THE REGION

Toxic Chemicals Found in Eight Rivers

A new environmental review has found evidence of toxic chemicals in eight rivers outside the three big hot spots among the Chesapeake Bay tributaries, Baltimore Harbor, the Anacostia River in Washington and the Elizabeth River in Virginia.

The new areas of concern are the Middle, Back, Magothy, Severn, Chester, Potomac and Patuxent rivers in Maryland and the James River near the mouth of the bay in Virginia.

"We've always known about the toxic hot spots," said Kelly Eisenman, toxics coordinator for the Chesapeake Bay Program, which conducted the review. "What we haven't known is how these other areas are doing. There's a lot of data out there, but no one ever took all that data and put it together."

She said the chemicals may not be coming from manufacturing plants but from air pollution, suburban runoff or even the weathering of rocks.

NFL Opposes Stadium-Fund Bill

National Football League team and player representatives expressed opposition yesterday to legislation that would force the NFL and Major League Baseball to set aside 10 percent of television revenue for building and renovating stadiums.

Provisions of the bill, proposed by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) could factor into attempts to attract a baseball team to Washington. The bill is intended to wean professional sports off the idea of using public subsidies to totally finance new stadiums.

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said the bill would "establish a rigid and misguided federal approach to a particularly local issue" to the detriment of communities and teams.

Gene Upshaw, executive director of the National Football League Players Association, said the legislation would undermine the union's collective bargaining agreement by diverting hundreds of millions of dollars from salaries.

MARYLAND

'Living Wage' Bill Introduced

Montgomery County Council member Philip Andrews (D-Rockville) introduced legislation yesterday that would require most companies that receive county contracts or economic development incentives to pay employees at least $10.44 an hour.

Called the "living wage" bill, it would make exceptions for small businesses and would exclude projects in part of the Silver Spring enterprise zone. A council majority introduced an amendment yesterday that would expand the exemption to include all county enterprise zones. Businesses that provide health benefits would pay employees a minimum of $9 an hour.

Proponents of the bill, including unions and anti-poverty groups, rallied at the council building for a measure they say would help address rising poverty. But County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) warned in a statement that the bill could hurt low-wage employees more than it helps by discouraging economic growth.

A public hearing on the bill is scheduled for July 22.

THE DISTRICT

Library of Congress Opens Center

The National Digital Library Learning Center, which will train teachers to use Library of Congress historical records, opened yesterday in the library's James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. SE.

Teachers will learn how to use the library's American Memory Historical collections. A gift of $250,000 from Microsoft funded the center's renovation and software upgrade.

The center will also be used to show the public how to use the technology of the library, which has more than 55 collections available for researchers, including documents on the Civil War, the civil rights and women's suffrage movements and the papers of U.S. presidents.

The collection of historical records is accessible at any time on the library's Web site at www.loc.gov.

D.C. Council Amends Tax-Cut Package

The D.C. Council put the finishing touches on a $300 million tax package yesterday by adopting two amendments that would slow or stop the tax reductions if the economy takes a downturn or if services for District residents are disrupted.

The council unanimously approved the amendments, which were required by the D.C. financial control board. One amendment would make the council pause and think before further reducing the income tax rate for top wage earners in the District.

The tax plan, unanimously approved by the council last month, would reduce the rate for residents earning more than $40,000 to 8.5 percent, from 9.5 percent. The original language stated that if the city's finances improve, the council "shall" reduce the rate to 8 percent. The language adopted yesterday states that the council "may" reduce the rate.

The second amendment would halve the tax cuts, which would be phased in over five years, if the rate of growth of the gross domestic product falls below 3.5 percent, or 1.7 percent when adjusted for inflation.

VIRGINIA

Fairfax's 2nd-Oldest Town Gets Marker

Colchester, founded in 1753 as the second town in Fairfax County, is about to be recognized with a historic marker placed along Route 1 just north of the Occoquan River.

The marker, paid for by the county's History Commission, was one of 12 new or replacement signs for Fairfax recently approved by the Virginia Board of Historic Resources.

Virginia's historical marker program, one of the oldest in the country, numbers about 2,000 markers statewide. About 300 markers are missing, many of them destroyed in automobile accidents.

Colchester, established at a ferry crossing on the Occoquan, was located on the main post road from Boston to Charleston, S.C. The town prospered as a tobacco port and center of trade. And, yes, Gen. George Washington traveled through Colchester. Whether he slept there is one tidbit of history not noted on the new marker.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "The governor thinks it's a terrible shame. This runs completely counter to [his] intention, which was to provide a real and substantial savings for Virginians who want to send their kids to college." -- Lila Young, spokeswoman for Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III, on increases in housing and other fees by the state's public universities, sharply reducing the impact of a 20 percent tuition cut ordered by Gilmore and the legislature.