- The Washington Times - Friday, September 25, 2009


Metro extends Catoe’s contract

Metro voted to extend General Manager John B. Catoe Jr.’s contract for three years.

The board of directors conducted the vote on Thursday. Mr. Catoe has headed the agency since 2007.

The new contract will continue to pay him $315,000 a year, and continues a housing allowance of $5,000 a month. It will also pay for his health insurance, which is the same other nonunion Metro employees receive, and will reimburse him for up to $6,000 a year for additional costs not covered.

Mr. Catoe, 62, faces many challenges at the agency, including safety concerns raised after a June Metro crash that killed nine people, and a budget shortfall for the coming fiscal year.

Body found near yacht club

Authorities have found a woman’s body in the water near the Capital Yacht Club in Southwest Washington.

D.C. fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said the body was pulled out from under a dock shortly before 9 a.m. Thursday.

Police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said the woman was white and about 48 to 50 years old.



Gansler moves for more EdF hearings

Maryland’s attorney general has moved to hold more hearings on Constellation Energy’s proposed sale of nearly half of its nuclear energy business to France’s EdF.

That’s because Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler said Constellation and EdF waited until the close of a previous round of hearings before disclosing final terms of the transaction.

Mr. Gansler said that “defies any notion of fairness” and prevents regulators from making a final decision on a complete administrative record.

The state and the Maryland Energy Administration have moved that the Public Service Commission extend the schedule of the case by two weeks to allow for more hearings.

Mr. Gansler said the new transaction terms appear to be significant, increasing EdF’s power in the Constellation’s corporate structure.

The PSC will decide whether to hold additional hearings.



County to defend permit for Wal-Mart

Orange County will “vigorously defend” its decision to grant a special-use permit to Wal-mart Stores Inc. for a Supercenter near the Wilderness Civil War battlefield.

In a statement issued Thursday, county attorney Sharon E. Pandak responded to a legal challenge filed Wednesday by preservationists and residents who live near the Locust Grove site for the 138,000-square-foot store.

The Circuit Court lawsuit is aimed at blocking construction of the store near the Wilderness, considered by the Civil War Preservation Trust one of the nation’s most endangered Civil War battlefields. Opponents contend the store will be a blight on history.

Miss Pandak said supervisors met all procedural requirements and provided plenty of opportunity for public comment.

She said the board will seek to have the lawsuit dismissed.


Woman beats time, claims lottery prize

A Mechanicsville woman claimed a $250,000 Mega Millions prize just eight hours before the ticket would have expired.

The Virginia Lottery said Lydia Burke claimed the prize for the March 27 Mega Millions drawing at 9 a.m. Thursday. The ticket was set to expire at 5 p.m.

Winning tickets expire 180 days after the drawing.

Lottery officials said Miss Burke had put the ticket in a napkin holder. She checked the ticket after seeing a news report Wednesday that it was going to expire.

Her ticket matched the first five numbers but missed the Mega Ball. The winning numbers were 10,15,24,38,50 and the Mega Ball was 19.


Man pleads guilty to ‘82 jail escape

A man who was on the run for more than two decades has pleaded guilty to escaping from a jail in Virginia in 1982.

Richard Boucher entered his plea Thursday in Chesapeake Circuit Court.

Boucher, 57, also entered an Alford plea to assaulting a guard. An Alford plea means a defendant doesn’t admit guilt but acknowledges that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict.

Boucher faces up to 15 years in prison when sentenced Jan. 21.

Boucher was living in northern Georgia with his wife when the FBI arrested him in May.

Prosecutors said Boucher was serving a 10-year sentence for robbery when he and another inmate escaped from the Chesapeake city jail on Oct. 24, 1982.


$5 million verdict nixed for protesters

A federal appeals court in Virginia has thrown out a $5 million verdict against protesters who carried signs with inflammatory messages outside the funeral of a U.S. Marine killed in Iraq.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the protesters’ speech was protected by the First Amendment.

A jury in Baltimore had awarded Albert Snyder damages for emotional distress and invasion of privacy. The 2006 funeral of Mr. Snyder’s son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, was among many military funerals that have been picketed by members of the fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church.

Protesters at Cpl. Snyder’s funeral carried signs with messages like “You’re going to hell” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.”


CollegeWealth program to expand nationwide

The Virginia College Savings Plan and BB&T; Corp. are working together to expand one of the plan’s higher-education savings options.

The partnership announced Thursday will use the bank’s online account-opening platform to make CollegeWealth available nationwide later this year. Account holders can deposit up to $250,000 at any time into their CollegeWealth account.

CollegeWealth accounts grow tax-free and remain tax-free as long as they’re used for higher-education expenses, including tuition, fees, housing, books and computers.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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