Airport Authority Approves Dulles Subway
The regional airport authority unanimously approved a three-mile loop layout for a subway at Dulles International Airport yesterday to replace the 37-year-old system of mobile lounges, which ferry passengers between the terminals.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority also voted to conduct a financial review of each phase of the project, estimated to cost $898 million by the time it is completed in about 25 years, to ensure that funds will be available.
Airport officials said most of the money will be borrowed and repaid with user charges, in particular fees added to passenger tickets. The balance of the funding could come from federal grants.
Council Passes Communications Contract
The D.C. Council has approved a $4.4 million contract that is to ensure that the police department's computers are year 2000-compliant and will fund new communications systems, including a new non-emergency 311 number.
The council approved the sole-source, 16-month contract with Mitreteck Systems Inc. on an emergency basis after being told by council member Harold Brazil (D-At Large) that there was no other company that could do the work quickly enough to meet the end-of-the-year deadline.
The 311 system, which is intended to reduce the demand on the 911 emergency lines, should be operating by the end of August.
The council also agreed on Monday to hire a private contractor to maintain city police cars, which should save an estimated $1.18 million in the first year and allow 13 officers now involved in vehicle maintenance to return to patrol duties, Brazil said.
"I think we all agree that sworn officers should not be doing oil changes and brake checks on police cars; they should be using those cars to patrol the neighborhoods," Brazil said.
Latino Festival Set for Month's End
The 29th annual Latino Festival will be held in the District on July 31 and Aug. 1, the D.C. Mayor's Office of Latino Affairs announced yesterday. After the festival, based on an agreement signed yesterday, rival boards will enter binding arbitration to resolve a split that has existed between sponsors since the festival's longtime organizer died last year.
The event, which draws about 500,000 visitors a year downtown and is the region's largest ethnic festival, will take place at Pennsylvania Avenue NW between Ninth and 13th streets.
Longtime festival president and civic leader Eduardo Elias Perdomo died last August. Rival successors Carlos Perdomo, Eduardo Perdomo's son, and Francisco Pizzi agreed yesterday to serve as co-presidents of this year's event.
Two With Legionnaires' Disease Die
Two patients with Legionnaires' disease have died in a Harford County hospital, and officials are testing to see whether the hospital's water system was contaminated with the bacteria that causes the disease.
Harford Memorial Hospital confirmed yesterday that it had had four cases of Legionnaires' disease. One person remained hospitalized, and the other has been released.
Legionnaires' is a form of pneumonia caused by a common bacteria often found in air conditioning cooling towers, hot water tanks, whirlpool spas and humidifiers.
The first death at Harford Memorial occurred June 26, according to Tori Leonard, spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The state was notified of the death on June 29, she said. The second death occurred Tuesday.
Once a fourth case of Legionnaires' was reported, the hospital, at the state's recommendation, flushed its water system Saturday with 150-degree water to kill any bacteria, said Peggy Vaughn, medical director of Upper Chesapeake Health, the company that runs the hospital.
"We made the assumption that the bacteria was coming from the hospital, and we then undertook a super cleaning of the water systems in the hospital," Vaughn said.
Test results on water samples taken from the hospital won't be available until later this week, Leonard said.
Explosives Found After Apartment Fire
Firefighters extinguishing a blaze that started in a first-story apartment in a three-story building in Olney discovered explosive materials and firearms in another unit, a Montgomery County fire official said. The blaze started about 9:30 a.m. yesterday in an apartment in the 17800 block of Buehler Road and spread to the second and third floors, causing windows to burst, said Capt. Barry Reid, a spokesman for Montgomery Fire and Rescue Service.
After extinguishing the blaze, firefighters conducted a safety check in a third-floor apartment and discovered a homemade explosive device, materials to make more bombs, rifles, suspected semi-automatic weapons and ammunition, Reid said.
At 6:30 p.m., Montgomery police and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents executed a search warrant and seized the materials, weapons and a computer, Reid said.
Authorities were searching for the occupant of the apartment, Reid said early today. Damage to the apartment building was estimated at $125,000. A firefighter suffered lacerations.
Voter IDs to Be Required at Some Polls
Voters in Fairfax and Arlington counties will be asked in November to show identification at the polls under a pilot project being conducted by the State Board of Elections.
The two jurisdictions are among five counties and five cities that will participate in the experiment, which was approved by the General Assembly last winter as a way to prevent voter fraud. The other jurisdictions are Bedford, Frederick and Henry counties and the cities of Charlottesville, Colonial Heights, Norfolk, Roanoke and Virginia Beach. In the November elections for county officials and state legislators, voters in those localities will be required to show identification. Some acceptable forms of identification include a voter card, Social Security card, driver's license, military or student ID, employer card or passport.
Those who come to the polling place without identification will be allowed to vote if they sign an oath, subject to felony penalties for false statement, affirming their identity.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"The word is out that it's a job that has chewed up and spit out some decent and capable public health professionals."
-- Robert K. Ross, a California county health official who initially accepted the job of directing the District's Health Department but changed his mind last month.