- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 15, 2009

DISTRICT

Metro worker hit by train dies

A Metro employee who was struck by a train last week has died, Metro said.

The transit agency said John Moore, 44, of Arlington died Monday of injuries suffered in Thursday’s accident. The communications technician was hit by a six-car train between the Braddock Road and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport stations.

Metro said Mr. Moore is the third employee to die on the job this year. Train operator Jeanice McMillan was killed in a June crash, which also claimed the lives of eight passengers, and track repairman Michael Nash was killed in August when he was struck by a gravel spreader.

Elevator fails in monument

An elevator that takes visitors to the top of the Washington Monument stopped working Monday afternoon, forcing those at the top to walk down from the top of the popular tourist destination.

National Park Service spokesman Bill Line said he did not think anyone was on the elevator when it signaled a malfunction shortly after 1 p.m. No one was injured, and rangers led visitors out of the building.

Repairs were expected to be completed later in the day.

About 1,700 people a day get free tickets to ride the elevator, the only way the National Park Service lets people go to the top. The tickets have a time window when the holder can ride the elevator.

Mr. Line said the Park Service would try to accommodate those affected by the malfunction.

MARYLAND

BALTIMORE

State GOP head steps down

The chairman of the Maryland Republican Party is stepping down after a no-confidence vote.

Jim Pelura issued a statement Monday, saying he had submitted his resignation. The move follows a July no-confidence vote by leaders of the state Republican Party.

Party leaders have accused Mr. Pelura of criticizing elected Republicans and becoming involved in policy matters instead of raising money and registering voters.

Mr. Pelura previously said he would not step down.

OAKLAND

Funeral-home owner admits embezzling

Bradley Stewart, 60, an Oakland funeral-home owner, pleaded guilty Monday to 23 counts of embezzlement for pocketing more than $160,000 from customers who entered into pre-need contracts.

Stewart faces one to five years imprisonment for each count at his District Court sentencing, which hasn’t been set.

In return for his pleas, prosecutors dropped dozens of theft counts.

Garrett County State’s Attorney Lisa Thayer Welch said Stewart may be charged with more offenses, because an investigation has identified 125 other customers who lost about $517,000.

POTOMAC

Homes evacuated after gas leak

Up to a dozen homes were evacuated Monday afternoon because of a gas leak.

Capt. Oscar Garcia of the Montgomery County fire department said workers damaged a 2-inch gas line on Hayworth Drive in Potomac.

Authorities checked between six and 12 homes on Hayworth Drive and Beechknoll Lane for gas, and residents who are home were evacuated, Capt. Garcia said.

BALTIMORE

Harriet Tubman park gets major grant

A nearly $1.2 million National Park Service grant will help develop outdoor recreation facilities in Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park on the Eastern Shore.

Maryland expects to begin development at the 17-acre site late next year.

Tubman spent nearly 30 years as a slave in her native Dorchester County before escaping in 1849. She later led hundreds of slaves to freedom as part of the anti-slavery resistance network known as the Underground Railroad.

VIRGINIA

TROUTVILLE

PETA sees prison as a museum

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants to rent a prison that may be closed and turn it into the nation’s first chicken empathy museum.

But the PETA request may be more difficult than getting the long side of a wishbone: Lynda Tran, a spokeswoman for Gov. Tim Kaine, said the state doesn’t lease to private entities except for cases grandfathered in when it purchases buildings.

A PETA official sent a letter Monday to Mr. Kaine asking to rent the Botetourt Correctional Center building in Troutville.

Ashley Byrne of PETA said the Norfolk-based group thinks a former prison is the ideal setting for exhibits on what it contends is mistreatment of chickens raised for slaughter.

For many years, a poultry processing plant operated in Troutville.

COLONIAL BEACH

Committee to study dwindling oysters

Disease has taken a toll on the Potomac River oyster. Only 525 bushels of oysters were taken from the river this year.

The Potomac River Fisheries Commission, based in Colonial Beach, decided to launch a study rather than create new harvest restrictions to protect the few oysters left in the Potomac. So a committee will look at the Potomac’s dwindling oyster population.

The commission was created by the Maryland and Virginia Potomac River Compact of 1958 to establish and maintain a program to conserve and improve the resources of the river.

NORFOLK

University faces housing crunch

Norfolk State University’s goals to recruit more students is coming at a cost.

With nearly 7,000 students, Norfolk State is a year ahead of its goal of 9,000 students by 2013. Enrollment is up more than 10 percent, which is nearly 400 more students than the school expected.

But the lack of housing on campus has left about 160 students staying in a local hotel, and several hundred more are on a waiting list for housing.

Norfolk State’s newest dorms were built in 2005.

GLOUCESTER

Baby-blue crab saved for research

On a recent crabbing run up the James River near Craney Island, a crab plopped out of a pot that caught Sally Epps’ eye. The crab was shell-to-claw baby blue, like it had been turned upside down and dipped in paint.

Miss Epps had never come across an all-blue blue crab in 11 years of crabbing.

The typical Atlantic blue crab has blue claws and the female has distinctive swatches of red at the tip of the claws.

Miss Epps gave the crab to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. It soon died but was frozen for research. From wire dispatches and staff reports

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