- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 26, 2009

VIRGINIA

RICHMOND

Items exempt from state tax

If you’re planning on preparing for a hurricane, this is the week to do it.

Virginia’s sales-tax holiday on hurricane-preparedness items runs from Monday through Sunday. Throughout the week, 22 items that can be helpful in a storm - including batteries, flashlights, bottled water and generators - are exempt from the 5 percent state and local sales tax.

A complete list of tax-exempt products can be found at www.tax.virginia.gov. The items must cost $1,000 or less.

Since 2003, Virginia has had 49 fatalities and sustained more than $2 billion in damage from hurricanes and tropical storms.

During the sales-tax holiday, retailers can choose to exempt other items from sales tax.

RICHMOND

One weekend of free fishing

For one weekend in June, you won’t have to have a fishing license to wet your line.

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries are offering free fishing June 5 to 7.

During the free-fishing days, no license will be required for recreational fishing, except for a special freshwater trout license in designated stocked trout waters. All fishing regulations - including size, season, catch limits and gear restrictions - will be enforced.

A saltwater license costs $12.50 per year for Virginia residents, while freshwater and trout licenses are $18.

MANASSAS

Police: Woman raped in home

Prince William County police say a 20-year-old woman was raped during an early-morning home invasion.

Police said a man with a knife entered the Manassas woman’s apartment in the 10500 block of Lariat Lane shortly before 5 a.m. Sunday. They said the suspect tied up a 19-year-old man who lives in the apartment. He also tied up the woman and sexually assaulted her, according to police.

There was no sign of forced entry to the apartment.

Police are investigating.

LEESBURG

Officials probe death of woman

Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office authorities said there is no indication of foul play in the case of a woman who died after falling out of a car.

Sofia Taj, 35, of Ashburn, was a passenger in a moving car on Route 7 when she fell out it early Saturday morning.

Spokesman Kraig Troxell said the driver, Darrell Skeeter, 44, of New York, has not been charged.

Mr. Troxell said authorities aren’t sure how fast Mr. Skeeter was driving. The speed limit on Route 7 is 55 mph.

He said officials are trying to figure out how Miss Taj fell out of the car. They also are awaiting autopsy results to determine whether she was struck by other vehicles.

MARYLAND

BALTIMORE

New trial on child porn denied

A federal judge has denied a motion for a new trial filed by a Dundalk man convicted on child pornography charges.

The attorney for Christopher Blauvelt said a friendly e-mail from a juror to a federal prosecutor showed bias against his client.

The juror had a professional relationship with a federal prosecutor who wasn’t associated with the case. “You guys do not get near the credit you deserve for what you do,” the juror wrote.

Blauvelt has not yet been sentenced. He faces a maximum of 30 years.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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