THE REGION

Design Approved for War Memorial

The National Capital Planning Commission voted 9 to 2 yesterday to approve a preliminary design for the World War II memorial to be built on the Mall, despite the testimony of more than 20 witnesses against either the site or the design.

Although the site between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial was approved in 1995, opposition to that location has become a routine part of every public hearing since.

The first design offered by the American Battle Monuments Commission, the builder of the monument, was turned down by the planning commission and the Commission of Fine Arts in 1997, but both agencies continued to support the Mall site.

The current design features two tall arches and a series of stone pillars surrounding the existing Rainbow Pool. It was approved by a unanimous vote of the Fine Arts Commission on May 20.

The project needs final design approvals and a go-ahead from the secretary of Interior.

MARYLAND

GOP Lawmakers Seek Special Session

Several Maryland Republican legislators called yesterday for a special legislative session to override Gov. Parris N. Glendening's veto of a bill that would have shielded businesses from liability in case of computer malfunction at the beginning of the new year.

The measure, which passed overwhelmingly, would have protected companies that made "good faith" efforts to fix computers that interpreted the last two digits in the year 2000 to mean 1900. Glendening (D) vetoed the measure, saying that it would allow businesses to escape liability for personal injury and death.

Republican members of the House of Delegates said yesterday that they would consider removing the personal injury and death exemptions in a special session.

Glendening spokesman Mike Morrill said his boss saw no need for a special session, blaming the Chamber of Commerce for not agreeing to the changes earlier.

Forgotten Candidate Wins New Election

Sheila Woodson, who narrowly lost a seat on the Glenarden City Council last month when her name was left off the ballot, won a special election for the post on Tuesday. The balloting drew 195 voters for two seats in Ward 2.

There were no problems this time, said Chief Election Judge Dorothy Johnson, who last month acknowledged leaving Woodson's name off the ballots in voting machines for about an hour during the May 3 election. Woodson, who lost that election by nine votes, challenged the outcome, and the City Council invalidated the Ward 2 results.

Incumbent Elaine Carter, who also led the candidates on May 3, was the top vote-getter again Tuesday with 79 votes. Woodson, an instructional aide in the Prince George's County school system, got 48 votes. Gregory Windley, who had won the first time, lost Tuesday with 42 votes. Joseph P. Goosby came in fourth with 26 votes.

Severed Finger Found in Bag of Soil

New Jersey authorities are trying to determine how a severed finger wound up in a sealed bag of potting soil produced in Maryland--and to whom it belongs.

A resident, whom police would not identify, made the discovery Tuesday when he opened a 20-pound bag of Garden Pro potting soil, said Hopewell Police Chief Michael Chipowsky.

The soil, which the man said he bought at a nursery, is packed by a plant in Pittsville, Md., where it is cleaned, screened and bagged. A police spokeswoman said plant officials had no records of an employee there who sustained a "severed finger type of injury."

The soil comes from local Maryland farms and various construction sites and passes through screens with holes large enough for a finger to slip through if it was standing straight up.

Woman Struck, Killed by Trash Truck

A 67-year-old Derwood woman was struck and killed by a trash truck yesterday morning at the intersection of Needwood Road and Nutwood Court, Montgomery County police said.

Majiden Fatemi, of the 7500 block of Nutwood Court, was pronounced dead at the scene. She apparently was trying to talk to the truck's driver when the incident occurred about 9:48 a.m.

The truck, driven by Richard Kisner, 50, of Charles Town, W.Va., appeared to have struck Fatemi and then run over her, a police spokesman said. No one has been charged in the incident, but police continue to investigate, he said.

VIRGINIA

Lab Credited With Faster Crime-Solving

Virginia is solving crimes more quickly since a private laboratory took over the state's DNA database, state officials say.

Launched in 1993, the computer database program to link unsolved crimes to Virginia's prisoners faltered when forensic scientists couldn't analyze DNA as quickly as Virginia prisons could collect blood from convicted felons.

With a backlog of 200,000 blood samples, the state turned to a private DNA lab for help last July. As a result, as many crimes have been solved in the past 10 months as in the program's first five years, officials said.

The lab, Bode Technology Group Inc. in Springfield, will be paid $9 million under the three-year contract.

Memorial Planned for '59 Plane Crash

A memorial will be built in Crozet, just west of Charlottesville, to commemorate a plane crash that occurred 40 years ago.

Phil Bradley of Clifton Forge, the sole survivor of the 1959 crash that killed 26 people, will build the monument at his own expense, and Albemarle County will be responsible for routine maintenance. A wheel from the airplane and a plaque bearing the names of those who died will be on display. The plane hit a mountain on its way to Roanoke from Washington.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

"I asked myself a very simple question. Would I allow my 12-year-old son to play in the back yard of the houses that were struck by live fire from our range? It took a nanosecond to know that I would not.

-- D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, announcing that he will not reopen the police firing range in Lorton whose gunfire last week showered a nearby Fairfax County neighborhood with stray bullets.