THE REGION

Threats Halt FBI Headquarters Tours The FBI halted the popular public tours of its J. Edgar Hoover headquarters building at 10th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW yesterday after the agency received "unspecific threats" against its facilities, according to spokesman Greg Horner.

The cancellation for an indefinite period will allow FBI officials to assess security and make sure the building is safe for employees and visitors, Horner said.

The FBI has offered the public tours since 1937, and they attract more than 250,000 people a year. The last time public tours were canceled was during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, officials said. Tours also were canceled during World War II, May Day observances in the 1970s and race riots in 1968.

C&O Canal Barge Back in Service

The C&O Canal barge Georgetown, heavily damaged in a September arson fire, has been repaired and is scheduled to return to the canal this morning, according to Earle Kittleman, National Park Service spokesman.

He said the barge will be placed into the canal by a crane about 8 a.m. just above Georgetown and then pulled by mules to its usual docking place at Water Street NW. Kittleman said the barge will resume carrying visitors along the canal in the Georgetown area July 31. No one was injured in the fire, and no arrests have been made.

A second barge, the Clipper, carries visitors along a stretch of the canal near Great Falls.

MARYLAND

Legionnaires' Disease Task Force Formed

A state task force will evaluate whether more regulations are needed to reduce the risk of infections at hospitals and workplaces from Legionnaires' disease, which contributed to the death of four people in Harford County recently.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene created the task force Thursday to determine what types of institutions should be regulated and whether mandatory testing of water systems, which often harbor the bacteria, should be required.

Of the four people who died of Legionnaires', three contracted the disease at Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace. The fourth patient is believed to have been infected at a Havre de Grace nursing home where the water system has tested positive for the bacteria.

"We're looking at risk reduction," said Georges C. Benjamin, secretary of health. "Legionella is everywhere. One of the things we have to decide early on is what do we test? Where do we test? Is there any new science that would change the way we test? Is there anything state-of-the-art that would improve our decision-making?"

Town Takes Offensive in Sewer Line Break

The Town of Walkersville has retained a law firm to help it recover costs from a sewer line break that tainted the town's wells.

David Severn and Danny O'Connor will spend the next month trying to determine what claims the town may have against those responsible for rupturing the line that dumped nearly 900,000 gallons of raw sewage into the town's aquifer.

"We have not determined any liability yet," Severn said. "That is part of what we were hired to do."

Workers were laying sewer lines at the site when the break occurred June 18.

Panel Approves Memorial Stadium Plan

A plan to replace Memorial Stadium, once the home of the Baltimore Orioles and Colts, with a senior citizen community and a YMCA has been approved by a development panel.

The Baltimore City Design Advisory Panel gave conceptual approval Thursday for "Stadium Place" to Marks, Thomas and Associates Inc., a nonprofit developer planning the $47 million project.

The senior citizen facilities would include subsidized housing for low-income residents. The YMCA would hold retail, commercial and office space and include outdoor playing fields.

The stadium is slated for demolition.

VIRGINIA

Suit Filed Over License Plates

The Sons of Confederate Veterans filed papers in federal court in Roanoke yesterday claiming that the state of Virginia violated its freedom of speech when it refused to allow the group's copyrighted logo to appear on special license plates. The logo is based on the Confederate flag.

Earlier this year, the General Assembly approved a toned-down version of the plates, with just the organization's name written across the bottom. Some delegates protested against state sponsorship of a symbol that some see as racist.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans have won similar cases in Maryland and North Carolina in recent years.

Study Begins on Midwifery Restrictions

Virginia's Joint Health Commission subcommittee has begun its study of whether the state should loosen restrictions on midwifery. The panel will conduct public hearings before making its recommendation to the 2000 General Assembly.

In the 1950s, Virginia had nearly 1,000 lay midwives who learned how to deliver babies outside of a traditional nursing or medical program. In 1977, the state banned lay midwives except those already practicing. Six remain, and only one is active.

Virginia now allows only certified nurse-midwives to practice. They must be supervised by physicians, most of whom allow delivery only in a hospital. There were 166 nurse-midwives in the state as of July 1998.

THE DISTRICT

Body Recovered From Anacostia River

A body believed to be that of a man was recovered yesterday from the Anacostia River just north of Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge, D.C. police said.

Sgt. Joseph Gentile, a police spokesman, said the body has not been identified. It was taken to the D.C. medical examiner's office to determine the cause of death.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"I went into the hospital to have an operation to relieve one disease that was curable and came out of the hospital with a disease that is not curable and that I can pass on to my wife."

--Cappy Young, who contracted the AIDS virus from a transfusion while he was being operated on to improve the circulation in his legs. Page B1