City Running Late on Y2K Repairs The District is among 10 large U.S. cities that do not expect to complete preparing their technology systems for the year 2000 until the final three months of this year, according to a report released yesterday.
The General Accounting Office survey of 21 large cities found that only Boston and Dallas claimed to be ready for any Y2K computer problems right now, with nine other cities--including New York, Philadelphia and Houston--reporting that they would be ready by the end of September.
The District's chief technology officer, Suzanne J. Peck, told a Senate committee yesterday that despite the city's late start, she is confident that critical computer systems will be ready by the end of the year. She added that in case there are failures, the city is preparing extensive contingency plans, such as having police officers stationed throughout the city on New Year's Eve to take emergency calls in person, if necessary.
Worker Falls 80 Feet, Suffers Fracture A worker fell 80 feet from a construction platform on Foundry Methodist Church yesterday and landed on his feet on the ground, narrowly missing a sidewalk.
The 27-year-old man, who was not further identified, was admitted to Howard University Hospital with a broken bone in one leg, an injury that brought this comment from Battalion Chief Stephen M. Reid, a D.C. fire spokesman: "Somebody was watching over this individual. Here he was, working on this church, falls 80 feet into soft soil and pretty much walks away unscathed."
The worker, who was filling in cracks in a wall at the church in the 1500 block of 16th Street NW, was not secured with safety restraints when he lost his footing, Reid said.
The man was listed in good condition, and his injury was specified by Bonita Bolden, a hospital spokeswoman, as a fractured tibia.
Teens Hurt, Power Disrupted by Crash An early-morning crash trapped a teenage motorist for more than an hour yesterday and interrupted electricity for seven hours to 800 residents in a five-block area of Northeast Washington, officials said.
A car occupied by four teenagers went out of control about 4:25 a.m. in the 5100 block of South Dakota Avenue NE and hit a utility pole and a tree before overturning and trapping the 16-year-old driver, said Officer Kervin Johnson, a D.C. police spokesman. Minutes later, an electrical transformer at the top of the pole exploded, according to a fire department spokesman.
The youths, three age 16 and one 17, were in fair condition at Washington Hospital Center, authorities said. The driver was given a speeding ticket, Johnson said.
Metro Sued Over Child's Death A $10 million lawsuit was filed against Metro yesterday in U.S. District Court by the mother of a 6-year-old boy who was fatally injured in February when he fell between subway cars and was run over by a train at the U Street-Cardozo station.
The suit says Metro was negligent in operating the train and for not giving adequate warning that doors between train cars should not be opened.
The boy, Tyri Brooks Hammond, became separated from his mother, Sherreal Abdulwali, and boarded a train without her. In an apparent effort to reach her, he tried to exit one car and enter another. He fell between the cars as the train left the station. He died of extensive injuries several days later.
Metro officials said yesterday that they have no comment on the case because it is in litigation.
4th Legionnaires' Patient Dies A fourth patient diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease at a hospital in Harford County died yesterday, but there have been no new reported cases.
The latest death involved a patient admitted with pneumonia on June 28 and diagnosed with Legionnaires' on July 2, Harford Memorial Hospital said.
Four other people who were patients at the Havre de Grace hospital between May 1 and July 3 were diagnosed with the respiratory disease. Two died in June, and a third died July 9.
Despite the latest death, hospital officials think the spread of the disease has been contained. The hospital's water supply system was flushed with 150-degree water on July 3 to eradicate any lingering bacteria that causes the disease.
Naval Academy Shuts Building The U.S. Naval Academy closed one of its buildings this week after a routine check found samples of legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease, in the air-conditioning system.
The samples were found in the water in a closed-loop system that chills the air-conditioning system in Rickover Hall, which holds engineering classrooms and faculty offices. The infected water is not exposed to the air that circulates throughout the building, and academy officials said they did not believe anyone was at risk of illness.
However, as a precaution, they moved all activities from the building while the coolant system was cleaned and further tests were conducted on the water and air.
Singer Named to Fish and Game Board Entertainer and businessman Jimmy Dean has been appointed to the state Board of Game and Inland Fisheries.
Dean, who lives in Varina, is a country music singer best known for his 1961 chart-topper "Big John." He and his wife, Donna, have written a number that is among eight finalists to become Virginia's new state song. He founded the Jimmy Dean Meat Co. in 1968. That sausage business now is a subsidiary of Sara Lee.
Dean was among four men appointed to the board by Gov. James S. Gilmore III (R). The agency administers boating laws and sets policies to increase the supply of game birds, fish and other wildlife.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"It's time to end this breed in this city."
--D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), speaking at the funeral of a firefighter who died after being knocked down by a pit bull terrier. The council is considering legislation to impose tough restrictions on owners of the dogs.