REGIONAL

Arlington Costly for Single Parents

A new study commissioned by Wider Opportunities for Women shows that the most expensive place in the Washington area for a single parent with one preschool child is Arlington County. There, the parent would have to earn at least $16.52 an hour to cover the costs of housing, food, child care and other basic needs without private or public support.

The District was the second most expensive jurisdiction, requiring that same parent to earn at least $16.06 an hour to cover living costs. The next most expensive areas: Montgomery County, $15.73 an hour; Fairfax County, $15.63 an hour; Alexandria, $15.16 an hour; and Prince George's County, $12.96 an hour.

WOW works to achieve economic independence and equality of opportunity for women and girls through advocacy and hands-on training programs.

THE DISTRICT

Warning Sent to Special-Ed Students

D.C. school officials mailed letters to 341 special education students yesterday saying that starting next month, the school system will no longer pay tuition and provide bus transport to the private schools they attend because they have not proved they live in the District.

Students have about 10 school days--until Jan. 19 because of the Christmas holiday, a school official said--to appeal the decision or provide proof of residency. The school system also mailed letters to the 46 private schools the students attend, telling them which youngsters still are not documented as District residents.

About 1,800 D.C. special education students are in costly private school programs at city expense because the school system cannot provide the services they need. School officials said last month they had a list of 890 students who had not proved residency and who were at risk of losing funding. Many families have since proved residency or were found to have been included on the list in error, school officials said.

Another 70 students who attend private residential schools at city expense are being given more time to prove they live in the District.

MARYLAND

Montgomery Targets Drunk Drivers

A Montgomery County police holiday crackdown on drunken driving has netted more drunk drivers in four weeks this year than police arrested during a five-week campaign last year, police said yesterday.

The number of drunken-driving arrests increased from 201 in five weeks last year to 223 in the first four weeks of this year's campaign, police said. Those numbers increased despite the fact that officers pulled over 1,100 fewer people this year.

The weekend before Christmas is traditionally one of the deadliest on the roads because of the large number of office parties and alcohol-related collisions, police said. A saturation patrol last weekend with 10 extra officers targeting drunk drivers netted 42 drunk drivers in Montgomery, police said.

The county's DWI holiday task force will conclude New Year's Day.

Bethesda Man, 76, Killed in Crash

A 76-year-old Bethesda man died Monday after his car was struck when he pulled in front of a van on River Road, Montgomery County police said.

Sang Kwon, of the 4500 block of East West Highway, was driving a 1998 Toyota Corolla on Travilah Road about 3:30 p.m., when he stopped at a stop sign and then continued across River Road in front of a van traveling west on River, police said.

The 1993 Ford van, driven by James Yager, 53, of Potomac, struck the Toyota, which then hit a fence. Kwon was taken to Suburban Hospital, where he died of his injuries Monday evening, police said. Yager was taken to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, where he was treated for injuries that were not life-threatening.

VIRGINIA

Construction Worker Dies at Pentagon

A construction worker at the Pentagon fell three stories and died last night while working on renovations to the building, a Pentagon spokesman said.

The worker, whose identity was unavailable, fell from the third floor and into a ditch shortly before 7 p.m., Lt. Col. Mike Milord said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Pentagon officials are investigating the accident.

Millennium Newborns to Receive Books

Apparently, it's never too soon to get a head start on those nagging state Standards of Learning tests. Fairfax County public libraries and the Inova Health System are giving away more than 5,000 books to the first babies of the new millennium.

Newborns will receive one of 79 titles--including that old chestnut of babyhood, "Pat the Bunny"--as long as book supplies last. Inova estimates that 15,000 babies are born each year at its five hospitals in Northern Virginia.

Citing research linking early reading with success in school, county library director Edwin S. Clay III said that "giving books to newborns is [our] contribution to the future success of these children."

This year, Inova and the library system formed a partnership thought to be the first of its kind in the country.

Tobacco Growers to Get Checks

Virginia tobacco growers will be getting checks starting next week, now that a board has approved $21.6 million of tobacco-settlement funds for farmers. The money comes from a $5 billion trust established for 14 tobacco-growing states by the major tobacco companies. It's a separate pot of money from the $206 billion national tobacco settlement.

Over the next 12 years, the state is expected to funnel about $340 million from the National Tobacco Growers Settlement Trust to Virginia tobacco farmers and quota holders--those who have permission from the government to grow tobacco.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Vigilance against possible threats is reasonable, stereotyping is not. What was the illegal activity here: fueling while Arab?"

-- Hussein Ibish, communications director for the American Arab Anti-Discrimination League, about a call to police that two men at a gas station who appeared to be Middle Eastern were suspicious, triggering an FBI-police alert for the men and the van they were driving.