THE DISTRICT

Curfew Enforcement Begins Tonight

Beginning tonight, youths 16 and younger who are out after 11 p.m. could get a free ride to the nearest District police station. The police department will start enforcing the District's curfew law today.

The ordinance, passed four years ago by the D.C. Council, makes it illegal for those 16 and younger--even non-residents--to be on the city's streets after 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday without adult supervision. The curfew begins at midnight on weekends. Young people can return to the streets after 6 a.m.

District police said that children younger than 12 who are caught violating the curfew will be turned over to the D.C. Department of Child and Family Services. Older juveniles who violate the curfew can be ordered to perform 25 hours of community service. But the law is directed more toward reining them in through parents and guardians, who can be punished with fines of as much as $500 and be ordered to perform community service or undergo counseling. The law contains several exceptions, including emergencies, errands required by a parent or guardian, travel to and from work, and attendance at chaperoned school events.

The law, enacted with much fanfare in summer 1995, was in effect for 15 months before it was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal judge. That ruling was reversed in June by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal and an injunction barring enforcement of the curfew was lifted in August.

Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) and Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey delayed enforcement of the curfew until after Labor Day to allow word to get out through a public-education campaign.

VIRGINIA

Woman Accosted in Reston

A Reston area woman was accosted early Sunday while she walked in a neighborhood near North Shore Drive and Wiehle Avenue, police said.

Police said the woman, 31, was walking in Reston about 12:35 a.m. when a man riding a bicycle came from behind her and grabbed her arm. After a struggle, the woman got away and ran to a nearby residence for help, police said.

Authorities said they have not tied the incident to a series of sexual assaults that have taken place in the Reston area since September 1998.

MARYLAND

Baltimore Woman Killed During Standoff

Baltimore County police shot and killed a Baltimore County woman during an 11-hour armed standoff yesterday, officials said.

Baltimore County police spokesman Doug Irwin identified the woman as Tambra Eddinger, 40.

Irwin said Eddinger's husband called police about 4:30 a.m. from the couple's home in the Rodgers Forge community just north of the Baltimore City line, saying his wife was threatening to shoot him.

The husband got out of the home, but Tambra Eddinger, who was armed, held police at bay for 11 hours, screaming and threatening to kill them.

A SWAT team stormed the home and shot her, ending the standoff, about 4 p.m., Irwin said.

Man Files Suit Against Orioles Mascot

A New Jersey man has filed a $35 million lawsuit against the Oriole Bird, claiming he was roughed up by the mascot during a game. Vincent Minervini of Keansburg, N.J., alleges that the Baltimore Orioles mascot, Jeff Gartner, struck him with his tail, pushed him in the chest and took his property without permission.

In his lawsuit, Minervini says that two escorts, two policemen and an usher manhandled him and falsely arrested him during a May 1997 home game against the New York Mets. The Baltimore Orioles and the Maryland Stadium Authority also are named in the lawsuit.

Minervini is seeking $5 million in damages for each of the seven counts in the complaint. The suit does not say whether he suffered physical injuries.

Julie Wagner, the Orioles' director of community relations, said the team had no comment.

State Unemployment Fund Balance Is Low

With unemployment in Maryland at its lowest level in 20 years, you would think the fund that pays benefits to people who lose their jobs would be in great shape.

In fact, the balance has dropped to the point where policy makers have talked about hitting Maryland businesses with a surcharge to keep the fund at its state-mandated level.

With a balance of $790 million, the trust fund is not about to go broke. But that's close to the amount that must be on deposit on Sept. 30 to avoid triggering an assessment on all Maryland employers.

Money for the unemployment fund comes from assessments on all 129,000 Maryland businesses. The assessments are the only funding source for unemployment benefits. Companies pay assessments based on payroll and the number of people they have laid off the three previous years.

Theoretically, money flowing out of the fund should be balanced by money coming in. But only about two-thirds of the $360 million paid out in an average year is recovered directly, said Thomas Wendel, executive director of the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

The fund usually takes in $30 million to $50 million in September, and it will scrape by without a surcharge if the $30 million figure is reached, Wendel said.

Montgomery to Discuss Future of Farm

The Montgomery County Council's Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee will meet at 2 p.m. today to discuss the future of the James & Macie King Farm in Germantown.

A private group is raising money to preserve the 73-year-old remnants of a working farm, which sit on land planned for a soccer complex and other recreational facilities. The farm may be torn down if planners cannot find a way to make it part of the park.

The meeting will be held on the seventh floor of the council office building at 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Today's one of the most exciting days of my life. Ever since I was 4 years old I dreamed of starting college."

-- Gregory Smith, 10, on his first day as a freshman at Randolph Macon College.