Saturday, September 25, 2010
Tull, a native of Saxis, was the town's mayor since 1996 and was known as a vocal advocate for the bayside town of 350.
"He has done everything possible to promote Saxis and probably in some of the most ingenious ways you could imagine ... He always gave to the community," Accomack County District 2 Supervisor Ron Wolff said, adding, "I've known him a long time; he's always been the same, always a good guy."
Among his accomplishments as mayor, Tull successfully lobbied the state for construction of the Saxis fishing pier, which was completed in 2002. The 200-foot pier, which is lit and is open 24 hours a day, is handicapped compliant and is the site of an annual children's fishing tournament. The project received $148,000 in grant funds from the state.
Tull was an insurance claims adjuster and was a member of Temperanceville Lodge No. 121 and the Saxis Volunteer Fire Company.
A funeral service was held on Friday at 11 a.m. at Saxis United Methodist Church with interment at John W. Taylor Cemetery in Temperanceville. Fox Funeral Homes handled the arrangements.
TRAFFIC COLLISION PRESS RELEASE:
DATE & TIME: 09-25-2010 @ 0320 hours
Case # 10-96-006360
LOCATION: MD 610 W/O Shavox Church Road, Worcester County, MD
VEHICLE 1: 2004 Honda, MD Registration: 9BSJ06
DRIVER 1: Kristina Lynn Wenger, 40 YOA, Ocean City, MD
On September 25th, 2010 at 0320 hours, Troopers from the Maryland State Police Berlin Barrack responded to a personal injury collision which occurred on MD 610 W/O Shavox Church Road, Worcester County, Maryland. The collision involved a single vehicle which had left the roadway, collided with a ditch, and overturned in a farm field. As a result of the collision, the vehicle caught fire and became fully engulfed. The driver, 40-year old Kristina Wenger, was able to free herself from the vehicle. She was transported to Peninsula Regional Medical Center by the Maryland State Police Aviation due to injuries sustained in the collision and is in stable condition. The Showell Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene and extinguished the vehicle fire. The roadway was closed during the collision investigation. The driver was charged with DUI, Negligent Driving and related offenses.
A Beverly Hills judge on Friday thought he had found a novel way to get around the Los Angeles County jail system's early-release policy with a ruling aimed at keeping Lindsay Lohan behind bars for the next month.
But just hours after the actress was handcuffed and brought to a Lynwood jail, another judge intervened, issuing an order that is expected to pave the way for Lohan's freedom this weekend.
At issue was Judge Elden Fox's decision to send Lohan back to jail without bail after she failed a court-ordered drug test. Lohan's attorney, Shawn Chapman Holley, complained that the judge was wrong to prohibit bail and filed an appeal. L.A. County Superior Court Judge Patricia M. Schnegg agreed with Chapman Holley and set bail at $300,000.
Several legal experts described Fox's decision to deny bail as highly unusual, particularly on what they considered a fairly minor drug case.
"She neither presents a danger to the community, nor is she a flight risk," said L.A. defense attorney Mike Cavalluzzi. "Those are the primary criteria for either denying bail or setting an appropriate amount of bail, especially given that this is a misdemeanor."
But others could not help but applaud Fox for attempting to enact serious punishment for Lohan after repeatedly defying the court. Veteran defense attorney Glen Jonas said the judge's actions effectively side-stepped the early-release process, which covers inmates sentenced to jail time but not to inmates awaiting sentencing.
"Judge Fox guaranteed Ms. Lohan will not receive early release by setting the hearing a month out with no bail. Judge Fox is fed up. Ms. Lohan is being treated like a drug addict on probation instead of a celebrity" with a drug issue, Jonas said.
Lohan has twice been sentenced to jail time, but in both instances she got out early because of overcrowding in the county's women's jail in Lynwood.
Instead of handing down a sentence against Lohan, Fox ordered her jailed without bail until an Oct. 22 hearing on whether she should be incarcerated for drug use. Fox wanted her to remain in jail for 30 days until her hearing.
Because of overcrowding, women convicted of crimes similar to Lohan's tend to serve about 25% of her sentence.
Fox said he postponed a final decision until October because needed further information from probation officials on Lohan's compliance before a revocation hearing could be held.
Lohan came to court with her strawberry blonde hair pulled back and wearing a dark business suit. She showed little emotion but appeared stunned when the ruling came down.
The scene was in sharp contrast with her previous court appearance, when she made a tearful plea for leniency before Judge Marsha N. Revel that was captured by live cameras and beamed around the globe.
The actress, best known for films including "Freaky Friday," "The Parent Trap," and "Mean Girls," also made news when cameras captured an expletive-laden message on her fingernails.
Revel, who was assigned the Lohan case before recusing herself from it, sentenced Lohan to 90 days in custody including 30 days in the county jail.
Lohan served less than one-third of her jail sentence and was released from an in-patient drug rehabilitation facility at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center after 23 days.
Then last week, Lohan admitted on her Twitter feed that she had failed a drug test, setting the stage for the hearing Friday before Judge Fox.
Lohan's legal woes date back to 2007, when she was arrested twice over a three-month period for driving under the influence. She pleaded no contest and agreed to attend alcohol education classes.
The woman, Chhouy Harm, also fired at her daughter trying to flee from the family's West Seattle home Thursday before killing herself as police arrived, The Seattle Times reported.
"Grandma just shot them for no reason," said 17-year-old Tony Sun, a 17-year-old family member who arrived shortly after the shootings and saw police officers in front of the house.
Harm's daughter, who survived the shooting, told police officers outside of the home, "My mom has gone crazy," the report said.
Police said they didn't know of a motive for the deadliest shooting in Seattle since Kyle Huff killed six people in the city's Capitol Hill neighborhood before killing himself in March 2006, the Times said.
A relative said tempers flared in the family's home Wednesday night but did not provide the newspaper with details.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit Tuesday on behalf of Christopher Woodson, who claimed he was denied a loader job at the Waynesboro facility of Lawrence Transportation Systems in May 2008 because he would not cut his hair.
Rastafarians view growing their hair unbridled as a tenet of their religion.
In a written statement provided by the company’s attorney, Lawrence Transportation said the moving business puts employees in close contact with customers.
“Our policy states that hair, facial hair, beards and general grooming must be neat, clean and trimmed,” the company wrote. “His hair was down to the middle of his back and he was asked to get it cut to about shirt collar length.”
Lawrence Transportation argued loss of business would be an “undue hardship.”
“Our decision was based on business necessity and was in no way based on anyone’s religion or any discriminatory action,” the company wrote.
The employment commission lawsuit cites the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which requires employers to make “reasonable accommodations” to religious beliefs. The suit seeks back pay, punitive damages and an order for Lawrence Transportation to change its policies.
The Roanoke-based company employs 276 people, according to the EEOC.
According to police spokesman Lt. Robert McCullough, Lauren Nicole Turner of 1100 block of Ramblewood Road was caught shoplifting at the Ikea in the 8300 block of Honeygo Boulevard in White Marsh at 11:15 a.m. Thursday. Workers took her name and released her from the store.
Around noon, the spokesman said, Turner "was observed driving at a high rate of speed" in the Sears parking lot of the mall, which is next to the Ikea store. The 22-year-old was ejected from the car, a Volkswagen Beetle with Virginia tags, after it ran into a concrete light base. Turner died on the scene.
The crash is being investigated by the Baltimore County crash team, McCullough said.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Many fire departments have responded along with forestry from Accomack and Worcester.
PLEASE USE EXTREME CAUTION WHEN APPROACHING THIS AREA! KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN FOR ANY FIRE EQUIPMENT THAT MAY BE APPROACHING OR LEAVING THE SCENE.
According to Head of Trail's End Security Donnie Dorsey, Mike Young, 55, was inside a trailer in Pelican Court when it became engulfed in flames. Witnesses say the fire started in a shed on the site and then spread to the trailer.
When units responded to the scene at 5:02 AM the trailer was fully involved. The fire is currently under investigation.
Dorsey said that Young was not a year round resident at Trails End.
Units responding to the scene were New Church, Greenbackville, Saxis, Atlantic, Oak Hall Rescue and Maryland stations Stockton and Pocomoke City.
New Church Volunteer Fire Chief Danny Outten said the call came in at 5:05 a.m. Responding firefighters found a 28-foot camper and the building next to it fully involved. Once the flames were extinguished, the body of a man was found inside.
The name of the victim- who Outten said was the owner of the camper- has not yet been released. There is no word yet on the cause of the blaze. The Virginia State Police Arson Unit is investigating the incident.
9:30 til 2
The Worcester Bureau of Investigation officers placed empty ballot envelopes into evidence bags and sealed them with red tape, after county election officials had tallied the votes on the ballots they had contained.
Members of the Board of Elections wore surgical gloves while counting all of the absentee ballots and separately counted ballots from District 2, which stretches from the outskirts of Berlin to Pocomoke, covering mostly unincorporated areas of Worcester County.
Worcester County State's Attorney Joel Todd said he was "made aware" Sept. 10 of a "potential issue" with absentee ballots cast by voters in District 2. He requested the election board have staffers handle absentee ballots with surgical gloves as not to impact evidentiary value.
Todd said the investigation is isolated to District 2 absentee ballots, and that he has "no reason to believe the Board of Elections has done anything wrong."
The Office of the State Prosecutor, not Todd's own office, is leading the investigation, he said. The chief investigator with the state prosecutor's office, Jim Cabezas, declined to comment.
Jeffrey Cropper, an attorney for the county Board of Elections, said he could not comment on the substance of the complaint or who made it.
Two candidates' names appeared only on District 2 ballots, and not in other districts: County Commissioner incumbent James Purnell and challenger Edward S. Lee, both Democrats. The race between them turned out to be the only one in Worcester in which one candidate led among ballots cast in person, but another candidate leads among absentee votes counted so far.
After early voting and Election Day ballots were cast, Purnell held a comfortable lead, with 525 votes to Lee's 250 votes. Lee, the former head of the Worcester County NAACP, had won just 32 percent of votes cast as of Tuesday night.
But absentee ballots counted Sept. 16 gave much more support to Lee, giving him 76 percent of their votes. Still, the additional 87 absentee votes for Lee and 27 absentee votes for Purnell didn't knock Purnell off the top spot; Purnell still led 552 to 337. No Republican ran for commissioner in the district.
A final round of counting absentee and provisional ballots was scheduled for Sept. 22, after press time for this edition.
Lee, when asked for comment, said: "I have no comment at this time. You're telling me something I don't know about, and have to look into."
Purnell, in a brief interview, said: "I hope it's not true. It looks bad on the district."
For statewide Maryland elections, people voting absentee can have someone pick up a blank ballot on their behalf, help them fill it out and also turn it in, as long as a "designation of agent" form is filled out. The voter's assistant can't be a candidate on the ballot, the voter's employer or an officer of the voter's union, however.
In two recent Worcester County municipal elections, candidates won seats when their support among absentee voters skyrocketed compared to the ratio of votes cast in person. In April 2009, Pocomoke City Council candidate Tracey Cottman split the in-person vote with candidate Stephanie Burke at 58 votes apiece, but won the seat on the strength of her 178 absentee votes to Burke's four votes. A special investigation of the vote by Todd's office found no wrongdoing by any candidate, but urged the town to stop the practice of individually numbering absentee ballots and their envelopes, making it possible to name who cast which ballot. The investigation also found the town's own election board didn't keep an accurate list of voters.
Todd's report specifically cleared Lee, who supported Cottman's candidacy, of any wrongdoing in the 2009 Pocomoke election, saying Lee "was not and is not the 'subject' of this investigation." A blog post published by Burke had claimed that Lee was a subject of it.
In May 2009, two Snow Hill candidates, Rebecca Bowman and Gerald Shockley, handed in dozens of voters' sealed absentee ballot envelopes for them, prompting resident David Suznavick to ask Circuit Court to invalidate the election. A judge declined to do so, saying Snow Hill's election laws didn't prohibit what the candidates did.
The walk is included in Furnace Town's daily site admission of $5 adults; $4.50 over 60, AAA or Military ID; $3 age 2-13; under 2, members of The Nature Conservancy and Furnace Town are free.
Walkers attending the 2 p.m. walk will receive free admission for the 7 p.m. walk. Call 410-632-2032 to register.
Softball-sized, milky white and bell-shaped, with long tentacles trailing, the gelatinous animals could be seen moving slowly about Thursday in the murky water by the Constellation.
Scientists identified them as Chrysaora quinquecirrha — the most common of sea nettles in the Chesapeake Bay. Usually, though, they hang out farther south, where they sting unwary bathers and swimmers.
But the researchers said the lack of rainfall this summer likely triggered the harbor invasion by making the water here just salty enough to attract them. It's been abnormally dry on both sides of the bay, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, with moderate to extreme drought gripping the western end of the state and the lower Eastern Shore.
"What apparently has happened is that the optimal salinity range has shifted up the bay," said Raleigh Hood, a biological oceanographer at the University of Maryland's Horn Point Environmental Laboratory near Cambridge. "Normally, down here, we're sea nettle heaven."
Hood said he's not surprised by their northward migration this year. He and Christopher Brown, a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, developed a system for predicting and mapping their abundance and spread, based on a variety of factors like water salinity and temperature. The computer model shows little likelihood of finding nettles in the Patapsco River, but it does show that salinity levels in the harbor and just outside it are elevated now, right around what sea nettles find most comfortable.
"They're happy as clams in that range," Hood said.Sea nettles can be found year-round in the middle and lower bay and its rivers, from around Annapolis south, according to the Chesapeake Bay Program's field guide. They're at their peak in July and August, typically in the moderately salty middle of the bay, according to Denise Breitburg, senior scientist with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater. But they can remain abundant as late as October, she added in an e-mail.
While the harbor influx of sea nettles is just one more weather-related oddity in a year of extremes, it's hard to say whether it has any broader relevance, Hood says.
"Global jellyfish populations are increasing," he explained. "That's a pretty good indication the world is going out of kilter." Some have attributed the jelly surge to global warming, others to the degradation of coastal waters worldwide.
Here in the Chesapeake Bay, though, it's not clear whether sea nettles are increasing or declining, Hood said. The average water temperature has increased slightly — possibly an indication of climate change — and water quality generally is considered poor throughout much of the estuary.
But Breitburg, who's been studying the bay's jellyfish for years, found that sea nettle densities have actually declined since the late 1980s, according to an article published last year by the Maryland Sea Grant program. She suggested that the dropoff may be related to the swoon of the bay's oysters, despite the bay's pollution and signs of climate shift.
Jellyfish lay eggs in the water, which settle to the bottom and attach to hard surfaces like rocks, pilings and oyster shells. But as oysters have dwindled, their shell-covered reefs have been smothered in silt, depriving jellyfish polyps of places to spend the winter.
Even if the numbers are down a bit, there are still plenty out there to nail folks who spend time in or on the water.
"I got stung by one just the other day," Hood said. "It's annoying but not life-threatening, unless you're allergic to it."
Of course, that shouldn't be an issue in the harbor — Baltimore health authorities warn against swimming there because of potentially disease-causing bacteria in the water.
But the ghostly looking nettles are safe to watch, as long as you stay out of the drink. And if it's any consolation — or motivation to get out to see them — this is likely their last hurrah. The nettles farther south are already starting to die off, reports Breitburg, and these will, too, once it rains enough to lower the salinity level again, or it gets colder.
NEWS RELEASE: On September 22, 2010, at approximately 4 p.m., Ocean City Police were in the area of 76th Street when they observed a subject identified as Mark Allen Meekins, Jr., 29, of Ocean City, break into an apartment and steal a 42-inch flat screen television. Meekins was arrested and found to be wanted in the state of Delaware for burglary as well.
Meekins has been charged with:
- 1st Degree Burglary
- Theft over $1000 to $10,000
- Held on Fugitive Warrant
Meekins was seen by an Ocean City District Court Commissioner and held on a $50,000 bond. Meekins was transferred to the Worcester County Jail.
The problems were traced back to a change made by Facebook in one of its systems.
The change was made to a piece of data that was called upon whenever an error-checking routine found invalid data in Facebook's system. The piece of data was itself interpreted as invalid, which caused the system to try and replace it with the same piece of data and so a feedback loop began.
The loop resulted in hundreds of thousands of queries per second being sent to Facebook's database cluster, overwhelming the system.
The result for users was a "DNS error" message and no access to the site.
"The way to stop the feedback cycle was quite painful - we had to stop all traffic to this database cluster, which meant turning off the site," wrote Robert Johnson, director of software engineering at Facebook, in a post on the site. "Once the databases had recovered and the root cause had been fixed, we slowly allowed more people back onto the site."
The problem hasn't been entirely fixed. Johnson said Facebook had to turn off the automated system to get the website back up and running. But that system does play an integral role in protecting the website.
Facebook is now exploring new ways to handle the situation so it won't lead to another feedback loop.
"We apologize again for the site outage, and we want you to know that we take the performance and reliability of Facebook very seriously," he wrote.
It's the second day Facebook was brought down for some users. On Wednesday, Facebook blamed a third-party networking provider for making the site inaccessible to some.
He did not explain the logic of that statement that was made as he attacked the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Ahmadinejad has called for the destruction of Israel and is deeply at odds with the United States and European allies over its nuclear program and suspicions that it is designed to produce an atomic bomb. Iran says it is only working on technology for electricity generation.
The U.S. delegation left the hall after Ahmadinejad said there were three theories about the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks:
_That "powerful and complex terrorist group" penetrated U.S. intelligence and defenses.
_"That some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East in order also to save the Zionist regime. The majority of the American people as well as other nations and politicians agree with this view."The Americans stood and walked out without listening to the third theory, that the attack was the work of "a terrorist group but the American government supported and took advantage of the situation."
Mark Kornblau, spokesman of the U.S. Mission to the world body, issued a statement within moments of Ahmadinejad's attack.
"Rather than representing the aspirations and goodwill of the Iranian people," he said, "Mr. Ahmadinejad has yet again chosen to spout vile conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic slurs that are as abhorrent and delusional as they are predictable."
Ahmadinejad, who has in the past cast doubt over the U.S. version of the Sept. 11 attacks, called for establishment of an independent fact-finding U.N. body to probe the attacks and stop it from turning into another sacred issue where "expressing opinion about it won't be banned".
He said the U.S. used the attacks as a pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq that led to the killing of hundreds of thousands of people, saying the U.S. should have "designed a logical plan" to punish the perpetrators while not sheding so much blood.
Ahmadinejad boasted of the capture in February of Abdulmalik Rigi, the leader of an armed Sunni group whose insurgency in the southeast of Iran has destabilized the border region with Pakistan. He said authorities did not resort to violence, but captured the suspect after trailing his movements in an operation by Iranian secret agents. Rigi was later hanged.The Iranian leader spoke of threats to burn the Quran by a small American church in Florida to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Although that church backed down, several copycat burnings were posted on the Internet and broadcast in the Muslim world.
"Very recently the world witnessed the ugly and inhumane act of burning the holy Quran," Ahmadinejad said.
He briefly touch on the four sets of sanctions imposed on his country by the United Nations over Tehran's refusal stop enriching uranium and to prove Iran is not trying to build an atomic bomb.
Some members of the Security Council have "equated nuclear energy with nuclear bombs," Ahmadinejad said.
He accused the United States of building up its nuclear arsenal instead of dismantling it and reiterated his call for a nuclear-free world.
"The nuclear bomb is the worst inhumane weapon which must totally be eliminated. The NPT (Nonproliferation Treaty) prohibits its development and stockpiling and calls for nuclear disarmament," the Iranian president said.
Ahmadinejad hinted that Iran is ready for talks on its nuclear program provided they are based on "justice and respect", suggesting that the U.S. and its allies must stop pressuring Iran through sanctions before Tehran will sit at the negotiating table.
He again rejected the U.N. Security Council sanctions as "illegal," blaming the U.S. as the power behind the measures.
"Those who have used intimidation and sanctions in response to the clear logic of the Iranian nation are in real terms destroying the remaining credibility of the Security Council," Ahmadinejad said.
Ahmadinejad has in the past called the Security Council a "satanic tool" and has called its anti-Iran resolutions "not worth a cent."
Lewis, 41, was pronounced dead at 9:13 p.m., Larry Traylor, spokesman for the Virginia Department of Corrections, announced outside the prison.
Minutes earlier, given a chance to make a last statement, Lewis said: "I just want Kathy to know I love you and I'm very sorry."
The murders left Lewis' stepdaughter, Kathy Clifton, the only surviving member of her family.
About 8:50 p.m., Lewis' lawyer, James E. Rocap III, and her spiritual advise , the Rev. Julir Perry, the chaplain at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, entered the witness room after visiting with Lewis.
At 8:55 p.m., after the death warrant was read to Lewis by Chief Warden George M. Hinkle, the door to the execution chamber opened and Lewis, wearing blue prison-issued pants and shirt, was led inside by corrections officers holding each arm.
Lewis appeared serious and fearful. She looked around the room as she was escorted to the gurney, where she lay down.
Her torso and limbs were quickly strapped down by five execution team members, and at 8:58 p.m. a blue curtain was drawn, blocking the view from the witness room as intravenous lines used to administer the drugs were inserted.
At 9:09 p.m., the curtain opened and Lewis was asked whether she had a last statement. She asked if "Kathy" was present, presumably referring to Kathy Clifton, the daughter and sister of the two murdered men.
Clifton had said earlier that she and her husband would attend the execution. Family witnesses view from a private room; corrections officials said they did not respond to Lewis' question.
The first of three chemicals then began flowing. Lewis' left foot had been moving as if she were tapping it, but the movement quickly stopped. She was pronounced dead at 9:13 p.m. and the curtains were redrawn, again blocking the view.
Outside the prison, about a dozen people stood in protest. They were outnumbered by about three dozen members of the media, including reporters from Great Britain and Italy.
Lou Hart, who said he was a Quaker from Charlottesville, said it was his first time to stand outside the prison. "I'm not against every death penalty, but I am against most," he said. "This one bothered a lot of people because of the harshness of the penalty."
Longtime death-penalty foe Annette Blankenship of Colonial Heights said she and Lewis had been corresponding for the past several years.
"I have two sons. And seeing this, I really feel bad — when I saw her son, it just tore me up," she said. Lewis has a grown son and daughter.
After the execution, Lewis attorney Jim Roach said: "Tonight the machinery of death in Virginia extinguished the childlike and loving spirit of Teresa Lewis."
He said she met with both of her children yesterday and wrote letters to both of them.
The execution was just the 12th of a woman — compared with more than 1,200 for men — since the death penalty resumed in the United States in 1977. The rare event drew attention, and criticism, from across the nation and abroad.
Lewis was sentenced to death in 2003 for the Oct. 30, 2002, murder-for-hire slayings of her husband and stepson. Using sex and promises of money, she persuaded two men to kill for her in an effort to gain $250,000 in life insurance.
Julian Lewis, 51, and C.J. Lewis, 25, were hit with multiple shotgun blasts in their beds while Teresa Lewis stood by in the kitchen of the family trailer early that morning. As her husband was dying, she took his wallet, split the money inside it with the gunmen, and then waited 45 minutes to call for help.
Lewis was the secondary beneficiary of her stepson's life insurance policy, which meant both men had to die for her to collect. The shooters, Matthew Shallenberger, who was her lover, and Rodney Fuller, each were sentenced to life. The evidence led the judge to deem Lewis "the head of this snake," and he sentenced her to death.
The European Union's delegation to the U.S., concerned about Lewis' mental capacity, sent a letter this month to Gov. Bob McDonnell asking that he commute the sentence to life. Iranian officials, stung by criticism over a woman convicted of adultery there and sentenced to death by stoning, blasted the West this week for hypocrisy.
The governor's office had no comment on either development.
Those asking that her life be spared included Amnesty International, best-selling author John Grisham, religious and anti-death-penalty groups, and thousands of people who signed petitions asking McDonnell to commute the death sentence.
McDonnell twice turned down clemency pleas, most recently on Monday. He said that after a careful review he found no compelling reason to set aside the sentence and noted that no professional evaluation of Lewis ever found she met the medical or legal definition of mental retardation.
Her lawyers contended that her low IQ, a personality disorder and addiction to pain medication made it impossible for her to have been the mastermind of the crime.
Lewis' lawyers and supporters also argued that she should have received the same sentence as the shooters. They said that Lewis, the mother of two who last year became a grandmother, had no prior record of violence and had been an exemplary inmate since her conviction.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down her appeal and request for a stay of execution.
Lewis spent part of her last day visiting with family, her spiritual adviser and her lawyers, Traylor said.
In an interview Monday, Lewis said she hoped to have a contact visit with her son and daughter on her last day. She also has a 14-month-old grandson by her daughter.
The fee waiver applies at both the Maryland and Virginia districts of the National Seashore.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the National Seashore at a great time of the year," said Kicklighter. "Fall flowers are blooming, the weather is perfect, and the island is less crowded than during the busy summer season."
National Public Lands Day is an annual event celebrating service and recreation at more than 1,600 parks, refuges, and other public lands throughout the nation. Visitors to Assateague and other areas are encouraged to help out during their stay by volunteering in public service projects. Stop by the Maryland District Ranger Station to see how you can participate.
POCOMOKE CITY -- Police Chief J.D. Ervin asked for citizens to step forward and help form Neighborhood Crime Watch groups throughout the city.
Most of the people attending the meeting, including members of the City Council, police, candidates for office and area residents, were in agreement that action needed to be taken to prevent crime. They thought that there would be better attendance at the meetings if residents were aware of the action.
Carroll Overholt, a retired Maryland State Police officer and candidate for sheriff, spoke out in favor of the crime watches, saying that the police can't solve the problems alone. "We don't have enough police," he said.
However, James Jones, an area resident, said that there is talk in the streets about what is going on at community meetings like the one at New Macedonia. "We have their attention," he said.
Dean Guy, a Pocomoke property owner, said that he has called police about the drug problem he sees, and has even offered to allow the police use a vacant house to observe the area. He said he thinks crime levels are getting worse.
But Ervin said statistics show the crime rate is down, and figures on crime compiled by the FBI back up that assertion. The statistics show Pocomoke police took reports on 28 violent crimes occur in 2009, compared to 31 such crimes in 2008 and 29 in 2007. Police in the city recorded 216 instances of property crime in 2009, compared to 239 property crimes in 2008 and 243 such cases of burglary, theft and arson in 2007.
Council member Bruce Morrison called drugs a problem that will never go away. He said that he gets weekly reports about arrests and then sees where the crimes are not processed. "They are let go," he said. He added that he has talked to people in his district about it, and that no one wants to get involved.
The discussion turned to neighborhoods, but Councilman Robert Clarke called the entire town of Pocomoke City his neighborhood.
The next community meeting is planned for Saturday, Oct. 16, at 10 a.m. at New Macedonia Church.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
As part of a national fundraising effort for Special Olympics, the Ocean City Police Dept.,Worcester County Sheriff's Office and Maryland State Police will be on the rooftop in an effort heighten awareness and raise money to benefit the Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit the Special Olympics of Maryland.
These brave officers will be on the rooftop of the Dunkin' Donuts waiting for your support in donations so they can come down from the rooftop: Chief Reggie Mason, LT Smack, SGT Andy McGee, DFC Kenny Parr, DFC Dale Trotter, DFC Mike Hickman and many, many more!
Stop by Dunkin' Donuts this weekend and leave a donation towards a worthy cause. Let's see how much in donations these officers above will raise for the worthy cause
They'll be watching and they will be waving to you below....Help them out because when you do you help the Special Olympics of Maryland.
But the pathologists and technicians who investigate Maryland's 4,000 unexpected deaths each year are said to be "giddy" about the opening of the state's new, $54 million Forensic Medical Center in Baltimore.
The state-of-the-art facility, which fills a city block at West Baltimore and Poppleton streets, will replace the 41-year-old building at Pratt and Penn streets that presently houses the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. It is designed to improve working conditions and speed the autopsy process for families and law enforcement.
The new, six-story building, formally opening today, triples the state agency's floor space, providing state-of-the-art technology to boost efficiency. The old facility was built for 2,000 autopsies a year and now has 16 examiners doing 4,000 annually in a basement room. The new building has enlarged, brightly lit space for up to 23 medical examiners to perform up to 6,000 autopsies a year as the demand grows. The first autopsies in the new space are expected by mid-October.
"The volume of cases downstairs sometimes is overwhelming," said Dr. Mary G. Ripple, the deputy chief medical examiner. When medical students, police academy classes and others come to learn, "there's not a lot of room to move around."
The new center is wired with fiber-optics for digital record-keeping, photography and consultations. There is a full-body CAT-scan to speed autopsies — one of just two in M.E. offices in the U.S. There are bigger and better-equipped labs, six autopsy stations capable of handling some of the most dangerous pathogens, and refrigeration for more than 120 bodies. And, the autopsy space can quickly be tripled in the event of a mass-fatality disaster.
For families of the deceased, there are more-comfortable, private places to speak with pathologists, or to view or post a watch over the bodies of their loved ones, as some faiths require.
Chief Medical Examiner Dr. David R. Fowler, who has worked on the project for years, said the center's opening "really hasn't sunk home yet." But for his staff, the anticipation is keen: "The look on their faces is just lovely to see."
It has been a long time coming. Fowler said it was his predecessor, the late Dr. John Smialek, who began pressing for improvements more than 20 years ago.
In 1985, the Post Mortem Examiner's Commission described the old facility as underfunded, understaffed and insufficiently equipped. By 1988, demoralized employees were threatening to unionize. They complained of crippled heating and cooling systems. Poor ventilation in the basement autopsy areas sometimes allowed nauseating odors to filter into office space.
The state eventually spent about $2 million on upgrades, Fowler said. But "the number of cases we were seeing was increasing," adding nearly 100 cases annually. Maryland's population is growing and aging. And, except during economic slowdowns, vehicle fatalities have also increased. Through three state administrations beginning with Gov. Parris N. Glendening, efforts to design and build a new facility began slowly before being fast-tracked under then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Health Secretary Nelson Sabatini. The contract was finally signed by Gov. Martin O'Malley.
Alvin C. Collins, secretary of Maryland's Department of General Services, which managed the project, called the new Forensic Medical Center "the most modern medical examiner's facility in the United States."
Only the Los Angeles M.E.'s office is bigger, Fowler said. Most states divide up the work by region or by county. Maryland, being small, is able to bring all its cases to Baltimore. And that, he said, provides taxpayers with important economies of scale.
A survey 10 years ago found the average medical examiner's office cost $2 per citizen to run for a year. Maryland's today still costs less than that, about $1.74 per citizen per year, Fowler said.
The new center's showpiece may be its twin autopsy rooms. The old facility had six stations in the basement. The new rooms have eight stations each, set on opposite sides of large, south-facing spaces with 29-foot ceilings and soaring windows.
"We wanted natural light," Fowler said during a preview Monday. Each station is equipped for digital photography, and "even with the lights off, it's bright."
Above the autopsy tables, there are glassed-in galleries for medical students and interactions with police. "That really improves the final outcome with criminal justice cases," Fowler said.
Ripple described the mood among the assistant M.E.'s as "excited trepidation." The move will be "a little chaotic … but extremely, extremely exciting."
The four-month review of the Virginia Department of Transportation's finances shows that the recouped cash combined with steps to redirect other state funds will add $614 million to backlogged road maintenance and construction projects through June 2011.
And by 2016, the newfound cash, savings and efficiencies available for the state's six-year road building and maintenance master plan will total nearly $1.5 billion, Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton told The Associated Press.
Gov. Bob McDonnell, who ordered the audit in April, plans to release the findings and remedial steps the administration will take at a news conference this afternoon. The Republican unsuccessfully called for a private VDOT audit two years ago, while still attorney general, and pledged one while campaigning for governor in 2009.
The findings depict a VDOT central office where "burdensome internal processes and financial controls" allowed millions of dollars in cash to languish, sometimes for years, after projects it was intended to fund became inactive.
Auditors did not find any fraud or criminal misconduct relating to agency operations.
"The process is broken," Connaughton said. "Even though we have modern technology and a lot of modern practices employed in the actual construction operations, the processes that support those are still in the paper and memo stages. They've never gone back and looked at the processes they have employed for a very long time."
The Richmond-based accounting firm of Cherry Bakaert & Holland found that dwindling state revenues during a sharp recession made VDOT extremely conservative in committing money to projects starting in 2006.
The audit shows the trend worsened over four years when the General Assembly twice rejected then-Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's appeals to levy new fees and taxes for a growing backlog of highway construction needs, particularly in Virginia's congested Hampton Roads region and its Washington, D.C., suburbs.
In 2009, with Kaine's administration decrying deep fiscal woes, he ordered 19 of Virginia's 42 rest areas closed at a savings of $9 million annually. Other measures included sharply reduced mowing on highway rights of way, reduced freeway motorists' aid patrols and ending the $21,000 annual state stipend for the historic Hatton Ferry on the James River, the last known hand-poled ferry in the United States.
The tight finances led to layoffs at VDOT, and the Commonwealth Transportation Board last year made cuts to its six-year master road projects program by about $4.6 billion.
But in fiscal year 2010, VDOT left $488 million in maintenance allocations unspent and, by this past June 30, the unspent balance had grown to $529 million, the audit found.
The audit concludes that by procrastinating for months each year in obligating federal highway funds for Virginia projects, VDOT often pushed contracts late into the calendar year, often missing the prime summer construction season. For instance, the agency in federal fiscal year 2010 received $826 million from the U.S. government, but after six months had obligated only 5 percent of the money.
There was little monitoring of unused federal money for dozens of canceled or dormant projects. It averaged about $130 million a year that could have been redirected elsewhere, the audit found.
VDOT commissioner Gregory A. Whirley said that if a project is completed or canceled and there's still money for it, the money should be moved to another project.
"That money was just sitting there," he said.
McDonnell last year proposed selling the state-owned liquor monopoly to raise about $500 million to jump start deferred maintenance. But as he became aware of the cash and savings the audit was uncovering, McDonnell altered his proposal, recommending that profits from auctioning liquor store licenses be plowed into an "infrastructure bank" to finance new projects, not maintain existing roads.
Other faults found during the audit included: taking months -- sometimes a year -- for VDOT to hire private road design consultants; poor communication between VDOT's district headquarters across the state and the central office; and outmoded criteria for assessing how well the district and central office professionals manage projects.
The answer rests with the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, a well-known Christian activist from the Fredericksburg area.
Mahoney traveled to Gainesville, Fla., to pray on the grounds of Jones' Dove World Outreach Center in the days before Sept. 11, trying to convince the preacher to cancel the burning.
Facing mounting pressure from politicians and religious leaders, Jones relented.
Mahoney returned to Florida last week and collected some 225 Qurans. He now expects to distribute them to Christian churches and missionary groups as a tool for interfaith dialogue.
"We plan to use them as a physical reminder of how the church is to reach out to our Islamic friends," he said.
Mahoney brought some of them home and had the rest shipped to the Washington, D.C., office of the Christian Defense Coalition, which he leads.
Mahoney, who has prayed with Muslim leaders in Iraq and Morocco, told Jones that Islamic countries wouldn't understand a church acting independently of the government.
"So, to the Islamic world it wasn't just a church in Gainesville, Fla., with 50 members burning a Quran, it was every Christian in America," Mahoney said. "He wouldn't just be burning a book, he would be burning bridges and relationships."
After leaving Florida following a meeting with Jones, Mahoney couldn't stop thinking about the Qurans. Back home, worshiping at Grace Church of Fredericksburg, he had an idea.
"I felt if churches had them, they would be a reminder that once these Qurans would be burned, but now they can be used to build bridges," said Mahoney.He plans a press conference this morning to announce his plans for the holy books.
This weekend, he hopes to give a Quran to a Fredericksburg-area church.
For Mahoney, rescuing the Qurans is another step in a journey he began several years ago.
He reached out to the Islamic community and has since prayed with Muslim leaders in Iraq and Morocco.
In recent months, with Jones' plans and a controversy over a proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero, Mahoney said the need for interfaith dialogue has grown exponentially.
"These are murky waters we are trying to navigate," he said. "Rarely do any rise to the complex challenges we are facing between the Christian community and the Islamic community here in America."
Mahoney has spoken with several Muslims about his plans and said reactions have been mixed.
"Most are extremely happy that the Qurans won't be destroyed or harmed. Some have reservations about placing them and giving them to churches and Christian leaders," Mahoney said. "All expressed gratitude that they were not being burned."
The Virginia Employment Commission said Tuesday its adjusted unemployment rate was 7 percent in August. That's up from 6.9 percent last August.
The agency says August is typically a transition month between summer and fall labor markets.
During the month, the labor force, total unemployment and the number of unemployed normally decline as students quit summer jobs and head back to school and local school districts see their lowest employment levels before school starts back up in the fall.
The agency said more than 61,930 people were receiving regular unemployment benefits in August, down more than 9,430 from July and down more than 30,980 from August last year.
The national rate stood at 9.6 percent in August, up slightly from July. The Labor Department said 27 states saw their unemployment rates rise in August, the largest number in six months, as hiring weakened across the country. The jobless rate fell in 13 states and was unchanged in 10 states and Washington, D.C.
Dirt Drag 9/10/10
Pro Stock Class
1st Place: Barry Wise
2nd Place: Bryan Watson
1st Place: Chuck West
Mud Hop 9/11/10ProStock Class
1st Place: Bryan Watson
2nd Place: Quinton Timmons
no photo3rd place: James Bennett no photo
1st Place: Spence Messickno photo
1st Place: John Littletonno photo
2nd Place: Chris Lewis
HUGE Racing day coming October 9th .........more info coming soon !
That's according to a police report released Tuesday that accuses Edyan Farah, 28, of dragging a bed up against the closet to block it shut, then leaving to visit a neighbor. Investigators are awaiting results of a toxicology report, but believe the two children -- a 5-year-old girl and her 3-year-old brother -- died Sunday of asphyxiation. Details were reported by several news agencies.
The children were trapped in a closet about 6 feet by 18 inches for more than 10 hours, and one of the surviving siblings told police they'd been crammed in there before, WRTV channel 6 TV station reported.
Her uncle, Mohammad Hersi, peered into the apartment and "saw what appeared to him as a deceased child laying on the couch," the report stated, according to WRTV. When he tried to call police, "Farah grabbed the phone from Mohammad Hersi and threw it," it said. Another friend was quoted as saying Farah wouldn't let anyone into the apartment.
"She didn't look normal. She was not the woman we knew," Hersi told The Indianapolis Star.
The children were in rigor mortis when paramedics arrived.
Farah, a Somali immigrant, will appear in an Indianapolis court today to be advised of her rights, a spokeswoman for the Marion County prosecutor's office, Susan Decker, told The Associated Press. She was charged Monday with two preliminary counts of neglect of a dependent resulting in death, but prosecutors have asked for 72 more hours to prepare formal charges. Farah remains jailed on a $200,000 bond.
The remaining three children, whom police and neighbors described as looking malnourished, have been transferred to foster care, Duhamell said.
Meanwhile, neighbors of the Farah family at their two-story apartment complex said they were shocked by the deaths.
"The kids were always at the window waving and saying 'Hi' when you walked by. They were never out playing, but they always seemed happy," neighbor Nicole Felt told WRTV. "My heart goes out to those kids -- the two that passed, certainly, and the three that now have to live with what happened."
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Looney and his brothers, Billy and Steve, played lacrosse for the Naval Academy. He was a 1999 graduate of DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, where he played varsity football and baseball. All three sons were starters for Naval Academy lacrosse team.
Also surviving are his parents, Kevin and Maureen Looney, and three sisters, Bridget, Erin and Kelly.
The DEA is coordinating this one-day effort with the assistance of Virginia's Secretary of Public Safety, the Office of the Attorney General, the Virginia State Police, and local law enforcement agencies.
The Virginia Department of Health Professions, which houses the Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program, is spreading the word about National Take-Back Day with Virginias healthcare professionals, agencies, and members of the General Assembly. Speaking about National Take-Back Day, Governor McDonnell commented, "Drug abuse is directly related to increased crime rates, overdose deaths and emergency room visits. In Virginia, drug deaths are comparable to the number of traffic fatalities each year. We want to change the equation by taking preventative steps, including encouraging Virginians to get rid of old medications. People should not hold on to expired or unused medications, particularly in homes with children, teens and seniors which are especially vulnerable to this danger."
Important information about National Take-Back Day:
The program is anonymous and free
Prescription and over-the-counter medications are accepted
Intra-venous solutions, injectables, and needles will not be accepted
Illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine are not a part of this initiative
Medications may be kept in original containers for disposal on National Take-Back Day
Public health officials and environmental quality experts recommend the following action steps for the ongoing disposal of medications:
Participate in community and national pharmaceutical take back programs
Remove unused, unwanted or expired prescription and over-the-counter drugs from their original container and mix with an undesirable substance such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter then place in nondescript sealable bags or containers such as empty cans or sealable bags for disposal
Public health officials now call prescription drug abuse an epidemic. It is the number 2 category of substance abuse, behind marijuana abuse which is number 1.