Thursday, May 14, 2009

Winchester Star

Location: Winchester, Virginia

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Winchester Star (Newspaper) - May 14, 2009, Winchester, Virginia The Winchester Star Thursday, May 14, 2009 113th YEAR No. 266 SCOn MASON/The Winchester Star These are some of nearly 200 cats removed from a Frederick County mobile home in Forest Lake Estates Wednesday. The owner could face charges of animal cruelty. 192 cats removed from waste-filled trailer home By MONTY TAYLOE The Winchester Star STEPHENS CITY - Frederick County officials have found 192 live cats and seven dead ones in a mobile home. They said Wednesday that the home contains so much cat waste arid cat hair that it will probably be demolished. Linda L. McLaughlin, 58, owner of the cat-filled double-wide trailer in Forest Lake Estates, could face charges of animal cruelty and animal neglect, according to Sheriff's Office Major Robert Eckman. It's not clear how long she kept the cats in her home. Eckman said officers expected to find around 40 cats in the small home after receiving complaints about the conditions there. The truth was five times worse. He described the interior of the trailer as "horrendous" and said it was the worst such case he had ever seen. "I'm told the bathtub was filled to the brim with [soiled] cat litter and cat hair," Eckman said. "The ammonia smell was so strong, our officers could 99 I'm told the bathtub was filled to the brim with [soiled] cat litter and cat hair. The ammonia smell was so strong, our officers could hardly walk in there. - Major Robert Eckman Spokesman for the Frederick County Sheriff's Office hardly walk in there." Deputies notified Frederick County Public Works about the home Tuesday, and Eckman said it will almost certainly be condemned. "Every time you turned over a piece of furniture, 10 to 30 cats would come running out from under it," he said. Two officers were bitten by cats while removing them from the home and had to be treated for minor injuries. McLaughlin was not pre- See Cats, Page A6 WINCHESTER, VIRGINIA 22601 Area per capita income jumps 52% in decade By LORRAINE HALSTED The Winchester Star WINCHESTER- Residential and commercial growth during the housing boom brought a boost in personal income for the area, according to the latest figures released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The annual personal income per capita in the Winchester-Frederick County area jumped 52 percent over a 10-year period - to $34,417 in 2007, the most recent data available. Some local business officials say the rise in income came as new residents moved here from Northern Virginia in search of cheaper housing more than five years ago, when home prices were at record levels. Though they purchased homes in the area, most continued commuting to their higher-paying jobs in Northern Virginia. "You've got people in Northern Virginia who moved here, bringing Looking for some good news? The Star will identify one positive story each day as a "Bright Spot." that wealth with them," said Gene Schultz, manager of the Virginia Employment Commission office in Winchester. According to BEA data, per capita personal income for the Washington-Northern Virginia area was $54,971 in 2007, about 60 percent higher than Winchester. "When I worked in Loudoun County, Loudoun was what Fairfax County was 20 years ago," said Randy Collins, president and chief executive officer of the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber and head of the Loudoun chamber until 2006. "Now they're saying Frederick County and Winchester are what Loudoun County was 20 years ago." Clarke County, which borders Loudoun, also caught part of the wave of Northern Virginia commuters moving westward several years ago. As a result, Clarke's personal income rose 64 percent over 10 years - to $39,606 in 2007. See Income, Page A6 Will Brown resign in Middletown? By JASON KANE The Winchester Star MIDDLETOWN-It may not have a "Mayor of the Month Club," but the town seems to be jockeying for the title. The community's list of resignations will grow this month if Marshall J. "Mark" Brown goes through with his plan to resign in a couple of weeks. His successor would be Middle-town's fourth mayor in a year. Brown's impending resignation comes just five months after he stormed into the Town Office with a bigger-than-life personality and an even bigger plan to change the way local politics work. Instead, he became bogged down in them. Brown has been pushing an aggressive agenda to hire more employees, develop a long-range action plan, and boost infrastructure. At the same time, Town Council members said he was going too fast and-as a result - began throwing so much opposition his way that Brown began calling the entire panel "childish" and "disrespectful." "I just can't seem to rein them See Mayor, Page A6 Mayor Marshall "Mark" Brown Sales dip raises worries By MARTIN CRUTSINGER AP Economics Writer WASHINGTON-Retail sales fell in April for a second straight month, dashing hopes that consumer spending was starting to revive and would help end the recession. Economists said families who are worried about layoffs and unpaid job furloughs are saving more and spending less, delaying the start of a sustained recovery. The disappointing report helped send stocks down on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones industrial average slid 184 points - more than 2 percent. Other major indexes fell even more sharply. Retail sales fell 0.4 percent last month, worse than the flat performance many economists had expected, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Retail sales had posted gains in See Retail, Page A3 Craigslist drops 'erotic services' By DON BABWIN Associated Press Writer CHICAGO-Online classifieds site Craigslist said Wednesday it will drop its controversial "erotic services" category in response to law enforcers who said the ads were a front for prostitution. The old category will be re- placed with one listing "adult services," and a fee will be charged, the company said. Employees will monitor every posting before it appears online - a precaution the site has been criticized for refusing to take in the past. Pressure to remove the category increased this spring after a Boston medical student was See Craigslist, Page A6 TODAY'S QUICKREAD Test preparation on wheels When classes ended Wednesday, students at Charlotte DeHart Virginia Avenue .Elementary School got down to business. Full story B3 ON WINCHESTERSTAR.COM Would you like a copy of a local photo in today's paper or one from The Bloom? Visit our Web site and click on "Order Your Favorite Winchester Star Photos." Repaid bailout funds recycled After acing their "stress tests," some big banks are rushing to raise capital and return billions in federal bailout money. Full story C5 Judges preside The Handley High School boys' tennis team beats Millbrook to advance to today's Northwestern District championship. Full story CI Four Sections, 28 Pages .....B2 Local................ ..........Bl Business............. .......C5 Movies.............. ..........D2 Classified Ads..... .......D2 ..........AS Comics............... .......B7 ..........A2 Editorials............ .......A4 ..........CI .......01 Virginia............ ..........A3 TODAY'S FORECAST Mostly cloudy, with a 50 percent chance of rain. South y � winds at 15 to 20 mph. HIGH Full report A6 51 LOW Miss your paper? Call 665-4946 from 7 to 10 a.m. Se�u�on thoWtb: www.wlwhester8tar.corn 0608566000375