Glendening Stands By Water Restrictions
Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) said yesterday that water consumption was down 10 percent statewide last week and that last weekend's thunderstorms helped--temporarily, at least--boost stream and river flows. But he said water restrictions should continue.
Yesterday's report, the first for a full week since Glendening issued mandatory water restrictions Aug. 4, showed that in Maryland's Washington suburbs, consumption was down 9 percent from the average August weekly use.
Nine major rivers and streams are flowing at only 35 percent their normal rate. That is up a little more than 5 percentage points from the previous report because of last weekend's storms. Rainfall remains about 12 percent below normal.
"While circumstances do not currently warrant any additional restrictions, I have asked the Drought Emergency Coordinating Committee to monitor every indicator carefully," Glendening said. "Every long-term forecast indicates that the drought in Maryland will continue."
Gaithersburg Sues Over Smoking Law
Gaithersburg sued Montgomery County officials yesterday, saying the smoking ban approved in March should not apply to the city, which is generally exempt from county law.
Gaithersburg officials said they have no dispute with the substance of the law, which bans smoking in county bars and restaurants, effective Jan. 1, 2002. Their objections are purely procedural, according to Fred Felton, assistant city manager.
The suit argues that the measure was illegally made to apply to Rockville, Gaithersburg and other municipalities within the county. The suit also alleges that Gaithersburg residents had no notice that the ban would apply to them and no opportunity to comment on it in public hearings.
Drowning Victim Was Fairfax Man
The man who drowned while swimming in the Potomac River just upstream of the District-Montgomery County border Tuesday was identified by Montgomery police yesterday as Bonia Hubbard, 19, of the 3800 block of Manzanita Place in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County.
The man, whose body was recovered at 7:30 p.m., had disappeared while he was swimming with friends about 4 p.m., police said.
Ex-Doorman Leaves It All Behind
When Eric Coley was fired from his doorman's job at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, he clocked out, then walked out the door and down Main Street to his car.
In his underwear.
"They asked for all the items they owned. They wanted everything, so I gave them everything--timecard, keys, pants," he said.
Rather than wait for a ride, Coley headed out the service entrance. "The devil was on my shoulder," he said. "I felt I just had to get out of there. If I had to leave Butterball-naked, I would have."
A hotel official called the idea that Coley had been forced out in his underwear "ridiculous."
"At no time would the Jefferson do that," said General Manager Joe Longo. "I think Eric left the hotel with what he wanted to wear."
Longo said he would have been happy to have the uniform returned at a later date.
Coley filed suit this week in Richmond Circuit Court alleging that the hotel fired him illegally last week for refusing to consent to paycheck deductions.
Longo had no comment on the lawsuit.
Lawyers Help Man Who Found Suitcase
Mark A. Wade, the homeless man who was detained by police Tuesday on an outstanding warrant after notifying them about a suspicious suitcase, is off the hook.
Yesterday, a group of labor lawyers from the National Labor Relations Board paid the $50 Wade owed for a December 1997 warrant issued for aggressive panhandling.
"It seemed to us that he deserves some recognition and appreciation," said David Seddelmeyer, president of the NLRB Professional Association.
Wade, 35, was detained by D.C. police Tuesday on two outstanding warrants. A D.C. Superior Court judge later let Wade go, giving him 60 days to pay the fine.
After Wade found the suitcase in an alley Tuesday morning, streets were closed and buildings evacuated for four hours in the area around 14th and K streets NW. Authorities later determined the suitcase contained construction materials rather than explosives or other hazardous materials.
Efforts to reach Wade through his mother yesterday were unsuccessful.
Monument Marks a Measure of Stability
In this city where positions shift routinely, satellite technology proved yesterday that at least one institution remains rock-solid: the Washington Monument.
The massive obelisk hasn't moved, settled or swayed an inch since it was completed in December 1884, new government satellite-based measurements show.
Seeking to give the monument "a space-age address," surveyors from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are spending the week using global positioning satellite equipment to determine its location precisely. Sure enough, the monument was right where federal surveyors last left it, when they used optical tools akin to telescopes to plot its precise location in 1934.
This time with newer technology, surveyors also got a preliminary measurement for the monument's height: 555 feet and 5.9 inches. That's four-tenths of an inch taller than the 1884 measurement the National Park Service uses, a result not of growth but of a change in measuring systems.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"When are they [officials in Virginia and the District] going to say we have a problem? At what point do the reservoirs have to hit before they see this is a problem? When they run dry?"
----Douglas M. Duncan (D), Montgomery county executive, calling for strict water conservation measures throughout the region.