Supreme Court Orders Stay of Execution

The Virginia Supreme Court has stayed the execution of Steve Edward Roach that was scheduled for Aug. 25. Roach claims prosecutors and a juvenile court judge violated state law by failing to notify both of his parents of a hearing.

Another death row inmate, Douglas Christopher Thomas, has raised the same issue in another appeal. The high court, which granted Roach's stay Friday, will hear arguments in the two cases the week of Sept. 13.

In June, the state Supreme Court upheld the reversal of a conviction of a youth whose father was not notified of a hearing when his case was transferred to Circuit Court. The justices suggested that any conviction that resulted after a transfer hearing in which both parents were not notified would have to be set aside.

Roach, 23, was sentenced to die for the robbery and murder of Mary Ann Hughes, 70, in Stanardsville in December 1993. He was 17 at the time of the crime.

Program Would Replenish Oyster Beds

A new program will use public and private money to build oyster reefs to help replenish oyster populations in Virginia waters, Secretary of Natural Resources John Paul Woodley Jr. has announced.

Decades of pollution, overfishing and disease have ravaged oyster populations, and scientists have struggled to find a way to reverse the decline. Since 1993, Virginia has built oyster reefs from piles of old shell and planted them with genetically altered oysters that can resist diseases.

During the program's first phase, which will cost $3 million, eight one-acre oyster reefs will be built on the Rappahannock River. Each reef will be up to 10 feet tall and will be surrounded by 25 acres of 10-inch-deep oyster shells. Reefs will be built elsewhere as more money becomes available, officials said.

Warner Pushes to See Dam Demolished

U.S. Sen. John W. Warner wants a 90-year-old Rappahannock River dam demolished as soon as possible.

Last week, the Virginia Republican added a provision to the Water Resources Development Act that will reduce the time it takes to study removal of the Embrey Dam.

Currently, the federal government has agreed to pick up half of the $7 million cost, with the remaining costs divided among the state and the localities. According to Warner's office, however, the federal government would pick up the entire tab under this new provision. The final version of the bill is expected to be voted on after Labor Day.

The dam was built to produce electricity. Environmentalists claim such dams have outlived their usefulness and are doing more harm than good by slowing the river's flow, altering water temperature and cutting off passage to migratory fish.


Senate Approves Adding Water to Canal

The U.S. Senate has approved legislation authorizing $15 million to rewater 1.1 miles of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal in Cumberland, the centerpiece of an $80 million downtown tourism and business development.

The proposal, contained in a broad water projects bill, needs only President Clinton's signature to become law.

The C&O Canal carried barge traffic between Cumberland and Washington from 1850 to 1924. The canal, with its adjacent towpath alongside the Potomac River, became a national historic park in 1971 and is now a 184.5-mile recreational route for hikers and bicyclists.

The Canal Place plans include rides on a replica canal boat on the rewatered section near a restored railroad station, shops and offices.

Gaithersburg Woman Killed in Crash

A 72-year-old woman died late Friday night after sustaining injuries in a two-car collision in Gaithersburg, police said.

Lasya Rikhi, of the 23700 block of Woodfield Road in Gaithersburg, was the front-seat passenger in a Toyota Camry driven by her husband, Btij Mohan Rikhi. About 5:15 p.m. Friday, the Toyota, traveling southbound on Mid County Highway, attempted to turn left onto Woodfield Road. Rikhi's vehicle collided in the intersection with a Ford Winstar van traveling north on Mid County Highway, police said.

Rikhi was taken to Suburban Hospital where she was pronounced dead about 10 p.m., police said. Her husband also was transported to Suburban Hospital, where he was listed in serious condition yesterday.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. Alcohol does not appear to be a factor, police said.


Chief Wants Nightclub to Lose License

The Diversite nightclub could lose its liquor license if D.C. police Chief Charles H. Ramsey has his way.

Ramsey has written a letter to the chairman of the city's Alcohol Beverage Control Board requesting revocation of the license of the club at 1526 14th St. NW. Ramsey noted that someone was shot to death in Diversite's parking lot in April 1998 and that one month earlier someone was beaten to death outside the club. More recently, he said, a patron complained he was assaulted outside the club, and another patron said her car was damaged.

A city law allows officials to revoke liquor licenses from establishments that present a clear danger to the community.

Police Seek Help in Locating Woman

D.C. police are seeking the public's help in finding a missing Washington woman.

Yolanda Yvette Baker, 35, of the 400 block of 44th Street NE, was last seen about 3 a.m. last Sunday. Baker is 5-feet-9 and weighs 160 pounds, police said. She has dark brown hair and a tattoo of a rose on her left ankle. In addition, police said, Baker's car, a black 1999 Toyota Corolla sedan with D.C. tags AK 6344, is missing.

Anyone with information about Baker's whereabouts may call 6th District detectives at 202-727-4515.


"I would love for you and everyone else to write [in a few weeks] 'Look at all the rain. The governor acted prematurely.' But I don't think that's going to happen."

-- Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening, in an interview about his decision to impose water restrictions.