An item in yesterday's Metro In Brief column incorrectly reported the age of the new chairman of the Prince George's County Board of Education. James E. Henderson is 56. (Published 12/08/1999)
U-Va. Files Flurry of Motions in Baby Case
Lawyers for the University of Virginia Medical Center argued more than a dozen legal points before a Stafford County judge yesterday, hoping to dismantle Paula Johnson's $31 million lawsuit filed after her baby was switched with another at the state hospital four years ago.
Circuit Court Judge James W. Haley Jr. declined to rule on the state's motions, saying he wanted to consider the requests. But if the state's lawyers succeed on the many motions they made, it would severely limit the amount of money Johnson could claim in damages, lawyers for both sides said.
In addition to alleging simple medical malpractice on the part of the hospital's staff, Johnson's attorneys have filed a federal civil rights claim against the hospital saying that she was denied her civil right to raise her own child. She also has claimed that the hospital fraudulently tried to cover up its mistakes.
The state's attorneys withdrew a motion to move the case back to Charlottesville, virtually guaranteeing that the case will be tried in Stafford, where Johnson lives. Haley told lawyers that may mean the case will not be tried until at least October because of a busy docket at Stafford County Circuit Court.
Greenway to Get Third Eastbound Lane
The owners of the Dulles Greenway announced plans yesterday to add a third eastbound lane on a five-mile stretch of the privately built toll road to handle increasing traffic in eastern Loudoun County.
Construction on the $8.5 million expansion--which will extend from the main toll plaza near Dulles International Airport to Route 772 in Ashburn--is expected to begin in late spring, according to Greenway spokesman Mark Manlove.
Manlove said the road's owners plan eventually to add another lane in each direction for about 10 miles and decided to start with the eastbound section because of the high volume of morning rush-hour traffic heading toward Fairfax County.
The 14.5-mile Greenway, built in 1995, runs between Dulles and Leesburg.
Arlington Republican Eyes Moran's Seat
Mike Lane, the sole Republican on the Arlington County Board, who narrowly lost a reelection bid last month, said he is "actively testing the waters" and may run against Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D).
Lane cited polling that he says shows that Moran is vulnerable in the 8th Congressional District, which includes Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church and part of Fairfax County. Moran, who has represented the traditionally Democratic district since 1990, won in 1998 with 67 percent of the vote.
Interim Fire Chief Starts Safety Overhaul
Interim Fire Chief Thomas Tippett has begun implementing safety recommendations made after the death of D.C. firefighter John M. Carter in 1997.
Since Sunday, paramedics have been riding with firefighters at Engine Company 22, in the 5600 block of Georgia Avenue NW, and Company 16, in 1000 block of 13th Street NW, as part of a 90-day pilot program to improve response time and safety for firefighters, Tippet said yesterday. Previously, paramedics arrived at a fire scene separately from firefighters.
Starting today, the city's 1,200 firefighters will be equipped with a tracking device attached to their masks.
Tippet was named last week to replace Donald Edwards, who retired after growing criticism about his management ability. Edwards had been chief since 1997.
Veterans Plan Pearl Harbor Observance
Area veterans of World War II will mark the 58th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns this morning at Arlington National Cemetery.
Members of a local chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivor Association will join representatives of the veterans' group AMVETS at the 11 a.m. ceremony, which is open to the public. Afterward they will gather at a nearby rememberance tree to reflect on the Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941, which drew the United States into World War II.
Pearl Harbor survivors and other veterans are also expected to attend a memorial service sponsored by the Fleet Reserve Association tonight at the main chapel at Naval Medical Command in Bethesda. The 8 p.m. service is open to the public.
Arundel, Howard Councils Elect Officers
Governing bodies in Anne Arundel and Howard counties elected officers last night for the coming year.
In Anne Arundel, the County Council reelected Daniel E. Klosterman Jr. as chairman, ending a divisive, behind-the-scenes skirmish over the largely ceremonial post. The Glen Burnie Democrat beat out the council's vice chairman, Pamela G. Beidle (D-Linthicum Heights), on a 4 to 2 vote for the top post.
Beidle argued that the seven-member panel's five Democrats had agreed last year to rotate the position at the end of each year. "I was naive enough to take that commitment as a promise," she said.
In Howard, the County Council elected second-term member Mary C. Lorsung (D-West Columbia) as chairman, replacing C. Vernon Gray (D-East Columbia). Freshman Democrat Guy Guzzone, who represents Southeast Howard County, was elected vice chairman.
New Chief for Pr. George's School Board
James E. Henderson, a 27-year-old Air Force veteran who works as a financial planner, was elected chairman of the Prince George's County Board of Education last night.
Henderson (Seabrook) has been a board member for one year and has pushed the school system to create new ways of preparing budgets and lobbied for larger raises for teachers. He succeeds Alvin Thornton (Suitland), who resigned last night to take over a state commission studying ways to equitably allocate state resources. Angela Como (Laurel), a two-year board member, was elected vice chairman, succeeding Doyle Niemann (Mount Rainier), who will remain on the board.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"We want the convicted felons to know that if they carry a firearm, they will go to jail and they will stay in jail. We've been able to identify those people with long records so they can be taken off the streets."
-- Maryland U.S. Attorney Lynne A. Battaglia, announcing a stepped-up effort in the suburbs to impose stiffer sentences on convicted felons who are caught carrying guns.