G Street Near King Library to Reopen

A block of G Street NW in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. Library that was closed more than two decades ago in a failed attempt to create a parklike setting will reopen this morning.

The 900 block, closed to traffic in 1974, later deteriorated into a trash-filled refuge for homeless people. When MCI Center was built in 1997, it required the closing of another block of G Street, and city officials agreed to reopen the 900 block as a trade-off.

The District is paying $200,000 of the $1 million cost of reopening the block, with the Federal Highway Administration paying the rest.


Anne Arundel Cleared in $20 Million Suit

Anne Arundel County has been dismissed from another big-money lawsuit for the third time in a month.

The latest is a $20 million case that was lodged in federal court against the county and Andrew Rock, of Glen Burnie. Rock was a correctional officer at the county jail for nine years, until June 1997.

Rose Marie Cain, of Pasadena, claimed in her lawsuit that Rock had sex with her while she was an inmate and too heavily medicated to resist. Judge Joseph Young said Cain had not proved the county didn't protect her.

State Urged to Oversee Insurance Agency

A governor's panel is recommending that the state have financial oversight over an agency that sells workers' compensation insurance.

The task force recommended Thursday that the 80-year-old Injured Workers Insurance Fund be subject to scrutiny by the Maryland Insurance Administration. It said the agency should be made part of an industry-financed guaranty fund to protect policyholders in the event of a financial failure.

The state-created agency, which competes with private insurers, sells workers' compensation insurance and is run by a seven-member board appointed by the governor.

The task force said the agency should not be subject to the state's public meetings and ethics statutes. Officials of the agency had said that conducting their business in public would put them at a disadvantage with their private-sector competition.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) created the review panel in response to reports about a 1996 multimillion-dollar, no-bid contract the agency awarded to Statutory Benefits Management Corp. of Baltimore. The panel faced a Nov. 1 deadline to make its initial report to the governor.

Fired U-Md. Official Loses Court Fight

Phillip H. Farfel, who was fired as chief of the University of Maryland School of Medicine's family medicine department, has lost a court battle to get his job back.

Farfel claimed his constitutional rights were violated when he was fired in 1997. In a lawsuit last year, he alleged that he was fired in retaliation for statements he made as Baltimore's school board president arguing for more funding for the schools.

The university said Farfel's dismissal came after school officials decided they needed an administrator with strong financial and information technology skills that Farfel lacked.

U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis granted a motion last Monday for summary judgment in favor of the university.

Farfel was president of the school board from January 1989 to May 1996, while working at the university. In his school board role, Farfel was a plaintiff in a lawsuit that alleged the state failed to provide adequate funding for Baltimore students. That lawsuit led the General Assembly in 1997 to allocate Baltimore schools $254 million over five years.

Severn Woman Killed in One-Car Crash

A 48-year-old Severn woman was killed early yesterday when her car ran off the road and flipped on Route 3 in Crofton.

Deborah Lynn Drechsler, of the 7800 block of Walnut Tree Road, was driving north on Route 3 near McKnew Road about 3:30 a.m. when her 1992 Ford Mustang headed off the right shoulder and struck several mailboxes, police said. The car then ran into some trees and brush alongside the road and flipped. Drechsler died at the scene.

Anne Arundel County police said that the cause of the crash was unknown, but that speed did not appear to be a factor. The investigation is continuing, and the state medical examiner's office will perform an autopsy.

Crew Mistakenly Razes Aid Group's Office

A Baltimore Housing Authority crew demolished a nonprofit group's headquarters two weeks ago despite clear written instructions to demolish a building a block away.

The crew was dispatched Oct. 8 to tear down 13 N. Eden St., a city-owned property near the Flag House housing complex, according to Housing Authority spokesman John Milton Wesley. When the workers arrived, he said, they noticed the building had power, which led them to believe they had the wrong address.

At 13 S. Eden St., they found a dilapidated building without working electricity and decided that the Housing Authority had given them the wrong orders, Wesley said.

The crew destroyed the headquarters of the South and Southeast Development Organization, a nonprofit group that provides food and educational services to the poor.

Wesley said the city would pay to relocate the headquarters, but organization director Irona Pope said she wants the city to reconstruct her building.

Ex-Montgomery Warden Leads Prison

Maryland corrections officials have chosen a retired warden from the Montgomery County Detention Center to head the state's Western Correctional Institution in Allegany County.

Jon P. Galley, a former member of the Maryland Division of Correction, has served as a consultant on correctional issues to several states. He began work at the post yesterday at the prison in Cumberland.

In a second personnel move, a Connecticut warden was picked to head Maryland's Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover.

Robert Kupec, who ran three prisons for the Connecticut Department of Corrections, began supervising the Somerset County prison Oct. 14.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "According to Israel law, this is definitely a severe punishment. We respect the American court system, and we hope they respect ours. -- Israeli prosecutor Hadassah Naor, on the 24-year sentence given Samuel Sheinbein yesterday for killing Alfredo Enrique Tello Jr. in Montgomery County two years ago.