THE DISTRICT

Injured Firefighter Leaves Hospital

A D.C. firefighter who was critically burned in a May 30 fire that killed two other firefighters has been released from Washington Hospital Center, fire officials said yesterday.

Joseph A. Morgan Jr., who had suffered burns over 60 percent of his body, remained in intensive care during his nearly three-month hospital stay, officials said.

"I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart, because I could not have gone through this without the support," Morgan said in a statement.

Morgan had more than 10 skin graft surgeries and will continue outpatient therapy three times a week, according to the fire department.

The fire at a vacant Fort Lincoln town house killed firefighters Anthony S. Phillips and Louis J. Matthews. Investigations by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the fire department into the circumstances of the fire are continuing.

MARYLAND

State Doesn't Find Pfiesteria in Sick Fish

Fish with lesions have been found in creeks feeding the Middle River in Baltimore County, but state officials said yesterday the fish are alive and there is no evidence that the sores were caused by the toxic microbe Pfiesteria piscicida, which sickened people and killed thousands of fish in Maryland waters two summers ago.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) said "there is no reason to be overly concerned" by the sores on the fish because lesions can be caused by a variety of factors. He did urge people to eat only healthy-looking fish. State biologists will continue to test the fish, identified as menhaden, and take water samples. The governor said no toxic levels of pfiesteria have been found in the creeks.

Last week, Glendening urged boaters, swimmers and anglers to use caution on a portion of Back Creek in Somerset County after three people reported the flulike symptoms associated with pfiesteria. Two of those have since been cleared of exposure to the toxic microbe, state health officials said, and tests continue on the third person. Officials did not find toxic levels of pfiesteria in fish or the water in the creek.

Klan Opens Recruiting Drive in Frederick

Some residents of Frederick awoke yesterday to find Ku Klux Klan leaflets on their doorsteps condemning homosexuals.

About 1,200 one-page leaflets were distributed randomly around the city on Monday in a routine membership drive, said Oscar Klipp, a local recruiter for the Invincible Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

The flier, which asked prospective members to mail $30 and join the Klan, cited Bible verses critical of homosexuality.

The leaflet came on the heels of a fund-raising letter mailed two weeks ago by state Sen. Alexander X. Mooney (R-Frederick), who claimed that "militant homosexuals" were out to get him. Yesterday, Mooney called the Klan's propaganda "completely unacceptable" and said the group "should not exist in Frederick County." He added that all people, regardless of sexual orientation, deserve respect.

State Superintendent Reappointed

Nancy S. Grasmick, the state's superintendent of schools since 1991, was reappointed yesterday by the state Board of Education to another four-year term.

Grasmick, who is already one of the longest-serving state schools chiefs in the country, agreed to sign a new contract nearly a year before her old one is supposed to end next July.

The contract, with a salary of $119,000 a year, will run from 2000 to 2004. Her reappointment was confirmed in a unanimous vote by the board, which is appointed by Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D).

VIRGINIA

GMU Takes Aim at Teacher Shortage

Spurred by the looming teacher shortage, George Mason University has created a program to help uncertified teachers meet Virginia teaching requirements while on the job.

The new initiative, called Teacher Education Licensure Fulfillment, strips teacher preparation down to the state's basic requirements. Over a period of three years, fledgling teachers in the program will be able to acquire licensure equal to that of their traditionally educated counterparts, GMU officials said.

"We have had an enthusiastic response from school divisions," said Gary Galluzzo, dean of GMU's Graduate School of Education. "This is our way of addressing the teacher shortage issue. Before, these people would have taught for three years and then been terminated if they didn't meet state requirements."

Latino Public-Access Show Goes National

A Latino cultural affairs cable television program that got its start five years ago on the Fairfax County public-access system is going nationwide next month, officials said yesterday.

Cultura Latino Americana, a Spanish-language show that offers a mix of Hispanic music, art and cultural affairs, will begin airing weekly on the Telemundo Cable Network beginning Sept. 5, according to the show's producer. The show will appear each Sunday from 12:30 to 1 p.m.

"Telemundo gives us an opportunity to reach a much larger audience," said Percy Calderon, 42, of Falls Church, the show's executive producer and director.

Since Calderon started the program, it has since expanded to local cable systems in Falls Church and Arlington, as well as channels in Detroit and Calderon's home country of Bolivia.

Insurance Compromise Recommended

An advisory body recommended yesterday that Virginia insurers not be required to cover a radical fat-reduction procedure called gastric bypass surgery, but they should be required to make plans available to consumers that cover the procedure.

That was the compromise recommendation of the Special Advisory Commission on Mandated Health Insurance Benefits. The commission studies health-coverage issues for the General Assembly.

Advocates say the surgery, which shrinks the stomach, is cost-effective and the only hope for extremely overweight people who cannot lose weight by other means.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

The deal is "an absolute outrage," but "it's not a complete miscarriage of justice."

--Montgomery County State's Attorney Douglas Gansler (D) on the arranged plea of Samuel Sheinbein, who fled to Israel after the slaying and dismemberment of a Silver Spring youth. Sheinbein agreed to begin a sentence in an Israeli prison that could lead to weekend furloughs in two years and complete freedom in 14.

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