Fairfax Rescue Team in Turkey
In its third overseas deployment in four months, the Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue Team flew to Turkey yesterday, responding to that country's second major earthquake since early August. The latest quake struck western Turkey on Friday, killing more than 360 people and leaving hundreds injured.
Sixty-seven members of the rescue unit, which saved four people trapped in rubble after the August quake, left from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware aboard a military cargo aircraft bearing 56,000 pounds of supplies and specialized equipment that included listening devices and concrete cutters.
After a 14-hour flight, plans called for the squad to be deployed to the town of Duzce, about 80 miles northwest of Ankara, where its cave-in experts and four canine teams will be accompanied by Fairfax firefighters, paramedics, structural engineers and civilian physicians. The U.S. Agency for International Development pays for foreign deployments of the unit, which also assisted in Taiwan after a deadly September earthquake there.
Council Member Says He Won't Run Again
Alexandria City Council Member Lonnie Rich (D) announced yesterday that he will not seek reelection in May, citing desires to commit more time to his wife and four children, as well as his law practice.
"I'm doing this now because I want to give others plenty of time to jump into the fray," Rich said at yesterday's City Council meeting.
Rich, 51, is finishing his ninth year on the six-member council, and is known as the group's maverick, both on policy and other matters. Just prior to Halloween, Rich arrived at a council meeting in full Winnie-the-Pooh regalia and remained that way for the entire two-hour meeting. In his more serious moments, he has pushed the council to put limits on the city's social service offerings and asked the state legislature to legalize gay marriage.
State Announces Closings for Holidays
Virginia state offices, including local courthouses and Department of Motor Vehicles branches, will be closed for several days around the Christmas and New Year's holidays, the governor's office announced Friday.
State offices will close at noon on Dec. 23 and reopen Dec. 27. For New Year's, the state government will be closed on Dec. 31 and on Jan. 3.
Escapees Accused of Vandalism
Two 13-year-old boys accused of vandalizing Busch Gardens theme park had escaped that night from a residential treatment program for adolescents and adults, police said.
Investigators say the boys walked nearly three miles to the amusement park in Williamsburg from the Woodside Hospital last Sunday. They are accused of breaking souvenirs and windows, emptying fire extinguishers, apparently trying to start a fire and spray-painting obscenities. Damage was initially estimated at $100,000, but park officials now believe it will be closer to $40,000.
Weather Delays Opening of Ice Rink
Because of lovely weather, the opening has been delayed for the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Skating Rink. The new rink on the Mall was to open Monday, but officials said the weather has just been too nice. Once true cold arrives, it will take 48 hours to prepare the ice. Officials said the rink may open Saturday, but only if nature obliges.
BGE Vows to Push for Relicensing
Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. will continue to seek a license renewal for its Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant despite an adverse federal appeals court ruling, a spokesman for the utility said yesterday.
On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had unfairly ignored opponents of the renewal as it reviewed BGE's application for relicensing.
"This does not change our commitment to renewing the license for Calvert Cliffs," said BGE spokesman Karl Neddenien. "The many reasons that were true two days ago remain true. . . . It's a reliable, economical and environmentally friendly source of electricity, and it just makes sense to continue using this valuable resource."
BGE's licenses for its twin reactors in Calvert County, about 60 miles from the White House, expire in 2014 and 2016. It is the first nuclear plant in the United States to seek a 20-year renewal.
Teen Shoots Himself to Death Accidentally
A Garrett County teenager died yesterday after he apparently shot himself in the head by accident while hunting.
The incident happened about 9:15 a.m. near Oakland, said John Surrick, spokesman for the Department of Natural Resources Police.
Three boys, ages 13, 16 and 17, were hunting in the woods on Hutton Road.
The 17-year-old apparently was fooling around with the rifle. The boy thought the safety was on, pointed the gun at his head and pulled the trigger, Surrick said.
The boy, identified as Derrick A. Dewitt of Oakland, was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was taken to the Medical Examiner's office for an autopsy.
Natural Resources Police were investigating the incident, including whom the weapon belonged to and whether the boys had hunter's licenses.
Police Identify Homicide Victim
Laurel police identified yesterday the man who was found dead in the living room of his family's home Friday as Ryan Odell Mance, 21, and said the victim's car has been reported missing as well.
Mance was found by his mother as she arrived home about 5:30 p.m. in the 14300 block of Chapel Cove Court. Initially, police said it appeared that he had a wound in the back of his head consistent with a beating. However, other reports suggested the wound might have been inflicted in another manner. The state medical examiner's office could not be immediately reached.
There was no sign of forced entry. The victim's missing car is a mauve-colored 1993 Geo Prism, with the Maryland license plate number GRR 507.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"I did, at times, think, 'Why am I doing this?' 'Why did I miss the summer? . . . Why do I live on a beautiful farm and not even have time to go outside?' "
-- Marcia de Garmo, a Loudoun activist who worked hard to get eight slow-growth county candidates elected this month.