- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 19, 2009



Man’s body found in road

Montgomery County police say the death of a man whose body was found in the road early Wednesday is a homicide.

Officials say a woman driving in the Wheaton-Glenmont area spotted the body just after midnight in the 2500 block of Newton Street.

Police identified the victim as Samuel Dejesus Chacon, 34, of New Carrollton.


College enrollment sets a record

Fall enrollment of undergraduate and graduate students at colleges and universities in the state set a record with an increase of more than 5 percent, education officials said.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission said in a report released Wednesday that the gain of 17,641 students puts the total number of students at 354,858.

Fifteen of Maryland’s 16 community colleges had overall enrollment gains. The exception was Allegany College of Maryland.

Enrollment at the University System of Maryland increased by 3 percent and at Morgan State University, 3.2 percent.


Flu hospitalizations on ‘downward slope’

Hospitalizations for swine flu and other types of the illness have been declining since a spike last month, health officials said.

John Colmers, secretary of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, told a House committee on Tuesday that the state appears to be on a “downward slope.”

According to state data, hospitalizations for untyped or seasonal strains of flu fell last week. Those numbers reached a high of about 260 in the week ending Oct. 24. About 150 of those were confirmed swine flu hospitalizations.

However, Mr. Colmers warned that recent warmer weather and rain might have helped reduce the spread of the virus.


Legal aid lacks funding, report says

Inadequate funding for legal services for the poor is among several factors leaving many Maryland residents without access to courts or help for legal problems, a panel said.

A report released Wednesday by the Maryland Access to Justice Commission said the recession is one reason for the critical shortage of funding for civil legal services. It also said Maryland residents are appearing in record numbers in court without lawyers.

The report also said other factors interfering with legal access include language or literacy issues, physical abilities and a lack of understanding of the civil justice system.

The commission was created in 2008 to develop, coordinate and implement ways to expand access to the state’s civil justice system.


Tax increase for rentals opposed

Operators of vacation rental homes near Deep Creek Lake are fighting a plan that could increase the hotel tax in the resort area.

Rental property operators urged Garrett County’s state legislators at a meeting Tuesday in Oakland not to introduce a bill that would allow the county to raise the tax from 5 percent to 8 percent.

County officials are considering seeking the increase to generate funds for economic development and tourism promotion.

Operators said they have had to cut rental rates during the recession. They said any tax increase would deter visitors from spending money at local restaurants and attractions.


Two employees charged in robbery

Police have arrested two employees of the Greene Turtle Restaurant in a robbery of the eatery earlier this month.

The robbery occurred Nov. 9 when a man displayed a knife to an employee outside the restaurant and went into the restaurant with the employee. The robber confronted the manager and another employee and fled with money.

On Monday, police charged Zachary Saltzman, 21, of Frederick, with armed robbery. He worked at the Greene Turtle.

On Wednesday, police charged Christina Sprunger, 19, of Brunswick, with armed robbery. She is the second employee who was confronted during the robbery. Police said she conspired with Mr. Saltzman to set up the crime.



Police: Man shot by officers had no gun

A 52-year-old man who was fatally shot by officers while he was driving did not have a gun with him, Fairfax County police said.

David Alan Masters was suspected of stealing flowers from a business on Route 1 shortly before he was killed Friday. Police said they tried to pull him over, but he wouldn’t stop.

Police said Wednesday that no gun was found in Mr. Masters’ car.

Officials said that the investigation is continuing and that an officer involved in the shooting will be on restricted or administrative duties when he returns to work next week. Two other officers involved have returned to normal duties.

All three officers have been interviewed by investigators.

Mr. Masters was a cabinetmaker and woodworker from Fredericksburg.


Hunter charged in student’s killing

A hunter faces manslaughter and other charges after authorities say he fired at college students whom he mistook for a deer, leaving one dead and another wounded.

A Ferrum College spokeswoman said three students were collecting frogs for a biology class about 4 p.m. Tuesday when two were shot along a trail about a mile west of campus.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries said Jessica Goode, 23, of Frederick County, died after being shot in the chest, and Regis J. Boudinot, 20, of McLean, was shot in the hand. The third student wasn’t injured.

Sgt. Karl Martin with the department said Jason David Cloutier, 31, of Ferrum, was charged with manslaughter, reckless handling of a firearm and trespassing.

The department said Mr. Coultier said he thought he was shooting at a deer.


Officials: Avoid eating Lake Gaston walleye

Virginia and North Carolina health officials are advising against consuming walleye fish caught in Lake Gaston because of mercury contamination.

Recent fish-tissue sample results from the North Carolina Division of Public Health show that levels of the toxic metal in walleye exceed the amount considered safe for long-term human consumption.

Virginia’s health department and North Carolina’s health director on Wednesday issued an advisory in response.

The Virginia Department of Health is suggesting that people consume two meals a month or fewer of Lake Gaston walleye. The advisory area stretches from John H. Kerr Dam downstream 18 miles to the North Carolina border.


Judge OKs seizure of private property

A judge in Roanoke is allowing the city to condemn private property to make room for a new medical complex.

Circuit Court Judge William Broadhurst ruled that the move by the Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority does not violate Virginia’s eminent domain laws.

The ruling clears the way for the seizure of property for the Riverside Center, a business park and medical school. It is being constructed on the site that includes a small flooring business called Surfaces.

Stephanie Burkholder, who owns the property with her husband, Jay, plans to appeal the ruling.

Their attorney, Joe Waldo, said he thinks the case could become a test of changes that Virginia made in response to a controversial 2005 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that expanded the use of condemnation.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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