- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 5, 2009



Board of Public Works announces job cuts

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Members of Maryland’s Board of Public Works officially slashed $82 million from the state’s current budget Wednesday, including about 892 vacant positions and two filled jobs.

The filled positions that will be eliminated are in the governor’s office and the Historic St. Mary’s City Commission.

The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services will lose nearly 250 vacant positions, more than any other department.

Gov. Martin O’Malley, Comptroller Peter Franchot and State Treasurer Nancy Kopp, all Democrats, hold the only positions on the three-member-board.

The cuts stemmed from a December recommendation to eliminate 1,000 vacant positions to help balance the current year’s budget, said State Budget Secretary T. Eloise Foster, a Democrat.


Truck crash kills 1, injures 1

A woman was killed and a child injured when the car they were traveling in hit a garbage truck, Anne Arundel County fire officials said.

The crash occurred around 6:45 a.m. on East Ordnance Road at Blades Lane in Glen Burnie.

The car hit the large commercial garbage truck and both vehicles caught fire, county Fire Department Battalion Chief Matthew Tobia said.

The woman, 33, died from multiple injuries while the child was taken by ambulance to Johns Hopkins Hospital with life-threatening injuries. The child is thought to be under the age of six.

Two other vehicles were involved in the crash, but no one else was injured.

County police are investigating the crash.


Bond hearing set for prison guards

Most of the former correctional officers charged with assaulting inmates at two Western Maryland state prisons are scheduled for bond hearings.

Hearings will begin at 9:30 a.m. Thursday for the nine defendants charged with assault at the Roxbury Correctional Institution near Hagerstown, a Washington County Circuit Court clerk said.

No hearings have been scheduled for six others charged with assaulting inmates at the North Branch Correctional Institution near Cumberland.

The defendants are among 23 correctional officers fired in April on suspicion of brutalizing inmates.

They were charged Friday by the state attorney general’s office, which says it lacked evidence to bring criminal charges against the other eight fired officers.



Financial institutions warn of privacy breach

Financial institutions in Virginia are warning customers that they could be affected by a security breach at a payments processing company.

Princeton, N.J.-based Heartland Payment Systems Inc. revealed on Jan. 20 that its system used to process Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover Card transactions was breached late last year.

The Virginia Credit Union said it has contacted 44,000 customers whose information was exposed.

Central Virginia Bank said more than 2,000 of its customers were affected and it has issued new cards.

Virginia Association of Community Banks President Patricia Satterfield said her group doesn’t yet know how many customers were affected.


Phish asks judge to reel in bootleggers

The rock band Phish is asking a federal judge to block the sale of bootlegged merchandise at its upcoming concerts in Hampton.

A hearing is scheduled for Thursday in Newport News on the band’s request for an injunction that would bar the sale of unauthorized T-shirts, posters and other items bearing the Phish name. The band, which broke up in 2004, is starting a reunion tour Friday with the first of three concerts at Hampton Coliseum.

Phish said in court papers that it’s had trouble with bootleggers in the past. The band wants police to seize any unlicensed Phish merchandise being sold near the Coliseum. Phish also is seeking unspecified damages against the unidentified defendants.


Ex-inmate sentenced in identity theft case

A former inmate at the Federal Correctional Institute in Petersburg has been sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison on charges stemming from a scheme to cash in bank accounts intended for the families of Holocaust victims.

John Kenneth Leighnor, Jr., 49, was sentenced Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Richmond said. Leighnor pleaded guilty last October to one count of mail fraud and three counts of aggravated identity theft.

Leighnor used obituaries and dormant Swiss bank accounts to find Holocaust victims while he was in prison on an unrelated fraud conviction, federal prosecutors said. He then would falsely represent himself as a descendant and seek claims on abandoned bank accounts. No money was actually stolen.


Executive arrested, suspect in bank robbery

Police have arrested a former business executive suspected of robbing a bank.

Bruce W. Higgins Jr., 34, is charged with robbing a SunTrust bank in Arlington County on Saturday.

Police and FBI agents arrested Mr. Higgins Tuesday night in Washington. They had received numerous tips on his whereabouts after offering a $1,000 reward.

In 2007, Mr. Higgins was fired from his job as vice president of business development at SiloSmashers, a Fairfax County consulting firm. The company has not disclosed the reason for his termination.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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