- The Washington Times - Friday, October 16, 2009


$10 million gift for new museum

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is giving $10 million to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture planned for the Mall.

The grant announced Thursday will support the capital campaign for design and construction of the new museum.

Allan Golston, president of the foundation’s U.S. programs, said the museum will make the stories and history of blacks available to everyone.

Groundbreaking is expected in 2012, and the opening is slated for 2015. Construction of the museum is expected to cost about $500 million, with half the funds to be provided by Congress.



Union asks governor to tap rainy day fund

A union representing more than 30,000 Maryland state employees asked Gov. Martin O’Malley on Thursday to tap into the state’s rainy day fund to help avoid deeper cuts to state services.

Patrick Moran, executive director of the Maryland chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), held a news conference Thursday with dozens of union members, who held up signs that read: “It’s Raining.”

“It’s raining out there, and we need some shelter from the storm,” Mr. Moran said.

The union also is recommending the state continue a 6.25 percent tax rate on those who earn more than $1 million a year, which is scheduled to end at the end of 2010. AFSCME also is suggesting the state increase the gas tax by 5 cents and close a tax loophole on corporations in Maryland.


Legionnaire outbreak at seniors complex

City health officials said one person has died and four others have been sickened by an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease at the Stadium Place senior apartment community.

Health officials said Thursday that the identities of the five were not being released to protect their privacy.

The bacteria is not transmitted person to person, but is usually found in water. People get the disease when they breathe in contaminated mist or droplets. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the bacteria grow best in warm water such as that found in hot tubs, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems and air conditioning systems.


Widow of broadcaster Jim McKay dies

Margaret Dempsey McManus, the widow of sports broadcasting legend Jim McKay, has died. She was 89.

Her daughter, Mary Guba, told the Baltimore Sun that McManus died early Thursday in her sleep at her home in northern Baltimore County. Mrs. Guba said the cause of death was congestive heart failure.

McManus was born Margaret Dempsey in Baltimore and raised in Towson. She worked as a reporter for the Evening Sun newspaper, where she met her future husband, Jim McManus, in 1946.

McManus used the name Jim McKay during his television career. He died last year.

Survivors also include a son, Sean McManus, the president of CBS News and Sports.


Man sentenced in $10,000 robbery

A Baltimore man who mugged and robbed an elderly man of $10,000 after following him out of an Atlantic City casino is headed to prison in New Jersey.

Lawrence Bellamy was sentenced Thursday in Atlantic City to a 16-year term.

Bellamy admitted following the 72-year-old Vineland, N.J., man out of the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in January after the man won $10,000 and put the cash in his coat pocket. Bellamy got into an elevator with the man and attacked him in a parking garage, leaving him with a broken hip, cuts and bruises.

Bellamy was arrested two months later when he stole $3,000 worth of chips from Trump Plaza.

Bellamy must pay $10,000 in restitution.


Leader of Hubble telescope team dies

Rodger Doxsey, an early leader of the Hubble Space Telescope’s science team, has died, according to the Hubble Web site. He was 62.

Mr. Doxsey, head of the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Hubble Mission Office, died of cancer Tuesday after entering a hospice over the weekend. He lived in Towson.

The Schenectady, N.Y., native was hired in 1981, nine years before the telescope was launched.

Ken Sembach, Hubble project scientist at the institute, said Mr. Doxsey was involved in the day-to-day operations of the telescope for almost two decades after its launch and also worked on instrument development and hired many institute employees.

Despite his illness, institute spokesman Ray Villard said Mr. Doxsey was involved in preparations for Hubble’s final servicing mission in May.



Fraud suspect held in Turkish prison

An Ashburn woman indicted for mortgage fraud has been arrested in Turkey, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said.

Authorities said Diane Frederick Atari, 42, was apprehended Wednesday after local officials contacted Interpol for assistance and that she is in a Turkish prison awaiting extradition.

Miss Atari is charged with inflating the income of clients and fraudulently fixing their credit so they could buy homes they couldn’t afford.

The loss on the fraudulent mortgages is estimated at $50 million and the sheriff’s office said Miss Atari made more than $1 million in the scheme.


Vaccinations for high-risk groups begins

State health officials are designating children, pregnant women and people who have underlying health conditions such as asthma as those who should get vaccinated with Virginia’s initial batches of H1N1 vaccine.

The Virginia Department of Health is encouraging people in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s priority groups to be first to receive the vaccine for the highly contagious H1N1 influenza, also known as swine flu. Health care workers already have been getting vaccinated.

State health commissioner Dr. Karen Remley said Thursday at a news conference that all Virginians are encouraged to get vaccinated against the H1N1 flu, and that most people will have access to the vaccine next month.

The health department is launching public-service television, radio and Internet advertising with the theme, “H1N1Get1. It’s up to you to fight the flu.”


Navy gives impact on Hampton Roads

The Navy said its economic impact for the Hampton Roads area topped $14.6 billion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.

That’s an increase of more than $765 million from the previous fiscal year.

The annual payroll fell from $7.9 billion to $7.5 billion during the period, while procurement expenditures rose from about $6 billion to more than $7 billion.

The Navy also said the number of ships with their home ported in Hampton Roads declined from 94 to 84.


Amtrak upgrading NE substations

Amtrak is using $25 million in stimulus funds to speed up the modernization of electrical equipment on the northeast corridor.

The railroad says it is replacing a transformer this week in Landover that has been in operation since 1934.

Amtrak started a long-term modernization of 82 outdated substations on the corridor in 2002. The company says a power failure in May 2006 that left thousands of passengers stranded on trains highlighted the need for improvements.

The stimulus money is allowing Amtrak to speed up the work in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the District. The work being done at the Landover substation wasn’t slated to happen until 2013.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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