- The Washington Times - Monday, November 9, 2009


Exhibit explores Africa in Mexico

The Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum is hosting a traveling exhibit that explores a little known aspect of the African diaspora - its reach to Mexico.

The exhibit, “The African Presence in Mexico: From Yanga to the Present,” opens Sunday at the Southeast Washington museum. It was created by the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago and has traveled to New Mexico, California, Philadelphia and cities in Mexico.

The bilingual exhibit includes paintings, lithographs and historical texts to show the African impact on Mexican culture. It explores issues of race, culture and politics. Part of the title - Yanga - refers to the African leader who founded the first free African township in the Americas in 1609.

The exhibit is on display through July.



Annandale man dies; struck by two cars

A 41-year-old Annandale man has died after being hit by two cars in quick succession, one of which drove away.

Fairfax County police said the man, whose name was being withheld until his family is notified, died Saturday night.

Police said the man was hit Friday night about 9 p.m. by a vehicle whose driver left the scene. The pedestrian was then hit by a second car, whose driver stayed. The victim was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital.

Detectives are looking for the driver of the first vehicle, which they think is a Chrysler with its driver-side mirror missing.


Dead whale ashore on Buckroe Beach

The Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team said a motorist driving by the beach Sunday called authorities after spotting a dead 12-foot-long whale washed ashore on Buckroe Beach.

It took about 14 people to lift the whale onto a truck that was taking it to the Virginia Aquarium, where examiners will attempt to determine the cause of death.

Members of the response team said the whale may have died as recently as Saturday based on the condition of its body.


State board rethinks transportation projects

An anticipated $600 million reduction in available revenue over the next six years is forcing the Commonwealth Transportation Board to scale back its projects.

The board plans to seek public comments about essential rail, transit, transportation demand management, bicycle, pedestrian and highways projects through 2015.

For the second year in a row, the board is having to rethink its six-year improvement plan because revised revenue estimates indicate it will have $900 million less to spend over the next six years.

Lists of specific projects and changes will be provided at the Dec. 1 public meeting in Richmond.


Box factory cuts 33 jobs

Shorewood Packaging Corp. has cut 33 jobs at its Danville plant because of low customer demand. The company now has 138 employees at the plant.

Plant general manager Mike Fenton says the positions were eliminated after about three months of rolling temporary layoffs. Shorewood produces packaging boxes and paper products.

One of the plant’s four printing presses was eliminated as part of the cuts. The plant had run three shifts per day, five days a week, on each of the four printing presses.

Shorewood is offering severance and job-search assistance to those who were laid off.



NASA Web designer famous for ant farm

Rockville native Steve Chambers bought a QuikCam in 1994, but he wasn’t sure what the best use of streaming video would be.

Fifteen years and more than 1.2 million views later, Mr. Chambers, 54, said his virtual ant farm is still drawing attention. He created StevesAntFarm.com after he remembered the times as a boy when he’d watch ants - without the Internet.

“People come visit the virtual ant farm. They reminisce when they were a kid,” Mr. Chambers said. “Kids are fascinated by the ants. It’s sort of a scientific toy.”

Mr. Chambers also designed NASA.gov with his wife, Lynn Van Der Veer. A year after he created the virtual ant farm, they moved to Frederick County in 2002 to have room for their two horses.

The NASA site “was the first Web site we ever designed after founding our graphic design company in 1988,” Mr. Chambers said.

Their streaming video of the ant farm, which sits on his desk, relies solely on the QuikCam.

Thanks to the camera and his Web knowledge, his unique site captured an entomologist’s attention, prompting the fan of ants to write Mr. Chambers a poem.

“At that point, I wanted to take my e-mail off the site,” he said.


Steel plant fire under investigation

A state spokesman said Friday officials are investigating the Sept. 29 fire at the Severstal steel plant at Sparrows Point and that the plant has been cited for multiple air-pollution violations over the past year.

Authorities said the steel company faces unspecified civil penalties for emitting excessive amounts of potentially harmful chemicals. Plant operators also allegedly failed repeatedly to run a pollution scrubber properly and on one occasion failed to take required steps to limit harmful particle pollution.

Maryland Department of the Environment spokesman Jay Apperson said officials are talking with the company to resolve the problems.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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