City Offers Help for Cooling Down
The District reopened its six cooling centers yesterday for elderly residents, young people and others who needed a place to cool off, as the heat and humidity approached dangerous levels.
Craig Kirby, deputy director of the D.C. Emergency Management Agency, said the heat index--the combination of heat and humidity--reached 105 degrees in the District, two degrees short of the level required for an official heat emergency to be declared. However, Kirby said, the agency "braced" for yesterday's heat by obtaining 100 electrical fans, which the city's energy department had purchased using emergency funds President Clinton has made available to northeastern cities to handle the recurring heat. By last night, no one had yet requested the fans, Kirby said.
Canal Complicates Work in Cumberland
Officials in Cumberland are wondering what to do with century-old remnants of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal that were discovered recently buried beneath a proposed construction site.
The discovery has slowed progress on the $80 million Canal Place, a downtown tourist attraction.
One possible solution is to destroy the artifacts in the project's path after documenting them so future visitors can read about them.
Another option is to avoid them by redesigning the project's central feature, which is a basin in a section of the old canal that's deep enough to float a replica barge.
Project developers are for the first course of action, but historical preservationists favor moving part of the project. Cost will be the deciding factor.
Visiting Rules Blocked at Public Housing
A federal judge has ruled that the Frederick Housing Authority cannot enforce a policy against unaccompanied visitors to public housing complexes, saying it harmed tenants' right to have guests.
U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake ordered Frederick police to stop arresting visitors except those who were on the trespass log because of violent or drug-related activity committed on Housing Authority property. Blake rejected claims by police and others that the anti-trespass policy curbed drugs and other crimes in public housing.
Last year, the Frederick Housing Authority policy was attacked in a federal civil rights action, which asked for an injunction barring its enforcement.
Teresa Ham, executive director for the housing authority, refused to comment on the ruling. Capt. Harold Domer, of the Frederick Police Department, which also is named in the lawsuit, said officials will discuss a new strategy to suppress crime in the public housing.
Legionella Bacteria Found at Care Center
Legionella bacteria has been found at a nursing home in Harford County one day after the death of a former resident who had symptoms of Legionnaires' disease.
The discovery at Citizens Care Center was the first evidence that recent exposure to the Legionnaires' disease bacteria, linked to four deaths in the area, was not confined to Harford Memorial Hospital, where the victim was taken.
Legionellosis is a bacterial infection that can cause mild respiratory illness or severe pneumonia that can lead to death. The disease is spread by water droplets in the air, and the bacteria can develop in air conditioners, whirlpools, spas and showers.
Jellyfish Return, Late, Off Hampton Roads
Jellyfish, which usually begin appearing in the water off Hampton Roads in early to mid-June, are making a later-than-usual appearance this summer, apparently because of the weather along Virginia's shore. A higher-than-average number of cool days may have slowed the warming of the waters.
Jon Lucy, a marine recreation specialist for the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, said jellyfish are in waters year-round, but it is only during their reproductive phase that they present a problem to swimmers. That's because the reproductive phase for jellyfish is also when they can put a hurt on swimmers.
Lucy said Buckroe Beach in Hampton and Oceanview off Willoughby Bay in Norfolk have the most jellyfish in southern Virginia because the water in those areas is warmer. Jennifer Mandeville, a lifeguard at Buckroe Beach, said two swimmers came to her Friday night complaining of having been stung by jellyfish.
Jury to Decide Whether to Remove Sheriff
A jury has been selected to decide whether to remove from office the York County sheriff, who was convicted of assault and battery after a female employee said he sexually assaulted her.
Sheriff Press Williams, 72, did not have to resign as sheriff under state law because the convictions are misdemeanors. But more than 1,700 registered voters signed a petition seeking his ouster. Five men and three women were selected Friday to serve as seven jurors and an alternate in the civil trial over the petition, and opening arguments are scheduled for tomorrow.
"This seems to be an exercise in sheer cussedness to me," defense attorney Richard Brydges said. He noted that Williams's term expires Dec. 31, and the sheriff will not run again.
At Williams's trial, the employee testified that he fondled her. In April, he entered into a plea agreement on charges of assault and battery. The agreement called for a $4,000 fine and a suspended 12-month jail term.
Agencies Feud Over Water for Tidewater
A federal report that found the Virginia Peninsula's future need for water was overestimated is "grossly flawed and badly executed," the director of the Newport News Waterworks said Friday after the waterworks submitted a formal response to the report.
"It is contrary to federal law, federal and state water-supply policy," Brian Ramaley said of the study by the Institute of Water Resources, part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The study concluded that the Peninsula will need about 17 million gallons of water a day by 2040, about half the waterworks' estimate of 33 million gallons. The corps has tentatively denied a permit necessary for the $150 million King William Reservoir the city and state viewed as a solution.
The state already has granted a permit for the reservoir, and local officials on Friday painted a picture of a federal government at odds with the state.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"Hibbs Bridge has become a manhood issue with VDOT. They have to prove that they're in charge."
-- Loudoun County Supervisor James G. Burton (I-Mercer), on a dispute between Virginia transportation officials and some Loudoun residents over a proposal to dismantle an aging, historic stone bridge and widen the road.