Deal Reached on Glen Echo Park Funds
Glen Echo Park will receive $1.8 million in federal funds as part of a budget deal announced yesterday by White House and congressional negotiators. The money will speed renovations to the dilapidated amusement park in Montgomery County.
The money is dedicated to repair the park's Spanish Ballroom, bumper car pavilion, Dentzel carousel and Chautaugua tower, congressional staff said.
Maryland has approved $1 million and Montgomery County $2 million toward the $18.9 million project. The federal share of the three-way match program is included in a $15 billion appropriations bill that pays for Interior Department operations, scheduled for congressional passage today.
Organ Donor, Recipient Recovering Well
The good Samaritan organ donor from Bowie and the California man to whom she gave a kidney Friday in dual operations at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore are recovering well, the patients said yesterday.
Sue Rouch, 60, who was a stranger to her transplant recipient, was released from the hospital Sunday, she said from her home. She said she feels good and is gradually recovering her appetite.
Rick Sirak, 51, of Tarzana, Calif., was released from the hospital Monday night, but he returned after experiencing shortness of breath. He said from the hospital that he had probably tried to do too much too soon and now feels fine. He expects to be released today.
The two visited before Rouch was discharged. "I am very grateful that I was able to be a part of his returning to health," Rouch said yesterday. Sirak remarked: "I feel a bond to her. It's hard to really describe."
Montgomery Phone Contract Faulted
Montgomery County officials were criticized yesterday in a report that says a $5.1 million contract for a new telephone system was awarded without ensuring that all qualified companies had a chance to bid on the job.
The report by the County Council staff details what it describes as "serious management failures," but it does not contend that county officials violated procurement rules in awarding Lucent Technologies the contract this year. Nor does it allege that the county lost money by failing to advertise the job for all prospective bidders. It says, however, that county officials needlessly rushed into the purchase and misled council members in the process.
Nine companies were invited to bid on the contract through an informal procedure usually used only for purchases of $25,000 or less. Chief Administrative Officer Bruce Romer made the decision to waive regular bidding procedures to meet a deadline to replace the outdated phone system.
The report, prompted by articles in the Gazette newspapers, says county staff misled the council by claiming the existing Ericsson phone system could not be patched up long enough to allow for a more competitive bidding process. County officials say they followed all procurement rules.
Homeowners Group Rule Spurs Bill
A state legislator outraged by a homeowners association's refusal to let a veteran fly the U.S. flag from a pole in his yard introduced a bill yesterday barring such restrictions.
State Sen. William T. Bolling (R-Hanover) introduced the bill in response to a dispute between Vietnam veteran Richard Oulton and the homeowners association for the affluent Wyndham neighborhood in Henrico County outside Richmond. Oulton wanted to fly the U.S., Marine Corps and Purple Heart flags from two portable flag poles in front of his 10,000-square-foot house.
The Wyndham Foundation ruled the poles were a "visual nuisance." He flew the flags anyway. The association let Oulton fly the flags for a Veterans Day picnic at his home last week but said he must apply for a permit to fly them in the future.
Loudoun Candidate Asks for a Recount
An unsuccessful Loudoun County candidate for the Board of Supervisors has asked a judge to order a recount of the Nov. 2 balloting in which he was defeated by nine votes.
Republican Bruce E. Tulloch filed a petition asking for the recount in Loudoun Circuit Court. Tulloch came in second in a three-way race for the Broad Run district seat on the board.
Election officials said Tulloch received 1,978 votes, compared with 1,987 for Charles A. Harris, the Democratic winner.
Tulloch issued a statement saying that his supporters are owed a recount. A hearing has not yet been scheduled.
On Capitol Hill, a Bid to Advance Bridge
Members of the region's congressional delegation have introduced proposals in both chambers that Capitol Hill staffers say would allow the design and property acquisition of a new Woodrow Wilson Bridge to proceed even if the project remains short of cash.
The measure would exempt the bridge from laws requiring funding for the entire $1.9 billion project be identified before it is eligible to receive federal money, according to a spokesman for Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), who sponsored the proposal in the Senate.
Although Congress already has approved $900 million to replace the aging span, a plan offered by the Clinton administration to cover the outstanding balance by allocating another $600 million has run into opposition on Capitol Hill. This disagreement, along with an ongoing court battle, threatens to delay construction, originally scheduled to start next fall.
Airline Donates Jet Engine to UDC
A jet engine that once powered a DC-9 airliner has been presented to D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) and University of the District of Columbia President Julius F. Nimmons Jr. for the university's aerospace technology program, according to a mayoral spokeswoman.
The presentation by US Airways Chairman Stephen M. Wolf of the 23-year-old Pratt & Whitney JT8D engine took place Monday at a hangar at Reagan National Airport, where the classes are held.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"Certainly it's against the law, and I don't condone it. Am I surprised? No."
--Tom Burse, business services director for the D.C. police, on the fact that scores of police officers are driving department vehicles that are unregistered or have expired inspection stickers. He said the department has no system to track the number of vehicles with valid inspection stickers.