- The Washington Times - Friday, October 2, 2009



Officer dragged by suspect in car

An officer was dragged five blocks by a car while trying to stop a suspect from fleeing, Baltimore police said.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the incident happened shortly after noon on Thursday in the city’s western district. A suspect wanted by police was to meet with officers, but became suspicious and ran away, getting into his car.

Mr. Guglielmi said an officer reached into the suspect’s car, trying to get the keys. The suspect then drove off, dragging the officer.

Another officer fired shots at the fleeing vehicle, and the officer who was being dragged fell from the car.

The officer is being treated at the University of Maryland’s Shock Trauma center. Police identified the suspect as Ricky Hughes, 27, of no known address.


Tax extension OK’d for water main break

Officials have granted a tax payment extension for businesses affected by last month’s flooding in Dundalk, when a 6-foot-wide water main broke.

Comptroller Peter Franchot said taxpayers with business or financial records in the Dundalk area previously had filing dates of Oct. 15 and Oct. 20. He said the new date is Nov. 15 for withholding tax and Nov. 20 for sales and use tax.

Those who file by the November dates won’t be charged interest, late-payment fees or penalties.

The main broke Sept. 17, washing away part of a road, flooding cars and trapping some residents in their homes.


EPA suit stayed while plan develops

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation said it is putting a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency on hold while a Bay restoration strategy is developed by the federal agency.

The foundation sued the EPA in January to force it to take action to reduce Bay pollution, and in May an executive order was issued by President Obama directing the agency to develop a restoration strategy.

The foundation issued a statement Wednesday saying a stay of the suit was appropriate until the EPA issues a final strategy in May 2010. Foundation President Will Baker said the stay can be lifted if the foundation feels the federal agency is not making the necessary commitment to Bay restoration.


Mobile park owner to pay $200,000 fine

The owner of a Frederick County mobile home park must pay $200,000 in fines after managers dumped raw sewage from the park into a preserved trout stream.

Under a settlement, the Attorney General’s office said S.K. Singh, owner of the Concord Mobile Home Park in Jefferson, agreed to pay $175,000 to the Maryland Clean Water Fund and $25,000 to the Northeast Environmental Enforcement Project.

Officials said Robert Phelps, the operator of the park’s wastewater treatment plant, dumped untreated sewage into the tributary of Renn Branch.

Phelps pleaded guilty in February to discharge of pollutants, failure to keep records, make reports and provide information as required, failure to report sewer overflows and perjury. He was sentenced to seven years with all but 90 days suspended.



Deeds, McDonnell back degree increase

Both candidates for governor praised the goal of boosting the number of degrees Virginia colleges award by 70,000 a year, but neither specified where the money would come from.

Democrat R. Creigh Deeds and Republican Robert F. McDonnell addressed a Virginia business group that lobbies for higher education on Thursday.

The group wants the General Assembly to find the cash to expand home-state access to Virginia colleges over the next 10 years, reversing a decade of dwindling state support for public colleges that has driven tuition prices higher.

Both lauded the goal, but the state’s general fund tax collections are shrinking, and neither advocated new taxes to pay for the 70,000 new degrees.


Court to hear priest’s appeal

The case of a suspended Roman Catholic priest convicted of embezzling from two rural parishes will be heard by the Virginia Court of Appeals.

Rodney Rodis was found guilty in January of embezzling two Louisa County parishes of $432,000 while living a double life as a married man. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison, to be served after he completes a five-year federal sentence in North Carolina.

The clergyman’s lawyer, John R. Maus, said the appeals court will decide whether his federal mail fraud and money laundering convictions barred his prosecution on local charges.

According to court testimony, Rodis said he stole the money to help his family and others in his native Philippines.


Man sentenced for school threats

A Southwest Virginia man will spend four years in a federal prison for posting online threats of violence at schools that referred to the Virginia Tech shootings.

Allen Leon Sammons, 28, of Oakwood, pleaded guilty in June to five counts of transmitting a threat across state lines. He was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Abingdon.

U.S. Attorney Julia C. Dudley said Thursday that Sammons admitted sending threatening e-mails to individuals and posting threatening messages on Livejournal.com.

One e-mail sent to the Rice University admissions department called the university “Classist and elitist.” Another e-mail to the admissions department said that was why Seung-Hui Cho “shot up VTech.” Cho killed 32 people as well as himself in 2007.

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