- The Washington Times - Friday, March 27, 2009

REGION

Metro proposes bus route changes

Metro proposed Thursday making changes to 42 bus routes as the transit agency seeks to close a $29 million budget gap.

The board voted to hold public hearings on the service cuts in the coming weeks, with the changes possibly taking effect by the end of June.

The proposals include eliminating 10 lines, while another 12 lines could have some route segments eliminated. Other lines could see larger gaps between bus arrival times.



Some Metro board members had wanted a 5-cent fare increase to be considered, too - but D.C. officials rejected that proposal, pointing out that the transit system increased fares recently.

Transit agencies nationwide are facing budget shortfalls because of the economic downturn, which has meant less local money is available to fund transit systems.

DISTRICT

Actor unveils exhibits for traveling museum

Actor Tom Selleck was in Washington on Thursday to help showcase new exhibits for a traveling museum.

The actor was on the Mall to unveil the exhibits for the Wall That Heals, a 45-foot aluminum trailer that travels across the country to people who may not have the opportunity to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial .

Mr. Selleck joined museum designers and other supporters to display the exhibits. It’s the first time new exhibits have been introduced since the museum began traveling in 1996.

The exhibits will be similar to those that will be part of the Education Center at the Wall, an underground facility that will be built on the Mall. It will display more than 100,000 items that have been placed at the memorial.

Mr. Selleck is the national spokesman for the education center.

MARYLAND

ANNAPOLIS

Senator sponsors bill to block D.C. law

A Maryland senator is sponsoring an emergency bill that would block a law passed by the D.C. City Council from taking effect if it harms Maryland residents.

Last year, the D.C. Council passed the Medical Insurance Empowerment Act, which requires CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield to meet the terms of its federal charter as a “charitable and benevolent” group. Critics say the company has operated like a for-profit company, hoarding its annual surpluses rather than using them to keep premiums low.

Sen. Thomas “Mac” Middleton, Charles County Democrat and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, contends the D.C. law would draw down the insurance company’s capital reserves by forcing it to cover tough-to-insure D.C. residents. Virginia and Maryland members who contributed to those reserves would be hurt, he said.

ANNAPOLIS

Senate strips victim gun permits from bill

The Maryland Senate removed from anti-abuse legislation Thursday an amendment that would make it easier for domestic violence victims to get handgun permits.

Some senators backed the amendment because they said they wanted victims to have greater means to defend themselves. Other senators, however, said adding guns to situations of abuse could cause further harm to the victims.

A Senate committee had attached the amendment last week that aims to strip domestic abusers of guns. The bill requires a judge to take guns from domestic abusers who have had a final protective order filed against them.

The House of Delegates approved similar legislation last week, and rejected a separate attempt to give victims easier access to handguns.

VIRGINIA

FAIRFAX

Teacher charged with molesting girl

A teacher who was working as a tutor for an elementary student has been charged with molesting the girl in her home, Fairfax County police said.

The teacher, Rodney Bower, 54, of Alexandria, has been charged with aggravated sexual battery.

Mr. Bower teaches at Gunston Elementary School and the girl, a student at the school reported that she had been touched inappropriately while she was being tutored last month, police said.

Mr. Bower turned himself in to authorities Monday.

NORFOLK

Fatal police shooting called justified

Portsmouth police officers were justified in shooting a suspect after a vehicle chase, a prosecutor said.

Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Gregory D. Underwood wrote in a letter to the Ports-mouth police chief that the officers won’t be prosecuted.

The officers shot Kenji Lee Danzy, 30, of Newport News on Jan. 9 after a chase that ended on a dead-end street in Norfolk.

Citing police reports and witness testimony, Mr. Underwood said Mr. Danzy struck an occupied patrol car with his car and then hit a police officer who was attempting to stop him.

Three officers fired at Mr. Danzy’s car after he drove toward one of them.

RICHMOND

State gets $51 million for public housing

Virginia will get nearly $51 million in federal stimulus funds for public housing, two U.S. senators said Thursday.

Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner, both Virginia Democrats, said that the funding will help 29 local housing authorities across the state make improvements, including improving energy efficiency.

The money was released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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