Racetrack Proposed in Pr. William
Colonial Downs Holdings Inc., operator of Virginia's only parimutuel horse track, announced plans yesterday for a $20 million steeplechase track just off Interstate 95 in Prince William County.
The proposed track in the town of Dumfries would have only about 20 days of live racing annually, but it would feature an off-track betting center that would bring in an estimated $60 million a year, more than any of the four satellite wagering sites that Colonial Downs operates in Virginia, said Colonial Downs Chairman Jeffrey P. Jacobs.
Ever since Colonial Downs opened in New Kent County, east of Richmond, two years ago, Jacobs has said that a satellite parlor in populous Northern Virginia was the key to its success.
Local ballot questions on building off-track betting facilities have failed in other Northern Virginia communities in recent years. But voters in Prince William County approved a parimutuel track several years ago.
Jacobs said he will seek a license from the Virginia Racing Commission next month with an eye toward opening the steeplechase facility in the fall of 2000.
Fairfax Considers Editing Sex-Ed Tape
Fairfax County School Superintendent Daniel A. Domenech will recommend to the School Board this week that a sex education video shown to fifth-grade girls be edited to exclude a scene on boys' sexual development.
Some parents had complained that the scene in the video "The New Improved Me: Understanding Body Changes" was inappropriate for viewing by girls. Following the complaints and a review by a School Board advisory committee, Domenech has proposed that the scene be taken out of the version shown to girls.
The board, which had approved the video in 1996, will receive Domenech's recommendation at its meeting Thursday and vote on the proposal July 22.
Summer Jobs Program Exceeds Goal
Private employers helped the District exceed by 500 its goal of placing 6,500 young people in summer jobs, city officials announced yesterday at a ceremony kicking off the program.
But while the kickoff went forward, the first day of work was postponed because of the record heat. Gregg Irish, director of the D.C. Department of Employment Services, said the young people would nevertheless be paid for the day. Workers and their parents, he said, should listen for announcements on television and radio this morning to see whether they should report to work today.
Private businesses and federal agencies agreed to train and employ more than 1,000 of the 7,000 young people who signed up for jobs. More than $130,000 in private contributions paid for 90 young people to work in nonprofit agencies. The program continues through Aug. 6.
TB Diagnosed in 2 Students at NW School
Two students at Lafayette Elementary School in Northwest Washington were diagnosed with inactive tuberculosis at the end of the school year, prompting the principal, Sandra F. Bond, to advise parents to consider consulting pediatricians about testing their children.
The two children are not contagious and pose no threat to other children because the infections are inactive, officials said. Only after TB infections become active can patients spread the disease. Bond said it isn't known where the two children were exposed to the TB bacterium, which typically attacks the lungs when infections become active.
There is only one case of active tuberculosis in the District schools now, said Jeannette Hinnant, a public health adviser in the city's bureau of tuberculosis control.
Bond said the two infected students will take preventive medication for nine months. Pediatricians may or may not prescribe medication for inactive TV, depending on the patient's overall medical condition and other factors, Hinnant said. TB can almost always be cured with drugs--if patients follow orders precisely, experts say.
Inactive TB, which is diagnosed with a standard test, is not reportable to the D.C. Health Department, she said. Children are routinely tested for the disease by their pediatricians.
Lawmakers Urge Funds for Racetracks
Legislative leaders recommended yesterday that racetracks get $10 million in state aid, though lawmakers complained about the scarcity of details in the horse racing industry's plans to improve Maryland's four tracks.
The recommendation now goes to Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D), who has the final say in releasing the money to help tracks pay bigger purses to owners of winning horses.
Glendening said he will consider the Legislative Policy Committee's recommendation and meet with his staff before making a decision. He said the fact that the tracks submitted plans represents real progress.
The money was authorized during the 1999 legislative session. But the law prohibited the funds from being released until plans were presented for sprucing up tracks at Laurel, Pimlico, Rosecroft and Ocean Downs.
Walkersville Tap Water Called Safe
Tap water in Walkersville is now safe to drink, state and local officials declared yesterday, as long as residents follow the proper procedures for flushing out their home plumbing.
The procedures include running all water faucets for one minute, emptying all ice machines and flushing hot water heaters, dishwashers and other appliances. Restaurants must be inspected by the Frederick County health department before they can reopen.
Residents had been cautioned to boil tap water or use bottled water since officials discovered that a June 18 accident spilled nearly 900,000 gallons of sewage into the ground at a subdivision construction site.
The town has been receiving Frederick city water through an emergency pipeline. Walkersville officials, working with the Maryland Department of the Environment, had been waiting for the potentially tainted water to clear out of the system before allowing residents to resume using it.
Meanwhile, contamination remains high in the wells that supply municipal water, officials said. The wells are being pumped at a rate of 800,000 gallons a day in an effort to clear the contamination.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"Everything is running flat out."
-- Doug Burnes, control center operator at the Potomac Electric Power Co.'s generating plant in Alexandria. Both peak-hour power consumption and yesterday's heat set records.