Local Leads: 6/6/2009 - NBC4 Washington

Local Leads: 6/6/2009

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    The following stories have been hand-selected by the Assignment Desk at News4:


    A former State Department official with top-secret security clearance and his wife have been charged with spying for Cuba over the past three decades, passing information by shortwave radio and correspondence exchanged in local grocery stores, federal prosecutors said.  State Department officials said last night they were still assessing the potential damage to the government's security and intelligence operations and declined to comment further.   Within hours of the couple's appearance yesterday at U.S. District Court in the District, a novel-worthy tale began to emerge from court documents and law enforcement sources, depicting an elderly couple of famed lineage, living in a Northwest Washington neighborhood and traveling abroad under code names, motivated by ideology to pass information to Cuban agents.   The couple, Walter Kendall Myers, 72, and his wife, Gwendolyn Steingraber Myers, 71, were charged with conspiring to act as illegal agents and to communicate classified information to the Cuban government. They pleaded not guilty and were ordered held in jail pending further court proceedings.   Myers is the scion of one of Washington's most storied families. His mother, Elsie Alexandra Carol Grosvenor Myers, was the granddaughter of Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone.

     It's "A Gathering of the Greatest Generation" - though this year only a small group of that era's aging heroes will commemorate the invasion of France at Normandy 65 years ago.  On Saturday afternoon, veterans will attend a National World War II Museum ceremony in New Orleans recognizing soldiers, sailors and airmen who made that invasion a turning point for Allied forces. However, organizers acknowledge few members of an already dwindling population are hardy enough to make the trip.  "We won't have a veteran from each state, unfortunately," said William Detweiler, who is in charge of the event. "They're all in their 80s and 90s now, and getting around is just too hard for many of them."  The Department of Veterans Affairs says about 2.6 million World War II veterans are still alive, but more than 300,000 are expected to die this year. California has the most with 555,974, Alaska the fewest with 5,903.  While their mobility may be declining, many have still-fresh memories of the events surrounding the June 6, 1944, invasion of France by American, British and Commonwealth troops - known to history as D-Day. The term was often used by the military to designate the start of invasions during the war. But the massive scale and historic importance of Normandy made D-Day a lasting symbol.

    A new biking and walking trail spanning the Woodrow Wilson Bridge is opening Saturday morning.  Transportation chiefs from Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia are set to join local officials and biking enthusiasts for the first ride over the bridge at 10 a.m. The trail opens to the public at 1 p.m.  The trail is part of the $2.5 billion reconstruction of the Capital Beltway bridge aimed at relieving a major bottleneck.

    A man has been charged with killing his wife Friday night after police said he had told them earlier that night that a carjacker had killed her.  Ryan Holness told Maryland State Police homicide investigators that he and his wife were carjacked in New Jersey and that the carjacker killed his wife along a rural Kent County road early Friday morning.  Holness, 28, of the 48000 block of Spinnaker Court in Lexington Park, was charged with first-degree murder and second-degree murder. He has been processed at the Centreville Barracks and will be taken before a court commissioner in Kent County later Friday night for a bond hearing.  Holness is charged with the murder of his wife, Serika Dunkley Holness, 26.  The body of Serika Holness was found by police lying in a field along Route 290, four miles north of Route 301, in Crumpton, at about 6 a.m.
    (WBAL TV)

    The three Democrats seeking their party’s nomination in the Virginia governor’s race readied their final pitches to undecided voters with just days left before an uncertain, low-turnout primary Tuesday.  State Sen. Creigh Deeds capitalized on the perception of a “Deeds surge” that has vaulted the once-counted-out moderate from Bath County back into the running.  Former Del. Brian Moran continued to shell his archenemy, Terry McAuliffe, while McAuliffe stayed relentlessly on message and prepared to muster his sizable advantage in cash and staffing.  Deeds, especially, is pushing the message that he’s the strongest candidate to challenge Republican nominee Robert McDonnell, who bested him in the 2005 Virginia attorney general race by the closest margin in statewide electoral history. That paper-thin margin, Deeds supporters say, is evidence that — given the leftward trend of the commonwealth’s electorate — a rematch would favor the Democrat.