- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Fenty appoints new tech chief

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty appointed Bryan Sivak as the District’s chief technology officer Tuesday.

Mr. Sivak, 34, who spent the past few years in London expanding a technology company, must be confirmed by the D.C. Council.

He would succeed Chris Willey, who has served as interim officer after Vivek Kundra left in March to accept a White House technology post.

Mr. Sivak said he hopes to keep Mr. Willey in the agency.



Woman sentenced for abandoning baby

A woman who abandoned her newborn behind a car-repair shop has been sentenced to 13 years in prison, Prince George’s County prosecutors said.

Wendy Villatoro, 26, of Takoma Park, was sentenced Tuesday. She pleaded guilty in June to one count of child abuse resulting in death.

The newborn girl was found in a wooded area in Hyattsville on Oct. 12, 2008, wrapped in a plastic bag and pink towel. She was taken to a hospital, where she died.


Dog alerts family to house fire

A family’s barking dog alerted them to a fire and enabled them to escape without injury, Prince George’s County fire officials said.

The fire was reported about 6 a.m. Tuesday in Beltsville. Fire department spokesman Mark Brady said the dog, Monster, a Doberman, was outside the house when the fire broke out.

Mr. Brady said Monster barked and jumped repeatedly on a rear sliding door. The noise awakened the family, who then heard the smoke alarm and fled the two-story, single-family home. There were three adults and five children in the home.

It took 30 firefighters 20 minutes to bring the blaze under control. One firefighter suffered a burn to his upper body and was treated at a local hospital and released.


State reports 10th swine flu death

Maryland health officials have reported the 10th death related to swine flu in the state.

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said Tuesday that the victim was an adult in Western Maryland who had serious underlying health conditions.

Department Secretary John Colmers urged people with serious health conditions to contact their doctors immediately if they experience a flulike illness.

Maryland is reporting geographically widespread influenza activity. Officials said swine flu is on the rise across the state.

Since June 1, the department has reported 217 hospitalizations because of illnesses related to swine flu.


Pioneering black teacher dies at 100

Philip Lorenzo Brown, a black teacher who fought in 1938 to win black educators the same pay as whites, has died. He was 100.

William Reese and Sons Mortuary said Brown died Friday in his home.

Then-NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall represented black teachers in the case. Mr. Brown, in an interview last year with the Capital newspaper of Annapolis, said Anne Arundel County set top pay for black teachers at 56 percent of the maximum pay for a white teacher, or $700 a year versus $1,250.

Mr. Brown retired from teaching in 1970. He wrote several books about black history in Anne Arundel County.

Gov. Martin O’Malley said in a statement Tuesday that the state had lost a champion in education.


Hearings ordered on third reactor

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has decided to open its hearing process in a dispute over a proposal to build a third nuclear reactor at Calvert Cliffs in Lusby, Md.

The NRC made the decision Tuesday in the application process for UniStar Nuclear, which is a joint venture of Baltimore-based Constellation Energy and the EDF Group, a French company.

Several groups argue the third reactor would be owned and controlled by foreign interests, contrary to the Atomic Energy Act and NRC regulations.

But UniStar counters that the proposal would not put a third reactor into control by foreign interests.

The NRC hasn’t taken a position, and the hearing process can take more than a year.


School gets large federal grant

Frostburg State University has received more than $850,000 in federal funds to equip its new Sustainable Energy Research Facility with equipment and computers.

The residential-sized building will use renewable energy resources for heating, cooling and electricity.

Organizers said it will serve as an example of a self-sufficient, off-grid building in a rural, mountain setting.

The Department of Energy grant will be combined with more than $450,000 from other sources for the final phase of the project’s development.



Farmers arrested in hemp planting

Farmers from North Dakota and Vermont and four others trying to plant hemp seeds at the headquarters of the Drug Enforcement Administration were arrested Tuesday.

Arlington County police spokeswoman Detective Crystal Nosal said six people were charged with trespassing Tuesday. They were among 21 people protesting the ban on farming of hemp, which is related to the illegal drug marijuana.

The Hemp Industries Association said the protesters turned to civil disobedience for the first time. The group is lobbying lawmakers on Capitol Hill. They want to grow hemp for nondrug products.

North Dakota farmer Wayne Hauge and Vermont farmer Will Allen were among those arrested. Police said they had shovels in hand but did not appear to have any drugs and caused only minor damage to the lawn.


Dismissal sought of Wal-Mart challenge

Orange County officials asked a judge Tuesday to dismiss an attempt to block Wal-Mart Stores Inc. from building a Supercenter near an endangered Civil War battlefield.

The filing by the Board of Supervisors contends preservationists and residents who filed the legal challenge have no standing in the issue and defended the county’s Aug. 25 vote approving the store near the Wilderness Battlefield.

“Plaintiffs want to prevent use of land that they do not own, and this suit is a contrived effort to enable them to do so,” the county filing states.

A judge had not scheduled a hearing on the motion, a court clerk said.


Nebraskan convicted in drug plot

A federal jury has convicted a Nebraska man of conspiring to bring heroin and cocaine from Mexico to the United States.

Leopoldo Cabrera-Beltran, 33, of Columbus, Neb., was convicted Tuesday after a three-day trial in Alexandria.

According to evidence given at trial, Cabrera-Beltran recruited people from the Fredericksburg, Va., area to smuggle heroin and cocaine from Mexico to the United States. The smugglers used secret compartments built into cars to hide the drugs.


Charge reduced for ex-VMI cadet

A former Virginia Military Institute cadet charged with sexually assaulting a female classmate has been convicted of a lesser charge.

Rockbridge County prosecutor Robert Joyce said a rape charge against Stephen J. Lloyd of Mason Neck was reduced to misdemeanor sexual battery Tuesday. He entered an Alford plea, acknowledging enough evidence for a conviction but not admitting guilt.

Mr. Joyce said a sodomy charge was dismissed. He said Circuit Court Judge Michael Irvine delayed imposing a sentence for three years. If Lloyd stays out of trouble, the case will be closed.

The maximum sentence is a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.


Copy of historic document set for show

A rare copy of the Declaration of Independence will be available for public viewing in Virginia Beach.

The Meyera Oberndorf Central Library will host the document Oct. 22.

It’s one of 25 surviving copies of the declaration that Philadelphia printer John Dunlap produced on the night of July 4, 1776. Dunlap printed about 200 copies that were sent to the colonies and King George.

The copy to be displayed in Virginia Beach was bought by TV producer Norman Lear for $8.1 million in 2000.


Funds sought for rail, to cut traffic

A coalition of states is seeking $300 million in federal stimulus funds to improve rail lines and terminals in an effort to reduce truck traffic on congested Interstate 81, Virginia’s transportation chief said Tuesday.

Transportation Secretary Pierce Homer told a conference dealing with the I-81 corridor that increased movement of freight by rail is the key to reducing congestion on the 855-mile highway that runs north to south through six states.

The federal grant, if approved, would go toward $2.1 billion in needed improvements to the existing network of intermodal terminals where freight is transferred between trucks and rail cars. Virginia needs to spend $500 million, Mr. Homer said, and has invested about $110 million.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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