Our network

Ex-Officer Gets 2.5 Years In Bank Break-In

Greenbelt, Md. (AP)- A former Prince George's County police officer has been sentenced to 21/2 years in prison for orchestrating a bank break-in.

A federal judge sentenced 42-year-old Eddie Smith Jr. of Fort Washington on Monday and ordered him to pay more than $10,000 in restitution. Smith pleaded guilty in July to breaking into a Temple Hills SunTrust bank last year.

According to his plea agreement, Smith drove 54-year-old Earl Blake of Capitol Heights to the bank in his cruiser, then gave him tools and instructions on how to cut open an ATM safe. Firefighters responded to the bank after receiving an alarm and saw Blake inside. Blake fled and Smith ran around the bank as though he were pursuing him, but then fled himself.

Blake was sentenced to five months in prison.

Prince George's County Bus Strike Ends After 5 Weeks

Upper Marlboro, MD (AP)- Bus drivers in Prince George's County have ended a five-week bus strike and are returning to work.

Tommy Ratliff, president of the union that represents drivers and mechanics, said union members approved a three-year contract with the bus operator Veolia Transportation on Monday. Ratliff says the union sought better job security and health insurance, higher wages and changes to a disciplinary policy.

The new contract includes a $1-an-hour pay increase, an additional holiday and continued pension contributions and health care options.

Valerie Michael, a spokeswoman for Veolia, says employees will start returning to work on Tuesday.

Veolia had run limited service for weeks. The company employs 136 full-time and 26 part-time workers in the county.

Laurel Historical Society Book Club

Exploring history and culture related topics, meeting Wed., Oct. 20, 7 p.m., Mango's Grill, 600 Washington Blvd., for good food and conversation. Book, "Love in the Time of Cholera" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. 301-725-7975, director@laurelhistoricalsociety.org.

The Halt to Foreclosures will have an impact to DC area homeowners

Recently, there has been a halt to foreclosures on homes where the mortgages have fallen into default. The onus has been put on the lenders to prove that they have the right to foreclose. Judges have started dismissing foreclosure actions against homeowners as it has become clear that the banks do not have clear title or standing to foreclose.

What this means to struggling homeowners is that they now have an opportunity to challenge banks that may not have been helpful in the loan modification process. Very few homes have been successfully modified under the HAMP program and the blame for this is being laid right at the banks front door. From the entire modification process being characterized as unhelpful to downright deceptive, this moratorium on foreclosing will give homeowners a chance to negotiate favorable terms with their lenders.

Man Files $1.5 Million Lawsuit Against Prince George's County Police

UPPER MARLBORO, MD. (AP) — A former Prince George's County police academy cadet has filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking $1.5 million after he says he was dismissed for being outspoken about alleged cheating at the academy.

Attorneys for Steven LaPier filed the lawsuit Thursday. According to the lawsuit, LaPier was dismissed after a medical board declared him unfit for duty. Before being dismissed he had complained that instructors gave test answers to the cadet class. The lawsuit says the police department tried to "silence" LaPier as "retaliation for voicing his complaints."

The instructor denies wrongdoing, but an investigation is ongoing. A county spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Bargain Sales in Laurel

Indoor yard sale -- Fundraiser for the Laurel 4th of July Committee, Sat., Oct. 16, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Phelps Center, 8th and Montgomery streets. Tables are $15 each or two for $25. Refreshments available for purchase. Virginia, 301-317-8936 or Judy, 301-604-8149 for tables and information.

9NEWS NOW, Washington Post Bring You Maryland Gubernatorial Debate LIVE Thursday At Noon

WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- A heated debate on Maryland's jobs, education system and, of course, the economy is expected for the debate between Governor Martin O'Malley and Former Governor Robert Ehrlich, today at The Washington Post building.

Ehrlich started off the fireworks Monday by accusing O'Malley, who he referred to as "gov" throughout the debate, of lying about how much money he had saved as governor in the past four years.

O'Malley struck back, by saying that Ehrlich raised taxes throughout his tenure at the state's executive.

Another hot topic for the two candidates in their last meeting Monday morning was education.