- The Washington Times - Friday, May 8, 2009



Deputy hurt after falling into ravine

A sheriff’s deputy was seriously injured after falling into a ravine in Riverdale, Prince George’s County authorities said.

Fire department spokesman Mark Brady said the deputy was chasing several suspects on foot when he fell about 25 feet into the ravine Thursday. The ravine is located in a wooded area near Parkdale High School on Good Luck Road.

Sheriff’s office spokesman Sgt. Mario Ellis said the deputy was chasing three suspects accused of breaking into a nearby apartment.

The deputy was hospitalized with injuries that authorities described as serious but not life-threatening.


State has 21 cases of swine flu

There are now at least 21 confirmed cases of swine flu in Maryland, state health officials say.

The number was reported Thursday, and is up from the four cases that had been confirmed earlier this week.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene also said the state public health laboratory has been approved to perform the tests that confirm swine flu.

The state is investigating two more probable cases.


Van carrying body hits school bus

The driver of a van used to transport a body was hospitalized after colliding with a school bus in Rockville.

Montgomery County fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said the van was taking the body from Shady Grove Hospital to Holy Cross Hospital when the crash occurred about 12:30 p.m. at West Montgomery Avenue and Darnestown Road.

Mr. Piringer said the driver of the van, who was briefly trapped inside the vehicle, was taken to the hospital with a leg injury.

The school bus was carrying two adults and about six students. The driver and an aide were treated at the scene for bruises.


Naval Academy gets millions for kitchen

The Naval Academy has received $51 million in federal economic recovery money to build a galley.

The current kitchen galley, where meals are prepared for more than 4,400 midshipmen at the same time, is antiquated. Some equipment dates to the 1950s and Vice Adm. Jeffrey Fowler, the academy’s superintendent, said the academy can’t find parts for repairs.

The renovation is expected to take up to two years. It was not clear when work would begin.

The midshipmen moved last year back into a renovated dining hall, which was built in 1909.


Nuns sell school to board members

The leader of a Catholic girls’ school in downtown Frederick said the 162-year-old institution has been sold to its board of directors.

Local attorney David Grove, acting board chairman of the Visitation Academy, said Thursday that the transaction with the Sisters of the Visitation was completed April 28.

Mr. Grove wouldn’t disclose the sale price but said more information will be released later this month as part of a fundraising campaign.

The Frederick News-Post reported that the property was recently assessed at $4.8 million.

The school has 142 students in pre-kindergarten through 8th grade.


Festival eyes sites for possible move

The general manager of the Maryland Renaissance Festival said the group has identified at least nine sites in six counties for possible relocation of the medieval fair from its home in Crownsville.

Jules Smith Jr. said Thursday the sites are in Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Howard, Prince George’s and Baltimore counties.

Mr. Smith said any relocation from Anne Arundel would take years, but a decision could come relatively soon because land prices are attractive.

The group began searching in October for a site on which to expand its annual lineup of jousting, juggling and other forms of revelry in a reconstructed, 16th-century English village.

The festival attracted about 270,000 visitors last year from late August to late October.


Arguments delayed in child welfare case

A federal judge will wait until next month to hear arguments on whether the District should be held in contempt of court over its troubled child welfare agency.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan rescheduled Thursday’s hearing for June 29. A contempt ruling could place the city’s Child and Family Services Agency under federal receivership again.

Earlier this week, a court-appointed monitor released a report saying the agency is still failing to offer adequate care for abused and neglected children.

D.C. officials asked the judge Thursday for additional time to submit more current data, which they say better reflects the agency’s improved performance.



McDonnell readies reply to ad attack

Republican Bob McDonnell plans to hit back with his first round of television advertisements.

Mr. McDonnell has bought about $200,000 in air time in downstate television markets after a Democratic group aired ads statewide attacking him on Republican opposition to enhanced unemployment benefits.

The presumed Republican nominee for governor will spend about $53,000 to air the ad in the Norfolk market, $47,000 in Richmond, $38,000 in Roanoke, $30,000 in Bristol and $25,000 in the combined Charlottesville-Harrisonburg region. They will air for a week, starting Monday.

Campaign spokesman Tucker Martin wouldn’t discuss the content of the ad.

It’s about half as much as Common Sense Virginia, funded by the Democratic Governors Association, is spending. Unlike Mr. McDonnell, the Democrats bought time in the pricey D.C. market.


Permit for mountain mining withdrawn

Federal officials have withdrawn a permit for a mountaintop mining operation in southwest Virginia.

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official said in a letter to A&G; Coal Co. dated Wednesday that the corps was suspending its permit issued in August 2007 because A&G; has failed to obtain a state mining permit.

Col. Dionysios Anninos said the suspension will enable the corps to evaluate concerns about mining on Ison Rock Ridge in Wise County raised by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA last month asked the Corps of Engineers to revoke the permit and review the mining proposal under a more complicated process.

The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy planned to decide this week whether to issue A&G; Coal a state permit.


Poverty reduction task force created

Virginia is creating a poverty reduction task force to identify challenges and opportunities to help lift children and families out of poverty.

Gov. Tim Kaine announced the creation of the task force Thursday. It includes both public and private-sector partners who will make policy recommendations to fight poverty in Virginia.

The task force will be co-chaired by Secretary of Health and Human Resources Marilyn Tavenner and Richmond attorney Robert Grey. It will receive financial support through a grant program administered by the National Governors Association.

Mr. Kaine said helping Virginians out of poverty won’t be easy or quick, but remains imperative.

The governor’s office said that, according to current data, nearly 10 percent of all Virginians live below the federal poverty line.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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