- The Washington Times - Monday, June 8, 2009



Two teenagers drown in river

Authorities say two male teenagers drowned while swimming in the Gunpowder River on Saturday afternoon. They were on a boating excursion with adults in Gunpowder Falls State Park.

The boaters made an emergency call to report the two were having trouble swimming in the water off the Hammerman beach area at the park.

Police from nearby Aberdeen Proving Ground were involved in the search. George Mercer, a spokesman for the federal facility, said the teens’ bodies were found late Saturday night in federal waters. Their ages were estimated at 17 to 19.

Aberdeen Proving Ground police are handling the investigation into the deaths.


Officials see bridge as part of trail

Baltimore officials and a prominent developer want to remodel a crumbling, century-old railroad bridge into part of a trail around the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River.

The plan is to create a trail that would serve runners, bicyclists and pedestrians. It would complement the huge new residential, office, retail and hotel development that is planned for Westport, a long-neglected section of Baltimore’s waterfront.

Mayor Sheila Dixon’s administration is asking Maryland’s congressional delegation to secure $5 million to refurbish the bridge and build the trail.

Developer Patrick Turner, who expects to break ground on the Westport site later this year, said he can envision people getting married on the span. He describes it as “just a cool bridge.”


Sheriff pulls over robbery suspects

After Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore apprehended two suspected bank robbers Friday afternoon, he said it was a matter of happening to be “in the right place in the right time.”

Sheriff Mullendore was one of several police officers out looking for a gray sport utility vehicle after an M&T Bank branch south of Hagerstown was robbed by a man with a note demanding money.

The sheriff said he had his gun drawn at his side as he walked to the SUV and that he thought immediately that he’d found the right vehicle. He told the Hagerstown Herald-Mail, “They were trying to play it cool, as if they weren’t involved.”

Police did not identify the men because they had not been formally charged.


Man’s car found after wife slain

Police have found the car belonging to a Southern Maryland man who is accused of killing his wife and telling police the couple had been carjacked.

The car was found parked on a street in Washington late Friday night. Police said they were not sure how the car got there.

Ryan Holness, 28, of Lexington Park, has been charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his wife, Serika Holness, 26. Her body was found on the side of a rural Eastern Shore road earlier Friday.

Police said Mr. Holness told them the couple had been carjacked at a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike and forced to drive to the Crumpton area of Kent County, where, he said, the carjacker killed his wife.

Mr. Holness was charged in his wife’s death after police found inconsistencies in his story.



Chocolate milk left as tribute

Fredericksburg’s first police officer to die in the line of duty in 44 years is being honored with a memorial garden bench and chocolate milk.

Fredericksburg Police Officer Todd Bahr was killed a year ago while responding to a domestic-disturbance call. Officer Bahr’s killer later shot himself.

Cpl. Mike Presutto left a bottle of chocolate Nesquik on Saturday on the memorial stone bench outside the police department. He said it was a fitting tribute to the 40-year-old officer because he drank the beverage every day.


Warm, rainy spring good for peaches

May’s more than 7 inches of rain and summer-like temperatures could yield a bumper crop of Virginia peaches.

Bennett Saunders of Saunders Brothers Orchard in Nelson County said this year’s crop could be his best in nearly six years. None of his crop suffered frost damage, so the first peaches could be ready for picking about June 20.


Lawsuit dropped on poll-site rules>

Three free-speech groups have dropped a lawsuit against the state Board of Elections after the General Assembly passed legislation that allows people to wear political clothing to the polls.

The State Board of Elections had banned from polling places any clothing, hats, buttons or other paraphernalia that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a candidate or issue. The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression and the Rutherford Institute filed a lawsuit arguing that the ban violated free speech rights.

The board voted 2-1 last fall to ban the items, interpreting a state law that forbids electioneering within 40 feet of the polls. The General Assembly later passed legislation allowing it.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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