- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Ads urge Hill to nix gun measure

D.C. voting rights advocates have launched an ad campaign urging Congress to give the city a full vote in the House without also repealing its gun restrictions.

Ilir Zherka, executive director of the group DC Vote, says the ads are running on local and national blogs, radio stations and Capitol Hill newspapers.

One online ad includes an image of a gun and reads, “D.C.’s rights held hostage.”

The Senate passed the D.C. voting rights bill last month with an amendment that would repeal most of the city’s strict gun-control laws. A vote in the House has been postponed while Democratic leaders strategize on how to move forward.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, told reporters Tuesday he hopes to have a vote before the House takes a one-week break April 4.



Officials may seize land for traffic plan

Maryland is considering seizing land in Bethesda to make room for expanded intersections around the National Naval Medical Center.

The center expects 4,000 more visitors daily when Walter Reed Army Medical Center moves to the Rockville Pike campus, and state leaders are mulling major road improvements to cope with the expected traffic congestion. Nearby homeowners, a Catholic girls school and the National Institutes of Health could lose land in the process.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Democrat, said he plans to ask for $40 million in federal funding for the improvements.

Under a Base Realignment and Closure panel mandate, the naval medical center will incorporate Walter Reed in 2011.

Phil Alperson, Montgomery County’s BRAC coordinator, said residents who could be affected aren’t pleased with the state’s proposals.


Preschool programs help kindergartners

A Maryland State Department of Education study shows kindergartners performed better this school year because of preschool programs and experiences.

In the first eight weeks of the 2008-09 school year, more than 2,000 kindergarten teachers evaluated their students in a variety of categories. The results of the study were released Tuesday in the education department’s student-readiness report.

The report says 73 percent of kindergartners were fully prepared to go to school - a 5 percentage point increase from the previous year.

The study measures students on social and personal readiness, language and literacy ability, mathematics skills, scientific thinking, social studies, the arts, physical development and health.


Triple murderer commits suicide

A triple murderer who was judged insane but too dangerous for hospitalization killed himself in his maximum-security cell in Baltimore, the state prison agency said.

Kevin G. Johns, 26, was found unresponsive at about midnight Sunday at the Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center, also called Supermax, said Rick Binetti, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. Attempts to revive him failed, and paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene, Mr. Binetti said.

Johns’ attorney, Harry J. Trainor Jr., said his client hanged himself with a bedsheet.

Johns was found not criminally responsible in June for strangling fellow inmate Philip Parker Jr. in February 2005 aboard a prison bus. Johns was serving a 35-year sentence and life without parole for two murders when he strangled Parker.

Mr. Trainor said Johns had made at least one previous suicide attempt. Mr. Binetti said prison officials have no record of that and Johns had never been on suicide watch.



McAuliffe files names in governor’s race

Terry McAuliffe has filed petitions bearing 17,243 names to qualify for the Democratic primary for governor.

Party rival Brian Moran was to have tendered petitions with almost as many signatures, but delayed a few days to recheck them.

A third Democrat, state Sen. Creigh Deeds of Bath County, said he will file in the next week.

Mr. McAuliffe filed his petitions Tuesday. Candidates have until April 10 to qualify for the June primary.

Mr. Moran’s campaign said it’s taking the precaution because of recent changes in state laws dealing with notaries public.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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