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Dec. 5-11

Sunday, December 12, 2004; Page C04

Dense Development Plans Approved Fairfax Assents to Project Near Vienna Station

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors gave unanimous approval to a developer's plan for a mini-city of more than 5,000 office workers and residents in a dense development near the Vienna Metro station.

Fairlee-MetroWest, to rise at the end of Metro's Orange Line in central Fairfax, would be the densest development within reach of Metro in the county's prosperous enclaves outside the Capital Beltway. The developers hope to replace what had been a neighborhood of 61 single-family homes on 56 acres, which they purchased and razed, with offices, stores and 2,250 homes in a dozen buildings up to 14 stories tall and luxury townhouses. Condominiums would sell for $400,000 to $800,000.

Boost in Transportation Funding Proposed Warner Wants One-Time Shot of $824 Million

Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) announced plans for a one-time, $824 million boost in road and transit spending.

Warner said he will call on the Republican legislature to approve "smart, innovative" proposals to boost transportation efforts by private companies and local governments, help pay for Metrorail and train cars and pay off long-standing debts on road projects. But he acknowledged that his plan will do little to address Virginia's need for billions of dollars of road construction and maintenance.

3 Face Charges in Lawyer's Abduction Motive Believed to Be Dispute Over Client's Will

Three people were charged in the abduction of an Alexandria lawyer who was taken from his home, tortured with a stun gun and forced to stand at the edge of a freshly dug grave.

The masked intruders forced their way into the home of Kenneth E. Labowitz, 55, late Tuesday, hustled him to a waiting car and drove to the Watergate at Landmark, a luxury high-rise in western Alexandria. In the woods nearby, Labowitz was zapped with the stun gun, threatened at knifepoint and dragged to a picnic area where the grave had been dug, police said. Police raced to the scene after Labowitz's family called 911 and Watergate residents noticed suspicious activity in the woods. Labowitz was able to stall his abductors until police arrived.

Police believe the motive for the abduction was a dispute over the will of one of Labowitz's clients.

Grants Aim to Improve Access to College Loudoun Foundation to Give Nearly $1 Million

The Loudoun County-based Jack Kent Cooke Foundation announced that it will award nearly $1 million to set up college access programs across Virginia.

The awards, $966,613 in all, include money for scholarship organizations in Alexandria and Fairfax. The largest portion, $623,000, will be spent over two years to train University of Virginia seniors to become college advisers at low-income high schools after they graduate, guiding students through the application and financial aid processes. The first 20 seniors will be hired in the spring.

Gang Member Admits Rape, Killing Plea Agreement Specifies Three Life Sentences

A Salvadoran gang member admitted in a Fairfax County courtroom that he led the gang rape of a Falls Church area woman in the summer of 2001, then kicked her in the neck with such force that it killed her.

Oscar Omar Ramos Hernandez, 26, pleaded guilty to capital murder, abduction and rape and signed a plea agreement to serve three consecutive life sentences. Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen H. MacKay said she would probably accept the deal but ordered a pre-sentence investigation and scheduled a sentencing hearing for Feb. 4.

Across the Region Rising Home Prices; Metro's Budget Proposal

• The region's home prices are rising faster than its wages, worsening the affordable housing crunch, especially for low- and moderate-income workers, according to a report released by the Fannie Mae Foundation and the Urban Institute.

• Metro managers proposed a $1 billion operating budget for the next fiscal year that would hold passenger fares and parking fees steady but seeks a 10.4 percent increase in subsidies from local governments.

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