Man Saved From Lions' Den Moat at Zoo

A man jumped into a moat at the lion exhibit at the National Zoo yesterday but was pulled out unharmed while the three lions were quickly taken indoors, a zoo spokesman said. Robert Hoage said the man was taken into custody by zoo police and was handed over to D.C. police, who took him to D.C. General Hospital for evaluation.

Hoage said witnesses told authorities that about 4:30 p.m., the man scaled a 6 1/2-foot wall to reach a roof and then jumped about 20 feet into the moat, which is filled with water as deep as eight feet.

A zoo police officer threw a life ring to the man, who appeared to be treading water, and zookeepers quickly lured the three lions indoors where they are fed, Hoage said. The lions, which had been at the other end of the exhibit from the man, "certainly took notice of the man," Hoage said, but they "were more interested in going inside."

However, the last of the lions "took a long, hard look at the man," and a zoo police officer fired his handgun into the ground behind the lion to encourage it to go inside, Hoage said.

Hoage said the man is a District resident, but he was not otherwise identified. Hoage said federal law prohibits the crossing of a zoo safety barrier.

In 1995, in what was ruled an apparent suicide, a woman who claimed she was either Jesus or his sister was found dead in the exhibit, mauled by two lions.

City to Update Child-Support System

The District government will spend $32 million in the next five years to replace its child-support enforcement system, so it can interact with the federal government's computer networks and ensure accurate distribution of the more than $40 million in child support collected each year.

Part of the work will be repairs to ensure that computers do not malfunction on Jan. 1, 2000, and disrupt the mailing of 5,000 checks each week to District families. The city is paying the contractor, Tier Technologies Inc., an extra $72,000 to accelerate these late-starting year 2000 repairs, scheduled to be complete by the end of October.


Arlington Reduces Lanes on Major Roads

The Arlington County Board adopted measures yesterday designed to make streets safer for pedestrians.

Two of the county's major arteries--Clarendon and Wilson boulevards, which are paired, one-way streets--will be reduced to two lanes each. The existing third lane in each boulevard will become metered parking.

Board members said the change would help pedestrians by slowing traffic and would have side benefits of increased county revenue and needed parking.

Other changes approved by the board include adjustments of traffic signals, conversions of two city blocks to one-way streets and the addition or expansion of traffic islands.

Seafood Warehouse Proposed in Melfa

A proposed $3 million giant freezer and warehouse at Melfa on Virginia's Eastern Shore would allow watermen to preserve some of their catch and maximize profits by selling the product later, officials and watermen say.

Jim Stern, general manager of the Eastern Shore Marketing Cooperative, said the warehouse could help watermen expand to international markets.

The cooperative will ask the General Assembly for funding for the warehouse in 2000, Stern said.

Peregrine Chicks Tagged for Tracking

Conservationists have attached identification bands to two rare peregrine falcon chicks as part of an ongoing program to track efforts to reestablish the endangered species in Virginia.

The banding took place last week atop a tower on the Benjamin Harrison Bridge near the James River National Wildlife Refuge, home to the largest summer bald eagle roost on the East Coast.

The female chicks are among the estimated 20 peregrine falcons that have hatched this year in Virginia, down from 30 a year ago. This is the second year that chicks have hatched on the bridge. By September, the chicks likely will leave the nest for good.


Brandywine Man Killed on Route 301

A 66-year-old Brandywine man was killed early yesterday morning when he lost control of his pickup truck after it was rear-ended by a car on Route 301 in Prince George's County.

Maryland State Police said Richard Alexander Swain Sr. was driving south near Cedarville Road in Brandywine about 1:30 a.m. when his Chevrolet truck was struck by a Mazda 626.

Swain's truck overturned several times in a roadside culvert. Swain was pronounced dead about an hour later at Prince George's Hospital Center.

The driver of the Mazda fled the scene but was apprehended by officers, police said. The driver was released and has not been charged. Police said they were investigating.

Collision Kills 2, Injures 1 in St. Mary's

Two drivers were killed and a passenger was seriously injured when their cars collided head-on in rural St. Mary's County yesterday morning.

Sheriff's department officers said an eastbound driver on Route 234 near Chaptico crossed the center line about 6:20 a.m., striking a car headed in the opposite direction. Both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene, while a passenger in the westbound car was flown to Prince George's Hospital Center in serious condition.

The sheriff's department would not release the victims' names until relatives had been notified. The driver and passenger from the westbound car were from out of state, officials said.

Dozens of Fans Arrested at Phish Concert

Dozens of fans of the rock band Phish were charged with criminal violations at an outdoor concert by the group at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia on Friday night.

Howard County police said that 35 adults and two minors were arrested at the concert, mostly for drug violations, while 40 others were cited for alcohol violations. Police also arrested 10 other people near the concert site or on their way to the show. They were cited for drug violations, indecent exposure or speeding.


"If you came up and saw my house, would you buy it? You'd see all that is going on here and you'd want no part of it."

-- Theresa Carter, on deterioration in her Prince William County neighborhood, where a woman was beaten to death recently.