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ANNAPOLIS -- Leslie Vass, who sought more...


ANNAPOLIS -- Leslie Vass, who sought more than a million dollars from the state for its failure to cleanse his legal record of a conviction for a crime he didn't commit, has accepted a $50,000 settlement.

Vass, now 41, was 17 years old when he was arrested, charged and convicted of robbery with a deadly weapon in 1974. After 10 years in prison, he was pardoned by Gov. Harry R. Hughes when the witness who identified him said he had made a mistake.

A circuit judge ordered that the conviction be expunged from his record. But Vass said that his record was not cleared and that he was repeatedly unable to find employment because of his record.

State leaders name panel to study transportation

Gov. Parris N. Glendening and legislative leaders appointed a 19-member task force yesterday to study the state's transportation funding needs.

The panel, which could recommend an increase in Maryland's gasoline tax, is scheduled to forward its recommendations to lawmakers for possible action during the General Assembly's annual 90-day legislative session beginning next month.

The commission includes eight legislators and will be led by William K. Hellmann, a former state transportation secretary who is a partner in a Baltimore engineering firm, and John P. Davey, a Prince George's County lawyer.

Richkus named secretary of state General Services


ANNAPOLIS -- Filling the last open seat in his second-term Cabinet, Gov. Parris N. Glendening named Baltimore businesswoman Peta N. Richkus yesterday to be secretary of the Department of General Services.

Richkus, 51, is vice president of sales and marketing for Buchart-Horn Inc., a York, Pa.-based engineering firm.

The Baltimore-based general services department oversees many state facilities and contracts. Richkus replaces Eugene R. Lynch, who will be one of Glendening's deputy chiefs of staff in Annapolis.

State board postpones graduation tests for year


BALTIMORE -- The Class of 2004 is off the hook.

The Maryland State Board of Education voted late Tuesday to delay the official beginning of new high school graduation tests by one year, meaning students graduating in 2004 -- this year's seventh-graders -- will be taking the tests only for practice while the classes after them will be required to pass the tests to graduate.

State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick asked the board to postpone the official testing to allow more time for trial runs and for collecting better data on which to base cut-off scores. The first tests will be given in English, American government, math and biology.

FREDERICK -- Two sheriff's deputies will not be prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice for using pepper spray, a nightstick and a police dog to subdue a diabetic man in insulin shock whom they mistook for a drunken driver.

Frederick T. Moore IV, 33, of Centreville, Va., was bitten by the dog and beaten when he ignored deputies' instructions to get out of his pickup truck during a traffic stop June 12. Afterward, officers noticed a tag on Moore identifying his medical condition.

His lawyer, Peter Davis, expressed disappointment Tuesday but said Moore intends to file a claim seeking damages. This is the second time this month that the Justice Department declined prosecuting the Frederick sheriff's department; federal prosecutors also decided not to pursue charges against a deputy who arrested and shackled a schoolteacher for driving too slowly 12 hours before Moore's arrest.


ANNAPOLIS -- Marylanders are invited to sip hot cider and admire Christmas trees decorated by schoolchildren at the governor's mansion Sunday.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening and his wife, Frances, will greet

visitors from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Government House, the governor's official residence across from the State House. The Glendenings will also collect gifts for homeless shelters. Anyone wishing to contribute should bring a wrapped gift that is marked for a boy or girl, by age, or man or woman.

The State House is decorated with handmade quilts from across the state. The exhibit is open to the public every day, except Christmas, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Pub Date: 12/10/98

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