National Guard are back home after serving in Iraq since May.

The soldiers with the 1710th Transportation Company, 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group returned home Friday.

About 145 soldiers were from the Richmond-based unit and 20 were from the Detachment 2 of the 1173rd Transportation Company from Onancock.

While in Iraq, the unit provided medium-lift transportation that moved supplies from logistical support areas to different bases throughout Iraq. The unit conducted more than 75 missions and traveled more than 900,000 miles. None of the unit’s soldiers were wounded or killed in action.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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