Heat Causes Rise in Bat Incidents

The D.C. Health Department is warning District residents about bats. Heat and dryness have contributed to a rise in the number of bat sightings in the District. As of yesterday, 60 bats had been captured this year in D.C. homes, and six of them have tested positive for rabies, according to Martin E. Levy, the city's chief of epidemiology and disease control.

"We've had no bites, but we've had people who have had to be treated because [they were] sleeping in the room where the bat was," Levy said in an interview.

Although it is very rare for humans to contract rabies from bats, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended in 1998 that a bat be tested for rabies if found in the same room as a sleeping person, a child, or an intoxicated or mentally disabled person. If the bat cannot be captured, the CDC recommends that the person be vaccinated against rabies. "The bite could be so small that you can't find it," Levy said.

Levy said residents who find a bat in the home should avoid contact with it and confine the bat to a room. Residents can report a bat to the department's Animal Control Facility at 202-576-6664 and obtain information on bats and rabies from the Office of Animal Disease Control at 202-576-7934.

Police Investigate Death in NW

Police were investigating the death of a man whose body was found yesterday morning on the living room floor of the house where he lived.

A relative identified the man as Ramon Zelaya, 37, of the 1200 block of Ingraham Street NW. Officer Kervin Johnson, a D.C. police spokesman, said the cause and manner of death were undetermined.

Zelaya lived in the house with an older sister, Ana Dillian Garay, her husband, Miguel A. Garay, and their 14-year-old son, according to Alfredo N. Garay, who is Miguel Garay's brother.

The couple and their son returned home Thursday night from a visit to their native El Salvador, Alfredo Garay said. The next morning, another occupant in the house woke up and found Ramon on the floor, Alfredo Garay said.

Zelaya came to the United States from El Salvador in 1985, Alfredo Garay said, adding that Zelaya fell on hard times and was homeless for several years until he moved in with his sister's family.


Young's Lawyers Seek Dismissal

Attorneys for former Maryland state senator Larry Young argued yesterday that charges of bribery and extortion should be dismissed because he was indicted in Anne Arundel County, and not Baltimore, where the 44th Legislative District, which Young once represented, is located.

They argued before Anne Arundel Circuit Court Judge Joseph P. Manck that Young's power as a legislator was granted him by the Baltimore voters who elected him and that he should be tried there, if at all.

But State Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli said state law requires that Young be tried in Anne Arundel County because Young exercised his duties as a legislator there. Manck's ruling is expected in a few days.

Young remains a popular figure in Baltimore and moving his case there could improve his chances of gaining sympathetic jurors. The former state senator, a powerful legislator during his days in Annapolis, was removed from office in January 1998 after the General Assembly's ethics committee found that he abused his office. He was indicted in December on bribery and extortion charges for his contacts with a Prince George's County HMO.


National Guard to Aid in Drought Relief

Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III (R) yesterday authorized the state National Guard to help bring hay and water to drought-stricken Virginia farms, officials said.

At a special meeting, the state's drought-monitoring task force said the greatest need was for help in bringing hay and water to places where they are unavailable, a spokesman for Gilmore said.

The spokesman said that Gilmore told state agriculture officials to immediately identify and provide donated hay and water for farmers in need.

Car Crash Kills Marine in Helicopter Unit

A member of the elite Marine Corps helicopter unit that serves President Clinton and other Washington dignitaries died yesterday morning of massive injuries suffered during a single-car accident in Stafford County.

Lt. Col. Mark Cwick, 41, was pronounced dead yesterday at 6:05 a.m. at Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, state police said. Cwick was critically injured Thursday night when he lost control of his 1990 Mazda Miata convertible on Route 3, near his home.

Police said Cwick's car went off the road, overturned and struck several trees after he swerved to avoid a vehicle that had moved in front of his car.

Cwick was a member of HMX-1, the Marine helicopter squadron that transports high-ranking government officials.

Underachieving Dragon Put Up for Sale

For sale: Fire-breathing dragon, 150 feet tall, can run 60 mph.

After six years in operation, the rough-riding, relatively unpopular Drachen Fire roller coaster at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg has been closed and is on the market.

The coaster could bring $4.5 million, according to one broker, although the park would not confirm an asking price. The second-hand business for roller coasters and other rides has grown because developing rides is expensive. Industry officials say a new coaster can cost from $500,000 to $30 million.

Park spokeswoman Deborah DeMarco acknowledged that the Drachen Fire ride didn't draw crowds. It had a good safety record, but operations and maintenance costs probably led to the decision to close it, she said.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Last year was bad, but this is the worst I've ever seen it. If we don't hurry up and get some rain, the others will have to go, too." -- Charles Light, a Loudoun farmer who shipped 91 of his roughly 150 cattle to auction this week because of a drought that has forced area farmers to sell hundreds of cattle that can't survive on parched pastures.