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MARYLAND BRIEFING

-- Ruben Castaneda

POWER GRID

Panel Backs Pair of Transmission Lines

The company that operates the mid-Atlantic electricity grid should endorse proposals for two major transmission lines, an advisory group has concluded.

The new transmission lines, one from West Virginia to Maryland and the other from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, are designed to relieve existing lines on the densely populated Eastern Seaboard, including some that are expected to become overloaded as early as 2012. The new power lines could also help bring surplus electricity from Appalachia and the Midwest to places where power is more expensive.

On Wednesday, a study group formed by Valley Forge, Pa.-based PJM Interconnection recommended the two projects out of a host of proposals by power companies. Both proposals will go before PJM's board of managers at its June 22 meeting before the utilities approach state regulators about the plans.

PJM has no regulatory authority over the power lines, but the company's opinion carries weight with state utility regulators. The state regulators typically have approval authority over power lines, although the possibility now exists that federal authorities can override them.

-- Associated Press

FREDERICK

A Theory on Slain Children's Missing Mother

Frederick police could not verify a report that the missing mother of four children slain by their suicidal father left town with a friend, but it is the best explanation for her disappearance, according to the chief investigator.

Authorities received the tip as fourth-hand information and traced it to the supposed source, a distant relative, who denied having said it, Frederick City police Lt. Thomas Chase said Thursday.

Still, he said, it was the most specific explanation offered for the disappearance of Deysi M. Benitez. Chase said the tip included information that Benitez was receiving counseling to help her deal with the deaths of her husband and children.

Benitez, 25, was last seen March 18 in Frederick, eight days before the bodies of her husband, Pedro Rodriguez, 28, and their children were found in the family's three-bedroom townhouse.

The Spanish-language television network Univision first reported that Benitez might have left town with a friend. Chase wouldn't say whether the friend was male or female or when the pair supposedly left town.

-- Associated Press


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