- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 26, 2009



One worker killed while repairing main

One worker was killed and another was seriously injured after being shocked by an electric line while making repairs at the site of a water main break in Arlington.

The county identified the worker as James Bea, 59, a 24-year county employee, who died Wednesday. The other worker, who was not identified, suffered electrical burns.

Safety officials said the two men came into contact with a power line as they removed lighting that was used by crews working overnight to repair a broken pipe on Old Glebe Road.

The county said it’s working with the state’s workplace-safety agency to investigate the accident.

Dominion Power had cut power to make the area safe for rescuers, affecting about 1,000 customers, but it has since been restored. Repairs to the water main continued after new cracks opened.


Three indicted in man’s death

A federal grand jury has indicted three Virginia men in the death of a Maryland man during a robbery.

Eris Arguera, 21, of Alexandria; Alcides Umana, 21, of Arlington; and Adolfo Portillo, 28, of Alexandria, were indicted Tuesday. They were charged with use of a firearm during a crime of violence causing death and other offenses.

The indictment said Claros Luna, 40, of Maryland, was robbed and killed on July 29 in Alexandria while he was taking a woman from Maryland to Virginia for prostitution. The indictment says the three men were members of a conspiracy to extort money from people involved in prostitution.


Report: Police improve terror response

A U.S. Justice Department report said Arlington County police have improved their training, communications and other operations to respond to terrorism attacks since Sept. 11, 2001.

In a report released Wednesday, the National Institute of Justice said the county has significantly stepped up its training for critical incidents. The training now covers active-shooter incidents, hazardous materials and terrorism topics.

The report also said there’s better intelligence coordination. In addition, it details other measures the department can take to handle incidents.

According to the report, police said the heightened state of alert in effect since 9/11 is creating “stress and frustration” among department members. It said keeping emergency services on high alert also “tries their patience.”


Disaster loans OK’d for damage

Residents and businesses in areas of Virginia hit hard by a storm earlier this month can apply for federal disaster loans.

Gov. Timothy Kaine said Wednesday that the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved his request for federal disaster assistance.

Tropical Storm Ida’s remnants primarily lashed coastal Virginia with high winds and drenching rain. Mr. Kaine says the storm caused an estimated $70 million in damage.

Homeowners and renters in the cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach and the counties of James City and York are eligible to apply for low-interest loans.

Businesses affected by the storm also can apply for disaster loans.


Extra flu precautions urged for holiday

Virginia health officials are urging people to be especially vigilant in protecting themselves and others against the so-called swine flu this Thanksgiving.

State health commissioner Dr. Karen Remley said Wednesday that travelers should wash their hands frequently and use hand sanitizer, especially after pumping gas or touching things in airports that may have been touched by someone carrying the H1N1 virus. She also urged people to cover their coughs and sneezes.

She said there could be a slight bump in swine flu cases as college students go home.

Dr. Remley said health officials have allocated 1.4 million doses of H1N1 vaccine for high-risk Virginians, and the vaccine should be available for everyone around mid-December. Swine flu has been linked to 30 deaths in Virginia.


Kaine will serve meals to needy

Virginia’s first couple will share their Thanksgiving with some needy people in Richmond.

Gov. Tim Kaine and first lady Anne Holton will serve meals at the Giving Heart’s annual Thanksgiving Feast at the Greater Richmond Convention Center on Thursday.

The annual meal offers food and gift bags filled with warm weather items and other small necessities assembled by volunteers.

The feast is open to everyone, but the Giving Heart says in particular it’s aimed at the less fortunate, older residents and anyone spending Thanksgiving alone.


Workers at mill eligible for aid

About 120 workers who lost their jobs when a lumber mill in Franklin closed are eligible for federal assistance.

International Paper closed the mill earlier this year, citing a drop in demand owing to foreign imports. The mill produced pine lumber board.

U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb announced Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Labor has approved the workers’ eligibility for a federal program that provides job retraining and other assistance.

The lumber mill’s closure is separate from International Paper’s planned shutdown of its paper mill in Franklin in 2010.



Metro to pay fine for pollution vi olation

Metro has agreed to pay a $200,000 fine to settle a six-year-old Clean Water Act violation.

Metro said in a statement Wednesday that it had agreed to pay the fine. The violation was a result of the accidental discharge of acidic water from the Branch Avenue rail-car washing facility in Maryland.

Metro officials said the water dump took place over several days in 2003 and was halted when Metro officials were notified. Metro has automatic rail-car washing systems at five of its nine rail yards. The rail-car washing facility where the violation happened is its only hand-washing facility.

Metro will be subject to an 18-month probationary period and quarterly monitoring of the facility.


Man killed in robbery named

Prince George’s County Police have identified the man killed when a store owner took away a robber’s gun and killed him with it.

Police said Leon Abney, 32, of Washington was fatally shot Nov. 17, when he and another person tried to rob the Food Zone in Fort Washington.

The owner managed to get the gun away from one of them and shot him. The second man fled the scene.

Police are still seeking the second suspect.


Jurors in mayor’s trial on long recess

Jurors in the theft trial of Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon have recessed for the long holiday weekend without reaching a verdict.

The jury ended its fifth day of deliberations late Wednesday afternoon. They will return on Monday.

They had watched video of testimony of three prosecution witnesses.

Earlier Wednesday, Judge Dennis Sweeney denied a defense motion that the court declare a mistrial.


Same-sex visitation decision vacated

The case involving child-visitation rights of a former same-sex couple likely will return to a Baltimore County court.

The Court of Special Appeals last week set aside a Baltimore County Circuit judge’s decision to permit Larissa S. to visit her ex-partner Melissa B.’s 8-year-old son.

The appellate court ruled that the judge improperly refused to hear new evidence from Melissa about the potential effect of visits on her son.

The women were in a relationship when Melissa B. became pregnant, according to court briefs and interviews.


Suspect in boy’s killing found dead

A man charged in the shooting death of a 9-year-old Washington boy has died in the D.C. jail.

D.C. Department of Corrections spokeswoman Sylvia Lane said Josue Pena, 26, was found hanging in his cell Wednesday afternoon in an apparent suicide.

Miss Lane said Mr. Pena died of cardiac arrest caused by asphyxiation. He was taken to Howard University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Miss Lane said Mr. Pena was being held in a unit that houses inmates requiring enhanced supervision for security reasons.

The death is under investigation.

Mr. Pena was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Oscar Fuentes. Oscar was shot Nov. 14 as he and his family hid behind their Columbia Heights apartment door.

Days later, D.C. police arrested Mr. Pena, who lived in Hyattsville.

Delivery drivers help thwart carjacking

Two delivery drivers helped thwart a carjacking by holding down a suspect, D.C. police said.

Police said Frank Mabry, 45, and another man attempted to carjack a man in the 3100 block of 14th Street in Northwest Washington early Tuesday. They said the delivery drivers intervened and held down Mr. Mabry until officers arrived.

Police continue to search for the second suspect, who got away.

Mr. Mabry, who has no fixed address, has been charged with armed carjacking.

In a statement, Police Chief Cathy Lanier said the department does not advise people to confront suspects who may be armed, but she commended the drivers for their “courageous efforts.”

Man arrested after firebomb protest

D.C. police arrested a man suspected of throwing a firebomb as a protest from atop his van stopped on a busy downtown Washington street.

Police spokesman Kevin Palmer said the man stopped his van in the intersection of 17th and K streets Northwest about 2 p.m. Tuesday, then climbed up on the roof. Mr. Palmer said the man unfurled a banner and threw a Molotov cocktail to the ground.

Local news coverage showed a man standing on a van holding a sign reading “Justice” and a sign reading “My $200 million” draped over the van.

After a time, officers persuaded the man to come down. Police spokeswoman Officer Helen Andrews said Kyung Song-kil was arrested and charged with possession of a Molotov cocktail, a felony charge. She did not have details on his hometown or age.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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