- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 18, 2009


House hearing set for D.C. voting bill

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Democrat and the District’s nonvoting House member, says a chamber subcommittee will consider a D.C. voting rights bill this month.

The bill is scheduled to go to a House Judiciary subcommittee for its first hearing Jan. 27.

The bill would add two seats to the House. One would go to the District, which overwhelmingly votes Democrat, and the other would go to Republican-leaning Utah. The state narrowly missed out on a new seat after the 2000 census.

Mrs. Norton recently introduced the bill. She has asked for an early vote and thinks President-elect Barack Obama would sign it as soon as he gets it.

D.C. Vote, an advocacy group, asked supporters Friday to sign a “virtual postcard” to Mr. Obama, Democrat, urging him to act on the issue.

A similar bill passed the House in 2007 but died in the Senate.

Mei Xiang inseminated again

The National Zoo’s giant female panda has been artificially inseminated in hopes that she will give birth to a second cub.

Zoo officials said Mei Xiang, and the zoo’s male panda, Tian Tian, attempted to mate Thursday but were unsuccessful.

Veterinarians performed the artificial insemination Saturday. It could be months before they know whether the insemination was successful.

Officials also said this year’s mating attempt occurred unusually early in the year. Mei Xiang typically has ovulated in March or early April.

Giant pandas have a brief breeding season, mating for only a day or two each year.

Mei Xiang has been successfully artificially inseminated previously, leading to the birth of cub Tai Shan in 2005.



Jury: Too much force used on reporter

A Prince George’s County civil jury has ruled that police officers used excessive force against a television reporter during a 2005 traffic stop.

WJLA-TV (Channel 7) reporter Andrea McCarren claimed police forced her and cameraman Pete Hakel out of her car at gunpoint in Bowie in April 2005.

Miss McCarren had been following Cpl. Danon Ashton, the police liaison to county Chief Administrator Jacqueline F. Brown. Miss McCarren said she was investigating whether Cpl. Ashton was driving Miss Brown on personal trips.

Miss McCarren claimed she suffered tendon damage to a shoulder when an officer grabbed her right wrist and pulled it behind her back.

A jury Friday awarded her $5,000 in damages but said officers acted appropriately in conducting a “high-risk” stop and did not violate Miss McCarren’s rights as a journalist.


D.C. man fatally stabbed in nightclub

A Northeast man was fatally stabbed during a fight at a nightclub over the weekend, according to the Prince George’s County Police Department.

The incident occurred early Saturday morning at the Legend nightclub, in the 3200 block of Naylor Road, in Temple Hills.

Police have identified the victim as Bernard Irvin; no age was given.

Acting police Chief Roberto Hylton closed the club Saturday afternoon, saying criminal activity in and around the club is a threat to public safety.


Murderer escapes from prison

A man caught on video fatally stabbing his former boss at a Bladensburg tire shop scaled a fence and escaped from a Western Maryland prison over the weekend, according to authorities.

Investigators think Kandelario Garcia-Ramos, 23, of Langley Park, slipped away as his unit moved to or from the dining hall for breakfast at the Maryland Correctional Institution, in Hagerstown, according to the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

Garcia-Ramos used clothing to cover a razor wire perimeter fence between 5:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m, officials said.

The facility is about 70 miles northwest of Baltimore and houses about 2,200 medium- and minimum-security inmates, the department said.

Garcia-Ramos was serving the first year of a 40-year sentence for the December 2007 killing.

In June, Garcia-Ramos entered an Alford plea to first-degree murder. In such a plea, the defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges the state has enough evidence to convict him.

A few weeks after Garcia-Ramos was fired from his job at 2 Brothers Tire City, he returned and fatally stabbed his former boss during an altercation, said Prince George’s County State’s Attorney spokesman Ramon Korionoff.


GOP U.S. attorney wants to keep job

Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said he wants to keep his job during the Obama administration.

Mr. Rosenstein, a Republican appointed by President Bush, attended President-elect Barack Obama’s whistle-stop speech in Baltimore on Saturday.

He says he’s “not in any hurry to get out the door” and will keep his job “at least for a while.” Mr. Rosenstein also said some U.S. attorneys have resigned, but the Obama transition team has told the rest to stay for now.

Mr. Rosenstein has a close working relationships with many Maryland Democrats, including Baltimore Mayor Sheila A. Dixon.



Group seeks Taser moratorium

A civil rights group wants police to stop using stun guns because of the death of a Martinsville teenager after a city police officer used a Taser on him.

Derick Jones, 17, died Jan. 8 after Martinsville Police Department Officer R.L. Wray used the Taser to subdue him inside Mr. Jones’ home.

Police Chief Mike Rogers has said Officer Wray thought a home invasion was in progress and that Mr. Jones posed a threat when the officer used the Taser.

This week, the president of the Virginia Southern Christian Leadership Conference called for a moratorium on the use of Tasers nationwide.

The Rev. William Keen, of Danville, said the use of Tasers should be studied while the moratorium is in place.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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