11th Hour IC News April 15th, 2008

(News graphic & background designed by Nysie)









NORTHWEST -- Kaitlynn Tabison, owner of Hotel Veranda in Baltimore, had bought a location to expand her chain to Washington DC. This location will soon lie right outside of Chinatown, and across from the Washington Convention Center at 999 9th St NW.
From small beginnings in 2001, Hotel Veranda became quickly known in Baltimore for its comfortable atmosphere, friendly staff and affordable prices.

In 2005, ownership passed from the original owner and founder, Darien Elias, to Ms. Tabison. When reached for comment, Ms. Tabison had this to say, "We're sure that residents in the DC metro area and those traveling to it will enjoy our luxurious rooms at reasonable prices and see why we are the #1 Hotel in Baltimore."

Renovations are expected to begin some time next month.


Area Tap Water Has Traces of Medicines - Tests Find 6 Drugs, Caffeine


The Washington area's drinking water contains trace amounts of six commonly used drugs that typically turn up in wastewater and cannot be filtered out by most treatment systems.

The pharmaceuticals -- an anti-seizure medication, two anti-inflammatory drugs, two kinds of antibiotics and a common disinfectant -- were found in very small concentrations in the water supply that serves more than 1 million people in the District, Arlington County, Falls Church and parts of Fairfax County. But scientists say the health effects of long-term exposure to such drugs are not known.
Pharmaceuticals, along with trace amounts of caffeine, were found in the drinking water supplies of 24 of 28 U.S. metropolitan areas tested. The findings were revealed as part of the first federal research on pharmaceuticals in water supplies, and those results are detailed in an investigative report by the Associated Press set to be published today.
In addition to caffeine, the drugs found in water treated by the Washington Aqueduct include the well-known pain medications ibuprofen and naproxen, commonly found in Aleve. But there were also some lesser-known drugs: carbamazepine, an anti-convulsive to reduce epileptic seizures and a mood stabilizer for treating bipolar disorders; sulfamethoxazole, an antibiotic that can be used for humans and animals in treating urinary tract and other infections; and monensin, an antibiotic typically given to cattle. In addition, the study uncovered traces of triclocarban, a disinfectant used in antibacterial soaps.
That the drugs were found so commonly nationwide highlights an emerging water dilemma that the public rarely considers. The drugs we use for ourselves and animals are being flushed directly into wastewater, which then becomes a drinking water source downstream. However, most wastewater and drinking water treatment systems, including Washington's, are incapable of removing those drugs.
And although the chemicals pose no immediate health threat in the water, the health effects of drinking these drug compounds over a long period is largely unstudied. Some scientists said there is probably little human health risk; others fear chronic exposure could alter immune responses or interfere with adolescents' developing hormone systems.



Customers Find All Skin, No Meat At New Vegan Strip Club


NORTHEAST -- You won't find any meat at a new spot in the U Street corridor, but you will find plenty of flesh. Club Physique claims to be the world's first vegan strip club - there's no meat, eggs, or dairy on the menu.  Club owner and manager, Daniel Christiansen, had this to say: "I'm not a vegetarian, but animal cruelty is rampant in today's society, and the best way to combat that is to change the way people think about our animal friends."

While it may not be the most orthodox way to expose people to thinking about humane treatment of animals, Daniel says "If we can save even a few animals from pain and suffering, it's worth it." 

He hopes that people will bring some green and eat some green at his new club, which features both male and female dancers, on separate stages.  "It's vixens, not veal, and sizzle, not steak.  We put the meat on the pole, not on the plate."

Club Physique is now hiring, and soon to open on the U Street corridor near fetish club Bound.







Local Psychologist and Musician Caught in Sex Scandal at Dark Asgard Nightclub


SOUTHEAST -- Noted Criminal psychologist Dr. Moira Reynolds, and local drummer Azazel Sevren were both arrested at Dark Asgard nightclub and charged with oral sodomy and public indecency, following an incident in which they were caught in a sexual act in one of the booths by the dance floor.

Several witnesses say that Reynolds was allegedly under the table of the booth, performing a lewd act upon Sevren, and that bouncers had to break it up. Several onlookers were taking photographs by cell phone.

The nightclub was closed for the remainder of the evening, as the incident is in violation of D. C. Health Codes.

A hearing is pending.

Sevren and Reynolds were both released on bail. Reynolds has been placed on a leave of absence from work pending the outcome of the hearing and/or any resultant trial, and ordered to submit to impartial mental health evaluation.

DCPD will not comment on the particulars of the case at this time.



P. G. County Playing Catch-Up in Dealing With Gangs

By Rosalind S. Helderman and Nelson Hernandez, Washington Star-News Staff Writers
Prince George's needs to refocus its gang-prevention efforts, increase resources spent on the problem, restructure the police department's gang unit and expand the county's attention beyond Latino-controlled gangs, a new report on the issue concludes.

County Council member William A. Campos (D-Hyattsville) compiled the report and submitted it last month to County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D). Campos concluded the gang problem has "either increased or stayed the same . . . but it has certainly not gotten better" since 2004, when he served on a gang prevention task force with Montgomery County officials. "It has become a countywide concern dealing with all gangs and races, even though the perception and attention is that the Latin gangs are the only ones that are causing problems in specific areas," he wrote.
In an interview, Campos said he is concerned that increased gang-prevention efforts in neighboring jurisdictions could have the effect of pushing gang members into Prince George's, unless the county steps up its efforts quickly. "It's not like we're that far behind," he said. But, the county needs to restructure its efforts "so we're not left behind once the other jurisdictions crack down, the way they're doing now."
As part of his report, Campos studied how other police departments and governments are attempting to combat gangs within their borders. He praised an effort in the District that he said concentrates gang intelligence analysis with one core group of officers, allowing investigators to return quickly to the field to gather new clues.
In Montgomery, Campos wrote, each of the county's six police district stations has a community services officer and a gang coordinator, who work on the problem with a separate seven-person gang unit. The county has at least 13 officers devoted specifically to the problem, he said.
By contrast, Prince George's has eight officers, a number increased recently from five. "Five was not nearly enough," Campos said.
He said he hopes to get feedback on his recommendations from the executive's office soon and plans to raise the issue in hearings on the county's budget.





















Centralia, Pennsylvania: Real Life "Silent Hill"


PHILADELPHIA, PA -- If you were driving north on route 61 in the heart of the Anthracite coal region in Pennsylvania, you may have come across a detour of 61 at the top of a hill in a community called Ashland. Thinking nothing of it you would have followed the detour signs that took you around some possible road construction or a bridge being worked on. You're then reconnected with Rt. 61 again.
Many have followed this path in recent years with little knowledge of the on going story of this little detour and the town that no longer is really a town. If you had disregarded the detour signs and make the right that 61 north takes through Ashland your first clue that something isn't right would be the abrupt end to route 61 as it once was.

Centralia, Pennsylvania (40°48'12" North, 76°20'30" West), a town in the heart of Anthracite Country, famous for its devastating coal mine fire that eventually forced its resident to abandon the town. The fire started when, in anticipation of Memorial Day, firefighters attempted to reduce trash odors located near a cemetery by lighting the town garbage dump on fire and later extinguishing it with fire hoses. However, on May 27, 1962, the fire found its way through a hole into the labyrinth of the abandoned coalmines.

It has burned ever since.
Firefighters battled the fire for the next two decades by flushing the mines with water, excavating the burning material, backfilling, and drilling again and again in an attempt to extinguish the fire or at least contain it. They succeeded in keeping the majority of the fire in areas of the mine outside the city until 1979 when it broke through an underground barrier, built years earlier, and moved under the town. The combustion released dangerous gases into residences, and caused widespread subsidence that damaged homes, buildings and roadways.

By early 1981, the fire was sending harmful gases into homes, forcing the federal government to install gas alarms. A 12-year-old boy dropped into a steaming hole in the ground wrenched open by the fire's heat on Valentine's Day as the region's congressman toured nearby.
In 1983, after multiple drillings, the collapse of parts of the town, and approximately $40 million had been spent in an effort to extinguish the fire, the federal government decided that any further attempts at putting out the fire would be too large of an expense and would destroy the majority of the town, allowing the fire to burn. Congress allocated $42 million to aid any residents that sought to relocate. Studies done that year found that the fire could burn for another century and spread over 3,700 acres, and would cost $663 million to extinguish.
In 1993, the Commonwealth’s Centralia Task Force, with authorization from the United States Office of Surface Mining, invoked condemnation procedures to acquire the remaining properties and relocate any remaining residents. This action was taken due to sudden and severe subsidence and the continued release of toxic gases, particularly carbon monoxide.

In 2002 the US Postal Service revoked the town's zip code, 17927. The population today stands at about 20, down from more than 1,100 in the 1980s.

Several major routes and minor roads run right through Centralia PA. Rt 54, Rt 61 and Rt 42 all pass through the town and are open to traffic. Hundreds if not thousands pass this way daily. So entering Centralia is legal and it is not closed off to the public. A stretch of Rt. 61 is closed permanently due to the fire below that has cause the roadway to collapse and open a several hundred foot long crack down the highway.



Pregnant man tells talk show host: It's a miracle

By Michael Conlon (Editing by Peter Bohan and David Storey)
CHICAGO (Reuters) -
A transgender man who is six months pregnant said in an interview aired by Oprah Winfrey on Thursday that he always wanted to have a child and considers it a miracle.
"It's not a male or female desire to have a child. It's a human desire," a thinly bearded Thomas Beatie said. "I have a very stable male identity," he added, saying that pregnancy neither defines him nor makes him feel feminine.
Beatie, 34, who lives in Oregon, was born a woman but decided to become a man 10 years ago. Originally Tracy Lagondino, he began taking testosterone treatments and had breast surgery to remove glands and flatten his chest. "I opted not to do anything with my reproductive organs because I wanted to have a child one day," he told the talk show host. Beatie's wife Nancy said she inseminated him with a syringe using sperm purchased from a bank. Now, he said, his size 32 jeans are getting a bit tight and his shirts are a bit stretched. He is currently 24 weeks pregnant.
Nancy, to whom he has been married for five years and who has two grown daughters by a previous marriage, also appeared on the show, saying the couple's roles will not change once the baby is born. "He's going to be the father and I'm going to be the mother," she said. Their marriage is legal and he is recognized under state law as a man.
The couple was shown on video provided by People Magazine, which collaborated with Winfrey on the show, showing the room that will be the baby's nursery. Beatie said the little girl was going to be "daddy's little princess."
The couple was also filmed in their hometown of Bend, Oregon, where he underwent an ultrasound showing the baby in his womb. "I can't believe it. I can't believe she's inside me," Beatie said while watching the ultrasound image. "We see her as our little miracle."
His obstetrician, Dr. Kimberly James, who practices in the Oregon town, told Winfrey, "This is a normal pregnancy." She said Beatie stopped taking testosterone two years ago and his levels of the hormone are normal. "This baby is totally healthy," she said. "This is what I consider a normal pregnancy."
The couple said they had been turned down by a number of other doctors before James agreed to take him as a patient. The couple said an earlier attempt at pregnancy failed when he developed a tubal pregnancy, resulting in surgery that removed his Fallopian tubes.
The couple said they decided to go public with the pregnancy because they wanted to control the way the news got out. "We're just going to have the baby now," Nancy said. "If we have to, we'll go hide."
The couple runs a small business in Bend and has some savings, she said. In addition, Beatie is working on a book about his childhood, his mother's suicide and his life growing in Hawaii where, as a girl, he was a teen beauty pageant contestant and earned a martial arts black belt.
Winfrey called the development "a new definition of what diversity means for everybody."







Cemetery full, mayor tells locals not to die


BORDEAUX, France (Reuters) - The mayor of a village in southwest France has threatened residents with severe punishment if they die, because there is no room left in the overcrowded cemetery to bury them.
In an ordinance posted in the council offices, Mayor Gerard Lalanne told the 260 residents of the village of Sarpourenx that "all persons not having a plot in the cemetery and wishing to be buried in Sarpourenx are forbidden from dying
in the parish."
It added: "Offenders will be severely punished."
The mayor said he was forced to take drastic action after an administrative court in the nearby town of Pau ruled in January that the acquisition of adjoining private land to extend the cemetery would not be justified.
Lalanne, who celebrated his 70th birthday on Wednesday and is standing for election to a seventh term in this month's local elections, said he was sorry that there had not been a positive outcome to the dilemma.
"It may be a laughing matter for some, but not for me," he said.


Lesbian vampire jailed for sex killing


PERTH, AUSTRALIA -- A lesbian member of a blood-drinking vampire cult and her lover have been sentenced to life in prison for the sexually-motivated murder of their housemate.
Jessica Stasinowsky, 21, and Valerie Parashumti, 19, pleaded guilty to bludgeoning 16-year-old Stacey Mitchell to death with a concrete block in 2006 because she was "annoying", the Australian Associated Press reported.
Judge Peter Blaxell said the murder, in Perth, Western Australia, was "sexually perverse" and "evil", after the court was told the two lesbian lovers became aroused as they battered the teenage girl and then kissed while standing over her body as she lay dying.
"You have each had more than a year in custody to reflect upon the evilness of your crime, yet you still lack remorse and obviously place no value on the sanctity of human life," Mr Blaxell said in handing down the life sentences.
"There is also the added problem that you each enjoy being sexually aroused by the infliction of violence," he said. When Stacey moved into a house the lovers were sharing, Stasinowsky immediately hated her because she thought the teenager was flirting with her lover, the court heard.
Parashumti felt the need to prove that Stacey meant nothing to her, so she and Stasinowsky decided to kill her.

On the day of the murder, the trio drank whiskey in the kitchen and Stacey took tablets which made her drowsy. Parashumti crept up behind Stacey and started hitting her on the head with a concrete slab, while Stasinowsky took off a dog chain belt and began to strangle her.
Stacey took at least 45 minutes to die, but Stasinowsky later told a prison officer she wished it had lasted longer. "Even more appalling are your admissions to the effect that at the time of the murder you were each sexually excited by the violence of the event," said Judge Blaxell.
The killers made a mobile phone video of the murder scene, laughing and mocking their victim, and then dumped her body upside down in a garbage bin in a back shed. A psychologist found Parashumti, who drank blood as part of a vampire subculture, had very strong sexual sadistic tendencies and was sexually aroused by physical torture and violence, a condition that Psychologists often refer to as Renfield's syndrome, traditionally known as clinical vampirism.



Vatican lists "new sins," including pollution


VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Thou shall not pollute the Earth. Thou shall beware genetic manipulation. Modern times bring with them modern sins. So the Vatican has told the faithful that they should be aware of "new" sins such as causing environmental blight.
The guidance came at the weekend when Archbishop Gianfranco Girotti, the Vatican's number two man in the sometimes murky area of sins and penance, spoke of modern evils.
Asked what he believed were today's "new sins," he told the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano that the greatest danger zone for the modern soul was the largely uncharted world of bioethics.
"(Within bioethics) there are areas where we absolutely must denounce some violations of the fundamental rights of human nature through experiments and genetic manipulation whose outcome is difficult to predict and control," he said.
The Vatican opposes stem cell research that involves destruction of embryos and has warned against the prospect of human cloning.
Girotti, in an interview headlined "New Forms of Social Sin," also listed "ecological" offences as modern evils.
In recent months, Pope Benedict has made several strong appeals for the protection of the environment, saying issues such as climate change had become gravely important for the entire human race.










Entertainment and Gossip

From regular columnist

Kitty Whittier 





Spring has sprung, the grass has riz, I wonder where the gossip is? Welcome back, my flowery petals.


Kitty has to put on her serious face for a moment here.

Two things, so listen up.

One, we are giving a moment of respect to one of the last of the Old School Hollywood larger-than-lifes, Charleton Heston. They don't make 'em like Chuck anymore.

And two. People, seriously, please, what is with the hate mail for Loki's fiancée, Felicity? We have heard terrible, naughty, nasty stories about some of the goings on since their Halloween engagement was announced, and now enough is enough. We make great sport of Loki's antics in my column, including his fiancée. Yes, yes, I have called her Barista and Barrister Barbie, but I assure you we are all on good terms and Kitty does not approve of your hateful attacks. I denounce you. No, really. Knock it off. It borders on stalking.


With that out of the way, back to more sporting endeavors.


We're giving Loki a break this time, in exchange for an upcoming exclusive interview. More to come!


And speaking of more to come... What on earth has come over noted psychologist Moira Reynolds? (We know WHO...)


Speaking of tawdry celebs, Lindsay Lohan and Calum Best have quite the sex tape scandal going. It was only a matter of time until Lindsay released one of these. I have been counting down the days…. Okay not really, but I knew it was coming. There is an image that has been leaked of a girl that has the exact appearance of Lindsay Lohan. The girl in the still image is giving fellatio  to the man, who can't be clearly seen. Apparently, Calum has been trying to sell this sex tape which by the looks of it was shot on the shoddiest camera phone on the market. Images were sent to his friends who then sent it to other friends, who sent it to even more people and now has made its way onto the internet.

Donald Trump is trying to ignore the fact that he had a 17 year old girl working for him at his party. Now, its not a big deal to have someone thats 17 work for you but when they are topless and drinking, then you have a major problem. Channell Elaine Hallet was working at the Trump Vodka Super Bowl Party at the end of January. Donald Trump has called the woman in question, Chanell Elaine Hallett, a publicity whore. He also claims the 17 year old crashed his party.


My job here is done for now. I must go wash my hands. Buh-bye!