Plans for Fairfax Budget Surplus
Tax Cuts, After-School Program Expanded
Fairfax County supervisors broadened a tax reduction program for the elderly and disabled, expanded an after-school program and bolstered the county's rainy-day fund as part of a series of decisions on how to spend a $46.6 million budget surplus.
Unexpectedly high revenue from business and real estate transaction taxes accounted for the bulk of the additional money, county budget officials said.
Salvadoran Consulate in Pr. William
Office to Serve Growing Immigrant Community
El Salvador is opening a consulate in Woodbridge, a sign of the large numbers of Salvadorans who have migrated to Prince William County and other outer suburbs.
The consulate in El Salvador's embassy in the District overflows each day with an average of 200 people, said General Consul Ana Margarita Chavez, who heads the office. A satellite consulate in Woodbridge -- the first Salvadoran consulate to open in the suburbs -- will ease that crush on the D.C. office and better meet the needs of the soaring Salvadoran population in the suburbs, she said.
Often-Married Man Avoids Bigamy Trial
Sixth Marriage May Have Been Invalid
Charles Edward "Ed" Hicks was able to avoid trial on bigamy charges in Fairfax County through a twist in state law.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Katie Swart said that while probing Virginia's legal landscape surrounding bigamy, she realized that Hicks's latest marriage -- his seventh -- to Fairfax resident Sandra Goldin Hicks in 2003 -- the nuptials upon which the case rests -- might not qualify as bigamy because his prior marriage might not have been valid. Prosecutors dropped the case, for the time being.
Swart said she hopes that will be clarified with a ruling on Sandra Hicks's civil suit against Ed Hicks, which is set to be heard in November. Depending on the outcome, Swart said, Ed Hicks could be charged again.
Haymarket Police Officer Disarmed
Sergeant Accused of Threatening His Family
Sgt. Gregory Breeden of the Haymarket police in Prince William County temporarily lost his right to carry a weapon when his estranged wife accused him of trying to break down their kitchen door and making threats against the family.
The incident is the latest controversy to hit Breeden and the nine-officer department in the past two months. This summer, the Haymarket Town Council suspended the popular sergeant and Chief James E. Roop without pay but has not explained why, saying the actions were a confidential personnel matter. Breeden got his gun back Friday after a court denied his wife's request for an order to keep him away from the family.
Across the Region
Anthrax Probe Faltering; a Voice for Metro Riders
* Four years after the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks, one of the most exhaustive investigations in FBI history has yielded no arrests and is showing signs of growing cold as officials have sharply reduced the number of agents on the case. But FBI officials said investigators are still working diligently to find whoever was responsible for the anthrax-bacteria-laced mailings, which killed five people, sickened 17 others and led to the temporary shutdown of the House, Senate and Supreme Court buildings and numerous postal facilities.
* Metro board members voted to create a riders advisory council. If approved by the full board of directors Thursday, the 21-member council could begin offering riders' perspectives on Metro's policies, services and budget decisions by early next year.
* The number of Hurricane Katrina survivors in the Washington region has swelled to more than 4,000 through a steady flow of displaced people, according to American Red Cross and local officials.