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Winchester Star (Newspaper) - March 19, 2008, Winchester, Virginia Wednesday, March 19, 2008 112th YEAR No. 219 WINCHESTER, VIRGINIA 22601 Frederick water bills could rise on July 1 Winchester rate hike might affect county By ROBERT IGOE The Winchester Star STEPHENS CITY - A proposed increase in a major supplier's water rates is having a domino effect that could lead to higher water bills in Frederick County. At its regular meeting on Tuesday, the county Sanitation Authority approved a resolution setting a public hearing - at 6 p.m. on June 17 in the authority's offices on Tasker Road - to discuss a proposed 7 percent water rate increase in the county. The authority is proposing a two-phase increase that will bring the rate from $2.68 per each 1,000 gallons of water to $3.03 per 1,000 gallons - starting on July 1 - and another increase to $3.21 per 1,000 gallons on Jan. 1. The authority blames the increase on a similar rate hike by Winchester, which is proposing a 33 percent increase for its water customers. The county purchases about half of the water it distributes - which averaged 5.35 million gallons per day in February - from Winchester. The authority expects to purchase 2.5 million gallons per day from the city in the upcoming fiscal year, which begins on July 1. The city's rate change would mean an estimated payment increase of $574,875 over the regular $2.55-per-l,000-gallons purchase price. The county has an agreement to buy up to 4 million gallons of water per day from the city. See Water, Page A8 JEFF TAVLOR/The Winchester Star Rebecca Snodgrass receives a high-five from her father Ron after winning the Regional Spelling Bee at Daniel Morgan Middle School in Winchester on Tuesday night. M-A-R-A T-H-O-N Rebecca Snodgrass is the winner of the longest Regional Spelling Bee in history By TERESA DUNHAM The Winchester Star WINCHESTER - A typical spelling bee doesn't include a restroom break or time for a contestant to lie down on his chair and close his eyes. But the 31st annual Regional Spelling Bee on Tuesday night was anything but typical. The event, sponsored by The Winchester Star, lasted nearly three hours - and most of that time was devoted to the final two spellers, Rebecca Snodgrass and William Levi. MORE PHOTOS I B3 After an intense spelling bout between the two - including words such as "tergiversate" and "gnosis," Rebecca ultimately prevailed. The 11-year-old home-schooled student from Winchester won by spelling "hebetude." The word means "dullness" - but the competition at the Bee certainly wasn't Pronouncer Gene Babb was busy, calling out 266 words, including 174 to the finalists. Last year, he used 154 words for the entire Bee, in what judges considered a lengthy event. In the longest Regional Spelling Bee on record, Rebecca attempted 90 words, and Levi tried 84. Last year's Bee winner, Rachel Stocker, won after spelling just 10 words. "It was very, very tiring," Rebecca said after her victory. She was among 27 competitors in grades four through eight from across the northern Shenandoah Valley who competed at Daniel See Bee, Page A8 Parents file $10 million lawsuit in soccer-goal death of boy, 10 By ERICA M. BUSH . The Winchester Star WINCHESTER - The parents of a Frederick County boy who died when an unanchored soccer goal toppled onto him have filed a $10 million, wrongful-death complaint, accusing nine defendants of negligence. The lawsuit, filed on Monday in Prince William County Circuit Court, accuses Howard Shockey & Sons Inc. of Winchester, the Winchester-based Blue Ridge Youth Soccer Association, and seven others of "negligence, breach of warranty, and product liability" in the May 7 death of 10-year-old Hayden Barnes Ellias. Hayden, a Bass-Hoover Elementary School student and the son of Mary and Greg Ellias, died during a "soccer scrimmage at Millbrook High School. A statement from the Frederick County Sheriff's Office in May indicated that a moveable goal post fell on top of Hayden during the scrimmage, but did not say why it fell. The fourth-grader died from blunt-force trauma to his head and neck. Hayden was playing as goalkeeper in a Winchester United U10 scrimmage against the Winchester United girls team when the incident occurred. According to court documents, Winchester United operates "under the control and/or supervision of the Blue Ridge Youth Soccer Association, Inc. and/or Old Dominion Soccer League, Inc." Both organizations are accused in the wrongful-death complaint of "failing to adequately hire, See Lawsuit, Page A8 RICK FOSTER/The Winchester Star Mary and Greg Ellias display a portrait of their late son Hayden in June 2007. Evidentiary hearings for 500-kilovolt power line end By DREW HOUFF The Winchester Star WINCHESTER - The matter is now in the hands of Alexander E Skirpan Jr., a hearing examiner for the Virginia State Corporation Commission. He concluded the evidentiary hearings concerning a proposed 500-kilovolt transmission line between the Meadow Brook substation in Frederick County and another one in Loudoun County on Tuesday morning. Forty-eight witnesses appeared to testify and answer questions in cross-examination during the hearings, which started on Feb. 25. Andy Farmer, the Virginia SCC's education resources manager, said in a telephone interview on Tuesday that Skirpan instructed those who had participated to file closing briefs within 40 days after they receive transcripts of the testimony made during the hearings. Since that may take a couple of weeks, closing arguments likely will not be filed for another six or seven weeks, Farmer said. He said Skirpan then will consider the testimony, filings, and related work, along with comments from a series of public hearings in 2007, to help form his recommendation for the proposed power line. The report will be given to the full SCC. "He has got the entire case to review," Farmer said. "With as complex as this case is, it is very hard to see it will be done quickly. This will take time." The proposed 40-mile 500-kilovolt power line is a joint project of Dominion Virginia Power and Allegheny Energy's Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line Co. See Line, Page A8 Major rate cut passed by Fed Stocks soar after 0.75% reduction By MARTIN CRUTSINGER AP Economics Writer WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve reduced a key' interest rate by three-quarters of a point on Tuesday, capping its most aggressive two months of action in a quarter-century during the battle to halt a spreading credit crisis. Wall Street registered approval, bursting to its biggest gain in five years. The strong Fed action seemed to convince investors, at least for now, that the central bank will do whatever it can to keep the country out of a steep recession. The Dow Jones industrial average finished the day. up 420.41 points at 12,392.66. (For a story, see PageDl.) The latest Fed move brought the federal funds rate - the interest that banks charge each other - down to 2.25 percent, the lowest since late 2004. That's important far beyond bank boardrooms. The reduction triggered announcements from commercial banks that they were cutting their prime lending rate to 5.25 percent from 6 percent. This rate is the benchmark for millions of business and consumer loans. The Fed action was designed to lower borrowing costs and boost spending See Economy, Page A8 Americans must address racial biases, Obama says By PAUL WEST c 2008 The Baltimore Sun WASHINGTON - Trying to quell a controversy that threatens his presidential chances, Barack Obama delivered a sweeping address on Tuesday that bluntly challenged Americans to move beyond "the racial stalemate that we've been stuck in for years." He repeated his criticism of racially DECISION charged remarks by his former pas- wmnraiiiimBiiiiiiiii tor that, he ac- ZUUo knowledged, have raised questions about his candidacy. But Obama also used the issue as a springboard for remarks that touched on the nation's legacy of racial division and long-simmering animosities that, he said, have hindered social progress. Before an invited audience in downtown Philadelphia, near the site where the Declaration of Independence was signed, Obama spoke sympathetically about the way that affirmative action has stoked racial resentment among whites. But he also called on whites to recognize the burdens that blacks still face, almost a century and a half after slavery was outlawed. See Obama, Page A2 TODAY'S QUICKREAD -% Tax break for the GW The George Washington Hotel in Winchester has been approved for a new incentive program that makes it eligible to receive a 100 percent refund of business taxes paid to the city for five years. Full story Bl 'We share' The Quota Club of Winchester uses its motto for a new cookbook. Full story C7 Arthur C. Clarke's odyssey has ended The famed science fiction writer died early today at his home in Sri Lanka. Full story B3 COMING THURSDAY Charity comes in all forms. With that in mind, students at James Wood High School will participate in a hair-cutting event today. Why they chose to pursue such a unique fundraising method will be revealed. 2 Four Sections, 28 Pages Bulletin Board. Business.......... Classified Ads............D2 Movies Comics.,.!..................B5 Nation B2 Food..........................C7 Dl Local.........................Bl ..............B6 ..............A5 Dear Abby..................C8 Sports........................CI Editorials...................A4 Virginia......................A3 TODAY'S FORECAST 68 HIGH Cloudy, with a 70 percent chance of showers and scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon. Full report A8 43 LOW Miss your paper? Call 665-4946 from 7 to 11 a.m. See us on the Web: wvw.wlncheeterstar.com 0608566000375
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