Montgomery Probe Ends
Officials Keep Results Secret
Federal officials have finished their preliminary review into alleged racial discrimination by the Montgomery County police department--it's just not clear what they concluded, or what corrective steps they recommended.
Bill Lann Lee, assistant attorney general for civil rights, has briefed top county officials on the three-year investigation, and the Justice Department is negotiating with county officials who hope to avoid federal sanctions by correcting any problems. Sources said some of the suggested reforms already have been made by the county's new police chief, Charles A. Moose.
But it's unclear whether the findings of the three-year investigation ever will be made public. Though County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) in an April letter begged Attorney General Janet Reno to speed up the probe that had "left a dark cloud hanging over" the police department, he took no action to dispel that cloud after the county received the results. Both Duncan and Moose declined last week to make the findings public. Many other county officials and civic activists say that's unacceptable.
"You've got a divided community right now," said County Council President Isiah Leggett (D-At Large). "A clear record would either undermine the charges or buttress them. Because this has taken so long, the public is due a thorough explanation."
Over the last three years, the Montgomery chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People referred more than 800 citizen complaints of racial discrimination to the Justice Department, chapter President Linda Plummer said.
Help for Struggling Students
Md. Requires Tutoring
In a move hailed as a "major culture change," Maryland education officials voted to require schools to tutor or provide after-hours classes for every child who is falling behind in school.
The plan imposes a new structure of mandatory and early remedial work for students who need it, but stops short of requiring schools to make those children repeat a grade.
Virginia and the District have taken similar steps. Last year, the District launched Saturday and summer classes for lagging students, and some school districts in Virginia are considering whether to hold back students who flunk the new Standards of Learning tests in elementary or middle school.
School representatives in Maryland say they like the plan, but they questioned where the $49 million for the program will come from. They're worried that they might get the bill.
Across the Region
Fed Ex Scores; Hospital Woes
* Now here's a scary thought: You missed Halloween. Rulemakers in Prince George's and St. Mary's counties decreed that witches, ghosts, assorted Pokemon characters and others should ply their trick-or-treat trade last night rather than tonight because it is, after all, a school night. But officials in Howard, Montgomery, Fairfax and Loudoun counties say you can go ahead and have fun.
* Sure, the Redskins are winning games this season, but can they deliver packages overnight? The team can leave that to Federal Express, after reaching a tentative, 27-year deal worth more than $200 million for naming rights to the team's Landover stadium. The deal could be sealed this week.
* If you're one of the 375,000 people who put themselves through the "Mixing Bowl" daily, brace yourself: The massive reconstruction project at the Springfield interchange may take even longer than forecast. Virginia officials, including Gov. James S. Gilmore III (R), pledge to untangle the web in eight years, as promised. But the official timetable has now been pushed up to 9 1/2 years.
* A man who stabbed and cut a co-worker 101 times at an Alexandria office in June 1998 pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in her death. Roy Greene Jr., 50, had been charged with capital murder, and the plea means that he avoided a possible death sentence. In return, Greene has agreed to say why he killed Mary Jean Wilcox, 44, of Annandale.
* Samuel Sheinbein will be eligible for parole in about 14 years, after a three-judge panel in Israel sentenced him to 24 years in prison for killing a fellow Montgomery County teenager two years ago. His lawyer says the sentence was the toughest ever imposed on an Israeli convicted of committing murder as a minor. Sheinbein, now 19, fled to Israel days after the death of Alfredo Enrique Tello Jr.
* Anti-gun activists in Takoma Park vowed to keep up their fight after a judge ruled that a referendum aimed at banning handguns in the town should be removed from Tuesday's ballot. Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Vincent E. Ferretti Jr. said the measure amounted to a straw poll, which Maryland doesn't allow.
* Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening doesn't grant early release to violent offenders sentenced to life in prison. But in a judicial end run around that policy, a Prince George's County judge ordered the release of Richard Wayne Buckingham, 52, who strangled a 7-year-old Laurel girl in 1972. Judge Larnzell Martin Jr. says the governor's policy was not in effect when Buckingham was sentenced and is not retroactive.
* Shady Grove Adventist Hospital is about to get a full work-over, after Maryland health officials said they found enough problems at the Rockville hospital to merit a closer look. "They have problems with nursing turnover and nursing management," said state regulator Carol Benner. "We are working to get them corrected."
* Perhaps Virginia state Sen. Warren E. Barry, a Republican, was just being generous when he gave his son $75,000 for his own campaign to unseat the Fairfax County sheriff. But the move didn't amuse the elder Barry's GOP colleagues. His son, Stan Barry, is a Democrat who's trying to oust Sheriff Carl R. Peed, a Republican for whom Gov. James S. Gilmore has stumped. Republicans think that some of the money they gave Warren Barry ended up in his son's coffers.
-- Erica Johnston
Library of Congress to Acquire King Collection
$20 Million Offered for 80,000 Pieces of Civil Rights Leader's Writings
Washington will soon be home to one of the most in-depth records of black political, artistic and intellectual life anywhere.
The Library of Congress has tentatively agreed to acquire 80,000 items, including drafts of speeches, correspondence and other notes, that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. kept in the last six years of his life.
The library plans to pay King's family $20 million for the collection, which would be the most expensive acquisition in its 200-year history. The items had been appraised by Sotheby's auction house at $30 million.
The papers will join an already remarkable trove of African American historical materials. The Library of Congress already houses the papers of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, labor leader A. Philip Randolph, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and the records of the NAACP and the National Urban League. And Howard University has one of the largest collections of African American archival materials in the world.
Dead Bird Signals Advance of Dangerous Virus
Migration Brings New York City's Killer Bug Nearer to Washington Area
Maryland has had a most unwelcome visitor.
A dead crow found near Baltimore's Inner Harbor tested positive for the virus that killed at least six elderly people in the New York City area and sickened about 40 other people. And scientists fear that the virus might spread as birds migrate south for the winter.
The West Nile virus, which is contracted through mosquito bites, usually does not become serious in humans. But in the elderly and seriously ill, it can cause encephalitis, a swelling in the brain.
For now, the potential problem may take care of itself, as mosquitoes disappear for the winter. The bad news is that the virus could survive the winter in dormant eggs and in mosquitoes that spend the winter in basements and reemerge next spring.
"The virus can survive from mother through eggs to the next generation of mosquitoes," said Cyrus R. Lesser, chief of Maryland's mosquito control section. "This is not unusual for [a] virus to be able to do this in the mosquito population." And come spring, he added, there could be a crop of mosquitoes "basically born with the virus" in their bodies.
The virus will "probably be here in the future, and we're going to have to learn how to deal with it," Lesser said.
CAPTION: The Kings embrace after a 1956 court hearing.
CAPTION: From left, Dexter King, Coretta Scott King, the Rev. Bernice A. King and Martin Luther King III have agreed to sell the materials.
CAPTION: Mosquitoes carry the virus.