- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 30, 2009


City opens juvenile detention center

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty on Friday heralded the opening of a new juvenile detention center.

The facility in Laurel is called the New Beginnings Youth Center and replaces the notorious Oak Hill Youth Center a half mile away. It will house 60 young offenders in units of 10 beds each.

About two dozen young men boarded a bus Thursday for the half-mile journey to a new $46 million, 30-acre campus. Instead of razor wire and huge cell keys, New Beginnings has a landscaped courtyard, lots of windows and electronic entry cards.

Vincent N. Schiraldi, director of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, called New Beginnings “the anti-prison.” He said that, instead of training young people to become adult inmates, his agency wants them to “aspire to college.”

Phillips named acting U.S. attorney

The Justice Department has named Channing D. Phillips as the acting U.S. attorney for the District.

Mr. Phillips, 51, replaces Jeffrey A. Taylor, who announced his resignation on Thursday. Mr. Phillips is currently the principal assistant U.S. attorney in the D.C. office, and previously served as chief of staff and special counsel.

Mr. Phillips, a D.C. native, has also worked as a trial attorney with the Justice Department’s organized crime and racketeering section.

President Obama will nominate a permanent replacement. D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s nonvoting representative to the House, is conducting a public search for someone to recommend to the president.

Lincoln Memorial to be rededicated

A rededication ceremony for the Lincoln Memorial is being held Saturday - four score and seven years after its 1922 dedication.

The afternoon program will feature speeches, a performance by the U.S. Marine Band and a reading of a poem written by Abraham Lincoln biographer Carl Sandburg.

Speakers will include Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Benjamin F. Payton, president of Tuskegee University.

The program will begin at 2:25 p.m.



School group freed from quarantine

A group of 21 students and three teachers from a Silver Spring private school has been released from quarantine after being held by the Chinese government over fears about swine flu.

The students from the Barrie School have just one day left to wrap up their tour of Guizhou province before they return home Sunday. They arrived a week ago and were quarantined in their hotel for five days, beginning Monday.

Chinese officials feared the group was exposed to swine flu on their flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong. U.S. consular officials told school officials and parents Tuesday that the passenger with a fever did not have the illness. However, the group remained confined at a hotel in the city of Kaili until Friday.


Student arrested in disruption

Montgomery County police said a Germantown teen was arrested for disrupting Watkins Mill High School.

Police say the 16-year-old student wouldn’t go to a classroom for suspended students Friday morning. He had been disciplined with in-school suspension Thursday.

But the boy ignored school staff members and an officer who were telling him to go to class. Police said he was verbally abusive and pushed past the school officer when she tried to stop him from disrupting the cafeteria.

Then the officer used pepper spray to stop the student.

There were no students in the area at the time and police say the student was treated and released to a family member after being charged with assault, disturbing school operations and resisting arrest.



Unemployment drops a notch in April

The Virginia Employment Commission reported Friday that the seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate dropped 0.3 of a percentage point in March to 6.6 percent last month. Labor analysts attributed the improved number to seasonal hiring and job expansion in health care and computer systems design.

Virginia’s seasonally adjusted April rate of 6.8 percent is well below the U.S. average of 8.6 percent.

The city of Martinsville continues to claim Virginia’s top jobless rate - 20.2 percent. Twenty-six jurisdictions reported double-digit unemployment in April.

On the plus side, nine of Virginia’s 10 metropolitan areas saw lower unemployment rates in April. The exception was the Danville area, up slightly to 12.4 percent.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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