THE DISTRICT

Candlelight Vigil for Cancer

Research Cancer survivors and the loved ones of many who died of the disease began arriving from around the country yesterday for a candlelight vigil tonight at the Lincoln Memorial.

The effort, organized by the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship and headed by Queen Noor of Jordan, is designed to highlight the need for more research so others can survive. Noor's husband, King Hussein, died of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma this year.

The vigil comes a year after more than 150,000 rallied on the Mall for the same purpose. At that rally, organizers pledged to hold smaller-scale vigils in succeeding years. They obtained a permit for a vigil crowd of 20,000, according to the National Park Service.

Activities begin at 4 p.m., to be followed by speakers and lighting of candles.

Marshland Restoration to Begin

Restoration of parts of the once extensive Anacostia River marshlands will begin in about a week, the National Park Service said.

The Army Corps of Engineers dredged the river and filled the original tidal marsh in the 1920s and '30s, creating Kingman Island near Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and Kingman Lake at the Langston Golf Course in Northeast Washington.

The engineers are now scheduled to reverse some of the earlier work and create 42 acres of tidal marsh in Kingman Lake and a seven-acre marsh in a lake between the Benning Road and East Capitol Street bridges, according to spokesman Earle Kittleman.

He said the marsh-building work should be finished by mid-March, when the annual fish migration begins. Between May and August 2000, aquatic vegetation will be planted in the new marshlands and monitored for five years to document environmental changes that occur, Kittleman said.

MARYLAND

3rd County Pedestrian Killed in 3 Days

Another Montgomery County pedestrian was struck by a car and killed yesterday, the third such fatality in the county in three days.

Margaret Sparks, 87, of the 1600 block of North Springwood Drive, Silver Spring, was killed trying to cross Georgia Avenue in the crosswalk at Colesville Road, county police spokeswoman Joyce Barrow said.

Sparks was struck by a car driven by Linda Guttman, 55, of the 14800 block of Notley Road, Silver Spring, according to police. Sparks died at Washington Hospital Center, they said.

The car was turning left from Colesville Road onto southbound Georgia Avenue about 11:40 a.m. when the accident occurred, police said. The accident was under investigation.

On Wednesday, a 66-year-old woman was killed crossing Wisconsin Avenue at Rosedale Avenue. An 82-year-old man was killed Thursday crossing Georgia Avenue at Henderson Avenue.

Howard Schools Chief Offers Budget

To accommodate an expected 16 percent more students in Howard County's schools over the next five years, Superintendent Michael E. Hickey has proposed a capital budget that suggests additions, redistricting and a new school. The plan would cost $246 million, with the county contributing just over half.

Most notably, Hickey suggested that the on-again, off-again elementary school proposed for northeastern Howard County be on again, and open in 2003. The school, lobbied for by parents who did not want their children to have to attend school in Columbia, had been slated to open this year but was taken off the drawing board because officials thought there would be enough space available elsewhere.

Given that the elementary school population is not predicted to top off until 2003 (previously the prediction was 2001), and since class sizes are being shrunk, "we're really going to need it now," Hickey said.

Hickey's budget cancels plans for a new elementary school in the west but includes 10 additions and some redistricting, starting next year.

VIRGINIA

School Evacuated After Spray Is Detected

A substance identified as pepper spray caused nose and mouth irritation to four children and eight adults at the Arlington Science Focus Elementary School yesterday, and the school was evacuated, county school and fire officials said.

Officials said the airborne spray, detected about 11:40 a.m., came from a device that could not be found. Under county guidelines for suspected release of hazardous materials, all 375 children were taken to Washington-Lee High School, two blocks away, where they had lunch and remained until the end of the school day.

Two adults were taken to Arlington Hospital as a precaution because their discomfort did not immediately ease, fire officials said, but they were not considered in any danger.

Woman Vies for Monopoly Championship

A Winchester woman is taking her Monopoly board and heading to Vegas.

Marsha Miller, 42, is going to Las Vegas next month for the national Monopoly championship after winning the Virginia state title.

Miller says she entered the state competition only at the urging of her husband. She says she's not any good at the game and agreed to compete on one condition--that she not have to go head-to-head against her husband because he always wins.

In the end, the mother of four took the state title and is now practicing and surfing the Internet for tips.

Panel to Advise State on School Exams

The Virginia Board of Education has appointed a five-member panel of testing experts to advise the board on the state's new Standards of Learning (SOL) exams.

Members appointed to the Board's SOL Test Technical Advisory Committee are: Linda Crocker, an associate dean at the University of Florida; Keith L. Cruse, a senior director at the Texas Education Agency; Ronald K. Hambleton, a professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Barbara S. Plake, of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; and John P. Poggio, of the University of Kansas School of Education.

The panel, which will hold its first meeting this fall, will make an annual report to the board on the validity and reliability of the SOL tests and present recommendations.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

"I apologize profusely."

-- Bea E. Hicks, Metro's chief operating officer for rail service, on the computer failure that delayed the opening of the rail lines yesterday.