Record Number of Bald Eagles in State
More bald eagles than ever before were found nesting in Maryland this spring, the state Department of Natural Resources said. The 260 pairs of nesting birds were 28 more than were observed last year. At least 368 young eagles have been spotted this year, also a record.
"The outlook for bald eagles in the state is good," said Glenn Therres, an endangered species biologist who oversees the annual nesting survey. In 1977, the survey's first year, the state found only 41 nesting pairs.
Therres cited the 1972 ban on the pesticide DDT as the major reason for the long-term recovery of the state's bald eagle population. He credited the state's water quality restoration efforts and the protection of nesting sites along the Chesapeake Bay for continued progress in recent years.
Therres said that a couple of birds spotted nesting along the Potomac River in Frederick County are the first bald eagles known to have settled in that county since the 1930s.
Prison Errors Found in Man's Suicide
A state investigation has found that the staff at the Mecklenburg Correctional Center violated state policy as well as principles for managing those with mental illness in the suicide of a prisoner with a long history of depression and suicide attempts.
Teko Williams, 21, of Norfolk, hanged himself by a sheet from the bars of his cell door in the prison's isolation unit about 2 a.m. on Aug. 21, 1997, but his body was not found for five hours, the Department of Rights of Virginians With Disabilities said in its report.
The guard responsible for observing Williams apparently failed to make his hourly checks and was fired as a result.
The report said that the Corrections Department "apparently regards this neglect as a security lapse by a single employee. This is too narrow a view of the situation because . . . the neglect also includes neglect of [Williams] as a mentally ill individual at risk of suicide."
Corrections spokesman Larry Traylor said department officials had not seen the report and could not comment on it.
Family of Mental Patient to Get $300,000
A federal court in Richmond approved a lawsuit settlement yesterday in which the state will give $300,000 to the family of a woman who died in restraints at the Central State Hospital. The state also promised to place a memorial to her at the hospital.
The state admitted no liability. But since the woman's death, Central State Hospital has agreed to reduce the use of patient seclusion and restraint, increase staff size and move some patients into community care.
Gloria Huntley, 31, who had a personality disorder and mild retardation, died in 1996 in solitary confinement at Central State, with her arms and legs strapped to a bed. She spent 300 hours in restraints during her final month, including two stretches of 4 1/2 days straight.
Training Program for Guards Suspended The state Juvenile Justice Board voted 5 to 2 yesterday to suspend a controversial program that trains guards to use aggressive techniques as a last resort to subdue violent juvenile inmates.
By the same vote, the board agreed to make use-of-force techniques a policy instead of a procedure. That gives the board more oversight into the type of techniques used. Advocates for troubled children had complained that the techniques being taught--with names such as whip kick, shin raking and elbow thrusts--were excessively violent.
Several guards who have been assaulted by juvenile inmates told the board that they need the ability to protect themselves against increasingly violent juveniles.
Fairfax City in Talks Over New Downtown
The Fairfax City Council is negotiating with developers to create a massive new downtown area where the city's main post office now sits. If approved, 800,000 square feet of shops, restaurants, a multiplex movie theater, and residential and office space could be added.
Plans are not yet final, but the council voted Tuesday to negotiate exclusively with the Dogwood Development Group and McCafferey Interests for the right to build on land that the city owns just north of Main Street. McCafferey is renovating Mazza Gallerie in Friendship Heights.
A final decision on whether to proceed with the project is scheduled for the fall, and officials said construction could begin as early as the spring of 2000. Some obstacles remain, including the need to relocate the post office, which has a lease through part of 2002.
Low Water Pressure in NE Corrected
A water main valve that had been improperly left partially closed was cited yesterday as the reason residents along the Anacostia River in Northeast Washington experienced low water pressure. The valve was opened and pressure restored by D.C. Water and Sewer Authority crews Tuesday night.
Since Sunday, some residents west of Sheriff Road and north of Benning Road, in the Eastland Gardens and Mayfair Parkside neighborhoods, had experienced low water pressure and, in a few cases, temporary halts in water flow. Given the high temperatures, the lack of water was more than an inconvenience.
The valve on the 30-inch water main apparently was closed by a maintenance crew that had worked in the area recently, but it was not completely reopened when the work was completed, said Water and Sewer Authority spokeswoman Libby Lawson.
The agency also completed repairs Tuesday night to two smaller water mains in Southeast that had resulted in decreased water pressure, one near the intersection of Texas Avenue and Bowen Road SE, the other at Valley Avenue SE.
Unauthorized opening of District fire hydrants, which has happened in recent days during the heat wave, is also contributing to some drops in water pressure. D.C. police are now working with the Water and Sewer Authority to patrol areas where hydrants have been opened, Lawson said.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"I am startled at the suggestion of a tax cut for the District of Columbia. Is it safe to live in this town? Are schools worth attending? Are rats running all over the streets?.... You're saying, Don't worry, be happy. We can do it all.' I don't buy it."
--Sen. Richard J. Durbin, of Illinois, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the District.