Storm Causing Severe Shortage of Blood

The National Blood Exchange in Bethesda says the East Coast is experiencing a severe blood and platelet shortage because of Hurricane Floyd.

Fairfax-based Inova Blood Donor Services says it has an "immediate need" for all types of blood. The storm forced the operation to cancel all of today's scheduled blood drives. It's a similar story throughout Floyd's path, where some blood drives are canceled all week.

The widespread cancellations compound the problem because blood centers often share or trade during shortages.


Residents Nominated for Review Panel

Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) has nominated four D.C. residents to serve on the city's new Citizen Complaint Review Board, city officials said yesterday.

If approved by the D.C. Council, the mayor's nominees will oversee investigations into allegations of police misconduct. The last such body, the D.C. Civilian Complaint Review Board, was abolished in 1995 with a backlog of 770 unresolved cases.

The new panel will serve a supervisory function and won't personally look into claims of excessive force, harassment and discrimination by police, according to Marie Drissel, the mayor's special assistant for boards and commissions. Instead, the board will hire an executive director and hearing examiners to investigate the cases, Drissel said.

The four nominees: Mai Fernandez, deputy director of programs at the Latin American Youth Center in Columbia Heights; Patricia Fisher, a psychologist in private practice; Michael Sainte-Andress, an activist and retired training coordinator of AIDS education; and Michael Selmi, a law professor at George Washington University.

A citizens advisory committee reviewed more than 120 resumes, and Drissel submitted 12 names to the mayor.

Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey nominated Inspector Stanley E. Wigenton as the board's fifth member.

Wigenton, a former commander of the 6th District, is acting director of the police department's Criminal Justice Information Division.

Howard Philosophy Department Forum

Howard University's philosophy department will hold a three-day conference at the Blackburn Center on race and gender starting today that is aimed, in part, at stimulating high school students' interest in studying philosophy.

Lee M. Brown, professor of philosophy at Howard and an organizer of the 1999 Alain Locke Conference on Race and Gender, said fewer than 100 African Americans have received a doctorate in philosophy.

Locke, a prominent philosopher, was the first black American to win a Rhodes Scholarship and headed the philosophy department at Howard in the early 1950s.

Today's opening session includes students from Burke High School in Fairfax and Banneker High School in the District, Brown said.

The conference is open to the public. For more information, call 202-806-6811.

2 Injured as Ambulance Is Hit by Van

An ambulance carrying two accident victims was hit by a van yesterday in Northwest Washington, causing minor injuries to a firefighter and a paramedic, officials said.

The collision occurred at North Capitol Street and Michigan Avenue NW about 1:45 p.m., Lt. James Dugan said.

The ambulance, driven by the firefighter, was transporting patients from an accident in the 3600 block of New York Avenue NE, he said.

Dugan said the paramedic, firefighter and two accident victims were treated at hospitals and released. Storm conditions may have contributed to the ambulance accident, he said. D.C. police are investigating.


Religion, Basketball to Meet at Arena

Former Washington Wizard Calbert Cheaney, Hersey Hawkins, of the Chicago Bulls, and other National Basketball Association players will be "hooping it up" at US Airways Arena tonight to talk about how religion and the love of basketball have helped them lead better lives.

"Jammin' Against the Darkness," a two-day event sponsored by a group of professional basketball players and Washington area ministers, aims to spread Christian gospel through sports and entertainment.

Tonight's events include a spiritual "shoot out" basketball demonstration and concerts by Fred Hammond and the Radicals for Christ and the Newsboys.

Tomorrow, organizers will host a youth three-on-three basketball tournament on Pennsylvania Avenue between Third and Ninth streets NW. The Rev. John K. Jenkins, of the First Baptist Church of Glenarden, said more than 100 churches are participating.


Arlington Schools, Janitor in Dispute

A janitor at Arlington's McKinley Elementary School is being fired because of the odor in the school's restrooms, even though a consultant's report said the problem was inadequate ventilation, the janitor's attorney alleged yesterday.

Attorney Charles D. Smith said his client, Chi Trinh, who has worked 15 years in the school system, is being made a scapegoat for school officials' failure to make improvements in air quality. Arlington school spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said she could not comment on a personnel matter, but she said that Smith's account is a "gross mischaracterization."

Shutdown Postpones Release of Proposal

A shutdown yesterday of government offices in Richmond because of Hurricane Floyd forced the Virginia Board of Education to postpone until next week the release of several proposed changes to the state's program to raise school standards.

State officials have said that the proposals will include new accommodations for schools that fail to meet state targets on student tests but are close to the benchmarks and have shown improvement.


"You get all geared up to respond, and it's a pretty minimal impact. I mean, this was less than what a thunderstorm does."

-- Steve Strawderman, battalion chief with Prince William County's fire and rescue department, on Hurricane Floyd.