Anti-Sprawl Campus Approved

A new University System of Maryland campus in Hagerstown will be installed in a group of vacant downtown buildings rather than in a structure that would have been built outside town, Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) has decided.

The decision, confirmed by the university system's Board of Regents and Hagerstown city officials, was hailed by anti-sprawl advocates as an indication of Glendening's commitment to "smart growth" policies, aimed in part at reviving blighted urban centers.

"All over the state, new facilities are being located outside of our towns and cities, and this shows the governor's commitment to making our towns and cities work," said Daniel Pontious, executive director of the Maryland Public Interest Research Group.

Campus planners originally envisioned a new, single-building campus with space for 1,240 students by 2006. Planners may have to revise their concept of the school and its offerings as a result of the governor's decision, said Chris Hart, a university system spokesman.

Fire Destroys Two Unoccupied Houses

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue officials are investigating two suspicious fires that broke out early yesterday at two houses under construction in Hillandale.

The fires, reported about three hours apart, consumed two two-story, single-family houses. Both houses were unoccupied.

A fire spokesman said yesterday that the fires were about a block apart, one on Naglee Road and the other at Overlook Road and Parkman Drive, just off New Hampshire Avenue north of the Capital Beltway. Both houses were engulfed in flame when firefighters arrived.

Investigators called the fires suspicious, but they had not determined the cause as of yesterday afternoon.

Curry's War Chest Full, Future Uncertain

Prince George's County Executive Wayne K. Curry (D) has about $460,000 in two campaign treasuries as he settles into his second and final term in office.

Curry, who is limited to serving two four-year terms because of voter-imposed term limits, has given few clues about what he intends to do when he leaves office at the end of 2002.

He has $281,455 on hand in his own campaign fund and $183,064 in a slate fund he shares with other county Democrats.

In the one-year reporting period that ended Nov. 16, Curry collected about $300,000 for the two accounts. Much of the money came from a $1,000-a-ticket fund-raiser in May at his Upper Marlboro home.

Deal Complete to Make Hospital a Resort

Financing has been completed for a resort complex expected to boost the economies of Cambridge and Dorchester County, and construction could begin as early as next week, Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) said last week.

The $155 million Hyatt resort and conference center is planned for the site of the old Eastern Shore Hospital Center at Cambridge. The development will include a golf course, a 400-room hotel, a marina, a 15,000-square-foot European spa and 24,000 square feet of conference meeting rooms.

Glendening said the state and the developer, Chesapeake Resort LLC, closed the deal Monday night for the sale of the hospital site for $5 million. Chesapeake Resort wrapped up private financing for the project Wednesday.


Hispanic Heritage Awards Given

The D.C. court system has presented 1999 Hispanic Heritage CORO Awards to the founders and producers of a public service program aimed at educating the Latino community and to a nonprofit group that provides assistance to victims of domestic violence.

CORO stands for Community, Outreach, Recognition and Opportunity. The winners were honored for their service and dedication to the Washington area and, in particular, to the area's Latino community.

The recipients included Eduardo Lopez and Alfredo Salcedo, both of Educational Videos in Spanish, who for the past 15 years have produced informational videos in Spanish about issues in the Latino community such as child safety and health, police relations and race relations. Their program, "Linea Directa," is telecast weekly on the local affiliate of the Spanish-language network, Univision.

Also receiving an award was Hermanas Unidas, a support group for women who are victims of domestic violence. Hermanas Unidas is a project of the Ayuda agency in Adams-Morgan. Sylvia Garza, the supervisory community outreach specialist of the victim and witness assistance unit in the U.S. attorney's office, was another recipient.

Also receiving an award was Claudio Grossman, dean of American University's Washington College of Law. He is the past president of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States. The commission judges complaints filed by alleged victims of human rights violations in the Americas.

Civil War Walking Tour Unveiled

Just in time for the holidays, when some visitors may be looking for something to do, three groups have come up with a free walking tour of Washington that highlights the city's Civil War history.

The D.C. Chamber of Commerce, the D.C. Heritage Tourism Coalition and the Civil War Trust have unveiled a slick brochure that includes a map with 14 downtown sites and six sites in residential neighborhoods of interest to Civil War enthusiasts. An explanation of the importance of each site--such as the Willard Inter-Continental Hotel--accompanies the map.

Five thousand of the maps have been printed. Maps are available at the chamber's visitor information center in the Ronald Reagan Building at 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.


Fans May Have to Pass on Sugar Bowl

Planning to go with the Hokies to New Orleans if they earn a spot in the Sugar Bowl?

Unless you're a season-ticket holder or are among those shelling out donations to the athletics program, your chances are pretty slim. The reason: Most of Virginia Tech's allotted bowl tickets will be distributed to those two groups.

Some people aren't happy with the system, saying it shuts out people who may not have the money to be big donors. But officials at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, say it rewards longtime fans.


"With pandas, there are never enough."

--Xie Zhong, chief of China's Zoo Association, which handles international requests to adopt giant pandas.