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  Metro Facts Machine
Send your questions.

ISO: Natural Lakes
State Salaries and
A Ride to the Airport

Updated Thursday Nov. 18, 1999

Welcome to washingtonpost.com's Metro Facts Machine, a human search engine delivering the information you want about the Washington region. Have a question about something in the news? Just ask us at facts@washingtonpost.com.

Q: I read somewhere that Maryland is the only state in without a natural lake. Is it true?
Katie S.

A: Maryland has 4,000 ponds, several reservoirs and that big bay, but it's true the state comes up dry in the natural lakes department. But is it alone?

MFM called the U.S. Geological Survey, where experts scoured their data, pooled their knowledge and reached this conclusion, announced to us by research hydrologist Don Rosenberry: "There are natural lakes in every state in the country except Maryland.

"And maybe Delaware."

Never content with "maybe," the MFM talked to Robin Tyler, an environmental scientist with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources. He said the First State has at least one body of water "that would be indisputably" a natural lake. That would be Silver Lake, which covers about 25 acres just north of Rehoboth Beach. (Delaware has a second Silver Lake, in Dover, but it's man-made.)

Q: As an employee of the State of Maryland, I've heard for years that my salary is a matter of public record and anyone could go to the Maryland Hall of Records in Annapolis and look up this information. Do you know if this is true? And if it is, does the same hold true for federal employees?
Micki M.

A: The salaries of state and federal employees have long been available to the public, but actually getting the information is no small task.

The MFM talked to Carole Duley, in the communications office of the Maryland comptroller. She said both her office and the central payroll bureau can release state employee salary information. The Hall of Records doesn't keep current data, she said.

For federal employee salary information, you must contact the department in which the person works, such as Defense or Treasury, according to a spokeswoman at the Office of Personnel Management.

Such requests, on any level, usually must be specific and submitted in writing. Sometimes you must cite the Freedom of Information Act or complete a FOIA form. Agencies are typically required to respond to your inquiry within 10 days. Receiving the information you want can take weeks or longer, especially if there's a backlog of requests.

Q: I need information on visiting the National Archives, and the U.S. Constitution. Is it in the National Archives Building?
Roland M.

A: The National Archives and Records Administration, at Pennsylvania Avenue and Seventh Street NW, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. It houses the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and other historic documents. But six years ago, the administration opened a second site, Archives II, in College Park. That facility houses documents on World War II and the White House and on matters such as commerce and fiscal policy.

You can read a listing of the archives' current exhibits, how to get there and other details on washingtonpost.com. Or visit the archives' Web site.

Q: Could you let me know if there is any public transportation between Dulles and BWI airports?
Anne C.

A: There's no direct public transportation between the two airports, according to Tom Sullivan, spokesman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

But the patient traveler does have options. Metrobus carries passengers from Dulles International Airport to the West Falls Church Metrorail station. From there, you could take Metrorail to Union Station in the District and then take a MARC train to BWI.

If cost isn't an issue, consider one of the private shuttles that transport passengers between the two airports. For more information, check out the Web sites for BWI and Dulles.

Q: Although I am working strictly on rumors, I keep hearing now and then about an effort to open a National Museum for Jazz and Blues in D.C. or some cultural institution that celebrates American music. Have you heard any speculations or rumblings to this end?
Chris S.

A: Such speculation seems to bubble up every few years. In fact, washingtonpost.com reported last year that Howard University officials were contemplating buying the decrepit Howard Theater from the city and reopening it as an arts and entertainment house and possibly a jazz museum. The Post has since published stories suggesting such a plan is still in the works, but no details have emerged. Stay tuned!

Compiled by washingtonpost.com Staff Writer John P. Martin.

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© 1999 The Washington Post Company

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