- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 13, 2009


Metro awarded $18 million grant

The Federal Transit Administration is giving Metro nearly $18 million for various improvements, including the expansion of a chemical detection system.

Sen. Jim Webb and Sen. Mark Warner, both Virginia Democrats, announced the grant Friday. They said the money was made available to Metro as part of the economic stimulus package.

The funding also will be used by Metro to build a new sales center, upgrade fare machines, rehabilitate track shock absorbers and purchase emergency tunnel carts and storage cabinets.

The senators said the money will help create or save jobs and improve public safety. Metro has estimated it needs $12 billion in capital funding over the next 10 years to replace aging equipment and maintain services.



Ex of former schools chief sentenced

The one-time girlfriend of former Prince George’s County schools chief Andre J. Hornsby has been sentenced to 12 months probation after pleading guilty to federal tax charges.

Sienna Owens of Miami Beach, Fla., also was ordered to pay $5,200 in restitution and perform 200 hours of community service during Friday’s sentencing.

She pleaded guilty in 2006 for not reporting on her tax forms a $20,000 commission she received from a contract she brokered with Prince George’s County schools on behalf of a California educational technology company.

Prosecutors said she gave $10,000 of that commission to Hornsby in return for him steering a contract worth nearly $1 million to her employer, LeapFrog School House.

Hornsby was sentenced last year to six years in prison for his role in various contract schemes.


Schools’ deputy subject of suits

Court records show that former Baltimore school board chairman and new deputy school system CEO Brian Morris has been the subject of dozens of lawsuits and bad-debt claims the past 15 years.

Mr. Morris does not dispute most of the claims, saying his financial problems stem from failed efforts to launch and build complex business enterprises.

The Baltimore Sun reported that the cases include foreclosures, garnished wages, unpaid taxes and other cases involving his personal finances and business ventures.

Mr. Morris was hired this week as a deputy CEO with a $175,000 annual salary and oversight of the school system’s central operations, including finance. He said his history is not relevant to his new job.


Police: Wrong-way driver causes crashes

A Gaithersburg woman has been charged with drunken driving after police said she caused several crashes while driving the wrong way over seven miles on two highways in Frederick County.

Police said Amanda Tyerar, 21, was spotted driving south in the northbound lanes of U.S. Route 15 and Interstate 270 about 2 a.m. Thursday.

Police said one car on Route 15 was forced off the road and hit a tractor-trailer.

Later, a woman trying to avoid a head-on collision with Miss Tyerar’s car on I-270 drove up an embankment and rolled her vehicle. The driver was treated at Frederick Memorial Hospital and released.

Then, police said, Miss Tyerar sideswiped a car, disabling both cars. She was arrested and charged with driving under the influence and driving while impaired.


One dead in head-on crash

Howard County police said one man was dead and another was in critical condition after a head-on collision.

The crash occurred about 10:30 p.m. Thursday on state Route 32 south of Linden Church Road.

Police said Wayne Wagner, 26, of Mount Airy, was traveling northbound on Route 32 when his Ford Explorer crossed the center line and hit a Chevrolet Suburban head-on.

Mr. Wagner was pronounced dead on the scene. The driver of the Suburban, Michael Mutchler, 43, of Odenton, was taken to University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he was listed in critical condition.

Four passengers in the Suburban, including three children, were taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where they were listed in stable condition.



AG says wrong man convicted of rape

The Virginia attorney general’s office said a man’s conviction for a 1984 rape in Richmond should be vacated because of DNA evidence that implicates another man.

In a filing with the Virginia Supreme Court, the office agrees with a defense petition seeking a “writ of actual innocence” for Thomas E. Haynesworth.

DNA testing of semen from the scene of the rape found the DNA profile was “consistent with” that of Leon W. Davis, also known as the “Black Ninja.”

Davis, 45, is serving seven life terms for sexual assaults in Richmond and Henrico, plus assault and robbery charges in two other cases.

Haynesworth also was convicted of another rape and an attempted abduction and robbery. If the writ is granted, he would still have to finish terms for those crimes.


Hearings set for power line

Two public hearings on a proposed high voltage multistate transmission line will be held in Virginia in August.

The State Corporation Commission plans an Aug. 3 hearing at John Handley High School in Winchester. A second hearing is scheduled Aug. 5 at Loudoun Valley High School in Purcellville.

The Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline, or PATH, is a joint venture of Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Energy Co. and Ohio’s American Electric Power Co. It would run across parts of Virginia and eastern and southern West Virginia, ending at a substation near Kemptown, Md.

AEP and Allegheny Energy are asking state regulators to approve the 765-kilovolt line. The utilities say the transmission line would address regional electrical reliability concerns.


Report: School altered testing

A Virginia Department of Education report says administrators at a Roanoke school inappropriately kept 31 students out of state tests over the past two years.

The report says 22 of the William Fleming High School students received a modified diploma because they had not taken the Standards of Learning tests.

The report says four administrators altered class schedules so lower-performing students would not take the tests. That may have boosted the school’s pass rates.

The state recommends that the affected students be given tutoring and be allowed to take the standardized tests.

Roanoke Schools Superintendent Rita Bishop called the report “disappointing and discouraging.” The school’s principal, Susan Willis, did not attend graduation ceremonies Friday.


Construction nears for first wind farm

Construction could begin by early summer on Virginia’s first wind-powered electric generation project.

A spokesman for Highland New Wind Development, Frank Maisano, said Friday the company has filed its site plan with Highland County for the $60 million project on 220 acres. He said that’s the last step to obtaining a building permit.

The company plans to put 19 turbines producing 38 megawatts of electricity on a 4,400-foot ridge near the West Virginia state line.

Mr. Maisano said the wind farm could be completed by the end of the year.

The State Corporation Commission approved the project in January 2008.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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