MONTGOMERY COUNTY — $16,000 in rewards set in slaying
Cash rewards totaling $16,000 are being offered for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the gunman who killed a Bethesda woman and stole her car.
Dr. Shahin Hashtroudi was shot about 8 p.m. Feb. 24 in the parking lot of a medical complex at 5413 W. Cedar Lane, Bethesda. Dr. Hashtroudi, 45, a psychology professor at George Washington University, was pronounced dead at Suburban Hospital.
After shooting Dr. Hashtroudi, the gunman took her purse, wallet, checkbook and briefcase and escaped in her 1987 Toyota Camry. Police are searching for the car -- a white four-door sedan with Maryland tags YLM 317.
A reward of $15,000 is being offered by ICF International, the Northern Virginia firm that employs the victim's husband. Montgomery County Crime Solvers is offering a reward of $1,000.
Anyone with information about the shooting can call Montgomery County Crime Solvers at 1-800-673-2777.
Bennett seeks panel to decide job retention
Fred Warren Bennett, the federal public defender for Maryland, is asking judges of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to appoint an independent committee to recommend whether he should keep his job.
The judges last month decided not to reappoint Mr. Bennett to a fourth four-year term, a decision the public defender believes is based on a memo he wrote last year that criticized the federal judicial system in the Maryland district.
His lawyer, Daniel F. Goldstein, said the appointment of an independent committee would lead to a "merit-based decision" on whether Mr. Bennett should be retained. Otherwise, he said, it gives the appearance that the decision was influenced by judges in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.
Mr. Goldstein said he sent a letter to judges on Feb. 24 asking for the independent committee.
Samuel W. Phillips, executive of the 4th Circuit, said yesterday that he sent copies of Mr. Goldstein's letter to Court of Appeals judges Friday, but that he did not know whether they would reconsider their decision. He noted that the Judicial Conference of the United States, a panel created by Congress, suggests that federal courts use independent panels when considering reappointments.
David A. Sellers, a spokesman for the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, an arm of the Judicial Conference, said federal judges are not required to follow the guidelines on reappointing public defenders, but said, "We put out the guidelines, so obviously we think they have merit."
APARTMENT OF AGING
Baltimore County to honor volunteers
The 5,000 volunteers who help run Baltimore County's Department of Aging will be honored at the 14th annual Volunteer Luncheon on Friday at Martin's West, but it may be the last such affair.
Philip H. Pushkin, director of the Department of Aging, said this year's luncheon will be held despite the budget crunch because it was arranged a year ago. But there probably won't be an affair next year because the county can't afford the $15,000 cost when it's facing budget shortfalls of nearly $50 million, he said.
The $15,000 covers the cost of food, about $13 per person for the 1,200 people expected, Dr. Pushkin said. The hall is provided free by Martin's West.
Dr. Pushkin said the luncheon was the least the county could do to recognize the effort that many people, mostly seniors themselves, put into running the 28 senior centers and working for other charitable causes.
He cited people like Emma Kepp of Dundalk, who volunteered 2,040 hours last year, most of it to help to operate the ATEAZE Senior Center in her home community. Others, like Virginia Gallik, also of Dundalk, split their time between the center and other causes, including day-care programs for children and distribution of surplus food.
Volunteers outnumber paid staff in the Department of Aging by 13-to-1. Dr. Pushkin said that at minimum wage, the volunteers' time is worth nearly $2.6 million.
Letter carriers collect 620,000 pounds of food
The count is in: Postal Service letter carriers collected nearly 620,000 pounds of food for the needy during last month's "Harvest for the Hungry" campaign, and post offices throughout Maryland and most of Delaware still are taking donations.
The campaign Feb. 10-14, when letter carriers collected canned food and other non-perishable goods at the same time they delivered the mail, far exceeded expectations, said Patricia M. Liberto, an equal opportunity investigator for the Postal Service who chairs the "Harvest for the Hungry" campaign for the Baltimore area's Federal Executive Board.
Organizers had expected about 225,000 pounds of food, she said. The goods were distributed to food banks throughout the two states.
Postal customers praised the idea of using letter carriers to collect food while on their normal rounds. "The feedback has been overwhelming," Ms. Liberto said.