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This Hour: Latest Maryland and Delaware news, sports, business and entertainment

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Morgan professor gets 3 years for grant fraud

BALTIMORE (AP) - A professor at Morgan State University has been sentenced to three years in prison for fraudulently obtaining research grants from the National Science Foundation.

Forty-seven-year-old Manoj Kumar Jha of Severn was also ordered to pay $105,726 in restitution at sentencing Friday in federal court in Baltimore.

According to trial testimony, Jha received $200,000 in grant funds for a highway project. Prosecutors say Jha falsely claimed on the application that a company Jha headed that would work on the project and had eight employees.

Prosecutors say Jha used the money to pay personal expenses.


Obama to raise federal, military pay by 1 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is offering civilian federal workers and members of the military a 1 percent pay increase in 2015, the same raise he offered last year citing efforts to keep government costs down during the economic recovery.

The new pay raises reflect what Obama proposed in his 2015 budget earlier this year.

Obama sent a letter Friday describing the raises to the House and Senate. The figure is lower than private sector pay increase and lower than what a government formula for raises would have provided. Obama can bypass that formula by informing Congress of his alternative plan by the end of August.

Federal employees operated under a pay freeze until January of this year when the current 1 percent pay increase took effect.


Casino hostess banned from contact with ex-clients

BALTIMORE (AP) - A federal judge has ruled that one unlucky hostess accused of stealing a list of high-rolling clients from a Maryland casino where she used to work and using it to recruit business to another casino cannot contact the gamblers until further notice.

A federal judge on Friday imposed a preliminary injunction on Helena Wong, a casino hostess who used to work at Maryland Live Casino in Hanover and is now employed at the new Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore.

Wong sent an email earlier this month to roughly 20 Maryland Live customers offering free access and services at Horseshoe Casino. Maryland Live filed a lawsuit against Wong, alleging that the contact information for those clients is proprietary information.

Wong denies any wrongdoing, and says she cultivated the clients herself.


Fire destroys house on estate of late author

HUNTINGTOWN, Md. (AP) - Authorities say two boys have been charged with setting a fire that destroyed an unoccupied house on the estate of the late novelist Tom Clancy.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal said in a statement on Friday that the two-story, wood-frame house in Huntingtown in Calvert County was burned on Aug. 22. Officials say a passer-by saw the fire and called 911.

No injuries were reported. Damage was estimated at $149,000.

The fire marshal says an investigation led them to two youths, ages 12 and 14. Authorities say the boys ignited combustible materials in the living room before leaving the property.

They are charged with arson and have been released to their parents.

Clancy, the author of such thrillers as "The Hunt for Red October," died last year.


Delmarva Power says natural gas rates will drop

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delmarva Power says its natural gas customers can expect to see lower heating bills this winter.

The company says two gas rate changes that it filed with Delaware regulators on Friday will result in an overall monthly bill decrease of $10.17, or about 7.3 percent, for the average residential customer.

Commercial and industrial customers' rates would decrease in a range from 3.5 percent to 12.8 percent.

Actual savings will vary, based on customer usage.

Delmarva says the proposed rate decrease, which would take effect Nov. 1, represents the fourth straight year of gas cost reductions for customers and is the result of lower market costs for natural gas.


Panel advises closure of troubled charter school

DOVER, Del. (AP) - A state panel is recommending that a struggling charter school serving mostly low-income black children in Wilmington be closed at the end of this school year because of academic problems and other issues.

The Charter School Accountability Committee made its recommendation regarding Maurice J. Moyer school on Friday.

The state school board will make the final decision Sept. 18 after a public hearing.

Moyer was put on formal review after turning in the lowest standardized test scores of any Delaware charter school last year. The results were even worse than the previous year, when less than half of Moyer students demonstrated proficiency in reading and math.

Moyer has struggled since opening in 2006 and was first closed by the state in 2010 because of poor student performance and other problems.


Sex offender charged with sex abuse of toddler

MILLSBORO, Del. (AP) - Delaware State Police have charged a convicted sex offender with sexually abusing a 3-year-old girl in his car.

Sixty-five-year-old John T. King of Millsboro surrendered to police Wednesday and is charged with unlawful sexual contact by a sex offender, and three counts of sexual abuse by a person of trust.

Troopers say an investigation began after the girl was examined at a hospital after complaining of soreness. Police say the girl had been in the care of King, who is a friend of the girl's mother.

According to Delaware's sex offender registry, King was convicted of unlawful sexual contact in 2005. Troopers say he is a Tier 2 sex offender.


Attorneys eye ex-death row inmate's confession

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Attorneys for a Delaware man whose conviction and death sentence for a 1991 slaying were overturned say a confession he gave should not be allowed in any retrial.

Jermaine Wright's attorneys filed court papers Friday saying his confession shouldn't be allowed as evidence because Wright was high on heroin at the time and not properly informed about his right to have an attorney. They also say the confession was riddled with factual mistakes about the killing of Wilmington liquor store clerk Phillip Seifert, including the time, the type of gun, and the number of shots.

The Supreme Court overturned Wright's conviction because prosecutors repeatedly withheld evidence that might have helped the defense.

Before his sentence was overturned, Wright had spent more time on death row than any other Delaware inmate.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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