- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Police find body of child in river

Police say they have discovered a child’s body in the Potomac River.

Officer Israel James said a police helicopter helping search for a missing Virginia boy spotted the body at about 9:45 a.m. Tuesday near the 4900 block of Canal Road Northwest.

Officials were awaiting a medical examiner’s report to determine whether the body was that of Jorge Castro, 11, of Winchester, Va.

The boy was fishing with his father April 26 when he slipped off rocks into the Potomac about 75 yards south of the Chain Bridge. Authorities said the father tried to reach the child and had to be rescued.

Meanwhile, police are still investigating whether a body recovered Saturday from the Potomac is that of a man who jumped into the river to try to help the boy.

Nonprofit executive admits embezzling

The former finance director of the nonprofit National Children’s Alliance pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing from the organization that helps child-abuse victims.

Sharon Martin of Upper Marlboro admitted that she stole eight payroll paychecks totaling more than $15,800. She clutched a tissue as she told U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina that she wanted to enter a guilty plea.

The alliance, based in the District, has more than 500 Children’s Advocacy Centers across the country. It is funded in large part by grants from the Justice Department.

Martin was the alliance’s finance and senior staff director from 1994 to 2007. She is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 3 and faces up to six months in prison.



Teachers sought in math, science

A Maryland task force on education has submitted some preliminary recommendations to improve math and science studies in kindergarten through high school.

One of the top goals is to triple the number of teachers who graduate from Maryland colleges with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math who go on to teach in state schools.

Now, about 120 teachers graduate each year from Maryland colleges with science-oriented degrees who end up teaching in state schools. The task force wants to boost that to about 360 a year. Part of the strategy includes reaching out to college students in their freshman year to encourage careers as teachers.

The task force is aiming to finish recommendations by June 30.


Man held in killing has 37 earlier arrests

A Baltimore man charged in a kidnapping and fatal shooting has been arrested and charged at least 37 times previously, court records show.

Sherman Anderson, 32, is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and more than a dozen other offenses in the death of Qonta Waddell, 24.

Charging documents show that Mr. Waddell was tied up and dragged screaming from his mother’s home early in the morning of April 21. He was found fatally shot not long after.

Mr. Anderson has beaten charges of attempted murder three times, and despite his lengthy arrest record, he has never served significant jail time. Most of the charges against him were dropped by prosecutors before trial.


Council delays mall slots debate

The Anne Arundel County Council has voted to delay debate on whether to allow a casino at Arundel Mills mall.

The council’s vote Monday puts off debate until May 18. The bill expires in June, and it’s the second time the council has delayed discussion.

Baltimore-based developer Cordish Cos. has proposed a 200,000-square-foot entertainment complex at Arundel Mills to house restaurants, a venue for live entertainment and a casino with 4,750 slot machines.

Council member Daryl Jones, whose district includes the mall in Hanover, said there are more issues to address before the council takes action.

Any changes made to the bill must be completed during the May 18 meeting, and Mr. Jones said it is not clear whether the work can be completed that night.


First MARC diesel to be rolled out

The first new diesel MARC commuter trains are being rolled out in Baltimore.

Gov. Martin O’Malley is scheduled to ride into the station near Camden Yards on Wednesday afternoon.

The new trains are more fuel-efficient and have greater horsepower to pull longer cars. They also are considered more reliable than current MARC trains.

The state has purchased 26 diesel locomotives at a cost of about $100 million. So far, three have been built.

Jawauna Greene, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Transit Administration, said riders will begin riding on the new locomotives this month, and all should be ready by summer 2010.

Miss Greene said the new locomotives will be used on the MARC Penn Line, which goes from Aberdeen to the District, and the Brunswick Line, which goes from Martinsburg, W.Va., to the District.


Crash injures nine, closes B-W Parkway

Northbound lanes of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway were closed Tuesday afternoon after a crash injured nine people, two of them critically.

Prince George’s County fire department spokesman Mark Brady said the people were traveling in a minivan that left the road and hit a tree between the Good Luck Road overpass and the Capital Beltway.



FBI investigates hacked health records

The FBI is investigating a report that hackers have accessed millions of patient and prescription records in Virginia.

The hackers reportedly are seeking a $10 million ransom for their return.

The security breach was reported on WikiLeaks.org, an online clearinghouse for anonymously leaked documents. The site said 8 million patient records and 35 million prescriptions were accessed.

Although he did not provide details of the investigation, a spokesman for the FBI’s Richmond office said Tuesday that the agency was investigating a referral from the Virginia Information Technologies Agency. State police confirmed that they are assisting.

A spokesman at the Information Technologies Agency referred questions to the director of the Department of Health Professions, who did not immediately return telephone and e-mail messages.


Man last convicted in heroin ring

The final defendant in a Northern Virginia heroin ring that resulted in four overdose deaths has been convicted of providing the heroin that resulted in the death of his girlfriend last year.

Skylar Schnippel, 20, of Centreville, was the only one of 16 defendants who refused a plea bargain and opted for a bench trial. He was convicted Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema of distribution of heroin resulting in the death of 19-year-old Alicia Lannes and other charges, including obstruction of justice.

He faces at least 40 years in prison.

According to testimony, Miss Lannes had overdosed three previous times, but Schnippel continued to provide her heroin, including the dose that killed her in March 2008.


Hager to chair Sorensen Institute

Former Lt. Gov. John H. Hager has been elected chairman of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia.

The 16-year-old institute was founded to identify and train emerging political and community leaders in Virginia. To date, 18 institute alumni have been elected to the Virginia General Assembly, and nearly 100 have been elected to local office.

Mr. Hager served as lieutenant governor from 1998 to 2002. He also is the past chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia.


Lioness gives birth to quadruplets

Zola the lioness delivered quadruplets over the weekend at the Virginia Zoo.

The Norfolk sanctuary reported Tuesday that the lioness delivered the four healthy cubs Saturday. Nearly two years ago, Zola gave birth to a male and a female - the first large carnivore births at the zoo in 35 years.

Lions may have up to five cubs at a time, though two or three are more common.

Zola and her cubs will be off public exhibit for several weeks to allow them to bond.


16 injured in crash of ICE vans, car

Sixteen people, including prisoners from two Immigration and Customs Enforcement vans, suffered minor injuries in a three-vehicle crash Tuesday evening, Fairfax County police said.

The accident happened shortly after 7 p.m. in the 2900 block of Gallows Road. Police spokeswoman Officer Tawny Wright said the two vans were transporting prisoners to the ICE building in Vienna when one bumped another, and the second van was bumped by a Nissan Sentra.

Officer Wright said 16 people were taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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