Week In Review

October 29, 2006

Fort Meade

Fire is blamed on air system

The six-alarm fire that ripped through a building at Fort Meade last week was caused by malfunctioning heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment on the fourth floor, Army officials said Thursday. The roof of Nathan Hale Hall, which is used by the 902nd Military Intelligence Group, a counterintelligence unit, was heavily damaged in the Oct. 20 fire. Officials don't know how the equipment malfunctioned.

Damage estimates are pending the outcome of a final investigation. Much of the building has been declared uninhabitable. Some workers have returned to the lower levels of the building, and others are working in other divisions.

Reconstruction could take four months to two years, said Jennifer Downing, a spokeswoman for the Army post.

Maryland section, Friday

Annapolis

Workers unearth 18th-century grave

A backhoe operator working near Annapolis Elementary School made a macabre discovery in the Colonial capital: a human skeleton in a small burial site that probably dates to the 18th century.

The construction crew was building a 120-foot-long retaining wall near the school on Green Street on Monday afternoon when the worker unearthed what appeared to be a human leg bone and other bone fragments. Police shut the site down and the medical examiner's office removed the remains, determining later that they were at least 50 years old.

Anne Arundel County archaeologist Al Luckenbach said they are a lot older than that. He examined the site and said the backhoe had opened a grave and revealed a skeleton, - part of which was under the sidewalk. At the end of the foot-deep trench was evidence of a second grave, which was undisturbed, he said.

"It appeared quite old and had some sort of brick lining. It may have been a brick vault," he said. "The grave had about a foot of 19th-century trash on top of it - bottles, pottery, dirt and soil - but there was no evidence of wood from the coffin."

Maryland section, Wednesday

Severna Park

Marine is killed in Iraq fighting

Lance Cpl. Eric W. Herzberg, a 2005 graduate of Severna Park High School, was killed in combat Saturday in Anbar province in Iraq, the Defense Department announced. He was 20.

A deeply religious Catholic who regularly attended St. Bernadette parish in Severn, Herzberg was an avid athlete, competing on a club rugby team in Severn and on Severna Park's junior varsity football and wrestling teams.

He enlisted right out of high school, graduated from boot camp a year ago and was deployed to Iraq in July. Herzberg was a machine gunner, assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force in Camp Lejeune, N.C.

A funeral is scheduled for tomorrow.

Maryland section, Wednesday

Anne Arundel

State gets complaint against delegate

Anne Arundel County prosecutors have referred a criminal complaint against state Del. Tony McConkey to the Maryland attorney general's office, noting a conflict of interest. The county prosecutor's wife is opposing McConkey in the Nov. 7 election.

The Anne Arundel County state's attorney's office initially received a complaint about McConkey from Teresa Milligan, 42, of Pasadena. She filed a civil lawsuit Monday against McConkey, accusing the Severna Park Republican of committing foreclosure rescue fraud and tricking her into signing her townhouse over to him. He is trying to evict Milligan and her family, and a hearing in that matter is scheduled for Thursday.

Once the state's attorney's office received Milligan's complaint, it referred it to the Anne Arundel County Police Department, which sent it back to the state's attorney's office Wednesday, said spokeswoman Kristin Riggin.

McConkey, who has represented central Anne Arundel County in the House of Delegates since 2003, is vying with three other candidates in a two-member legislative district. Among his opponents is Patricia Weathersbee, the wife of Anne Arundel State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee.

Maryland section, Thursday

West County

Small plane crashed after order to return

The pilot of a small plane that crashed shortly after takeoff had been ordered moments earlier to return to Tipton Airport because he was flying in restricted air space without clearance, according to a recording of conversations between the pilot and air traffic controllers.

"You are violating the ADIZ [Air Defense Identification Zone]," an unidentified air traffic controller told the pilot on Oct. 20. "You need to land at Tipton immediately, and I'll have them get you a number for air defense." The pilot is heard responding that he will comply and land immediately.

Shortly after that conversation, recorded at 3:42 p.m., the single-engine plane clipped the top of a tree and crashed in a clearing of a wooded area near the runway.

Killed were Daniel Lee Eberhardt, 57, of Downers Grove, Ill., who is presumed to have been at the plane's controls, and Bobbi Getz, 56, of Pittsburgh.

It wasn't clear what role, if any, the order to turn back played in the crash.

Maryland section, Tuesday

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