MARYLAND

Morella Decides Against Senate Bid

Rep. Constance A. Morella will seek reelection next year to an eighth term in the U.S. House representing Montgomery County, ending speculation among state Republicans that she might challenge Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes.

Morella, 68, said she seriously considered a Senate bid but decided against it partly because of the fund-raising burden of a late-starting campaign. In 1994, Morella also declined to challenge Sarbanes when polls showed her to be his strongest GOP rival.

"I had a feeling I would have to spend a block of time, four days a week, probably four hours each day," Morella said, to catch up with Sarbanes, whose last campaign cost $2.8 million. "It demonstrates the need for campaign finance reform," she said.

One of five GOP House members to vote against impeaching President Clinton, Morella has handily defeated a string of Democratic challengers in her heavily Democratic district.

Morella's decision leaves no prominent Republican in the field, although state Del. John Leopold (Anne Arundel) has voiced interest in a bid. Sarbanes, who is seeking a state record fifth Senate term, raised $663,384 in the first half of 1999 and has $704,639 on hand.

After-School Programs Funded

Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (D) announced 29 grants for after-school programs yesterday and convened a panel to forge a comprehensive, statewide plan to keep latchkey children busy and productive after school.

The programs that received grants are for fourth- through eighth-graders; they include activities in academics, art, violence prevention, social skills and community service. Their purpose is to keep children busy and productive at an age they are at great risk for delinquency, substance abuse and pregnancy.

In the Washington area, programs will be held at Walter S. Mills/Parole Middle School and Germantown Elementary in Annapolis; Laurel Woods Elementary; Gaithersburg Elementary; Leonardtown Middle, Milton M. Summers and Mattawoman Middle in Charles County; Morningside Elementary in Suitland; Parkway Elementary in Frederick; Woodland Springs Apartments in District Heights; and the Silver Spring Boys and Girls Club.

Sharp Division Over Dredge Dumping

A divided Maryland congressional delegation waded into the debate yesterday over dumping dredge spoils in the Chesapeake Bay.

A hearing on the proposal was held at the request of Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, an Eastern Shore Republican who opposes dumping the material at the so-called Site 104, just north of the Bay Bridge.

But the meeting was chaired by Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), an avowed supporter of the plan. He seemed to draw support from two Democratic colleagues.

"The Port of Baltimore should not be put at a disadvantage," Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) said after the hearing. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), who represents Baltimore, said that while he didn't want to do anything harmful to the bay, "I'm concerned about jobs."

The plan has provoked opposition from environmentalists and federal regulators who say it would harm water quality and aquatic life in the bay. State officials say that dredging is essential for the state's economy and that the environmental side effects of using Site 104 can be mitigated.

THE DISTRICT

Brazil Sees Benefits in Smart Hiring

D.C. Council member Harold Brazil is urging an aspiring police officer rejected by another city to apply to the District's police department.

Robert Jordan, of Waterford, Conn., was rejected by the New London police department on the grounds he was too intelligent. He scored a 33 on the Wonderlick intelligence test, the equivalent of an IQ of 125. New London, worried that smart police officers would get bored with the job, limited interviews to candidates with scores between 20 and 27.

Brazil (D-At Large) said yesterday he wrote to Jordan urging him to apply here.

Brazil said he would not offer special assistance to Jordan, if he applies, but would welcome him with open arms. "The District welcomes Mr. Jordan's intelligence," Brazil said. "He won't become bored with police work in this city."

Gore Touts After-School Web Site

Vice President Al Gore visited Lincoln Middle School yesterday to promote new federal government resources aimed at increasing the number of quality after-school programs available to youth across the nation.

Gore joined players and executives from the National Football League at the school in Columbia Heights to announce a new Web site (www.afterschool.gov) that gives information about programs and funding for after-school activities.

The vice president said after-school resource fairs will be held in cities across the country, including one in the District from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow at Eastern Senior High School, 1700 East Capitol St. NE.

VIRGINIA

Area Schools Make Most-Improved List

State education officials yesterday named schools that showed the most improvement last spring on the Virginia Standards of Learning tests.

Fairfax's Holmes Middle School and Alexandria's Francis C. Hammond Middle School were among the 25 most improved middle schools in the state. Alexandria's T.C. Williams High and Secondary Training and Education Program, along with Fairfax's Pimmit Hills, Area II and Area III alternative high school programs were among the 25 most improved high schools statewide.

"This improvement shows the standards can be met by our public schools," said state Board of Education President Kirk T. Schroder. "The credit goes to the students, teachers and other educators in these schools. I am confident that the next round of testing will indicate even more impressive gains."

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Because of your help, 1,200 kids won't have to cary trash bags with thare stuff in enymore. They will have a nice suitcausse. You made a difference today. Cincerley, Makenzie."

-- Makenzie Snyder, age 8, in a letter thanking the Freddie Mac Foundation for a $15,000 donation to her project of providing suitcases to children in foster care.--Page B1