- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 12, 2009



Gingrich, Sharpton to visit city schools

The odd couple of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and the Rev. Al Sharpton will bring their quest for education reform to Baltimore on Friday.

Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Sharpton are on a three-city “listening and learning” tour to find out which school strategies are working and why.

The former speaker is a conservative Republican, and Mr. Sharpton is a civil rights activist and liberal Democrat. They don’t agree on much, but they found common ground in the concept that education is the new frontier on civil rights. They say the quest to improve schools should be nonpartisan.

Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Sharpton will be joined by Education Secretary Arne Duncan and state Schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick. They will visit a city-run public school and two charter schools.


Medics: Beard ban discriminates

Three Orthodox Jewish medics say a volunteer fire department ban on beards is religious discrimination.

Baltimore County bans facial hair if it interferes with the use of respirator masks. The medics said they don’t enter burning buildings and other respirators are available that can be worn by those with beards.

The three medics - Matthias Goldstein, Brennan Gross and Avrohom Green - said in a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that they have not responded to a call since January when they were told their beards posed a safety concern.

The three claim the fire department is retaliating for their membership in a largely Orthodox emergency response organization. But officials said they want all medics to have masks in case they must enter a building with hazardous fumes.


Veterans’ names added to monument

At least 23 veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars will have their names added to a veterans memorial site in the western Maryland community of Funkstown.

The Hagerstown Herald-Mail reports that the Town Council voted Monday to allow local volunteers to install a monument three feet high and nearly four feet long beside an existing monument to war veterans.

Organizer Bill Osborne said the group has 23 names so far and will accept others through Nov. 30.


Police: Teen’s body found in closet

A 15-year-old boy was sexually assaulted, gagged and stabbed to death by a family acquaintance and his body was found under blankets in a bedroom closet, police said.

Police said someone reported a break-in at the home of the teen’s aunt about 3 a.m. Tuesday. Two hours later, police were called because Jason Madison was missing and a box cutter and blood were found in a bedroom. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Jason’s body was found in a closet.

Mr. Guglielmi said a man who has known the boy’s mother and aunt for years is considered a person of interest and police are seeking an arrest warrant.

Police said Jason was sexually assaulted, then gagged with a pillowcase and stabbed in the neck and head. His body was stuffed in a closet and covered with blankets.



State’s waterways second-dirtiest

Virginia has the second-dirtiest waterways among the 50 states, a recent study found.

The study by the Environment America advocacy group tallies the amount of pollutants discharged into bodies of water across the nation. The numbers are based on those reported to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Only Indiana had more toxic chemicals released into its waterways by industry than Virginia’s 18 million-plus pounds in 2007.

The report said that in 2007, 232 million pounds of toxic chemicals were dumped into 1,900 waterways.

According to the report, Virginia also is home to part of the nation’s second-most-polluted waterway - the roughly 320-mile New River, which runs through southwestern Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina.


Zipcars to arrive on UVa. campus

The University of Virginia will soon have Zipcars zooming around campus.

The Charlottesville school said the national car-sharing company will offer six self-service Zipcars to faculty, staff and students ages 18 and older. The cars will include Honda Insights and Civics and will be available round-the-clock starting Tuesday.

Those eligible can join Zipcar for a $35 annual fee and drive the cars for $8 per hour or $66 per day on weekdays, with different rates for weekends. Rates include gas, roadside assistance and limited miles.

UVa said the program is part of its interest in alternative transportation, reduction of cars on campus and overall sustainability.


Ex-guard admits to drug, bribery charges

A former Augusta County corrections officer has pleaded guilty to drug and bribery charges.

April M. Hogsett of Doe Hill admitted in court Monday that she used her position to deliver marijuana to inmates at the Augusta County Correctional Center in Craigsville.

Hogsett, 26, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to distribute and bribery.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Thomas Knoll Jr. said three inmates admitted to participating in a drug trafficking scheme inside the prison.

A Department of Corrections spokesman said Hogsett began working at the prison last year. She was dismissed six days after her arrest on Aug. 7.

A sentencing hearing is set for December.

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