Warner Suggests Mobile DMV Offices Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) said yesterday that he will try to ease crowding at Department of Motor Vehicles offices by helping local governments provide driver services on their own.
Warner said the state would train and equip local officials to provide such services as issuing driver's licenses and renewing registrations.
He also said that the DMV will establish "self-service" areas using computer terminals and establish mobile licensing teams that could temporarily set up in different parts of the state.
Crowding at the DMV has become an increasing problem since 12 centers were closed in October. The remaining offices began closing on Wednesdays because of Virginia's budget crisis.
Duncan May Draft Breathalyzer Rule Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) said yesterday that he is considering instituting a policy that would require those using county cars to submit to a breathalyzer test if they are asked to do so by police.
Failure to comply would terminate the person's right to use a county vehicle, Duncan said.
The proposal comes in response to last weekend's arrest of Katherine S. Winfree, a top-ranking county prosecutor who was charged with drunken driving after police saw her going unusually slowly in Bethesda. She was driving a county car at the time.
An officer said he smelled alcohol on Winfree's breath and asked her to submit to a breathalyzer, which she declined, according to county officials.
Winfree's attorney said she was driving erratically because her car had a flat tire.
Montgomery County State's Attorney Douglas F. Gansler (D) said Wednesday that Winfree will continue to prosecute the county's highest-profile cases and have access to a county car, despite the charge.
No disciplinary action will be taken unless she is found guilty, he added.
River Restoration Plan Announced
Federal, state and Pepco officials announced a $2.7 million final plan yesterday to restore natural habitat damaged by a massive oil spill more than two years ago at the former Pepco power plant in Aquasco.
The final plan, which was the focus of a news conference at Greenwell State Park, calls for seven recreational improvement projects at sites along the Patuxent River and its tributaries beginning in the spring.
The April 2000 spill from a fuel oil pipeline at the Chalk Point power plant fouled 76 acres of wetlands and 10 acres of shoreline.
New Giraffe Arrives at Zoo
The National Zoo got a new giraffe yesterday to replace two who died this year. The new animal, a female named Malaika, is nearly 2 1/2 and comes from Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, a zoo spokesman said.
The giraffe was delivered to the zoo about 7:30 a.m. She will live in the Elephant House, which has been closed to give her time to adjust to her surroundings. She joins another female giraffe, Jana, who is nearly 2.
Jana's parents, Ryma, 17, and Griff, 19, died in February and September, respectively, from age-related digestive problems.
Some Radar Controllers to Be Grouped
Some air traffic controllers at Dulles International Airport will move to a new radar facility in Fauquier County tomorrow, part of an effort to consolidate the region's radar controllers to better coordinate air traffic in the area.
The Potomac Terminal Radar Approach Control center near Warrenton will provide more modern radar screens and more room for controllers. Those controllers will follow planes within five to 50 miles of Dulles, Reagan National, Baltimore-Washington International and Richmond International airports as well as Andrews Air Force Base, said William Shumann, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. The planes will then be turned over to their specific airport's control tower.
Airline passengers won't notice any difference, Shumann said.
Radar controllers from National and Andrews are scheduled to move to the facility in February, those from Richmond in March and those from BWI in April.
Controllers will remain in each airport's tower to guide planes into and out of the airports' immediate vicinities.
Enrollment Dip Prompts Teacher Layoffs
The D.C. public school system sent pink slips to 20 teachers yesterday, the result of budget cuts because of enrollment that was lower than expected.
Enrollment is at about 67,500, down about 900 from last school year. Officials said the teachers being dismissed were certified to teach subjects -- including cosmetology and graphic arts -- for which fewer instructors were needed.
Ten of the dismissed teachers were being paid but had not been working in any capacity since the beginning of the school year, school officials said.
Request for Restraining Order Dropped A D.C. Superior Court hearing, scheduled for yesterday, to review a temporary restraining order that a city employee sought against her boss was canceled after she withdrew her request.
Virginia Daisley, 39, requested a restraining order against Herbert J. Huff, 60, who was deputy chief financial officer in the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue, on Nov. 18, two days after she said she received two telephone calls at her home from Huff and a woman who identified herself as his wife, Lavita.
Daisley, the communications director for the office, said that the Huffs accused her of harassing them and threatened her life.
Neither Huff, who resigned last week, nor his wife returned telephone messages left at their home.
Daisley said she withdrew the request for the restraining order after an assistant to Daniel Black, the acting deputy chief financial officer, said it was unnecessary because Huff was no longer a city employee and the police were investigating the matter.
"I want him to succeed. I've instructed all of my people in this office to work closely with him. He's got to succeed for the state -- that's very important."
-- Democratic State Comptroller William Donald Schaefer,
pledging to help Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., the state's
first Republican governor in more than 30 years. -- Page B10
Compiled from reports by staff writers Matthew Mosk, Raymond McCaffrey, Karlyn Barker, Katherine Shaver, Justin Blum and Yolanda Woodlee and the Associated Press.