- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 2, 2009



Man sentenced in prostitution ring

A U.S. District judge sentenced a Rockville man to more than three years in prison for conspiring to transport at least 100 women to Maryland to work as prostitutes.

Eduardo Puentes, 43, was sentenced Wednesday to 41 months in prison. He was convicted in March.

According to trial testimony, Puentes and his conspirators called the women on cell phones and arranged for them to travel from New York and New Jersey to work in brothels in Prince George’s County. Puentes and the others rented apartments as brothels and provided the women with food and supplies for a fee.


Deaths a reminder of heat dangers

State health officials warned residents to take precautions to deal with summer heat after two heat-related deaths.

Health officials say a 23-month-old Howard County child died after being left for hours in a car seat and a 74-year-old Prince George’s man with heart problems was found inside a home where the temperature had risen to more than 99 degrees.

Health officials say the young, the old and those with chronic health problems are more likely to be affected by the heat and they remind residents not to leave children or pets in cars, even if the windows are left slightly open. Elderly and chronically ill people should also be visited frequently.


Police say shooting was not random

Annapolis police said Wednesday that the shooting deaths of two people inside a home were not random.

Police also said they were confident there was no further threat to the community.

The department has released few details about the shooting. Spokesman Ray Weaver said detectives were still on the scene Wednesday afternoon.

Mr. Weaver said someone discovered the bodies of two adults inside a house on Goodrich Road about 5:30 a.m.

Police said 911 callers reported hearing gunshots about 11 p.m. Tuesday. Officers drove through the area but didn’t see anything amiss.


Program gets ‘green jobs’ grant

A Frederick-based veterans’ program has received a $500,000 grant through a federal “green jobs” program.

Way Station Inc. will use the money to train 260 veterans in western Maryland, the District and parts of West Virginia. The veterans will receive training in solar panel installation, home inspection and green building certification.

The grant was one of 17 announced Wednesday by Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis. More than $7.5 million in grant money will go toward job training for about 3,000 veterans nationwide.

Miss Solis said the grants will provide veterans with tools and skills to prepare them “for the green jobs of today and tomorrow.”



$285 million OK’d in stimulus funds

The federal government approved $285 million in funding for 45 Virginia highway projects in the first wave of stimulus cash devoted to transportation.

It’s the first of nearly $700 million in transportation stimulus cash the state is scheduled to receive over the next year.

U.S. Department of Transportation data shows all but about $15 million of Virginia’s money in the first round goes to widening or upgrading existing roads or bridges.

The biggest single project is $27.7 million in Newport News and York County to widen Route 105, the main road leading into the Army’s Fort Eustis.

There’s $25 million to add turn lanes to Route 3 near Fredericksburg, and there’s about the same amount for three projects in Chesapeake, including the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail.


Swine flu death is state’s second

Virginia health officials on Wednesday confirmed the second death in the state related to the swine flu.

State Health Commissioner Karen Remley said that while the cause of death has not been confirmed, the H1N1 virus appears to have been a factor. The male patient in the Arlington Health District had an underlying medical condition that put him at greater risk of complications from the flu.

Virginia’s first swine flu-related death was confirmed in the Chesapeake Health District in early June.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 127 deaths caused by the swine flu nationally.


White powder sent to Christian network

Authorities on Wednesday were trying to identify a substance mailed to the Christian Broadcasting Network headquarters in Virginia Beach.

CBN spokesman Chris Roslan said two employees opened the envelope containing white powder Wednesday morning. Officials didn’t suspect the powder to be harmful, but turned off the air conditioning and evacuated the building as a precaution.

Virginia Beach fire spokesman Tim Riley said the department’s preliminary tests ruled out several common biohazards, including anthrax, botulism and ricin. The substance was shipped to the state laboratory in Richmond for further testing.

Mr. Roslan said the two employees who opened the letter, a CBN security guard and a U.S. Postal Service inspector were placed on precautionary medical watch.


County OKs aid to Hatton Ferry

The nation’s last known hand-poled ferry has gotten a reprieve to keep it afloat for three more months.

The 140-year-old Hatton Ferry on the James River was faced with extinction after the Virginia Department of Transportation cut its funding last month.

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors came to the rescue Wednesday, unanimously approving $9,340 to cover the ferry’s costs through September.

David Slutzky, the board’s chairman, says the money is a one-time thing. And he said it’s a risk.

The board approved it expecting private and nonprofit historical preservation groups to take over and defray the county’s expense.

If that doesn’t happen, Mr. Slutzky said, “then after three months, it’ll probably go away.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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