THE DISTRICT

38,000 Photographed Running Lights

D.C. police said they have issued more than 38,000 violation notices to motorists whose vehicles were photographed running red lights.

"In our surveys of District residents, red-light running consistently ranks at or near the top of the public safety problems identified by our residents," Chief Charles H. Ramsey said. "The photo enforcement cameras are helping us send a strong message to motorists that this dangerous and illegal practice will not be tolerated in our city."

The cameras were installed at 36 locations when the program was started in July. Four intersections will be added this month, according to police. They are Alabama and Branch avenues SE, Connecticut Avenue and Military Road NW, New York and New Jersey avenues NW and the Whitehurst Freeway and Canal Road NW.

VIRGINIA

GMU to Create Two New Schools

The George Mason University Board of Visitors has approved the creation of a School of Public Policy and a School of Computational Sciences.

Beginning in the fall, the new School of Public Policy will focus on the study of national governance, regional development, international commerce, science and technology and culture and values. The school will offer a doctorate in public policy and will consolidate several programs into a single master's degree in public policy. The school also will offer several professional certificates for those who already have a master's.

The School of Computational Sciences, also being established in the fall, is a merger of GMU's Institute for Computational Sciences and Informatics and the Institute for Biosciences, Bioinformatics and Biotechnology. The new school will incorporate interdisciplinary doctoral, master's and certificate programs that emphasize the role of computation in performing modern scientific research.

Board Upholds Rules on Colonial Downs

The Virginia Racing Commission heard pleas from Colonial Downs yesterday to relax the New Kent County track's regulatory burden but refused to budge on issues the commission considers vital to protecting the state's horse industry.

However, the commission granted one minor concession, agreeing to postpone required improvements to barns and living quarters for the animals' handlers at the track.

Colonial Downs officials argued that being forced to put a fixed percentage of off-track betting income into purse accounts would be financially ruinous. Track officials also are seeking in court to get out of requirements to conduct a 40-day harness meet this year and to pay all debts by the end of February.

John C. Ivins Jr., an attorney for Colonial Downs, told the commission that its demands were making it difficult for track owner Jeffrey Jacobs to find a buyer for the money-losing business. Jacobs has said he will sell the track rather than continue to battle to make it profitable.

MARYLAND

Sierra Club Supports Small Dairies

Maryland's small-dairy farmers have a new ally. The Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club announced it would push legislation in Annapolis to ease the burden that cheap milk prices have placed on small farmers.

"Dairy farmers are facing a real crisis," said Chris Bedford, who chairs the environmental group's Water, Food and Farm Campaign. "At the rate prices have been falling, one-third to half of the farms could disappear in the next six months. That's how serious this is."

Sierra Club officials said they fear that if dairy farmers can no longer earn a living with their cows, they will be forced to sell off their land to developers. The legislation would create a loan program to help the farmers.

No Change in Howard School Elections

Howard County legislators killed a legislative proposal yesterday to elect members of the county Board of Education by district instead of at large.

In their first Annapolis delegation meeting of the year, all three state senators voted against the measure. School board members had opposed the change, saying the current system better assures that members weigh the views of the entire county. The proposal was pushed by Del. Frank Turner (D-Howard), who said it would bring about more accountability and better representation. The measure passed the House side of the delegation, 5 to 3.

Tax Break Proposed on Nicotine Patch

Two Maryland legislators announced they want to help people quit smoking by offering a tax break on such products as the nicotine patch and nicotine chewing gum.

The bill, offered to the Maryland General Assembly by Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman (D-Baltimore) and Del. Ann Marie Doory (D-Baltimore), would eliminate the sales tax on current and future "smoking cessation products."

Doory said the tax break could be initiated in conjunction with other anti-smoking efforts that will be funded by the state's $4.4 billion settlement with big tobacco.

C&O Canal Celebrated

Officials in Cumberland christened a canal boat of the same name with a quart of Old German beer this week to celebrate the C&O Canal's place in Maryland history and its future as an engine of local economic revival.

The state's millennium celebration commission designated the old shipping route the 10th of 12 historic treasures that it is selecting monthly.

C&O Canal National Historical Park Superintendent Douglas D. Faris accepted the award, then joined state and local authorities Tuesday in christening the dry-docked, 90-foot canal boat replica "Cumberland" with a brand of beer once brewed in the city.

The boat sits near the Potomac River and the canal's western terminus at the edge of a cleared, 2 1/2-acre lot that will become the centerpiece of the planned $200 million Canal Place tourist attraction.

"When Canal Place is finished, we think it's going to be the crown jewel of western Maryland," said Dale Lewis, president of the Allegany County commissioners.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Whether it is air bags or child-proof aspirin bottles, we know the industry will not do what is right until we make them do what is right. And we can make them do it."

--Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D), who told state lawmakers that manufacturers' claims that they cannot make a handgun that can be fired only by authorized users are nonsense.

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