Moratorium Imposed on Big Projects

A divided Montgomery County Council imposed a moratorium yesterday on large commercial projects allowed to proceed under rules passed by a previous council that was more receptive to development.

By a 5 to 4 vote, council members decided to prevent commercial projects of 100,000 square feet or larger from being considered under "pay-and-go" regulations. Those rules, designed to speed the development process, allow developers to proceed with a project after paying the county a fee to cover preliminary costs resulting from increased traffic congestion.

The moratorium, proposed by council member Philip Andrews (D-Rockville), will last at least until November, when the council plans to revisit pay-and-go regulations approved by the previous council.

Also voting for the moratorium were Blair G. Ewing (D-At Large), Betty Ann Krahnke (R-Potomac-Bethesda), Marilyn Praisner (D-Eastern County) and Nancy Dacek (R-Upcounty). Opposing the measure were council President Isiah Leggett (D-At Large), Steven A. Silverman (D-At Large), Michael L. Subin (D-At Large) and Derek Berlage (D-Silver Spring).

Tainted Water Suspected in Illnesses

Frederick County health officials said some residents of the town of Walkersville are beginning to exhibit symptoms of exposure to tainted water after sewage leaked into ground water last week.

Following the spill of some 900,000 gallons of sewage in a June 18 construction accident, county health officials have received calls from seven people reporting diarrhea, nausea and other symptoms that could be caused by sewage-tainted water.

"Nobody's in the hospital. There's been no lingering symptoms. I think everything's under control," said Ellen Ristorcelli, director of the county health department's nursing division.

The county ran ads in the local papers over the weekend urging residents to call their doctors or the health department to report suspicious symptoms. Test results for the three or four people who have submitted stool samples to the county are not back, Ristorcelli said.

Company to Lease Naval Academy Farm

The country's largest producer of organic dairy products has agreed to lease the Naval Academy's 865-acre farm in Anne Arundel County, relieving the academy of a money-guzzling anachronism while preserving the area's agricultural and rural character.

The 10-year lease agreement between the academy and Horizon Organic Dairy, a Boulder, Colo.-based company, ends four years of debate over what to do with one of the Navy's most unusual assets.

"We're glad to be out of the dairy business," said Syd Rodenbarger, the academy's business manager. "Milking cows is not one of the core competencies of the Naval Academy."

The farm, which the Navy opened in 1911 to provide midshipmen with a safe source of milk during a typhoid outbreak, had no other customers besides the academy. In recent years, the Navy was paying as much as $2.30 for a gallon of milk that could be purchased from larger, commercial suppliers for less than $2.00 a gallon, according to Rodenbarger.

In 1997, Congress finally authorized the academy to get out of the dairy business. The last udder was squeezed under Navy auspices there Aug. 8.


NAACP Opposed to Robert E. Lee Picture

A giant picture of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that was hung then quickly removed from a flood wall in downtown Richmond continues to cause controversy. The NAACP announced its opposition yesterday to efforts to return the picture to the wall.

Four weeks ago, the picture of Lee appeared on the flood wall as part of the city's new Canal Walk project, but objections from African American leaders forced its removal. One city council member compared Lee to Nazi leaders. The NAACP, which also announced yesterday that its new state executive director will be King Salim Khalfani, took a more measured tone at a news conference at its headquarters.

"If the Lee mural is put there, what is their message?" said Marty Jewell, a member of the Richmond chapter's board of directors. "You're telling black folks, 'We don't want you in this development.' "


Report on Mayoral Aide Is Disputed

Sources in D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams's office disputed yesterday a television report that Warren Graves, the director of the Office of Intergovernmental Relations, is being forced out of his position.

The sources said Graves, a liaison between the administration and the D.C. Council, Congress and governments across the region, has the support of the mayor, who has said he would reshape his staff and those of other city agencies as part of a program to improve government operations.

There has been talk at One Judiciary Square that Graves is unhappy in his present position and may be looking to leave because some of his duties have been given to other mayoral aides. Sources said there have been several personnel changes in Graves's office that he may not have agreed with. WRC-TV (Channel 4) reported Monday that Graves might be forced out.

Graves is on jury duty this week and was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Hearing Set on Police-Latino Relations

A public hearing on relations between D.C. police and the Latino community, where testimony will include accounts of alleged police abuse, is scheduled for 2 p.m. today at the D.C. Council chamber at One Judiciary Square, 441 Fourth St. NW.

The hearing was requested by the Latino Civil Rights Center, an advocacy group based in Adams-Morgan that last year established a police task force to address police-Latino community relations.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "People are trying to make a comment: If they couldn't protect their children in life, they can protect their memory in death." -- Sherry Molock, an associate professor of psychology at George Washington University, on the elaborate stuffed-animal memorials in Southeast Washington marking the street deaths of innocent children and adults and suspected dope dealers alike. -- Page A1