Teachers Earn Prestigious Credential

The Arlington-based National Board for Professional Teaching Standards announced yesterday that 142 teachers in Virginia, 79 in Maryland and one in the District have been awarded National Board Certification.

The credential, earned through demonstrations of classroom performance, lengthy reports and a computerized examination, is designed to identify the most effective teachers and leads to bonuses in many school districts. The board said 23,930 teachers have been certified so far, including 655 in the Washington area. This year, 39 percent of first-time candidates successfully completed the nine-month process, board officials said.


Program for Hearing-Impaired Expanded

Deaf and hearing-impaired motorists in Virginia soon will have access to sun visor and wallet cards to help them communicate with police.

Visor Alert, started by Fredericksburg's disAbility Resource Center last summer, has been picked up by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police and the state Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. It is expected to be implemented statewide next month.

The disAbility Resource Center has distributed more than 1,800 cards that notify police officers and others that the bearer cannot hear. The cards can prevent a misunderstanding when a deaf person interacts with a police officer during a traffic stop, crime scene or crash scene, said Arva Priola, founder of the program.

'Ghost Fleet' Ships Spring New Leaks

Two more ships in the James River Reserve Fleet, also known as the "Ghost Fleet," have sprung leaks, requiring cleanup of a mile-long oil sheen on the James River last month and removal of tons of petroleum-tainted ballast water and fuel from both vessels.

The leaks stemmed from small holes caused by age and rust in the hulls of the Mormac Moon and Mormac Wave, the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reported Wednesday, citing case records and officials.

The 100 aging, government-owned cargo ships, each 500 feet long, are anchored together in the James River. Divers quickly patched the leaks, which were discovered Oct. 11, and crews mopped up the sheen created by an estimated 10 gallons of thick fuel oil.

The fuel spill -- the eighth documented since 1998 -- comes as Congress is budgeting $20 million next year to get rid of a handful of the most environmentally risky ships. The Moon and the Wave were not considered among the flimsiest. Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) has threatened to sue the federal government if it does not do more to ease the environmental risks of a major oil spill from the fleet.

State on Lookout for Diseased Deer

Wildlife officials are asking hunters to be on the watch for sick deer because a disease that attacks the animal's brains may be moving east from the Midwest.

So far, there have been no cases of chronic wasting disease reported in the state, but authorities say the disease has decimated deer herds in Wisconsin and has spread to the upper regions of Illinois.

The disease, also known as mad-deer disease, is a form of encephalitis that creates sponge-like holes in the brain. It is similar to mad-cow disease in bovines and scrappie in sheep, but authorities don't know how it is spread. Symptoms in deer include staggering, drooling or walking with their heads down. Experts say there is no evidence the disease can infect humans, but the World Health Organization advises people not to eat any part of a deer with evidence of the disease.


Woman Killed in Driveway Accident

A Gaithersburg woman died yesterday after she was hit by a car driven by her husband as he was backing from a parking space at their home, Montgomery County police said.

Grace Kim, 67, was struck by the couple's 1992 Honda about 8:20 p.m. Tuesday, according to a preliminary police investigation. She had been standing on a curb as her husband, Peter, backed their car up, but for some reason, she stepped from the curb, investigators said.

She was taken to Suburban Hospital, where she later died, police said.

West Nile Case Linked to Transfusion

A blood transfusion is probably responsible for transmitting the West Nile virus to a Maryland woman who died from the illness after a kidney transplant, a state health official said yesterday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed the case as "probable transfusion associated," said John Hammond, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Amy Bergmann, an epidemiologist at the state health department, said it was the first time in Maryland someone probably received the virus through a blood transfusion.

The 55-year-old St. Mary's County woman died Oct. 1 at Johns Hopkins Hospital from West Nile virus. Officials have not released her name.


Work to Disrupt Foxhall Road Traffic

Beginning Monday, traffic on Foxhall Road in Northwest Washington will be restricted from W Street to Foxhall Crescent Drive until early February because of road work, D.C. Department of Transportation officials said.

At least one lane of traffic will be maintained in each direction from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, officials said. The road improvements include concrete sidewalks, new trees, repaving and a new traffic signal.

Worker Hurt in Construction Accident

A 34-year-old construction worker was hospitalized yesterday after his ladder gave way, dropping him 15 feet onto a concrete floor. D.C. Fire Department spokesman Alan Etter said the man was working about 70 feet above the ground at the One Metro Center project at 12th and G streets NW when steel girders fell and upended his ladder.

The man said his back hurt, and he may have sustained broken bones in the late-morning fall, Etter said. He was taken to George Washington University Hospital.

"It's been our stated purpose to honor Dean in whatever ways we can, and to the extent we can, and also to be an example of how we believe a family should respond to tragedy and thereby honor God through it as well."

-- Bob Meyers, brother of Dean H. Meyers, who was killed

in the Washington area sniper attacks. Page A1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Jay Mathews and Manny Fernandez and the Associated Press.