- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 20, 2009


Steele urges Obama to change plates

An unexpected voice is calling on President Obama to support D.C. voting rights in Congress by putting the city’s “Taxation Without Representation” license plates on White House vehicles.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, a D.C. native, challenged Mr. Obama on Friday. Mr. Steele told WTOP radio that he is willing to place the “Taxation Without Representation” plates on his own vehicle.

The D.C. Republican Party is praising Mr. Steele for his support of a stalled voting rights bill that would add a seat for D.C. in the House. The bill passed the Senate in February but stalled in the House over an attached measure that would strip the city of its strict gun-control laws.

President Clinton had license plates with the D.C. protest message placed on his limousines, but President Bush took them off.

City expanding gun regulations

Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier has put forward emergency regulations expanding the models of handguns permissible for residents to own.

The changes expand the number of pistols available for residents to register to include those permissible in Maryland and Massachusetts, as well as in California.

The new regulations follow litigation challenging the city’s attempts to comply with last year’s Supreme Court decision that overturned its stringent handgun ban.

City quadruples speed bumps

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s administration has dramatically increased the number of speed bumps on D.C. streets since 2007.

The city has authorized twice as many speed bumps in 2 1/2 years as Mayor Anthony A. Williams’ administration approved in five years. The number has jumped from 157 to 691 speed bumps since Mr. Fenty took office.

WTOP reports that D.C. averages one speed hump for every 1.5 miles. Montgomery County has one speed bump for every 2.2 miles, and Fairfax County averages one for every 14.5 miles.

The D.C. Department of Transportation used to require a traffic study for every new speed bump. Now residents just have to get a majority of neighbors to sign a petition.

Department spokesman John Lisle says the process was changed to promote pedestrian safety.



Report: Deputies broke no rules

An internal review from the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office said deputies acted appropriately during a raid in which they killed two dogs belonging to a small-town mayor.

Last summer, police raided the home and killed the dogs of Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo after drug smugglers sent a package containing 32 pounds of marijuana to his residence. Police later cleared Mr. Calvo and his family of any wrongdoing.

The sheriff’s Internal Affairs Division said in a report released Friday that the deputies acted in a “professional and acceptable manner.” The report also said the dogs had been “charging” toward authorities.

In a statement, Mr. Calvo said commending the deputies’ actions places “other innocent families and innocent family pets at risk.”


State confirms 334 swine flu cases

Maryland health officials say they’ve confirmed 334 cases of swine flu in the state.

Department of Health and Mental Hygiene spokesman David Paulson said Friday that this number likely represents just a fraction of cases because not everyone with flulike symptoms is being tested anymore.

Mr. Paulson said the number of confirmed cases has risen steadily.

He said the illness is behaving like seasonal flu, although it is highly contagious because people have less resistance to it than to seasonal flu.


Kayakers rescued from Patuxent River

Prince George’s County emergency crews have rescued 32 kayakers who became stranded on the Patuxent River.

A county fire department spokesman said everyone was brought to land safely by early Friday afternoon. They had become entangled in some trees because the river was swollen after recent rain.

There were initial reports of kayakers missing, but officials said everyone is accounted for. There were no injuries.


Caregivers accused of patient abuse

Two former caregivers at group homes for developmentally disabled adults have been charged with abuse.

Mary Arung, 39, of Laurel, who worked at a home in the District, is accused of assaulting a disabled woman in November as she was being taken to a doctor’s appointment in Lanham.

In a separate case, Aboyomi Ogundeyi, 55, was charged with assaulting a disabled man at a group home in Baltimore County.

The cases were investigated by the Maryland attorney general’s medicaid fraud unit, which announced the charges Friday.

In a third case, another former caregiver, Kera Pamela Heath, 26, of Baltimore, was charged with theft and forgery. She is accused of stealing a check made out to an assisted-living resident in her care.


Bank-robber granddad gets nearly 57 years

A Virginia man who robbed a Hagerstown bank with his grandson has been sentenced to nearly 57 years in federal prison.

David Shanton Sr., 54, of Winchester, Va., was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

A jury convicted him in March of robbing an M&T; Bank in October 2007 and attempting to rob a nearby Susquehanna Bank a month later.

Grandson Kevin Shanton was 17 at the time. He admitted his involvement and agreed to testify against his grandfather in return for having his case moved to juvenile court.

In the first robbery, David Shanton fired a shotgun at a police car, took a deputy’s handgun and held a mother and child hostage in their apartment for about six hours.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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