- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 9, 2009



Train hits car; woman injured

A MARC commuter train struck a car in Rockville, injuring at least one woman in the car.

Montgomery County fire and rescue spokesman Pete Piringer said a woman in her 20s was taken to the hospital with serious injuries but was expected to survive. Rescue crews were called to the scene near Randolph Road just before 5 p.m. Friday.

Mr. Piringer said it appeared the car may have been stuck on the railroad tracks and was then struck by the crossing gate at the railroad crossing. He said the gate came through the rear window of the car, narrowly missing the driver.

No injuries were reported among the 430 passengers on the train. The Maryland Transit Administration said hundreds of passengers were delayed while the investigation continued.


Gang member gets 18 years for assault

A Prince George’s County judge ordered a gang member to serve 18 years in prison for assaulting a bicyclist last June.

Prince George’s County Circuit Court Judge Nicholas E. Rattal sentenced Tony Phillips Montalvan, 22, of Hyattsville to 25 years in prison with seven years suspended and five years probation for first-degree assault.

Prosecutors say that on June 20 Montalvan stopped Nelson Rodriquez, 25, while he was on the bike path near the Adelphi Recreation Center and asked him if he was an MS-13 gangmember.

Mr. Rodriguez ran and the defendant yelled for his friends, who came out of the woods, caught Mr. Rodriguez and severely beat him, prosecutors say. Montalvan attacked Mr. Rodriguez with a steak knife, while at least 10 of his co-conspirators beat him with rocks, knives and a tree branch.

Mr. Rodriguez escaped and lived. A passerby found him unconscious beneath a tree near the Adelphi Recreation Center not far from where the attack took place.


Man sentenced in tanker hijacking

A federal judge has sentenced a 44-year-old Greenbelt man for hijacking a diesel tanker in Baltimore before abandoning it in the District.

Willie McKinnon was sentenced Friday to 12 years in prison for armed robbery and conspiracy. He pleaded guilty to stealing a tanker truck on Oct. 19, 2007.

Prosecutors said McKinnon hid in the truck’s cab while the driver was filling up the tanker and forced him to drive away at gunpoint. Later, the driver managed to get out of the truck and call police.

McKinnon then drove the truck into the District, where police think 7,100 gallons of stolen fuel were emptied into tanks at a gas station. The empty tractor-trailer was abandoned on a street near the gas station


Officials announce aid for oysters

Oyster restoration efforts are getting a $6.6 million boost in federal aid.

Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Maryland Democrat, was joined by oyster experts in Annapolis on Friday for the announcement.

The Chesapeake Bay’s oyster population has been ravaged by disease. It’s estimated the population is about one percent of what it was at the end of the 19th century.

Oysters are important to the area because they filter Bay waters.


Swine flu cases up to 23

Maryland health officials say there are now 23 confirmed cases of swine flu in the state.

The most recent patient is an adult in Cecil County, bringing to seven the number of counties that have confirmed cases of the illness.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene also reported on Friday that it will shift from around-the-clock emergency operations to an extended flu monitoring and surveillance system.

Residents are urged to sign up for an influenza-tracking survey at www.marylandfluwatch.org.

Health officials warned that the number of swine flu infections may continue to increase, and urged practice of commonsense hygiene.



Kaine commits to education initiative

Virginia is committing to a multistate initiative to raise English and math standards for K-12 public schools.

Gov. Tim Kaine and Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia Wright on Friday signed an agreement on the State Common Core Standards initiative.

The program will produce a voluntary core of academic standards to prepare students for postsecondary education and the workplace. It is being coordinated by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

The agreement calls for the development of a core set of high school standards in English-language arts and mathematics by late summer of 2009. Elementary and middle school standards in both subjects are expected by the end of 2009.


State invests in Bay cleanup

The Virginia Resources Authority is issuing bonds to finance $185 million in wastewater treatment and sewer system upgrades to reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.

The bonds will support improvements to 13 wastewater treatment projects. The upgrades will help to reduce nutrient pollution being discharged into the tributaries that feed the Bay.

Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine applauded the investment, saying Virginia has dedicated more than $1 billion to cleaning up the Bay since the beginning of his term.

Virginia is part of the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement along with Maryland, Pennsylvania, the District and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It calls for each state to reduce by 40 percent the level of nutrients going into the Chesapeake Bay by 2010.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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