Serial Arsonist Gets Life Plus 136 Years
Attorney Compares Him to Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde
Serial arsonist Thomas A. Sweatt was given a life prison term -- plus nearly 136 years -- for setting 45 houses and apartments on fire across the Washington region. Two of the fires, in Northeast Washington, killed elderly women, and many other people were injured while fleeing the early-morning blazes.
Sweatt, 50, of Southeast Washington, apologized at his sentencing in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt. His attorney likened him to a literary creation: the peaceful Dr. Jekyll and the murderous Mr. Hyde.
Stock of Affordable D.C. Homes Plunges
Costs for Two-Parent Household Increase 27%
The real estate frenzy in Washington is putting the squeeze on a lot of people. The number of affordable houses and apartments in the city plummeted by nearly 12,000 last year, according to a draft report issued by the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute.
A two-parent household with an infant and a preschooler needs $60,339 to cover basic costs in the District, 27 percent more than was necessary in 1999, according to a study done for Wider Opportunities for Women, a D.C.-based organization that promotes economic independence. The study cited rising costs for housing, health care and child care.
Hurricane Katrina also is having an effect. The D.C. Housing Authority has made plans to move about two dozen survivors from New Orleans into public or subsidized housing, putting them ahead of thousands of waiting D.C. residents.
Five Now Vying to Succeed Williams
Lobbyist Brown Joins Cropp, Fenty, Orange, Johns
The field is now up to five in the D.C. mayor's race. Lobbyist Michael A. Brown is the latest to jump in, and he says the city has spent too much time getting "hot new restaurants," "big, pretty condos" and a new baseball stadium, and not enough on public education and vital neighborhood services.
Brown, the son of the late Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown, has plenty of Democratic rivals: D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp, council member Adrian M. Fenty (Ward 4), council member Vincent B. Orange Sr. (Ward 5) and former telecommunications executive Marie C. Johns.
3 Face Charges From '02 Mayoral Race
Trio Accused Over Petition Drive for Williams
Three people who worked for the campaign of Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) face misdemeanor charges stemming from a scandal over nominating petitions submitted before the 2002 Democratic primary.
They allegedly failed to witness the signing of the petitions, as required by D.C. law, and to ensure that the signatures were from registered voters.
The petition irregularities led the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics to take Williams off the Democratic primary ballot in 2002, but he ran as a write-in and easily won reelection.
Federal Funds for Shopping Mall Barred
Earlier Mismanagement by District Cited
Mistakes from the past are creating problems for the D.C. government's plans to buy land for an upscale shopping center east of the Anacostia River.
Federal officials have told the city that it cannot use $47 million in federal funds for the project, citing sanctions levied against the District eight years ago after it repeatedly mismanaged development grants.
The city says it hasn't given up its bid to use federal money to buy 18 acres to redevelop Skyland Shopping Center, but it also has stepped up the search for private financing.
Monarchs, Their Admirers Take Flight
Migration Tracked by Activists' Ultralight
Look, up in the sky -- millions of monarch butterflies will be coming through the Washington area in the next few weeks, part of a journey taking them from Canada and the northern United States to a warm winter in California and Mexico.
The World Wildlife Fund, which is taking part in an effort to track the migration, made its own stop in Washington with an ultralight plane that is painted just like the butterflies.