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MARYLAND BRIEFING

Saturday, May 26, 2007

PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY

Body Found in Bowie Basement

A man who had been shot to death was found yesterday in a new house in Bowie, and Prince George's County police said they believe he might have been a real estate agent.

The man was found about 1:30 p.m. in the basement of a house in the 12800 block of Ninth Street, police said.

They said the man had not been positively identified, and further details were not immediately available.

-- Josh Zumbrun

Guilty Plea in Case of Woman Set Ablaze

A Landover man has pleaded guilty to setting his girlfriend on fire last summer, Prince George's County State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey said.

Anthony M. Willoughby, 41, pleaded guilty in Circuit Court Wednesday to first-degree assault, prosecutors said. Willoughby admitted that he set his girlfriend, Fredia Edwards, 39, on fire during the early morning of July 29.

Willoughby attacked Edwards after the two argued when he accused her of seeing someone else, prosecutors said. Willoughby splashed gasoline on Edwards's upper body and set her on fire with a long-handled lighter, prosecutors said.

Edwards extinguished the flames but was severely burned officials said. Sentencing was set for July 12.

-- Ruben Castaneda

ENVIRONMENT

Rachel Carson Measure Hindered

The U.S. Senate adjourned for the Memorial Day weekend yesterday without taking up a resolution honoring environmental author Rachel Carson, meaning that the measure will not be passed in time for the 100th anniversary of her birth, congressional staff members said.

The resolution to honor Carson, who died in 1964, was submitted this week by Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.). It praised her 1962 book "Silent Spring," which warned of the environmental and public-health dangers posed by pesticides and other man-made pollutants, and called Carson the inspiration for modern environmentalism. Carson would have turned 100 tomorrow.

But plans were stymied when Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) used Senate rules to block the measure. Coburn said Carson's "junk science" improperly stigmatized the pesticide DDT and prevented it from being used on malaria-carrying mosquitoes. As a result, Coburn said, numerous people in the developing world have died of the disease.

Susan Sullam, a spokeswoman for Cardin, said yesterday that she was unsure whether he would continue to press for the resolution's passage.

-- David A. Fahrenthold

DENTAL CARE

Measure Would Help Poor Children

Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D-Md.) has introduced a dental health-care bill that would offer incentives to states that provide better access to needy children served by Medicaid and the state Children's Health Insurance Program.

The Essential Oral Health Care Act of 2007 would also authorize grants to health coordinators and volunteer dental care to children living in underserved communities. In addition, it would offer $5,000 tax credits to dentists who donate their services to the poor.

The bill, introduced Thursday, is designed to help address the barriers many poor children face in obtaining dental treatment, as highlighted by the February death of Prince George's resident Deamonte Driver. The 12-year-old died from an infection that spread from an abscessed tooth.

-- Mary Otto

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Boy, 8, Charged With Having Knife

An 8-year-old student has been charged with possessing a deadly weapon on school property after he brought an eight-inch serrated knife to Greencastle Elementary School in Silver Spring and talked about harming himself, students and his teacher, police said yesterday.

A school-based Montgomery County police officer responded to the school at 10:12 a.m. Thursday after the boy, whose name was not released, was observed by several students with the knife. The teacher confiscated the blade and escorted the boy to the main office to make a report. No one was harmed. The student is being charged as a juvenile.

-- Daniel de Vise

2 Md. Families Sue McDonald's

Two Maryland families are suing McDonald's Corp., alleging the fast-food chain did not disclose allergens in its food.

The lawsuits were filed Thursday afternoon in Montgomery County by the families of a 3-year-old boy from Hampstead and an 8-year-old boy from Cambridge. The families said McDonald's failed to disclose that it used wheat and dairy products as ingredients in French fries and hash browns.

Both children have severe milk allergies, and one had to be taken to a hospital after suffering anaphylactic shock in reaction to milk ingredients in the fries, Athan T. Tsimpedes, the attorney for one of the families, said.

McDonald's officials haven't commented on the lawsuit.

-- Associated Press

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