VRE Names Top Official
Virginia Railway Express has named Dale Zehner as chief operating officer. Zehner has been in that job temporarily since October, when Pete Sklannik Jr. resigned after an investigation found what railroad directors said was $17,000 worth of "questionable and inappropriate spending" in his three years on the job.
Before assuming the top spot, Zehner, 58, of Fairfax Station was manager of budget and finance for the railroad.
VRE connects Northern Virginia with Washington on two commuter lines that originate in Manassas and Fredericksburg. Over the past three years, VRE ridership has grown by 18 percent a year, or five times the national average. Designed to carry 10,000 passengers a day, the railroad is expected to reach 21,000 passengers by the end of the decade.
To meet that demand, Zehner says, VRE needs to buy more rail cars and locomotives, lengthen platforms, expand parking and make other investments. It has a $191 million request pending in Congress.
Harpers Ferry Expansion Passes Senate
The U.S. Senate has approved plans to expand Harpers Ferry National Historic Park by more than 1,200 acres to include Civil War battle sites threatened by development.
Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) said that expanding the borders at Harpers Ferry protects one of West Virginia's historic jewels.
Harpers Ferry, at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, is the site of a former federal armory that was captured by abolitionist John Brown and his followers in 1859. The site became part of the national park system in 1944.
Man Killed by Train in Gaithersburg
Police are investigating the death of a 50-year-old man who was lying on the rail tracks in Gaithersburg early yesterday and was struck by a freight train. Deforest R. Doing, of no fixed address, was killed, but investigators had not determined whether it was a homicide, suicide or accident.
The train's operator sounded the horn but was not able to stop before hitting the man, police said. The incident occurred near East Diamond Avenue, under the Route 355 overpass.
Man Fatally Stabbed in District Heights
A 45-year-old Southeast Washington man was killed early yesterday after a domestic argument in Prince George's County, police said. Donald K. Denny, of the 1300 block of S Street SE, was found suffering from stab wounds in a District Heights apartment shortly after 4 a.m., when police responded to a call in the 1900 block of Rochelle Avenue.
Police arrested Lavon I. Jackson, 50, of no fixed address, in the killing.
Bowie Man Dies in Crash
A 65-year-old man died Saturday night when his car struck a pine tree in Bowie, Prince George's County police said yesterday. Joseph Kelly, of the 2800 block of Belair Drive in Bowie, was killed instantly after his 1997 Toyota Camry hit a mailbox, sped forward several blocks, then crashed into a tree near Belair and Kembridge drives just before 8 p.m., police said.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"We mix folks who are still bouncing off the walls in with the little old lady in the corner. This is a bad mix."
-- Howard M. Cullum, a former state mental health commissioner, on the wide variety of patients thrown together in assisted living. -- Page A1
Compiled from reports by staff writers Donna St. George and Lyndsey Layton and the Associated Press.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company