Secret Rail Plan Is Provided to Judge
The Justice Department changed course yesterday and turned over a copy of a highly secret plan to secure the D.C. rail corridor to a judge who demanded Wednesday to see it.
A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on the government's reason for changing its position after a hearing Wednesday afternoon, when its attorney told the judge that the government probably would defy an order to provide the plan. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said he needed to review the plan to verify its existence and determine how to proceed in overseeing a lawsuit over a D.C. government prohibition of hazardous shipments on rail lines through the city.
Sullivan said he was offended by the government's resistance, and he ordered that a copy be delivered to him by 10 a.m. yesterday. The Justice Department complied, and the judge scheduled a new hearing in the case for Tuesday.
Whitman-Walker Renews Director Search
Nearly a year after its executive director stepped down, the Whitman-Walker Clinic is resuming its search for a permanent replacement -- one of three key positions vacant during one of the most troubled periods in the clinic's history.
The search was suspended in the spring when severe cash-flow problems and budget difficulties forced the organization, the region's largest provider of services to people with HIV and AIDS, to lay off staff and cut programs. The board agreed to end the clinic's work in the Maryland suburbs, a measure that will take effect Sept. 30 and compel several hundred men and women to receive care elsewhere or through the clinic's District locations.
Along with the top job, the positions of development director and chief financial officer are vacant.
Girl's Drowning Is Ruled Accidental
The District medical examiner's office has ruled the death of a 7-year-old girl from Upper Marlboro found in a Silver Spring swimming pool Saturday an accidental drowning.
Michelle Lockley took her daughter Mia to a Silver Spring residence owned by two physicians for whom Lockley occasionally does clerical work, police said.
One of the residents of the house, in the 300 block of Springbrook Drive, found the girl in the deep end of the pool. At the time, Michelle Lockley was working inside the house. An adult, who was not identified by police, was outside next to the pool but had lost sight of Mia, investigators said.
The girl was taken to a hospital in the District. She died Tuesday morning, police said.
Brenda Lockley, the child's paternal grandmother, described Mia's mother as a responsible parent who does not leave her children unsupervised.
State Ends Bid to Expand Power Dredging
A state proposal to expand power dredging of oysters in the Chesapeake Bay has been scuttled because of opposition from environmental groups and some scientists.
Instead, the state Department of Natural Resources will ask for permission to study whether power dredging hurts the oyster population and other species, as some scientists have warned since the expansion was proposed in August.
"While we support our proposal -- it was based on best professional judgment and scientific expertise . . . it's clear that there was mixed opinion in the remainder of the scientific arena," said Assistant Secretary Michael Slattery.
Killer's Inurnment at Arlington Reviewed
Two months after a convicted murderer's remains were deposited at Arlington National Cemetery, the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs held hearings yesterday to review the rules on admission to the cemetery.
The ashes of Russell Wayne Wagner, 52, were placed at Arlington two years after he was convicted of the stabbing death of an elderly Hagerstown, Md., couple. Wagner, an Army veteran, was serving two consecutive life sentences but was eligible for parole. That eligibility also made him eligible for inurnment in national cemeteries.
Committee Chairman Larry E. Craig (R-Idaho), Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) and Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) testified in favor of changing that rule, and Craig said he supports having Wagner's remains removed.
Some veterans oppose tightening the rules, arguing that honorably discharged service members should not be penalized in burials for crimes committed after their service.
At the hearing, Vernon Davis, the son of the victims and a veteran, choked up as he described how his parents were stabbed on Valentine's Day 1994.
GOP, Insurer Argue Eavesdropping Case
Attorneys for the Republican Party of Virginia told a federal judge in Richmond yesterday that the party's insurer breached its contract by not reimbursing the party for a settlement it paid to Democrats for eavesdropping on two conference calls in 2002.
The lawsuit, filed July 18 against Union Insurance Co. of Nebraska, seeks $950,000, which includes $200,000 in attorneys' fees and other expenses.
Attorneys for Union Insurance said they told the judge that the insurer is not responsible for the damages because they were incurred during the commission of a crime. In December, Republicans settled the lawsuit with Democrats; the party's former executive director and chairman pleaded guilty two years ago to involvement in the case.
Union's attorneys also said the party has not suffered any monetary damages from the settlement because senior party members, including GOP gubernatorial candidate Jerry W. Kilgore, paid it through contributions to the party.
Six Workers Injured in Train Collision
A CSX freight train hauling 60 cars of rock collided with a train consisting of 31 cars early yesterday east of Emporia, in rural southeast Virginia, injuring six rail workers.
Gary Sease, a CSX spokesman, said the trains collided about 3:30 a.m. on a rail line used to deliver rock from a quarry near Emporia to Portsmouth. He said injuries "range from serious to minor."
The cause of the collision, which derailed 16 cars, is under investigation.
"It's small and it's quiet here in Johnson County, but more and more people are becoming part of the group that doesn't agree with this war."
-- Patrice Cuddy of Olathe, Kan., who will load about 45 people onto a bus today for the 20-hour ride to the antiwar demonstration in Washington -- B1
Compiled from reports by staff writers Tara Bahrampour, Chris L. Jenkins, Susan Kinzie, Carol D. Leonnig, Susan Levine and Ernesto Londono and the Associated Press.