- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Water main breaks in Northwest

A water-main break that slowed downtown traffic Monday morning is expected to be fixed by this morning’s commute, according to the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority.

The break reduced traffic to one lane on L Street Northwest, near the intersection of 16th Street Northwest, while crews repaired the broken 8-inch pipe. The break also added to major commuter delays because of the police barricade along a nearby section of H Street Northwest as the Obama family stays in the Hay-Adams Hotel until the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration.

High court declines to hear council case

The Supreme Court declined Monday to hear an appeal by a Fredericksburg City Council member who was barred from invoking Jesus at council meetings.

The court declined to hear the case of the Rev. Hashmel Turner, who said the city was violating his First Amendment rights.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in July ruled against Mr. Turner, saying that his use of “in Jesus’ name” when ending opening prayers wasn’t protected because it was government speech, not individual expression.

The council implemented a policy permitting only nondenominational prayers after the American Civil Liberties Union threatened to file a lawsuit over Mr. Turner’s sectarian prayers.



Caretaker charged with abusing boy

A 61-year-old Silver Spring man has been charged with sexually abusing an autistic boy in his care, according to the Montgomery County Police Department.

Police say Abdul Kudsy had inappropriate contact with the 11-year-old boy and photographed the partially clothed boy at the child’s Bethesda home.

Mr. Kudsy was arrested Friday night and charged with sexual abuse of a minor and third-degree sexual offenses. He is being held on $500,000 bond.

Police began investigating at the end of December. The family hired Mr. Kudsy in September to help the child with social skills and to provide supervision.


Trial set to start in children’s killings

The trial of a father accused of drowning his three young children in a Baltimore hotel bathtub is set to begin Tuesday.

Mark Castillo is to appear first in a reception court Tuesday, where his case is to be assigned to a Baltimore City Circuit judge if he does not plead guilty. Mr. Castillo’s trial could then begin if a courtroom is available.

Mr. Castillo, 42, has behaved erratically in past appearances, telling one judge he would not cooperate and on other occasions saying he wanted to fire his attorneys. In an unrelated divorce hearing last month, Mr. Castillo was subdued after he interrogated his wife, raised a series of objections, and tried to leave while the hearing was in progress.

In October, a judge found Mr. Castillo competent to stand trial after a psychiatrist said he was being treated for severe depression but that would not affect his ability to stand trial.


Man arrested in killing

Police have made an arrest in the death of a Baltimore man whose body was found on the side of a road in the Cockeysville area.

The Baltimore County Police Department has charged Christopher Barrett, 21, of Cockeysville, with the murder of Dontay Flintall. Police found Mr. Flintall’s body Friday morning near Hutchins Mill and Pocock roads.

An autopsy was completed Saturday on the victim. Mr. Flintall, 20, died of a gunshot wound, and police have ruled his death a homicide.

Mr. Barrett was arrested Saturday night at his home, but investigators say they have no motive. Mr. Barrett is charged with first-degree murder and had a bail review hearing Monday.


Photographers ousted from meeting

Still and video photographers were removed from a public lunch meeting with Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon and the City Council for about a half-hour Monday.

The meeting was the first gathering of the mayor and City Council since the indictments last week of Mrs. Dixon and City Council member Helen Holton, both Democrats. Mrs. Dixon is accused of theft and perjury. Mrs. Holton is accused of taking a bribe from a developer.

A few minutes after the meeting started, the mayor’s spokesman, Ian Brennan, escorted several photographers from the room. He said a long-standing policy started by previous mayors calls for photographers to be allowed into the meeting at the start, then be escorted out for space considerations. The photographers were allowed to return after they and reporters complained.


McAuliffe bid raises about $1 million

Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe already has raised roughly $1 million in his bid to become Virginia’s next governor, his campaign confirmed Monday.

Mr. McAuliffe is expected to turn the governor’s race into a high-stakes campaign. Spokeswoman Delacey Skinner said the candidate raised the amount in a roughly six-week period, and between 1,000 and 1,400 donors gave to Mr. McAuliffe.

Mr. McAuliffe faces former state delegate Brian J. Moran and state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds of Bath County for the Democratic party nomination. Attorney General Bob McDonnell is the lone Republican in the race.

The official deadline for candidates to file campaign finance reports is Thursday.

Meanwhile, Mr. Moran on Monday announced he has hired Andrew Roos as his campaign manager. Mr. Roos previously served as campaign manager for Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat.


Counties designated disaster areas

Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer is designating some Virginia areas as natural disaster areas because of drought and excessive heat in 2008 that caused reductions in farm production.

Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, said the designation makes farmers eligible for low-interest loans and other relief that might be provided by Congress.

Those receiving the designation include Brunswick, Charlotte, Gloucester, Mecklenburg, Patrick, Prince George, Scott and Surry counties. Nearby counties and cities also may be eligible for federal assistance.

Disaster declarations make farm operators in both primary and contiguous areas eligible to be considered for low-interest emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency of the Agriculture Department.


Salmonella outbreak sickens 12 people

Three children under 10 are among 12 people in Virginia sickened in a salmonella outbreak that has affected nearly 400 people across the country.

A Virginia Department of Health spokesman said the cases have been reported across the state, including three in Northern Virginia.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said all the cases in the 42-state outbreak have been genetically fingerprinted as the Typhimurium type, which is among the most common forms of salmonella food poisoning.

Most people infected with salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment.


Mobile home fire kills three

Two adults and their 4-year-old child died Monday in a mobile home fire in Southwest Virginia, according to authorities.

The Grayson County Sheriffs Office has identified the victims as Larry Stephen Lafferty, 39, and Amy Stoneman, 28. The identity of their daughter was not available.

Authorities said firefighters had to force open the doors on the mobile home when they responded to the fire about 8:15 a.m. The victims were all inside. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined but foul play is not suspected. The victims’ bodies will be sent to the medical examiner’s office in Roanoke for autopsies.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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