County news in the daily Washington Post, June 23-June 30


Baggage Handlers Charged

Three baggage handlers at Baltimore-Washington International Airport were charged with stealing items over the course of a year from the luggage of soldiers en route to Afghanistan and Iraq.

The three men who have been charged worked as baggage handlers for Signature Flight Support, a Florida-based company that contracts with the Air Force's Air Mobility Command, said Kristin Riggins, a spokeswoman for the Anne Arundel County state's attorney's office. Shaka Watson, 22, of Baltimore was charged with one count of felony theft in connection with a crime in September. Michael Harlee, 22, of Baltimore was charged with five counts of felony theft in connection with items stolen between November 2003 and late last year. Derek Murray of Glen Burnie was charged with one count of felony theft.


Naval Academy Prayer Defended

The head of the U.S. Naval Academy defended the school's practice of conducting prayers at the lunch meal attended by all 4,000 midshipmen despite protests from the Anti-Defamation League.

Vice Adm. Rodney P. Rempt told the academy's Board of Visitors that the prayers, which change daily to represent a variety of religions, help promote religious tolerance and teach the future officers to be sensitive to the diverse spiritual needs of the enlisted men and women they will lead. The Anti-Defamation League sent a letter saying the daily prayer violates the constitutional separation of church and state.


Sailors Compete Wednesdays

Annapolis's sailing set makes its way to the Annapolis Yacht Club most Wednesday evenings in summer to engage in no-holds-barred contests. Over the last 50 years, the event has changed from a nearly rules-free seafaring social affair into a well-recognized series of races that attract about 1,000 sailors from all over the Chesapeake Bay area.

Every Wednesday evening during the summer, sailors race their boats on the Chesapeake Bay. The races, organized by the Annapolis Yacht Club, attract about 1,000 sailors.