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Great Falls Fire Causes $500,000 Damage

A home in Great Falls was destroyed by fire Thursday night, injuring no one but causing $500,000 damage, Fairfax County fire officials said yesterday. The house in the 900 block of Leigh Mill Road, just off Georgetown Pike, was reported burning at 9:40 p.m. It took 40 minutes to extinguish the blaze.

Residents of the house were out of town when the fire erupted, Fairfax fire spokesman Dan Schmidt said. Investigators yesterday had not determined a cause.

_____About the National Zoo_____
Where Animals Go, Volunteer Eyes Follow (The Washington Post, Apr 17, 2005)
Five Cheetah Cubs Born at National Zoo (The Washington Post, Apr 15, 2005)
Zoo Cuts In On Pandas' Mating Dance (The Washington Post, Mar 12, 2005)
More About the Zoo
Giant Pandas Special Report


Students Eligible for Summer Page Program

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) is looking for summer help. Her office is accepting applications from D.C. high school students for the Summer Congressional Page Program. Applicants must have a 3.0 grade-point average, be high school juniors and turn 16 by July 10.

The summer session for congressional pages is July 10 to 29. Applications must be submitted by May 2. For more information, call 202-225-8050 or visit Norton's Web site at www.norton.house.gov.


No Foul Play Found in Midshipman's Death

A preliminary investigation into the death of a midshipman last weekend at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis has found no indication of foul play, an academy spokeswoman said yesterday.

Naval investigators believe Jay M. Dixon, 21, who lived in a suburb of New Orleans, "suffered a fall" from a ledge outside his room on the fifth floor of Bancroft Hall, the spokeswoman, Deborah Goode, said in a statement. The ledge is 4 feet by 4 feet. Dixon's body was discovered shortly before 1 p.m. last Saturday.

Ehrlich Elevates Montgomery Judge

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) announced the appointment yesterday of Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Patrick L. Woodward to fill a vacancy on the state Court of Special Appeals.

Woodward, 56, replaces Andrew L. Sonner, who reached mandatory retirement age last year. He has served on the Circuit Court since 1998. Before that, he was a District Court judge.

Pr. George's Aims at Seat Belt Scofflaws

Prince George's County, which has the highest number of motor vehicle deaths in the state and lowest documented seat belt use, began a "Click It or Ticket" campaign yesterday to encourage motorists and passengers to buckle their seat belts.

From 1994 to 2003, 790 people died in car crashes in the county, police said. A contributing factors in the deaths is low seat belt use, they said. Currently, about 76 percent of drivers and front-seat passengers buckle up, compared with the statewide average of 89 percent, police say.

County police say they will be on the lookout for drivers who are not wearing seat belts and will issue $25 tickets.

Partnership Lets Teachers Use Video Clips

Discovery Education and Montgomery County public schools announced a partnership yesterday that will give every teacher in the system the ability to use video clips to enhance teaching.

Teachers in the 140,000-student district will have access to a library of more than 40,000 content-specific clips -- from science to social studies -- that they can show students. The service, called "unitedstreaming," is used in 43,000 schools across the United States. The school system will pay Discovery $75,000 a year for four years.

quote of the day

"IPods and MP3 players are becoming a more desirable item, unfortunately. Burglars are taking things they can carry with them, and iPods fall into that category. They are not going to take something they don't have a market for."

-- D.C. police detective David Swinson, who has investigated a half-dozen recent burglaries in which the devices were taken and says the thefts remind him of how criminals began targeting laptops several years ago. -- A1

Compiled from reports by staff writers D'Vera Cohn, Maria Glod, Tom Jackman, Martin Weil, Eric Rich, Allison Klein and Lori Aratani and the Associated Press.

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