Local Leads: MD Casino Dry-Run, Cigarette Sparked Fire - NBC4 Washington

Local Leads: MD Casino Dry-Run, Cigarette Sparked Fire

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    After a successful trial run Saturday, the state's first slots casino in decades could open days ahead of schedule, officials said.
    Nearly 1,400 invited guests ate, drank and pulled the levers on the 1,500 machines at the Hollywood Casino Perryville during the trial required by the Maryland State Lottery Agency to test the first of five slots parlors to open in the state.  The closed-door event amounted to a dress rehearsal for an industry that eventually is expected to generate thousands of jobs for Marylanders and contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to the state. Backers are betting the 34,000-square-foot casino will lure back Marylanders who have been gambling out of state while attracting travelers along Interstate 95.

    Improperly disposed cigarettes sparked the blaze that destroyed three houses and damaged five others in Manassas this week, officials said Saturday.  The fire started at 8355 Tillett Loop sometime Thursday afternoon, city Chief Fire Marshal Francis J. Teevan said at a news conference.  A man who lived in that house   had smoked a cigarette in his backyard sometime between noon and 1 p.m. and extinguished it in a large ceramic planter filled with top soil and mulch, Teevan said.  Teevan said the man, who was not identified, regularly disposed of his cigarettes in that way.

    Representatives of the Torpedo Factory voiced frustration Saturday with what they see as a commercial takeover of the art center.
    In June the Alexandria City Council resolved to establish a board to oversee the management of the art center, a major cultural hub for the city. Tourism and other commerce-oriented representatives would outnumber the artists on the board 2 to 1, according to the Marian Van Landingham, the Torpedo Factory’s founder.  “To our surprise … we found the composition of this board was going to be heavily stacked against artists,” Van Landingham told the mayor and city council at Saturday’s public hearing.  Torpedo Factory members — mostly artists — have managed the center since its inception more than 30 years ago. But recently, the city brought in a consultant to study the center as a tourist attraction and possibly enhance the center’s marketability.   The city-subsidized art center provides $16.2 million in revenue annually and receives more than 400,000 visitors a year, the report stated.

    Albert Haynesworth said Saturday his $100 million contract doesn't make him a slave to the Washington Redskins.  In an interview with 106.7 The Fan, the two-time All-Pro defensive tackle said the big paychecks don't mean he can't push back when the team asks him to play a different position.  Haynesworth, who rarely speaks to the media, was upset this year when the Redskins switched to a 3-4 defense and told him he would be playing nose tackle.  Haynesworth protested by staying away from the team's offseason conditioning program and practices. He also skipped a mandatory minicamp and was unable to pass the team's conditioning test until the 10th day of training camp -- all despite receiving a $21 million bonus on April 1.