An Unusual Holiday Coat

Overnight Storm Dusts Region Washingtonians awoke Wednesday to a Christmas morning snowfall -- only the second white Christmas in 30 years. The layer of white icing was the result of a major storm that dropped nearly a foot of snow in some parts of the Northeast, snarling air and road traffic and cutting electricity for thousands. In the Washington area, snow reached a depth of only 3.5 inches west and north of Washington, less closer to the city.

VDOT's $7 Million Question

Is a Rest Stop Worth That Much? The cash-strapped Virginia Department of Transportation is being criticized by some Northern Virginia officials for building a $7 million brick colonial-style rest stop on Interstate 64 near Williamsburg when road projects elsewhere are underfunded. The New Kent Safety, Rest and Information Center, which includes an Internet-connected lobby along with the usual vending area and restrooms, is part of an effort begun under Gov. James S. Gilmore III (R) to spruce up the state's rest areas. It is the second such facility to open in Virginia recently.

Trying to Move Into Tysons

Proposal Would Add Apartments Tysons Corner could get four new apartment towers, including about 1,300 condominium units, under a proposal to be considered Saturday by the Fairfax Board of County Supervisors. Proponents of the plan say the units' full-time residents will help give the Tysons area some of the verve and life it needs if it is to be a true urban center for Fairfax County.

But the proposal is opposed by many nearby residents, who worry that so many apartments will inject too many people and too much traffic into the area. If the project is approved, its developer, West Group, would provide about $1 million to a county homeless shelter and $700,000 to county schools.

Primitive's Modernization

Centreville Church Plans Changes The 177-year-old Cub Run Primitive Baptist Church in Centreville is taking a major step that members hope will yield some new, and younger, members: installing indoor plumbing.

Two years ago, prodded by a 107-year-old member, the church began raising money for the $80,000 job. The going is slow, but "if it is God's will . . . it will be done," Pastor Lorenzo Vaughan said. A church fundraiser last summer paid for site preparation and piping from a newly dug well.

Now, Vaughan says he is waiting for further guidance from above as to how to get the rest of the money.

Warner Tries New Tack on Budget

Governor Opts for Cash Infusions Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) is resorting to one-time infusions of cash -- a budgetary ploy that he has criticized in the past -- to help close a $2 billion hole in Virginia's two-year budget. The alternative, he said, is to cut some of the state's most basic services, a step Warner is unwilling to take.

He has proposed taking money from the lottery fund for education, selling the state's housing loan portfolio, instituting a tax amnesty program and once again taking money from the "rainy day" fund. But Warner cautioned lawmakers that absent a stronger economy, the one-time fixes mean that the state will again face difficult budget decisions next year.

Dashing through the snow: Donna Hummel, with her dog Kilo, and Lori Giannantonia, with her dogs Squirt and Jake, go for a walk in their Annandale neighborhood Wednesday.