THE DISTRICT

Out-of-State Tuition Help Becomes Law

President Clinton signed legislation yesterday allowing District of Columbia residents to attend colleges in Virginia and Maryland at in-state tuition rates.

"This act helps to level the playing field for the young people of the District of Columbia by expanding opportunities for affordable higher education," Clinton said.

The law allows the federal government to pay the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition at public colleges in Maryland and Virginia. Clinton sought $17 million in this fiscal year's budget to improve access to higher education for residents of the nation's capital.

The new law authorizes grants of up to $2,500 a year, with a $12,500 maximum, to District residents who choose to attend colleges and universities in the Washington area, including private colleges in Maryland and Virginia that have historically attracted black students.

Washington's mayor, who will administer the program, could establish priorities on tuition and fee payments based on income and need of eligible students.

Forum on Foster Care, Adoption Planned

The D.C. Child and Family Services Agency will hold its second annual Foster and Adoptive Parents Conference at the Blackburn Center at Howard University from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday.

Under a new federal law, children who have been in foster care for 15 of the past 22 months must be moved into a permanent home.

"The intent is to prevent a child from spending a lifetime drifting in foster care," said Maureen Hogan, executive director of Adopt America Advocates, a group that promotes permanent homes for children in foster care.

The conference will include workshops on parenting, foster care recruitment and services to help grandparents raise children.

MARYLAND

Forecaster Enlists Woolly Bear Caterpillar

Frank Leiter kneels on his concrete patio and solemnly waits for a marble-size ball of black-and-brown fur to uncurl and reveal its secrets.

It's a woolly bear caterpillar, black on both ends, rusty brown in the middle.

"You see how wide this front is?" he says, indicating the first black band. "That means you're going to have a bad beginning of the winter. And the back is smaller. That means the end of the winter isn't going to be as bad."

The National Weather Service disagrees, but never mind. This is folklore, not science.

Leiter is the woolly bear weather forecaster for "J. Gruber's Hagers-Town Town and Country Almanack," where tradition is everything and track records are ignored.

Landing Damages Training Helicopter

A helicopter with two Navy pilots aboard was damaged yesterday in what officials called a "hard landing" at a Navy aviation installation at St. Inigoes in St. Mary's County.

The incident occurred about 3:30 p.m. as the UH-60 helicopter operated by two pilots from the U.S. Naval Test Pilots School at Patuxent River Naval Air Station was landing at Webster Field at St. Inigoes, according to John Romer, a spokesman for the Patuxent River base.

One of the pilots, whom authorities did not identify yesterday, was taken to St. Mary's Hospital in Leonardtown for treatment. The second pilot did not require treatment.

The extent of the damage to the UH-60, an Army helicopter assigned to the school, was being determined by a Navy investigation team, Romer said last night.

VIRGINIA

Fairfax Rescue Team Prepares for Turkey

The Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue Team was assembling last night in preparation for flying to Turkey this morning to help search for victims of an earthquake east of Istanbul that has been blamed for more than 120 deaths, officials said.

The team had gone to Turkey in August after a previous earthquake. On that deployment, team members extricated four survivors from damaged structures.

County fire department Capt. Gregory McIntosh said the flight carrying the team was expected to take off about 4 a.m., possibly from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

Judge Allows License Plate Suit

A federal judge in Roanoke refused yesterday to throw out a lawsuit seeking to force the state to issue specialty license plates featuring a Confederate flag logo.

Judge Jackson Kiser said he will hear arguments in the case if the Sons of Confederate Veterans file an affidavit stating that at least 350 members would be willing to buy a plate with the organization's logo.

Robert Barbour, Virginia commander of the SCV, told reporters that the group will have no trouble finding 350 buyers among its 3,000 members. The General Assembly must approve specialty plates, but the Department of Motor Vehicles issues them only if at least 350 people sign up for them.

The SCV sued after the General Assembly approved a plate for the organization but specified that the design could not include the group's logo, which features the Confederate flag. Some legislators argued that the flag is racially divisive. The state asked Kiser to throw out the lawsuit.

THE REGION

Service to Address Reported Massacre

Three Korean survivors of an alleged massacre of about 400 civilians by U.S. soldiers during the Korean War will be guests at a dinner and evening worship service at Beltville's Korean Presbyterian Church tonight.

The "Witnessing Night" service and dinner, which starts at 7 p.m., is open to all, said the church's pastor, the Rev. Hun Jung Cho.

The visit by the three to the Washington area is part of a national reconciliation tour organized by the National Council of Churches after a Sept. 29 Associated Press story detailing the alleged massacre in South Korea.

The article for the first time quoted American veterans admitting that their unit had killed a large number of refugees huddled beneath a railroad bridge at No Gun Ri.

The Pentagon, which initially said it found no evidence of a massacre, opened a new investigation after the AP report.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

"It's a gift. I'm a generous person and giving and receiving is all part of the same circle of life."

-- Sue Rouch, a 60-year-old mother of three, speaking before the operation yesterday in which she donated a kidney to an ailing man she had never met before this week.