- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 8, 2009



Lawsuit against town moves forward

A federal judge has ruled that the key components of a developer’s $16.5 million lawsuit against the town of Walkersville will move forward.

David Moxley’s lawsuit accuses the town of conspiring to prevent a Muslim group from buying his 224-acre farm to build a mosque and religious retreat. The Western Maryland town violated federal laws that bar land-use regulations that discriminate against religious groups, Mr. Moxley said.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett threw out punitive-damages claims against the town and town officials in their official capacities, but Mr. Moxley still can seek damages against the defendants themselves.

Mr. Moxley’s attorney, Roman Storzer, called the decision “very encouraging.”


Three shot, one killed outside lesbian club

One woman is dead after a triple shooting outside a lesbian nightclub in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood, and police are looking for a female shooter.

It happened about 2 a.m. Saturday outside the Coconuts Cafe. An altercation on the dance floor spilled out onto the street, said Officer Nicole Monroe, a police spokeswoman.

A woman who had been bumped on the dance floor earlier in the evening emerged from a vehicle with a metal pipe and attacked a woman who had bumped her, Officer Monroe said. A melee ensued, and the attacker returned to the car and retrieved a handgun. She shot the woman she had beaten with the pipe, then shot another woman who was sitting in a car.

The first victim tried to run after being beaten and shot, but the shooter chased her and shot her again, Officer Monroe said. The victim died at a hospital.

A third woman was wounded by stray gunfire.


Suspect who struck officer with car is shot

An officer shot a suspect who struck another officer with a car, Baltimore police said.

The incident occurred shortly after 8 p.m. Friday at Pimlico Avenue and Garrison Boulevard, department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. Two officers were conducting a narcotics investigation when two suspects entered a vehicle and tried to run down the officers.

One officer was struck. The second officer fired his weapon, hitting one of the suspects.

The injured officer was taken to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries. The wounded suspect was taken to a hospital, where his condition was unknown. The second suspect was taken into custody.

Suspected narcotics were recovered, Mr. Guglielmi said. The 28-year-old officer who shot the suspect was involved in two previous police shootings, both of which were ruled justified by the state’s attorney’s office, the spokesman said.


Special education making progress

Baltimore’s public school system is making some progress in its long-running, court-mandated effort to improve special education.

A special master overseeing a 25-year-old special-education lawsuit has recommended less judicial oversight at most of the city’s elementary schools.

The special master, Amy Totenberg, praised reforms implemented under schools chief Andres Alonso.

Mr. Alonso is pledging to end the lawsuit by 2011, when his contract is up for renewal. Anything less is “not acceptable,” he said.

The class-action lawsuit was brought in 1984 by attorneys for students with disabilities. Complying with court orders has cost the city millions of dollars a year.

Ms. Totenberg’s report details many problems that remain in middle and high schools.



Liquor board marks 75th anniversary

The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is marking its 75th anniversary.

In March 1934, Virginia became a “control state” as the General Assembly voted to create the first three-member ABC board. The move came after residents voted to ratify the 21st Amendment, which called for the repeal of Prohibition.

Today, about 130 ABC special agents oversee more than 15,000 establishments that are licensed to sell alcohol in Virginia. The department has about 330 stores across the state and says it has contributed more than $1.25 billion to the state in the last five years.

Starting later this month, the Library of Virginia in Richmond will hold a 75th-anniversary exhibition. It will feature artifacts such as ABC price lists from 1934-41, ration tickets, photos and bottle stickers.


Groups protest illegal-alien center

Groups from across the state on Saturday protested a detention center being built in Farmville to hold illegal immigrants.

About 150 people gathered for a rally and protest.

Farmville signed a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in September to house illegal immigrants. The town subcontracted with a private investor, Immigration Centers of America-Farmville, which is putting up the $21 million to build the center.

The private company would get about $60 per day per detainee from the federal government, while the town would keep $2 per detainee.

Plans call for a 1,040-bed facility that could be expanded to house about 2,500 detainees.

Officials say the 200 jobs from the new center would be a boost for the town, but opponents say the center is an extension of a failed immigration policy.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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