Smith Island Split Over Alcohol Sales

Steven Eades is fighting the tide of a 300-year tradition against alcohol sales on Smith Island as he tries to expand one of two stores on the remote island.

Eades and his wife, Theresa Seijack, applied for a license to sell beer and wine seven days a week at the Driftwood General Store, which they bought two years ago, because they have received so many requests for drinks from tourists.

"I try to provide what the customers want," he said.

But more than 100 of his neighbors--a third of the community--traveled by ferry to oppose his application at the Somerset County Courthouse. The island is filled with Methodist teetotalers who resisted the addition of a jukebox during the 1930s.

More Traps Used to Catch Black Bears

More traps are being used to catch and relocate black bears that destroy property or get into people's garbage, Maryland environmental officials say.

The Department of Natural Resources is increasing its live trapping efforts as bear sightings have increased, from the Garrett County mountains to the Baltimore and Washington suburbs.

Last week, the conservation group Safari Club International donated three live traps to the agency, bringing to nine the number of traps available for capturing nuisance bears, according to Steven Bittner, forest game project manager.

The traps, made from sections of corrugated metal culvert, are placed in areas where bear damage has been reported.

"Doughnuts, molasses and suet are often used" as bait, Bittner said. "The bears love doughnuts; they have a sweet tooth."

Builders Face Higher Fees in Pr. George's

Prince George's County Executive Wayne K. Curry (D) will allow legislation to become law that tightens loopholes in a year-old measure that had enabled some developers to escape paying fees to help build more classrooms.

The measure, designed to force more developers to pay thousands of dollars in fees if they want to build near crowded public schools, was approved last month by the County Council. In a statement to council Chairman M.H. Jim Estepp (D-Upper Marlboro), Curry said he would neither sign the law--because he does not believe "it is time to change the rules again"--nor veto it. Curry said he decided against a veto because he believes the legislation will be irrelevant once the county follows through on long-range plans to build 26 new schools.

Baltimore Families Sue Gun Industry

The Baltimore families of two boys who accidentally shot themselves have sued the gun industry, claiming the manufacturers were negligent in making unsafe weapons.

The suits are the latest in a series against gun manufacturers nationally, including several filed by cities seeking reimbursement for costs incurred as a result of gun violence.

Lawsuits filed Thursday seek $6 million for the family of 3-year-old Jordan Garris, who died June 6, and $1.25 million for the family of 8-year-old Nino Jacobs, who survived after his accident two years ago.

In each case, attorney Andrew Freeman contends the gun manufacturers negligently produced defective and unreasonably dangerous weapons which did not include devices to prevent their use by young children.


Tobacco May Aid Biotech, Scientist Says

A scientist told Virginia tobacco growers at their annual conference this week that some of them may be growing their crop for drug companies rather than cigarette companies if they can stay in business another decade.

The state's largest cash crop could be a star in the biotechnology revolution, in which plants and animals are used to produce human proteins for medicines, vaccines and a host of other products, plant physiologist Carole Cramer said at the conference in Abingdon.

Nearly 300 people attended the conference sponsored by U.S Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) for growers of burley tobacco. The turnout was the largest in the event's 16 years, with many farmers worried that national antismoking efforts could put them out of the occupation that generations of their family have held.

Boy, 9, Still Missing After Boat Capsized

Rescuers were searching yesterday for a 9-year-old boy missing after a 16-foot boat overturned in choppy water and sank in the Chesapeake Bay near a pier in Hampton during a fishing trip.

The boy's grandfather died and two other people were rescued after the boat capsized Thursday afternoon.

The Coast Guard, Virginia Marine Patrol, Navy and others searched more than 600 square miles for Michael C. Gelardos of Portsmouth.

The boy's grandfather, Gus Gelardos, 64, of Virginia Beach, was pulled from the water after about three hours. He died at Sentara Hampton General Hospital.

Plan in the Works to Aid Cedar Waxwings

State and federal officials are working on a plan to keep Virginia's songbirds safe after reports that many birds were found dead along state roads.

More than 400 cedar waxwings died along state highways in April. Cars apparently hit the migrating birds as they flew in to pick berries from state-planted shrubs in highway medians. Federal and state officials have agreed to monitor highways at spots across the state next spring and to act quickly. Officials said state workers might be allowed to dig up shrubs if dead birds were found again. The two sides will meet again in September to put the final touches on the monitoring plan and a plan for action in the event more birds die.


Police Investigate Row House Fire in NE

Police are investigating a row house fire in the 4100 block of Hunt Place NE yesterday that left a woman homeless. The afternoon fire, which consumed the first floor of the house, started during a 15-minute period in which the occupant was away from the house, according to a fire department spokesman.

Firefighters found heavy smoke when they arrived. They were able to contain the fire, and neither of the neighboring housing units was damaged. The fire company called for backup because the heat, humidity and conditions caused by the fire were exhausting to firefighters, said the spokesman.


"It seemed like every student I had totaled a car, especially the boys. But I never had a student who totaled a car when they were alone."

-- Jean Ciavolella, recalling her experience as a teacher. She imposes a strict ban on passengers for her teenage children who are new to driving.