News of interest to Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties that appeared in the daily Post, July 4 to 10

Sunday | 4

Mikulski Foe Has Uphill Battle

State Sen. Edward J. Pipkin, who defeated a powerful incumbent on the Eastern Shore two years ago, is finding that being a Republican candidate in Maryland in 2004 could be more difficult than it was in 2002 when Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. led a GOP surge that sent him to the governor's mansion. This year Pipkin is in an uphill battle to topple another Democratic incumbent -- Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski -- whom pollsters and political observers often call the state's most popular politician.

Sunday | 4

Sex Offender Registries

National child safety experts say the case of Thomas Richard Koucky underscores a problem with sex offender registries. Koucky, 41, was arrested in Guatemala and returned to face charges in Arlington of molesting a 17-year-old. Despite being wanted in Florida, a 1993 Frederick County conviction and being charged last year in Charles County -- with all of the cases involving allegations of improper contact with children -- Koucky did not appear on any of the sex offender registries available to residents of Maryland, Virginia or the District. Some experts say as many as 30 percent of sex offenders never register at all, and up to 40 percent who do give a fake address.

Monday | 5

Keyless Entry Systems Jam

Charles County motorists whose vehicles have keyless entry systems are finding that they sometimes cannot open their cars or start the engines when they park in Waldorf. Clues in the mystery point to interference with the remote controls' radio signals. Similar disruptions have occurred in Washington state and Florida in recent years. Speculation in those states focused on military radio signals as the source of the problem. In Waldorf, the disabling signal may emanate from a tower on Old Washington Road used by a private communications company that occasionally transmits a signal related to unspecified "government" work.

Monday | 5

Boy, 3, Drowns in Patuxent

William Wallace Donaldson, the 3-year-old son of Darrell and Theresa Donaldson of Dunkirk, drowned in the Patuxent River after falling into the water from a boat docked at a pier at the end of Deep Landing Road.

Tuesday | 6

Woman Hurt During Police Chase

Rebecca Alice Edwards of St. Mary's County was injured when a stolen vehicle being pursued by police struck her van in St. Inigoes. She was flown from the accident scene to Prince George's Hospital Center for treatment.

Thursday | 8

Md. Sued Over Gay Marriage Ban

Nine gay couples sued the state of Maryland, contending that its ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and should be overturned. American Civil Liberties Union lawyers, representing the plaintiffs, said they want to make the Maryland lawsuit a test case in their effort to legalize same-sex marriage. "We fully expect this case will end in the Maryland Court of Appeals, and that is where this case will be decided," said Kenneth Y. Choe, a lawyer for the ACLU's Lesbian and Gay Rights Project. Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) characterized the lawsuit as part of the ACLU's "far-left agenda."

Thursday | 8

Arrest in Shopping Mall Shooting

Police arrested Steven N. Foster, 19, of Washington in connection with a shooting inside a car in the parking lot at St. Charles Towne Center shopping mall in Waldorf. Authorities said Foster and another District man argued before Foster shot him.

Friday | 9

Snakehead in Pomonkey Creek

A fishing guide caught a northern snakehead fish Thursday in Pomonkey Creek in Charles County. It was the 12th snakehead found in the Potomac River or its tributaries in the past two months.