Sholl's Cafeteria Saved

Co-Owner, Landlord Reach Agreement

Go ahead, have a piece of apple pie. Or a warm biscuit and drink of cool iced tea. Sholl's is here to stay.

After a months-long campaign led by militant devotees, the beloved downtown Washington cafeteria to the down-and-out and the up-and-coming won a new lease on life when its co-owner reached a deal with the building's landlord, which initially had sought a nearly 25 percent rent increase.

Co-owner George Fleishell said customers might have to pay a bit more for their meals, but "we can survive."

Which came as a relief to Victoria Palcho, 59, of Alexandria. "I was born in D.C., and there's always been a Sholl's," she said as she sliced into a wedge of Sholl's-made carrot cake.

Creative Recruiting for Schools

Md. to Seek Newcomers to Teaching Maryland's top educator is rewriting--or at least revising--the book on recruiting teachers.

Facing a statewide shortage of teachers and an insufficient supply of teachers-in-training, State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick wants to welcome more midlife career-switchers and young college graduates with no formal background in education. Last spring, Grasmick won approval of a $25 million package of signing bonuses, stipends and mentoring programs for new hires. Next year, she'll be asking state lawmakers for money for more bonuses and $15 million to provide almost all new teachers with a mentor during their first years.

Teachers union officials say that those who are new to the classroom often aren't prepared for its demands, but Grasmick said that the alternative-licensing programs keep the bar high. Among other things, teachers from the outside must pass a teaching exam, and they must take education courses once they're on the job.

"We're requiring a high level of performance expectation," she said. "We're not going to reduce the standards."

Onions Blamed for Evacuation

Smell in Senate Cafeteria Sickens 9

A bag of smelly onions was to blame for sickening nine people and forcing the evacuation of 50 from the Dirksen Senate Office Building's north cafeteria, officials said. But some workers, the office of the architect of the Capitol and onion experts say the explanation smells a bit foul.

Food workers and servers were preparing breakfast when the fumes were reported. A hazardous-materials team, an advanced life-support unit, doctors, four teams of paramedics and D.C. Fire Chief Donald Edwards responded.

"The haz-mat unit went down, and all the readings were negative," said Battalion Chief Stephen M. Reid, a fire department spokesman. "What they found was a bag of onions . . . and they just gave off a strong odor." Onion expert Irwin L. Goldman of the University of Wisconsin at Madison said that onions have to be ingested in order for a person to get sick.

"It wasn't a food smell," said Anna Lee, a cafeteria worker who was treated for nausea. "Onions do not smell like that."

Sprinkling of Drought Relief

But Showers in Area Are Spotty As the week went by, the drought, the summer's bane in the minds of many, showed almost no sign of abating.

Almost, because several places in the region were drenched by thundershowers. Many others weren't.

In Washington on Thursday night, the skies were electric, but most of the rain went elsewhere, and so far this month, only about a half-inch of rain has been measured at Reagan National Airport, about 20 percent of normal.

New Life for Old Haunt

Watergate Lookout a Dormitory

Students began occupying George Washington University's newest dormitory on Friday, hauling their belongings into the former Howard Johnson's hotel on Virginia Avenue NW that was one of the most famous inns in modern American history.

Room 723 was the site of a surveillance post during the famous 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters across the street in offices at the Watergate complex.

That room is to be used to house prospective students on visits to George Washington. Other rooms on the same floor are to house students chosen through an essay competition in which they told how Watergate changed their parents' political outlook--and by extension, their own.

The building is to house 362 freshmen.

Around the Region

TV Reporter Dies; Plea in Assault

* A former star athlete who was paralyzed in a 1993 high school playoff game died of heat exhaustion after his wheelchair got stranded at a park near his Forestville home. Dion Johnson, 24, a former standout at Frederick Douglass High School, had gone on to receive a college degree and begin a career as a television sports reporter. "I've never met a finer young man," said Rich Daniel, who worked with Johnson at WJLA-TV.

* The woman reached for the emergency lever in the Metro car, but the man reached her first, pulling her down and sexually assaulting her. "I was screaming," trying to alert people in cars ahead of hers, the woman said. "But no one could hear me." Ramananda Hamilton, 20, the Fairfax County man who entered a Alford plea in the May attack between the King and Van Dorn street stations, could face up to 10 years in prison.

* The 74-year-old man who walked into a Rockville high-tech firm in May and shot its president to death has agreed to plead guilty to first-degree murder. But Timothy Chang's attorneys say the McLean man suffered from brain damage that may have affected his reasoning, so some of his prison sentence should be suspended. Chang killed Tseyang "Jason" Chou, 51, and later told police that Chou had accused him of having an affair with his wife.

* When Mark A. Wade found a black box, wires and lights inside a suitcase in a Washington alley, he called police. They evacuated hundreds of guests from a hotel and sealed off the area for four hours, creating a traffic nightmare that stretched into Virginia. It turned out to be much ado about not much: The device was an acetylene torch. What did Wade, who is homeless, get for his vigilance? He was detained on an outstanding warrant for panhandling. A group of labor lawyers paid it off for him.

Pfiesteria May Be BackSymptoms Reported on Md. Creek

Is pfiesteria back?

Three people on the Eastern Shore have reported exhibiting the early, flu-like stages of exposure to the toxic microbe, and officials are telling people to use caution when boating, swimming or fishing on a 2 1/2-mile stretch of creek in Somerset County. Health officials have ruled out Pfiesteria piscicida as the cause of the symptoms in two of the reported cases and are still evaluating the third.

Microbes that appeared to be pfiesteria were found in three water samples taken from Back Creek last week. But so far, officials haven't found any dead fish.

"While there is no confirmation of toxic pfiesteria, Marylanders should use prudent caution in [that stretch] of Back Creek," said Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D). "There have been no indications that this occurrence extends beyond this very small, remote, localized area."

An outbreak of pfiesteria two years ago that sickened people and killed thousands of fish prompted Glendening to close several waterways leading to the Chesapeake Bay. Since then, new regulations require farmers to limit their use of manure and fertilizers, which are believed to promote the microbe.

Fairfax Team Rushes to RescueGroup Aids Search for Injured in Turkish Quake

Ayse Cesen's brother had brought a coffin to collect her body in the Turkish town of Izmit. Thanks to Fairfax County's disaster-response team, he didn't have to use it.

Two and a half days earlier, a devastating earthquake had entombed Cesen and others in the ruins of her apartment building. But as a backhoe began digging in the debris to excavate the bodies, Cesen, 43, called out, her voice muffled and weak.

Members of Fairfax's urban rescue squad, the A-team of U.S. disaster-response specialists, rushed to the site soon after arriving in the country. Seasoned by experience after bombings in Kenya and Oklahoma City, the firefighters clambered into the pit and got to work.

After more than four hours of painstaking chipping in which any false move could have sent tons of debris crashing down on everyone, the rescuers watched as Cesen emerged, ashen-faced and silent.

"If we can make one family happy today, we've had a pretty good day," said Capt. Dewey Perks, a Fairfax rescuer. "If we can make a lot of families happy, that's what we shoot for."