- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 7, 2009


Sweepers to begin issuing parking tickets

There will soon be a new way to get a parking ticket in the District.

Street sweepers are being rigged with cameras to scan license plates and issue parking tickets on residential streets marked with “No Parking/Street Cleaning” signs. Parking is restricted in those areas during posted hours.

The cameras will generate $30 tickets beginning March 30. A dry run begins Monday to allow the D.C. Department of Public Works to test the system on seven street sweepers and work out any kinks.

Regular street sweeping resumes March 23 after a break during the winter.

The D.C. Council approved legislation in May to deploy the cameras on the city’s street sweepers. Each camera costs about $36,000.

Barry out of hospital on his 73rd birthday

Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry has been released from Howard University Hospital after returning as a precaution following his kidney transplant.

Mr. Barry was released from the hospital Friday afternoon in time to celebrate his 73rd birthday. The Democrat and Ward 8 D.C. Council member stopped by the city’s Wilson Building, where supporters greeted him with balloons and sang “Happy Birthday.”

He had planned to return to his council duties this week, following his Feb. 20 kidney transplant, but instead returned to the hospital. His spokeswoman Natalie Williams said Mr. Barry had been complaining of discomfort.

Mr. Barry’s doctors deemed the surgery a success.



Police charge man in death of cabbie

Baltimore police have a warrant for a man wanted in the death of a Frederick cab driver.

Robert Murphy, of Baltimore, is in custody at the Howard County jail on an unrelated handgun charge. He’s now charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder and handgun charges in the Jan. 26 death of Stephen Mauk. He was also involved in a carjacking in Frederick eight days before Mr. Mauk’s death, Baltimore police said.

Murphy has been convicted in the past on drug and weapons charges, according to court documents.

Mr. Mauk’s body was found Jan. 26 in his cab. He’d been shot in the head. His employer had last heard from him when he was dispatched to pick up a fare for a local trip in Frederick.


Panel backs bills to disarm abusers

A Maryland House Committee is backing measures that make it easier for the state to take firearms from domestic abusers.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 14-7 Friday in favor a bill that would allow judges to confiscate guns from people who have temporary protective orders filed against them. The panel also voted 14-7 to endorse a bill that would require judges to take firearms from the subjects of final protective orders.

The same committee voted down similar bills last year that were sought by Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon.

This year, Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, included them in his legislative package. Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, a Democrat, testified for the bills, after his cousin was fatally shot last summer by an estranged boyfriend. The legislation now advances to the House floor.


Scenic river board rips incinerator plan

A proposed garbage incinerator near Frederick would detract from the scenic nature of the Monocacy River, a citizens advisory board said.

The smokestack - up to 35 stories high - would be overwhelming and mar the view for canoeists and kayakers, the Monocacy Scenic River Citizens Advisory Board said.

Frederick County commissioners are considering building the plant in an industrial park about 2 miles south of Frederick to produce electricity and conserve dwindling landfill space.

The proposed site also has drawn fire from the nearby Monocacy National Battlefield and the National Park Service. State Sen. Alex X. Mooney, a Republican, has introduced a bill in the General Assembly that would block construction of a plant within a mile of the battlefield.


Harris seeks support for a new run

State Sen. Andrew P. Harris, Baltimore County Republican, wants to build support for another run at the 1st District congressional seat he lost last fall to Democrat Frank Kratovil Jr.

Mr. Harris has written to supporters, saying he wants to raise $100,000 by the end of March. He said Mr. Kratovil will raise a lot of money as an incumbent, so he must raise money early to be competitive.

Mr. Harris said that last year, Democrats “had the wind at their back with Barack Obama at the top of the ticket.” Next year, he said, “they’ll have the wind in their face,” in part because of what Mr. Harris said is the unpopularity of Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat.

A Kratovil spokesman said he’s focusing on work rather than the next election.


Dogs chase deer through restaurant

A deer being chased by two dogs crashed through the front window of a restaurant before ending up in the bakery section of a grocery store, Montgomery County police said.

George Bourzikos, owner of the Greek Village Restaurant in Silver Spring, says the deer smashed through the window, shattering glass and causing customers and employees to scramble to protect themselves.

All three animals trashed the restaurant, then fled out the front door.

The deer then tried to hide inside a nearby Giant Food store - this time entering through the automatic door. The deer ended up in the store’s bakery section, where it was euthanized by a Department of Natural Resources officer.

There was no word on what happened to the dogs.



State gets millions in stimulus for police

Virginia’s crime-fighting efforts are getting a nearly $40 million boost from the federal stimulus package.

President Obama announced the state’s $39.8 million share Friday.

The funding comes from the Department of Justice’s Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program.

Law enforcement efforts supported by the program include hiring officers, crime prevention and domestic violence programs, and multijurisdictional drug and gang task forces.

The stimulus package includes more than $4 billion for law enforcement, Mr. Obama said.


DNA testing clears man of 1979 rape

A DNA test from a massive state project aimed at clearing the wrongfully accused has cleared a Richmond man who spent eight years in prison for a 1979 rape.

Attorney Murray Janus said he has asked Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, to pardon Victor “Bo” Burnette. Testing in 2006 confirmed that Burnette’s DNA did not match samples taken from the victim.

That doesn’t mean Burnette couldn’t have committed the crime, but Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Herring said it was enough to cast reasonable doubt and that Burnette should be granted a pardon.

Virginia’s DNA testing project began in 2005 when then-Gov. Mark Warner, a Democrat, ordered examination of all case files from 1973 through 1988. The order came after five men were cleared of rape charges from biological evidence preserved in their files long before DNA testing got under way.


Housing agencies awarded jobs money

Ten Virginia public housing agencies will share $648,612 in federal grants to help residents find jobs.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said Friday that it awarded the grants to redevelopment and housing authorities in Fairfax County, Norfolk, Bristol, Chesapeake, Danville, Newport News, Portsmouth, Richmond, Roanoke and Waynesboro.

The Norfolk authority’s $134,930 grant was the largest. Other grants were: Bristol, $39,441; Chesapeake, $47,448; Danville, $45,894; Fairfax County, $68,000; Newport News, $46,000; Portsmouth, $52,164; Richmond, $65,500; Roanoke, $107,435; and Waynesboro, $41,800.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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