- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 4, 2009


KenCen features disabled artists

Artists with disabilities from around the world are set to convene in 2010 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for the largest showcase of their work.

The festival announced Tuesday will feature appearances by actresses Claire Danes and Marlee Matlin, among others, to mark the center’s 2009-10 season.

A two-year “Focus on Russia” series also begins next season. It will feature performances by the Mariinsky Ballet and the Mariinsky Opera and Orchestra performing “War and Peace.”

The theater season will present three plays about opera by Terrence McNally, including the new play “Golden Age.” The show was co-produced with the Philadelphia Theatre Company.

The season also will feature actress Cate Blanchett starring in “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

Cherry blossoms right on schedule

The cherry trees lining the Tidal Basin are expected to be in peak bloom during the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

The National Park Service’s chief horticulturist, Rob DeFeo, said Tuesday that 70 percent of the 3,700 trees will burst with pink and white blossoms from April 3 to 9. This year’s festival runs from March 28 to April 12.

Festival President Diana Mayhew says she expects more than 1 million visitors to attend the festivities. This year’s festival will include a performance by the Washington Ballet, a parade with “Jeopardy!” game-show host Alex Trebek as honorary grand marshal and a Japanese street festival.

Most of the cherry blossom trees are descendants of those presented to the United States by Japan in 1912 to mark 60 years of friendly relations.



UPS driver charged in theft ring

A United Parcel Service driver from Berrien, Mich., was part of a theft ring involving more than $250,000 worth of stolen goods, Cumberland police said.

Gary McKenzie Sr., 46, and his son Gary Jr., 23, are charged with six counts each of felony theft.

The elder Mr. McKenzie, often accompanied by his son, sold items off his truck to John and Lisa Dorsey, of Cresaptown, Md., who have already pleaded guilty to theft scheme charges, Maryland State Police said. The Dorseys would then sell the items and keep the proceeds, police said.

The McKenzies’ defense attorney, Edward Crossland, said the allegations are inaccurate. He said his clients are cooperating with authorities in hopes of resolving the matter.


Reports demanded on SWAT team use

Five Maryland residents testified Tuesday that SWAT teams storming their homes handcuffed them, drew guns or even killed their dogs in two instances, telling a state legislative panel that the state needs reports on how the units are used.

State Sen. Anthony Muse, Prince George’s County Democrat, is sponsoring legislation that would require law enforcement agencies to issue monthly reports to the Maryland attorney general on the number, purpose, authorization, general location and results of Maryland SWAT team deployments.

“I believe our law enforcement agencies do a tremendous job under the pressure and the limited resources that they have,” Mr. Muse said. “But there is no doubt that sometimes things go horribly, horribly wrong. There are those behind us today who will testify that things did go horribly wrong.”


MARC trains delayed after some halted

MARC train service experienced some delays Tuesday morning after service was halted north of Baltimore one day earlier, the Maryland Transit Administration said.

Amtrak officials canceled the service between Perryville and Baltimore on Monday morning to avoid running more trains than the tracks could handle during the snowstorm.

Spokeswoman Cheron Wicker said that meant some equipment wasn’t in place Tuesday morning. With temperatures dipping below 20 degrees, it also took equipment a long time to warm up, she added.



Ex-executive sought in bank robbery

A former business executive is suspected of robbing a bank, Arlington County police said.

Police issued a warrant Sunday for the arrest of Bruce W. Higgins Jr., 34. He is suspected of robbing a SunTrust bank on North Glebe Road about 9:30 a.m. Saturday, authorities said.

Mr. Higgins handed a teller a note demanding money and implied he had a weapon, authorities said. The robber left with an undisclosed amount of money.

In 2007, Mr. Higgins was fired from his job as vice president of business development at a Fairfax County consulting company.

Crime Solvers has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and prosecution.


Norfolk 17 will be honored at gala

Members of the Norfolk 17 will receive Norfolk State University’s Forever Upward award during the school’s annual President’s Gala.

The award is the highest honor bestowed by the president’s office, Norfolk State said Tuesday.

The gala is set for March 28 at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel.

During Virginia’s “Massive Resistance” to school integration, three all-white high schools and three junior high schools in Norfolk closed between September 1958 and February 1959. The Norfolk 17 were the first black students who attended the schools after a federal judge ordered them reopened to all.


Brokaw to speak at William & Mary

Former “NBC Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw will be the College of William & Mary’s spring commencement speaker.

Mr. Brokaw started at NBC-TV in 1966 and, after being named the nightly newscast’s anchor, served for 21 years before stepping down in 2004. He remains a special correspondent. He also has written several books, including “The Greatest Generation,” a 1998 best-seller about Americans coming of age during the Great Depression and World War II.

Mr. Brokaw, actress Linda Lavin and developer Sherman Cohen will receive honorary degrees at the May 17 commencement, the university said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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