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In Brief

Saturday, August 7, 2004; Page B03


PandaMania Inspires Photo Contest

The brightly colored panda statues on scores of Washington streets will star in a citywide photo shoot during the next month.

The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, which runs the PandaMania public art exhibit, is launching a contest for the best photographs of the five-foot-tall statues, which will be auctioned off Oct. 9 to raise money for arts programming.

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Photos can be entered in three categories: "Separated at Birth" (a picture of a panda and person who closely resemble each other), "Cutest" and "Most Creative," the arts commission said. Submissions from photographers ages 6 to 12 will be judged separately.

Sponsors include the commission, the National Zoo and Fuji Film, a major supporter of the zoo's live panda exhibit. Contest entry forms are available online at www.fonz.org, dcarts.dc.gov and pandas.fujifilm.com. They are to be available at the zoo and at some panda sculptures starting next week.

Since their May unveiling, the 150 panda statues have been popular with camera-toters. At least 18 have been vandalized or defaced. One was reported stolen last week.


Discussions on New Treatment for Water

Two public meetings have been scheduled this month in which city and federal officials will answer residents' questions about a new chemical treatment to all D.C. drinking water beginning Aug. 23 intended to reduce widespread high levels of lead.

The chemical, an orthophosphate, is widely used elsewhere and has been tried since June in a section of upper Northwest. Environmental Protection Agency officials approved citywide use this week, saying no problems were experienced.

The first meeting will be Aug. 19 in the basement of Congress Heights United Methodist Church, 421 Alabama Ave. SE. The second will be Aug. 24 in meeting room A-5 of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G St. NW. Both meetings will hold an open house from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., with a formal presentation followed by a question-and-answer session from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Top Superintendent Candidate Interviewed

Maurice A. Jones, the 39-year-old Virginia state official who has become a top candidate for the city's school superintendent job, was interviewed yesterday by a search committee that includes high-ranking city and school officials and parent and union representatives.

Jones, a lawyer who has headed the Virginia Department of Social Services since 2002, was first interviewed Monday by Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D), D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp (D), Board of Education President Peggy Cooper Cafritz and others on a panel that is to recommend a candidate to the board. The panel's seven members sit on the search committee. Some of the other search committee members had said they felt slighted not being consulted earlier.

Committee members said they made no decision yesterday and plan to meet Monday.


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