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Two gay men arrested in White House protest

Friday, March 19, 2010; B02

THE DISTRICT

Gay men arrested in White House protest

The U.S. Park Police arrested two protesters who handcuffed themselves to a portion of the White House fence Thursday afternoon.

Shortly before 2 p.m., Park Police came upon two men who had chained themselves to a section of the iron fence on the north side, said Sgt. David Schlosser, a police spokesman. Officers told the men they did not have a permit for their demonstration and gave them three warnings about the violation, Schlosser said. The men refused to leave, so officers arrested them on the charge of "failure to obey a lawful order."

James Pietrangelo, 44, of Sandusky, Ohio, and Daniel W. Choi, 29, of New York are scheduled to appear in D.C. Superior Court on Friday.

Choi is an openly gay Iraq war veteran who has been a vocal critic of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy toward homosexuals. Pietrangelo is a former U.S. Army captain and also openly gay.

Choi said in a statement that he and Pietrangelo went to the White House to take their message directly to President Obama.

-- Theola Labbé-DeBose

VIRGINIA

Ex-pastor charged with sex assaults

A Kentucky man who formerly was pastor of a Fairfax County church in the 1990s has been arrested by Fairfax police in the alleged molestation of two boys in the mid-1990s, Fairfax police said Thursday.

Tommy Shelton, 64, was the pastor of Community Church of God at 2500 Gallows Rd. in the Dunn Loring area from 1995 to 2000, police said.

In 2008, two men approached Fairfax police and reported that they had been sexually assaulted by Shelton.

One man said he had been molested when he was 12 to 14 years old, and the other man said he was 8 to 9 when he was molested, police said.

There is no statute of limitations on such crimes in Virginia.

Police obtained warrants in February charging Shelton with two counts of aggravated sexual battery, two counts of indecent liberties with a minor, and sodomy. Shelton, who now lives in Marion, Ky., surrendered Tuesday to Fairfax police and was being held in the Fairfax jail Thursday in lieu of $80,000 bond.

-- Tom Jackman

MARYLAND

Complaints roll in on travel-time signs

When the small voice comes from the back seat asking the age-old question, "Are we there yet?" parents can provide accurate arrival forecasts if they happen to be within range of 23 overhead electronic bulletin boards that Maryland is using to provide real-time travel information.

Ten days after the State Highway Administration began providing the information, they have heard from about 50 motorists, the majority of them complaining that the new information is a distraction that slows traffic. After concluding that traffic was slowing as it approached the sign on the Capital Beltway near Route 450, the SHA stopped using it for travel-time forecasts.

The signs were erected several years ago to provide Homeland Security and traffic congestion alerts.

They began to flash travel-time messages March 8, based on information provided by a private firm that gathers data from GPS devices aboard trucks.

-- Ashley Halsey III

1,000 sign up to plan future Pr. George's

More than 1,000 Prince George's County residents have registered to participate Saturday in Envision Prince George's, a meeting to discuss challenges facing the county and ways to improve the quality of life over the next 20 years.

"This is a call to action," said Steve Brigham, a county resident and chief operating officer of the Washington-based AmericaSpeaks, a nonprofit organization that partnered with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

"This is not a government plan. This is a countywide plan that involves . . . all stakeholders," he said.

Anika Jackson, a planning board spokeswoman, said people still can register for the event. Information about Envision Prince George's is at http://www.envisionprincegeorges.org. Anyone who wants to participate must register online.

-- Ovetta Wiggins

TB case confirmed at Woodbridge school

Someone at Freedom High School in Woodbridge has a confirmed case of tuberculosis, according to a letter from the Prince William County school's principal and county health officials.

The letter from Principal Inez Bryant and Alison Ansher, director of the Prince William Health District, was posted Thursday on the school's Web site. It did not say whether the ill person was a student, teacher or staff member but said the individual was no longer at the school.

Health officials will screen people who spent time with the patient for exposure to tuberculosis, the letter said. All students will be screened.

Free screenings for students will be offered from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at the school, officials said.

Parents with questions can call the county Health Department at 703-792-6301 or school health services at 703-791-7257.

-- Clarence Williams

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