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REGIONAL BRIEFING

Saturday, September 23, 2006

EDUCATION

17 Schools Win Federal Honors

Ten Virginia schools, six in Maryland and one campus in the District have been named No Child Left Behind -- Blue Ribbon Schools for 2006, recognition by the U.S. Department of Education for high achievement or for making significant progress in closing the achievement gaps among students. This year, 250 U.S. schools received Blue Ribbon honors.

Maryland winners are Severna Park Middle School in Anne Arundel County, Ridgely Middle School in Baltimore County, Bainbridge Elementary School in Cecil County, Clarksville Middle School in Howard County, Thomas Pyle Middle School in Montgomery County and Glenarden Woods Elementary School in Prince George's County.

Virginia's 10 campuses are St. Leo the Great Catholic School in Fairfax City, St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington County, Buckhorn Elementary School in South Hill, J.E.B. Stuart Elementary School in Richmond, Kilby Shores Elementary School in Suffolk, Pocahontas Middle School in Richmond, Rural Point Elementary School in Mechanicsville, Sacred Heart Catholic School in Danville, T. Ryland Sanford Elementary School in Newport News and Yuma Elementary School in Scott County.

In the District, Oyster Bilingual Elementary School in Northwest is also being honored.

A ceremony will be held Nov. 10.

-- Lori Aratani

METROBUS

Open Testing for Drivers Today

A shortage of Metrobus drivers is prompting the agency to hold open testing today for people who want to be drivers. Starting at 7:30 a.m. at Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School in Falls Church, a written test, a driving test and drug-screening test will be given. The school is at 7130 Leesburg Pike, but parking at the school is limited so Metro is running a free shuttle bus between the West Falls Church Metro station and the school.

Many bus drivers have recently retired, and the agency has vacancies for 166 bus operators.

Bus drivers are paid $10.22 an hour during their training period. After graduation, wages start at $14.95 an hour.

Applicants should preregister by calling 301-618-7519, complete a Metro application available at http://metroopensdoors.com and bring a valid driver's license and a copy of their current driving record.

-- Lena H. Sun

CHESAPEAKE BAY

Fertilizer Makers to Alter Formula

Two major manufacturers of fertilizer have agreed to cut by half the amount of phosphorus, a pollutant harmful to the Chesapeake Bay, in products they sell in the bay's watershed, the federal Chesapeake Bay Program announced yesterday.

The Ohio-based Scotts Co., which makes Miracle-Gro, and Pennsylvania-based Lebanon Seaboard have agreed to make the reductions by 2009, said Mike Burke, a spokesman for the bay program. Together, Burke said, the companies account for more than half of the fertilizer market in the area, but he said the program hopes to persuade their competitors to follow suit.

Scientists say phosphorus harms the bay for the same reason it is commonly used in fertilizer: It makes plants grow. In the Chesapeake, this often translates into massive algae blooms, which suck up the underwater oxygen and create "dead zones" in which fish and crabs cannot breathe.

-- David A. Fahrenthold

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