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Friends in High Places

By Harry M. Covert

Every so often intelligent informed recipients of writers, commentators and word merchants of all stripes are entitled to knowing if the latter can honestly be considered worthy of their educated speculations, sentiments and assumptions.

Why not? It is perfectly plausible for consumers of these lines to wonder if they are being taken for a ride in the ideas department. Consider those in the editorial and scribbling trade. Opinions are like noses, everybody has one.

Those of us who have been in the newspaper dodge for years can fall back on days of experience. Just recall the days of fun and games and the people and events of those gaudy periods of wonderful memory.

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Uncertain Futures for Ex-Offenders

By Harry M Covert

Consider the plight of men and women released from Virginia prisons. They have satisfied their so-called debt to society.

A vast majority of them are without family, without friends, without any money and no chance for jobs.

Recently, a man finished 30 years of incarceration. A bus ticket took him to Arlington in late afternoon. Stepping off the vehicle, he was astounded by what he saw. Three decades of imprisonment left him in awe, panic and genuine fear.

Another case points to Mary Ulrich, a native born Virginian, now in her mid-40s, whose jail life began at age 12 when an uncle introduced her to drugs.

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Lessons for Holy Week

By Harry M. Covert

Since my earliest days on this planet the oft-used word “luck” has always been considered a blessing from the Divine. Nothing has changed that since those formative times. If anything the celestial consents seem more obvious.

During these days leading up to Easter Sunday, described as Holy Week, they are perfect to recall and celebrate the triumphal ride of Jesus into Jerusalem. Tradition, beliefs and dogma say the event occurred some two thousand years ago.

Admittedly this time of year brings about many fresh and pleasant days, new fashions and all sorts of smiles and joy. It is the happiness of candies, colored eggs, candy-filled baskets and terrific lunches and dinners.… Read More

Murder Cases Get Cold, Colder

Local News Blackout Possible

By Harry M. Covert

There’s no time like the present. Those hoping for quick solutions to the recent Alexandria murders now will just have to wait. For how long? Not even police investigators can provide any progress reports or answers, at least not this week or in the foreseeable future.

What may seem to be a police blackout is not that at all.

All the excitement that a possible “person of interest,” not officially a police portrayal, or a real “suspect,” the preferred description, appears to have vanished into thin air.

Remember reports that a former independent mayoral candidate, Charles R.… Read More

Who’s the Triple Murder Suspect?

Police Investigators Appear Stymied

By Harry M. Covert

The best news source and report in the Alexandria murder cases apparently come from West Virginia.

Investigators locally may have hit a stone wall, again in the Ruthanne Lodato murder. They’ve been stymied for some time now in the November shooting death of Ronald Kirby and the Dec. 5 2003 killing of Nancy Dunning.

No facts seem to be forthcoming.

Each of these is the highest of the highest profile cases in the city which occurred in the Del Ray section. Obviously prosecutors can’t and won’t comment on the probe. Police officials repeat the words “nothing has changed on our end.”

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Campaigns, Down & Dirty?­­­­

By Harry M. Covert

The fact is well known, all politics is local. ­­­­­The good things of public service should rise bottom to top, and not the reverse. It’s not good when outside and national consultants like to infringe. They do and the landscape changes.

Tactics used by so-called campaign experts on how to win elections are not always good and proper. Political advisers are a special breed. They have nothing to lose while the candidate always bears the brunt of nasty work and any untoward comments and quotes.

Of course, reporters of all sorts love them, including “moi.”

Oh yes, Certainly, campaigns for city and county offices are heavily partisan.… Read More

Alexandria Reeling From Serial Killer

Why Not Recall Retired Homicide Detectives

By Harry M. Covert

Since retired judges are always available for further bench duty why aren’t retired detectives and other officers accessible for recalled duty?

Retirees, many of whom find similar work at other city and state agencies, have the ability and know-how and could be recruited to assist in major cases. These professionals can bring valuable assets by assisting in difficult cases.

Alexandria is not without many outstanding retired detectives. At least five have retired in recent years and their successes are respected and well known throughout the court system, police department and other law enforcement organizations.

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Shad, Shad Roe, Shad Planking and St. Patrick

Daytrip to the Blarney Room

By Harry M. Covert

Pleasant bonuses usually arrive when least expected. These joys aren’t always of the financial kind, even though the latter can be more than appreciated. This story comes right in the middle of St. Patrick’s celebrations, the time of year when everybody is Irish or would like to be.

A day trip up north Route 15 from Frederick began. In just a few miles the sign appeared, “Shad is here.” Then a big white tent popped up and then another sign, “Shad Roe.”

For a moment, the thought seemed to be a dream.

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Mug Shots, Fingerprints, Smokers

Heeding Cries for More Prescriptions?

By Harry M. Covert


Lots of illegal pot smoking goes on these days, according to those in the know. Large numbers of citizens, young and old, have been locked up for buying, selling and using cannabis. The latter results in criminal records.

Instead of cutting the “grass” smoking the stuff has become so popular legal jurisdictions everywhere figure they can impose heavy-duty taxes and cut out the middle men, read this illegal drug sellers. All of the illegal drugs aren’t merely coming from south of the Texas border or from South American and Asian entrepreneurs. Lots are being grown in various communities and states.

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Reading the Judge’s Mail

Courtroom Fun but No Games 

By Harry M. Covert

When the weather gets bad its a good thing to find an old box full of scribbles on napkins, paper scraps and old note pads.

Recent days have proved invaluable. Some interesting stuff fell out. Over time a lot of notes have been taken in courthouses, jails, political meetings and other venues where intellect sometimes is off the bubble.

How about this one. Alexandria’s Chief General District Court Judge Becky J. Moore, presiding one morning, sentenced a defendant to a jail term in the city’s William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center, better known perhaps as Dana Lawhorne’s jail.

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