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Officials said eight people have died in the District since January 2005 in smoking-related fires. Steele's apartment did not have a smoke alarm, they said.


Week of Events to Include Parade and Street Festival

The District started its Hispanic Heritage Month celebration yesterday, which this year includes a week of events culminating in a parade and street festival.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D), noting that one of his grandfathers was born in Panama, briefly addressed the inaugural event for Fiesta DC: an homage to the city's Hispanic elderly, who have been served since 1974 by the District-funded Educational Organization for United Latin Americans, a Spanish-language senior center.

Educational programs geared toward Latino women are scheduled for today and tomorrow, and a reception will honor Latino arts and cultural organizations on Thursday. A town hall-style meeting to discuss immigration issues will be held Friday, and on Saturday, there will be a health fair and activities geared toward Latino youths.

The parade, street festival and children's fair, which includes a book giveaway, are scheduled for Sunday in Mount Pleasant. Details can be found at, the Web site of Fiesta DC, the nonprofit group organizing the events.

-- Sylvia Moreno


Effort Aimed at Doubling Number Earning Degrees

The District's first annual College Awareness Week will feature college-preparedness activities at District high schools today and tomorrow, a two-day college fair sponsored by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday at the D.C. Armory, and a college expo at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Carnegie Library.

The events, sponsored by the Double the Numbers coalition, are an effort to bring together government, educational and nonprofit organizations to double the number of District high school graduates who complete college.

A 2006 analysis of D.C. students indicated that only 9 percent of ninth-graders go on to graduate from college within five years of enrolling.

For more information, contact the Office of the State Superintendent of Education at 202-727-6436, or go to

-- Timothy Wilson

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