VIRGINIA

Lee Portrait Vandalized in Richmond

A portrait of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee hanging at an outdoor gallery devoted to Richmond's history was vandalized yesterday, police said.

Joel Lawson, a police arson investigator, declined to describe the nature of the damage, but the portrait appeared to have been badly burned. The case was under investigation.

Lee's portrait along the city's riverfront was taken down from a flood wall last summer after protests by African American leaders who equate the Confederacy with slavery. But a different likeness of the Confederacy's leading general--this one depicting him in his Richmond home after the war--returned to the waterfront, sharing space with Abraham Lincoln and a black Union soldier.

In Virginia, yesterday was Lee-Jackson-King Day, commemorating the lives of Lee and fellow Confederate Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Smoke Detectors Provided After Fatal Fire

Fairfax firefighters went door to door yesterday handing out smoke detectors and new batteries to residents of a Mount Vernon area trailer park where a mother and two children were killed in a fire Sunday.

The cause of the fire at 2901 Daisy St. is under investigation. Fire spokesman Dan Schmidt acknowledged that it took the department an unusually long time to get to the 9:46 a.m. incident.

The department aims to respond in less than five or six minutes, but the two closest engine companies were tied up at a gas leak when the mobile home fire was reported, Schmidt said. The third engine company took eight minutes to arrive, he said.

Maria Gomez, 24, was pronounced dead at the scene; Jose Lopez Jr., 4, and Joseluis Gomez, 4 months, died soon after arriving at local hospitals.

In yesterday's effort, firefighters installed 150 donated smoke detectors in 85 homes in Woodley Hills Estates, Schmidt said.

Tighter Controls Urged on Guns at Schools

Gun control activists yesterday urged Virginia lawmakers to tighten laws against allowing guns on school property.

Del. James H. Dillard II (R-Fairfax) and state Sen. Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax) have proposed bills that would close loopholes in existing law by creating criminal penalties for bringing guns to school and making it illegal to hunt on school property.

Schools already have the power to expel students with guns, but there are no criminal sanctions, said Dillard, a retired Fairfax County educator whom political opponents criticized during the fall campaign as not tough enough on gun control. He said the bills send a message: "That message is guns and schools don't mix."

THE DISTRICT

For President, a Job Fit for King Day

President Clinton rolled up his sleeves, donned blue jeans and tennis shoes, and helped children stain a bookcase yesterday at the eastern branch of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, as part of a Martin Luther King Jr. volunteer rally.

"Every time you give a little, you get more back," Clinton told those packed into an activity room at the center, on 17th Street SE.

A children's choir sang, and the president, flanked by D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), all spoke briefly, evoking King's legacy. The gathering was part of a first-time "Holiday of Volunteering" in King's honor, sponsored by Greater DC Cares and AT&T Corp.

Shooting Kills One, Wounds Two

One man died and two other people were in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds after a shooting in the 3000 block of Naylor Road SE, fire and medical officials said yesterday.

D.C. General Hospital spokesman Leo Alexander said three people were brought to the emergency room about 2:30 p.m. yesterday. He said a 21-year-old man died of gunshots to the chest. A woman and a 20-year-old man were in intensive care in unstable condition. D.C. police said they had no information, but fire officials said they responded to the incident at 2:19 p.m.

MARYLAND

Roosevelt High Chosen as Tech Academy

Eleanor Roosevelt High in Prince George's County was selected as one of 12 schools in the nation to pilot a new Academy of Information Technology, President Clinton and National Academy Foundation Chairman Sanford I. Weill announced.

The program is designed to prepare high school students for careers in information technology. Of the 100 schools that applied, the 12 pilot sites were chosen for demonstrating leadership, a commitment to career education and an ability to secure mentors, internships, and teacher training from local business partners.

Plans call for the program to begin this fall at Roosevelt, with a class of about 30 students.

State Democrats Name New Chairman

Maryland Democrats named energy executive Wayne L. Rogers the new state party chairman yesterday. Rogers, 45, will immediately take over the post being vacated by Peter Krauser, who was recently nominated to the Court of Special Appeals, Maryland's second-highest state court.

"Wayne Rogers brings a lifetime of business and management experience to the state Democratic Party," said Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) in a prepared statement.

Rogers is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and president of Synergics Energy Development in Annapolis, which develops, owns and operates power plants. He has graduate degrees in business and law, and lives in Annapolis.

Man's Death Investigated in Pr. George's

Prince George's County homicide detectives are investigating the death of a man whose body was found by firefighters Sunday night after they knocked down a blaze at a Mount Rainier apartment building.

The fire was mostly contained to a first-floor bedroom in the two-story brick building in the 4600 block of 29th Street. After crews extinguished the fire, they discovered the body of an unidentified man.

Police released no information about the man. In a prepared statement, fire officials said homicide detectives were trying to determine the fire's cause and circumstances of the man's death.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"There are very few native Prince William people you can get interested in history, and this is a transitory place. That's why the county has zilch."

-- Brad Hedrick, former president of Historic Prince William, about the difficulty in saving historic sites such as Rippon Lodge, the oldest Colonial house still standing on the Potomac River.