Falcon Chick Doing Well With New Family

A rare baby peregrine falcon that was transplanted into a new nest at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception last week apparently is doing fine, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Craig Koppie said yesterday.

The male falcon chick came from a nest in Newport News, Va., that government biologist deemed an unfit home because birds had fallen from it to their deaths in past years.

The nest at the shrine is maintained by a peregrine female and a hybrid falcon male, and Koppie said it appears they have adopted the new chick as their own.

"The chick is very responsive to the female," he said. "I definitely feel that the bird is being fed."

The shrine falcon pair had three chicks, which Koppie removed from the nest because they are hybrids that are not considered wild animals. Over the weekend, he gave the birds to falconers.


Mitch Snyder's Ashes to Be Buried

The ashes of Mitch Snyder, the activist who founded the District's largest shelter for the homeless before committing suicide on July 5, 1990, will be buried next week in a public ceremony in a churchyard at Thomas Circle NW.

His longtime partner and fellow activist, Carol Fennelly, who has kept the ashes, decided to bury them before leaving town for Youngstown, Ohio, where she plans to open a mission for District men and women imprisoned there.

"Mitch belongs to Washington, not to me, and not to Youngstown," Fennelly said. "He should stay here; it's time."

The ceremony will begin at noon Wednesday at Luther Place Memorial Church, a congregation active in homelessness issues.

Fennelly also plans to plant rose bushes. "Roses remind me so much of Mitch: beautiful, hearty and prickly," she said.

School's Athletic Facility Plan Approved

The District Board of Zoning Adjustment approved a plan by the National Cathedral School yesterday to build a nearly 100,000-square-foot athletic facility and parking garage on its property in Cleveland Park.

A group of neighbors objected to the size of the facility, the height of the above-ground portion of the fieldhouse and the extension of a perimeter fence along Woodley Road NW. The group collected 300 signatures against the plan and hired lawyers to fight it before the board.

Board Chairman Sheila Cross Reid said the approval is contingent upon agreements about usage and other issues reached between officials of the girls' school and Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3C and the Cleveland Park Citizens Association.

Williams Reports on Transition Expenses

Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) spent $182,474 during his transition to the mayor's office and returned nearly one-third of the money that the city appropriated for the purpose, according to an expense report released yesterday.

The D.C. Council approved $160,000 for the transition, but Williams used only $103,000 because private contributions offset many of the costs. The mayor raised $79,000 from contributors to use for his travel to several cities on trips to solicit ideas for governing in the District. He also used donations to pay rent for transition team members' offices and telephones, and a portion of their salaries.

The mayor said he returned the excess government funding to save money for D.C. taxpayers.


Pilot Is Critically Injured in Crash

An 86-year-old pilot from Macon, Ga., was critically injured yesterday when his experimental, kit-built airplane crashed in a densely wooded area in southern Prince George's County, shortly after taking off from a small airfield, authorities said.

The name of the pilot, who authorities said suffered serious head and other injuries, was not released. He was admitted to Prince George's Hospital Center.

Investigators and witnesses said the single-seat plane had taken off from Hyde Field in Clinton sometime after 9 a.m. and appeared to be heading toward Potomac Airfield, about two miles to the east, when it suddenly veered and plummeted into some trees, authorities said.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. Investigators said the plane was a Long-EZ: a rear-propeller, single-engine aircraft similar to the model flown by singer John Denver when he died in a crash in the Pacific Ocean in October 1997.

Montgomery Acting Police Chief to Retire

Lt. Col. Thomas D. Evans, who has served as acting police chief in Montgomery County since February, announced yesterday that he is retiring from the department.

Evans was a candidate to be the county's new police chief, but the job was given last week to Charles A. Moose, who had previously headed the police force in Portland, Ore.

Evans will step down as of Aug. 1, the same day Moose plans to begin work, pending his confirmation by the County Council.


Storage Trailer Fire Delays Dulles Flights

Flights were delayed for about a half-hour at Dulles International Airport yesterday afternoon after a small fire broke out in a storage trailer, Federal Aviation Administration officials said.

The blaze started shortly before 4:30 p.m. in a section of the airport closed to passengers, said Tara Hamilton, spokeswoman for the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority. Hamilton said that no one was injured and that authorities were investigating what caused the fire.

No planes were permitted to leave the runways between 4:30 p.m. and 4:55 p.m. because firefighters evacuated some air traffic controllers from the nearby tower, FAA spokeswoman Arlene Salac said.

The Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center in Leesburg, which normally handles high-altitude air space, took over operations, and incoming flights were allowed to land.


"What's going on over here? I've got to get to the mall! What is going on?"

-- Sequira Glover, 17, honking her car horn when she found herself caught in a traffic jam on the Capital Beltway in Virginia caused by the wreck of a truck carrying explosive black powder.