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April 17-23

Sunday, April 24, 2005; Page C04

Slots Stance May Cost Md. the Preakness Ehrlich's Warning Cites Lack of Legal Gambling

Maryland could lose its 130-year grip on the Preakness Stakes because of the state legislature's persistent refusal to legalize slot machine gambling, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said. Next month, Maryland is scheduled to host the 130th running of the storied horse race, the second leg of racing's Triple Crown and the state's most profitable annual sporting event.

Ehrlich told a group of students at Towson University that slot machines are fattening racing purses at tracks in Delaware, West Virginia and Pennsylvania and are prompting an exodus of breeding operations and horse farms across Maryland's borders. The trend eventually could imperil the state's long relationship with racing, he said.

Will brake for java: A traffic analyst says a rise in motorists' stops for coffee is contributing to gridlock and pollution. (Ricky Carioti -- The Washington Post)

Housing-Cost Relief Sought Aboard Boats Some Retirees, Recent Grads Turn to 'Liveaboards'

A growing number of area residents, looking to escape soaring housing prices, are making their homes on barges and schooners from the District's Southwest waterfront to the Chesapeake Bay inlets in Southern Maryland. The homes are known in nautical circles as "liveaboards," and their residents include recent college graduates frustrated with high rents and retirees on fixed incomes.

Fatal Bus Crash Stokes Seat Belt Debate Group Pushes for Safety Restraints for Students

A fatal crash in Arlington rekindled debate about whether school buses should have seat belts. The crash Monday, involving a bus that lacked seat belts, killed a 9-year-old girl and injured a 7-year-old boy who died two days later.

Thousands of school buses in the region daily do not have seat belts. A small, persistent group contends that the buses should have the same safety restraint systems that are required in smaller passenger vehicles. Area officials who transport children without seat belts defend the buses' safety record and cite national research to support their position.

Subcontractor Failed to Pay Day Laborers Plea by Pr. George's Worker Ensures Restitution

A county subcontractor pleaded guilty in Prince George's County Circuit Court to seven misdemeanor counts of failure to pay wages. The charges stemmed from Francisco Sandoval's failure to pay 12 day laborers, most of them Latino immigrants. Prosecutors said the plea agreement ensures that the workers will receive restitution.

Metro to Show Number of Cars on Trains Signs to Include New Information by Next Month

Metro officials announced that by the end of May, they will begin posting information that tells riders the number of cars on trains. The signs will include two-letter abbreviations to indicate the subway line. The signs will continue to show the destination and arrival times and will indicate the next three trains.

FBI Seizes Records in Hornsby Probe Board Delays Decision on Schools Chief's Fate

FBI agents questioned Prince George's County school staff members and seized records in two administration buildings in an investigation of schools chief Andre J. Hornsby. After a closed-door meeting with Hornsby and school system attorneys, the Board of Education said it wants to wait for the outcome of another review of Hornsby's purchasing and contract management before deciding whether he should continue to head the 136,000-student system.

Hornsby has been the focus of a federal investigation since at least late last year after it was discovered he oversaw the purchase of about $1 million in LeapFrog SchoolHouse products while living with a company saleswoman. He has denied wrongdoing.

Montgomery Poised to Provide Tax Relief Duncan's Budget Proposal Faces Millions in Cuts

The Montgomery County Council is ready to give residents broad property-tax relief next year by cutting tens of millions of dollars from the proposed budget of County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D). There is no consensus about the size of the tax-rate reduction or the budget cuts that will be needed to pay for it.

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