Zapnews, a division of Fairfax Media Inc. of Fairfax, and Wheeler News Service Inc. of Madison, Wis., entered a joint venture to provide international, national and Wisconsin news, sports and weather to broadcasters in the Midwest.

Zapnews will begin distributing Wheeler's statewide news report and its own worldwide reports to stations in Wisconsin using a high-volume facsimile distribution system.

Wheeler News recently was awarded a contract to provide Wisconsin news, weather and sports to United Press International subscribers in Wisconsin and the surrounding states.

Dick Wheeler, president and founder of Wheeler News, said in a statement that "questions about UPI's continued existence caused {him} to seek out Zapnews as a provider of worldwide news so broadcasters in Wisconsin who want an alternative to the Associated Press will have one."

The Zapnews/Wheeler venture will provide news services similar to the AP UPI, Wheeler said, but unlike those wire services, it will cost significantly less and will offer 30-day contracts.

ICF Kaiser Engineers of Oakland, Calif., a subsidiary of Fairfax-based American Capital and Research Corp., was awarded a $3.5 million contract to design and supply a computerized coke-oven heating-control system to Karaganda Integrated Iron and Steel Works, the seventh largest steel plant in the Soviet Union.

The contract will be paid for with coke produced by the Karaganda plant, which ICF will then sell. Global Trade & Investment Inc. of Fairfax, also a subsidiary of American Capital and Research, helped negotiate the contract and arrange the payment agreement.

Most of the work on the contract will be carried out at ICF Kaiser's Pittsburgh location.

Hughes Network Systems Inc. of Germantown was awarded a subcontract by Oklahoma State University to participate in its multimillion-dollar contract from the Army to test the feasibility of training National Guard and Army Reserve troops via satellite.

Under the terms of the contract, Hughes will supply six of its video teleconferencing products. Details were not disclosed.

Hughes said in a statement that if the project is successful and accepted by the Army, this test could serve as a basis for a national military and civilian educational satellite network with up to 5,000 interactive sites.

Patapsco Designs Inc. of Frederick developed a ship-to-shore automatic call routing system that will be marketed by World Communication Systems of Newport News, Va.

Construction Management Collaborative Inc. of Alexandria was awarded a project management contract for the construction of the Oncology Center for the Loudoun Hospital Center.

Executive Development Systems Inc. opened in Rockville to provide re'sume' development and other job search services.

Empress Software Inc. of Greenbelt opened an office in San Jose, Calif.

The Public Properties Policy Association opened in Washington.

A&T Systems Inc. of Silver Spring, a provider of performance engineering products and services for UNIX and POSIX compliant systems, was accepted into the Small Business Administration's 8(a) program, which sets aside contracts for minority and disadvantaged businesses.

Centel Federal Systems Inc. of Reston, a systems integrator, formed an automated forms integration division.

The Booeymonger leased space in Bethesda to open a third restaurant in January.

ROSExpress of Washington opened an office in Boston.

Announcements of news and developments affecting Washington area companies should be sent to Regional Report, Business News Department, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.