- The Washington Times - Monday, July 20, 2009


Former Fox newsman to be sentenced

A former Fox News Channel producer convicted on federal child-pornography charges is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson.

Authorities arrested Aaron Bruns in February after investigators said he had been sharing pornography on a social-networking Web site. Bruns pleaded guilty in May to possession of child pornography.

Bruns covered Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008 and later was a general producer in Washington, covering politics.

He faces a 10-year prison sentence.

Metro sets workshop for bikers, walkers

Metro wants to hear from passengers who walk or ride a bike to their Metro stop as part of a study evaluating demands from pedestrians and cyclists.

The transit agency says that between 2002 and 2007, the number of cyclists biking to rail stations during the morning rush hour increased 60 percent, to a daily total of more than 1,500, a number expected to keep rising. The agency has identified $45 million in bicycle and pedestrian improvements it would like to implement before 2020. Likely upgrades include new bicycle cages and double-deck parking for bikes.

Metro will hold a workshop starting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at its headquarters, 600 Fifth St. NW, and has invited anyone interested in providing input to attend.



Prostitutes’ court may begin this year

Prosecutors say a state-funded intervention program for women accused of prostitution in Baltimore could begin later this year.

Instead of facing trial, prostitutes without violent criminal histories would be diverted into a 90-day social services program.

It would be the latest of several specialty courts in Maryland. Similar courts are in place for nonviolent drug defendants and those with mental health problems.

Prosecutors had hoped the prostitution court would be up and running by now, but it stalled, in part because of opposition from Maryland’s Office of the Public Defender.

State Public Defender Nancy Forster has argued that the specialty courts deny due process to defendants while claiming to help them. A spokeswoman for Miss Forster said public defenders won’t participate in the court.


Body found in river near Old Angler’s

A body recovered from the Potomac River is thought to be that of a missing swimmer, Montgomery County police said.

Fishermen spotted the body at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday, a half-mile from where the man disappeared Tuesday, authorities said.

The body matches the description of 32-year-old Mauricio Granado, of Silver Spring, who was last seen in the area south of Old Angler’s Inn. However, officials said they cannot officially identify him until an autopsy is completed.

Police said Mr. Granado and two friends were on a fishing trip when he jumped in the water to find a deeper spot to fish. When his friends saw him struggle, one tried to rescue him and swam across the river to search for him before authorities were called.


New traffic pattern at Interstate split

Drivers heading south on Interstate 95 through Baltimore have a new traffic pattern to contend with.

The Maryland Transportation Authority has reversed the lanes where Interstates 95 and 895 split in northeast Baltimore. Those traveling on I-95 will now stay to the left, while those who wish to take I-895 south to the Harbor Tunnel will exit on the right.

Maryland Transportation Authority spokeswoman Teri Moss says the switch was made about 7 a.m. Sunday and everything went smoothly. A transportation authority police spokesman said there have been no incidents at the location.

The lane switch is part of a major project to add express toll lanes to I-95. It’s also intended to make the highway safer by keeping traffic on the more heavily traveled I-95 from having to merge right across multiple lanes.



Two men charged in party death

Loudoun County sheriff’s deputies say two men have been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of a 19-year-old man at a house party.

The men charged Sunday were identified as Guillermo Alvarado, 20, of Berryville, and Rasheed Nurse, 26, of Herndon. They were being held without bond.

Authorities said Mr. Alvarado and the victim got into an argument while at a party at a home in the Lowes Island community Saturday night. They took the dispute outside, where Mr. Nurse joined the fray and purportedly pulled a gun. The victim was shot and killed.

Deputies are withholding the victim’s name until his relatives are notified. The circumstances of the fight remain under investigation.


Marijuana seizure nets 600 plants

Authorities seized $2 million worth of marijuana plants growing in Henry County.

The Henry County Sheriff’s office said Friday that 500 plants worth $1.5 million were seized in an operation by local, state and federal authorities Wednesday and Thursday.

No arrests have been made.

Virginia State Police and the Virginia National Guard provided helicopters for the operation.

The sheriff’s office said an additional 100 plants were seized in other operations.


Wal-Mart rejects alternative site

Wal-Mart is rejecting another proposed alternative site for a Supercenter in Orange County that has angered Civil War battlefield preservationists.

The latest offer came from Mansour Azimipour of A&K; Development Corp. He said his property two miles from the Wilderness battlefield is zoned commercially and ready for development.

Wal-Mart spokesman Keith Morris said that site was evaluated by the retailer before the company selected its site in Locust Grove. He said no other nearby site tops Wal-Mart’s final selection on Route 3.

That site has stirred protests by historic preservationists, who contend it is too close to the Wilderness battlefield.


Illegal boaters warned during pony swim

When the ponies make their annual swim from Chincoteague Island later this month, the Coast Guard will be patrolling the waters for illegal boat charters.

The swim draws thousands to Virginia’s Eastern Shore to view the wild ponies as they make the 200-yard swim between Assateague Island in Maryland and Virginia’s Chincoteague. The event attracts an armada of observers.

The Coast Guard advises visitors that on July 29 they should make sure that any boat they charter is operated by a licensed captain.

The Coast Guard will use shallow-water response boats to create a safety zone around the ponies.


Attendance rises at state’s parks

Dollar-conscious vacationers are turning to Virginia parks in increasing numbers.

Virginia’s state park Web site had record traffic in June with 1.07 million page views, up 27 percent from June 2008. During the July Fourth holiday, attendance was up 14 percent compared with last year at all state parks.

Virginia also is giving away more brochures than it has in any other year for its 35 parks, which attract about 7 million visitors annually.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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