VIRGINIA

Wilson Bridge Jumper Revisits Scene

A man who jumped from the Woodrow Wilson Bridge a year ago returned yesterday, with a police escort, to mark the anniversary.

On Nov. 4, 1998, Ivin Pointer spent five hours threatening to jump from the bridge that links Alexandria and Prince George's County along the Capital Beltway. Traffic backed up for miles during his standoff with police.

The 33-year-old Alexandria resident had announced his plans to return, and this time, police were ready. Alexandria police coordinated with authorities from Maryland, the District and the U.S. Park Police.

Pointer agreed to meet with Alexandria police at an Old Town gasoline station yesterday afternoon. An officer then accompanied him to Jones Point Park, under the Virginia side of the bridge. Once there, officers kept their distance as Pointer walked around and posed for television camera crews. Bridge traffic was not affected.

Amy Bertsch, an Alexandria police spokeswoman, said police coordinated their efforts so that if Pointer did try to set foot on the bridge, he would be arrested. Officers were posted at each end of the span, she said.

"If he made it onto the bridge span, there was also some concern that motorists would take action and harm him," Bertsch said.

Wealthy Applicants Qualified, U-Va. Says

Wealthy applicants to the University of Virginia who were admitted to the school this year had academic credentials similar to the entering class as a whole, according to statistics released this week.

Last week, school officials acknowledged that U-Va. gives a special review to undergraduate applicants who have received influential recommendations or whose parents are wealthy enough to make a large gift to the school.

The admissions system, in use since the 1970s, flags the special applicants for a personal review by John A. Blackburn, the school's dean of admissions. Officials said any special consideration occurs only after admissions officers screen applications for their academic potential.

Figures released by the university this week show that the 193 applicants offered admission from the special list this year had an average SAT score of 1,300, compared with 1,344 for the 5,588 applicants offered admission overall.

Grade-point averages also were close. In 1999, students on the special list who accepted offers to enroll had an average 3.7 GPA in high school, compared with 3.78 for the entering class as a whole.

MARYLAND

Tug of War Over Connector Signs

Montgomery County Council member Derick Berlage asked county transportation officials yesterday to begin removing signs marking the roughly 19-mile proposed route of the intercounty connector highway.

In a memo to Transportation Director Albert J. Genetti Jr., Berlage noted that Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) has killed the project and that the council has asked the County Planning Board to erase the road from its maps after five decades.

"And finally, the signs list a phone number that no longer rings in an ICC study office," wrote Berlage (D-Silver Spring). "I hope you will move expeditiously to remove these signs which are misleading and no longer serve a useful purpose."

But Genetti works for County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D), who supports the road that would link Interstate 270 and Interstate 95 north of the Capital Beltway. David Weaver, Duncan's spokesman, said the 58 signs will probably stay.

"We're not of the belief that the ICC is dead," Weaver said. "As long as there is right of way still owned by the state and county, we're hopeful we'll build a road."

THE DISTRICT

Man, 70, Dies in Fall After Exiting Bus

A 70-year-old man died yesterday after he got off a Metro bus in Chinatown and fell to the pavement alongside the bus, striking his head on the ground, Metro officials said.

D.C. police are investigating the accident, which occurred at 9:11 a.m. at Seventh and H streets NW. Metro spokesman Ray Feldmann said the passenger left the X-2 bus through the back door, and witnesses said the man lost his balance and fell to the ground alongside the vehicle.

"We still don't know what caused him to fall," Feldmann said. "He sustained head injuries--whether he got that from hitting the curb or the pavement, we don't know. The bus did not run over him."

The driver--a 20-year veteran--had checked his mirrors and pulled away from the curb when some of the passengers in the back of the bus told him the man was lying in the street between the curb and the bus tires, Feldmann said.

The man, who was not immediately identified, died at George Washington University Hospital shortly after noon, Feldmann said. He said the bus driver received a mandatory drug and alcohol test and will not get behind the wheel again until those results are known. The bus was taken out of service, and the 15 passengers aboard were picked up by another bus, Feldmann said.

Needle Issue Holds Up D.C. Budget

The fate of the District's budget was hung up yesterday over a dispute about the distribution of free needles to drug addicts.

Late Wednesday, the Senate passed a new version of the District budget designed to win President Clinton's support. That bill included a provision allowing private clinics such as Whitman-Walker to distribute needles to drug addicts without losing their federal funds for other programs.

Earlier Wednesday, the House approved its new version of the $4.7 billion D.C. spending plan, but lawmakers banned private clinics from distributing needles. White House budget officials said they would recommend that the president veto that bill. The president has said he would sign a bill like the Senate's if it were sent to him.

A committee of lawmakers from both houses was appointed to resolve the matter. The needles curb the spread of HIV and AIDS, medical experts say. But some House Republicans believe the needle exchange program encourages drug abuse.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "The chlorine building is one building that should

have all of its alarms functioning at all times.... Failure to correct this problem could lead to death or serious injury, along with certain legal liabilities." -- A memorandum from a consultant's technician reporting that an alarm indicating the release of toxic chlorine gas had been disconnected at the District's sewage treatment plant, which holds one of the region's largest supplies of toxic chemicals.