April 1, 2013
THE REGION
THE DISTRICT
Teenage boy shot in Southeast

A 16-year-old boy was shot and wounded early Monday near the Washington Highlands neighborhood in Southeast Washington, according to D.C. police.

The shooting occurred about 12:40 a.m. in the 1200 block of Valley Avenue SE near Wheeler Road. Officer Tisha Gant, a police spokeswoman, said one of two men in a red, two-door sedan shot at the youth as he walked along Valley Avenue. The boy was struck in the back and leg and was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.

Police said a handgun was used in the shooting and that the sedan sped off south toward Southern Avenue.

Body found in Anacostia River

A person on the 18-hole Langston Golf Course in Northeast spotted a body in the Anacostia River on Monday afternoon, according to D.C. police.

Firefighters retrieved the body and brought it to the medical examiner. Neither the cause of death nor an identification could be determined immediately.

Officer Anthony Clay, a police spokesman, said the body was spotted about 1:45 p.m. near Anacostia Park. It was unclear where it was pulled from the water. Police said the initial call came from the golf course in Northeast, the fire department reported that it responded farther south to a spot along the river in Southeast.

— Peter Hermann

MARYLAND
Regular updates on transit center sought

Two Montgomery County Council members on Monday called for regular briefings on the status of the troubled Silver Spring Transit Center, which is $80 million over budget and two years behind schedule.

In a letter to County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), council President Nancy Navarro (D-Mid-County) and council member Roger Berliner (D-Potomac-Bethesda), called for greater “oversight” and “transparency” on the progress of the center’s rehabilitation.

The request comes after the discovery of a number of design and construction mishaps that were so serious that officials deemed the center dangerous without significant repairs. Navarro and Berliner wrote that the first briefing would be on April 30 and that the council would determine follow-up meetings.

— Farah Mohamed

VIRGINIA
Judge rules on law on marriage celebrants

A Virginia law governing marriage celebrants unfairly discriminates against religions, such as Sikhism, that do not have ordained ministers, a Fairfax County judge has ruled.

Under state law, non-ordained ministers must post a $500 bond before performing a wedding, while ordained ministers such as in religions like Judaism and Catholicism do not. The law also restricts congregations that don’t have ordained ministers to one marriage celebrant.

Circuit Court Chief Judge Dennis J. Smith said the law violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Four Sikh men who were seeking authorization to perform marriages for their congregations challenged the law, after the state required them to put up the $500 bond. Sikhism is a non-hierarchal religion that does not have ordained clergy.

Smith’s ruling does not strike down the Virginia law but will likely serve as a touchstone if other judges rule on similar cases around the state.

— Justin Jouvenal

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