A news item in last Thursday's Metro section misstated the availability of free pre-kindergarten in the District. Although all D.C. elementary schools offer pre-kindergarten for 4-year-olds, slots are limited and eligible youngsters are often turned away. (Published 09/22/1999)


Construction Accident Forces Evacuations

A construction accident on a television tower in Baltimore forced the evacuation of a nursing home and 200 houses yesterday and sent several television and radio stations scrambling to find ways to transmit programming.

A bolt holding a crane to the top of a 900-foot broadcasting tower snapped while workers installed a digital television converter, according to Baltimore Fire Battalion Chief Hector Torres.

Safety officials, fearing the crane, antenna or sections of the tower itself could fall, asked residents in a number of homes in the nearby Woodberry neighborhood to evacuate. The Alice Manor Nursing Home began evacuating residents.

As a precaution, WJZ-TV, WBAL-TV and WBAL-AM called for evacuations of their studios.

The situation forced WBAL-AM to temporarily stop airing advertisements and meant that listeners didn't hear yesterday's installment of the Rush Limbaugh show.

The problem also forced the Maryland Lottery to cancel its daily televised lottery drawings yesterday afternoon--the first time since the lottery's inception in 1973 that a drawing was not conducted on live TV. A crew from a Virginia television station videotaped the midday drawings.

Frederick Authorizes Study of Park Plan

The Frederick County commissioners took a first step this week toward creating a park showcasing Maryland's earliest dinosaur footprints.

They authorized a study of potential costs, benefits and drawbacks but stopped short of granting paleontologist Peter M. Kranz's request to clear about two acres of private land near Emmitsburg, where 200-million-year-old footprints of three ancient reptiles have been found.

Kranz said a park could be built for less than $100,000 at the site less than a mile from U.S. 15. It would attract people traveling to and from Gettysburg, Pa., less than 15 miles away, and create a triangle of fossil parks along with those the fund envisions near Laurel and Largo in Prince George's County, Kranz said.

The relics found in and around a quarry east of Emmitsburg are the only Maryland dinosaur footprints from the Triassic period, Kranz said.

They are believed to be the tracks of atreipus, a four-foot-long plant eater; coelophysis, a somewhat larger meat eater; and a prosauropod, the giant vegetarian ancestor of both brontosaurus and Astrodon johnstoni, Maryland's official state dinosaur, he said.


At Rally, Leaders Promote Mentoring

Area congressional leaders, school officials and sports celebrities, as well as D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) touted the importance of mentoring at a back-to-school pep rally yesterday for Everybody Wins!, the largest children's literacy and mentoring organization in the Washington area.

The rally at Walker Jones Elementary School in the District kicked off a new campaign to promote literacy and volunteerism in elementary schools.

The Everybody Wins! in 2000 Campaign will focus on bringing adult volunteers into schools to read one-on-one with students one day a week for an hour. The organization matches students throughout the year with local and federal officials, corporate and business leaders and others to promote and celebrate a love of books.

First-Year Teachers Win Sallie Mae Award

Teachers from Fairfax and Prince George's counties and the District are among the nation's 50 most outstanding first-year teachers selected for the 15th annual Sallie Mae First Class Teachers Awards.

The awards honor elementary and secondary school teachers for their superior work during their first--and often most challenging--year of teaching.

Charles Thomas Leighton Jr., a teacher at Jefferson Jr. High School in the District, William P. Thomas, who teaches at Kettering Middle School in Prince George's, and SooJung Kim, a teacher at Fairfax's Irving Middle School, will be recognized this week by Sallie Mae and the American Association of School Administrators.

Award winners will be recognized by their representatives in Congress in a special ceremony on Capitol Hill today. The teachers will spend an all-expense-paid weekend in Washington.


Norton Introduces Prekindergarten Bill

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) has introduced legislation that would encourage individual school districts to apply for federal money to start prekindergarten programs for 4-year-olds.

The "Universal Pre-Kindergarten and Early Childhood Education Act" would allow school districts to seek grants under Title X, Section I, of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Programs would be open to all 4-year-olds, regardless of income, and would be staffed by educators who meet the same qualifications as other teachers in that school district.

Washington is one of the few jurisdictions in the nation that offers free, full-day prekindergarten to all students. Norton said other school districts should follow suit, to capitalize on children's capacity for learning at a young age and relieve the financial pressures on working families seeking affordable, quality child care.

Inmates to Participate in Family Day

About 250 District inmates housed at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center will participate in the first-ever Family Day this weekend.

The event is sponsored by Hope House, an organization based in Youngstown, Ohio, dedicated to providing assistance and support to inmate families. Family members will be allowed to bring in home-cooked meals, and entertainment will be provided during the eight-hour event on Saturday. Only inmates enrolled in the drug and alcohol recovery program will be allowed to participate.

More than 1,700 District inmates are housed at the privately run Ohio prison.


"Snow is just stuff falling on the ground, but with a hurricane, you have stuff flying through the air and trees falling on you. I would rather have my child safe at home rather than trying to get home in the middle of it."

--Elizabeth Fields, of Fort Washington, on the approaching weather.

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