Box Left on Train Disrupts Metro
A box left on an Orange Line train touched off a scare that closed the Smithsonian Metro station for 13 minutes and shut down sections of the Orange and Blue lines for 42 minutes during yesterday's morning rush.
A passenger reported a suspicious package on the first car of a six-car Orange Line train at the Smithsonian Station at 7:53 a.m., according to officials. Metro officials ordered passengers off the train, which was headed to New Carrollton, and stopped all rail traffic coming into or leaving the station while police investigated, Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said.
The train was moved from the main track to a pocket track -- a short track between main tracks -- east of the Stadium-Armory Station, and the Transit Police bomb squad was called, Farbstein said. Traffic around the train was halted at 8:47 a.m., shutting down the Orange Line between Eastern Market and Cheverly and the Blue Line between Eastern Market and Addison Road-Seat Pleasant. Shuttle buses ran between the affected stations.
Police determined that the box was not a threat, and subway service resumed at 9:29 a.m. A rider later contacted Metro and reported leaving a box with a computer part on the train, Farbstein said.
Lawmakers Defend Clout of Security Job
Members of the Washington area's congressional delegation wrote yesterday to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to express opposition to his proposal to downgrade the position of national capital region coordinator.
Under Chertoff's proposed reorganization, the coordinator, who now reports directly to the secretary, would report to an undersecretary for policy. The letter was signed by Reps. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) , Albert R. Wynn (D-Md.), Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.).
More Montgomery Deer Hunts
Montgomery County officials announced yesterday that they will permit managed deer hunts in more county parks to try to curb the deer population.
On certain days in November, December and January, shotgun hunts will be allowed in Dry Seneca Stream Valley Park in the Poolesville area; parts of Great Seneca Stream Valley Park and North Germantown Greenway Park, both in the Germantown area; and Muddy Branch Stream Valley Park and Serpentine Barrens Conservation Park, both in the Darnestown area.
Sharpshooters also will be brought in to curb the deer population in Wheaton Regional Park. A complete listing of the dates and types of hunts permitted at county parks can be found at http://www.mc-mncppc.org/environment/deer/index.shtm.
Howard Gets a New Turning Lane
A new turning lane opened yesterday outside Ellicott City at Routes 40 and 29 to improve traffic flow through one of Howard County's most congested intersections.
Last spring, the Maryland State Highway Administration began a $650,000 project to widen the ramp from westbound Route 40 to southbound Route 29, which had one left-turn lane. Charles Gischlar, spokesman for the State Highway Administration, said cars weaving across lanes to travel south on Route 29 contributed to accidents and backups during peak drive times. More than 53,000 vehicles travel through the intersection daily.
Bank Endows U-Md. Scholarships
The University of Maryland at College Park will create an endowment for scholarships for business students and internships for student leaders, thanks to a $2 million gift from Chevy Chase Bank.
The scholarships will be available this fall and will be targeted to transfers from Montgomery College, many of whom will face financial hurdles switching to a four-year school.
Human Remains Found in Vacant House
A man who bought a vacant rowhouse in Northwest Washington in a city tax sale discovered human skeletal remains in a bathtub yesterday afternoon while examining the property for the first time, D.C. police said.
Sgt. Robert Parker of the police violent crimes branch said that there was no apparent sign of foul play at the rowhouse, in the 500 block of Florida Avenue NW, but that the matter was being investigated as a suspicious death. He said it was unclear whether the body was a man's or woman's or how long it had been there.
Police blocked off part of the street during the investigation and questioned neighbors.
No Injuries Reported in School Bus Fire
A bus carrying students from a private school in the District caught fire yesterday in Northwest Washington, but no injuries were reported, authorities said.
The vehicle, carrying students from the Field School, was near Nebraska Avenue and Van Ness Street about 5:30 p.m. when fire broke out in the engine compartment, according to the school and D.C. fire officials. The fire was extinguished before it could reach the passenger compartment, and students and the driver got out safely, fire department spokesman Alan Etter said. The school enrolls students in grades seven through 12. The number of people on board the bus was not clear last night.
No Bail in Porn Case for Behl Friend
A Richmond man referred to by police as a "person of interest" in the disappearance of Virginia Commonwealth University student Taylor Marie Behl was arraigned yesterday on child pornography charges. Ben Fawley, 38, was arraigned on 16 counts and ordered held without bond.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Mike Jagels said that at least 30 videos found on Fawley's computers depicted children as young as a year old in sexual acts. He said that neither Behl nor Fawley appear in any of the videos. Fawley has not been charged in Behl's disappearance, but his attorney has said Fawley is one of the last people to see her before she disappeared Sept. 5.
"We talk about gangs and drugs and guns, and they are all threats. But the biggest threat that we have is our own complacency. Just when something can't happen here, it does.''
-- Kenneth Trump, president of National School Safety Services, commenting on the killing of a 15-year-old girl after a Montgomery County high school football game Friday night. -- B1
Compiled from reports by staff writers Susan Kinzie, Lyndsey Layton, Allan Lengel, Martin Weil and Susan DeFord and the Associated Press.