A Place to Plan for Safety

N.Va. Favored for New Federal Department The Bush administration has narrowed its search for a Department of Homeland Security headquarters to three sites in Northern Virginia, congressional sources said.

Real estate and congressional sources said the leading sites include a Chantilly office park on Route 28 near the headquarters of the high-security National Reconnaissance Office. Also in contention are two Tysons Corner sites near the Dulles Toll Road and the Capital Beltway.

Forging a Career

Report Says Sniper Suspect Sold IDs Sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad made more than $60,000 by selling forged U.S. identification documents during the 14 months be lived in Antigua, according to a report released by the Antiguan government.

According to the report, Muhammad is believed to have sold at least 20 sets of bogus U.S. driver's licenses and birth certificates, mostly to Jamaican immigrants in Antigua, with profits of about $3,000 a set.

Higher-Cost Higher Education

University System Issues Tuition Warning In a letter to all 130,000 students, leaders of Maryland's public university system warned that the state budget deficit may force them to raise tuition by up to 5 percent for the semester that starts in a few weeks.

No formal decision to raise tuition has been made. The increases could vary among the system's 11 degree-granting campuses.

Help Wanted in Pr. George's

School Board Considers Replacing Metts The Prince George's County school board has advertised for a new CEO.

Schools chief Iris T. Metts's contract expires in July. She has said she wants to remain, and school board members are not ruling her out. But they have hired the Maryland Association of Boards of Education to help them conduct a national search.

Trimming Emergency Services

Montgomery Proposes Cuts Ambulance service would be cut from a Rockville fire station, and all 21 paid firefighters would be removed from a Kensington fire station under a proposal to trim Montgomery County fire services in response to a $300 million budget shortfall. Fire Administrator Gordon Aoyagi also proposed cutting the number of paid administrators at volunteer stations.

A Tighter State Budget

Ehrlich to Propose Job Cuts Maryland Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) is expected to propose slowing state spending by hundreds of millions of dollars when he releases his first budget in the coming week.

Aides say Ehrlich is rejecting pay raises for state employees, slashing thousands of vacant state jobs and cutting spending on higher education.

A Higher Gear at the DMV

Governor to Reopen Centers Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) has announced plans to reopen 12 Department of Motor Vehicles centers he ordered closed three months ago to help balance the state budget.

The reversal was announced Wednesday during Warner's State of the Commonwealth address to a joint session of the General Assembly. Warner said the centers will be reopened using money from a Wall Street securities fraud settlement. Officials said the DMV will not resume Wednesday hours at the 62 service centers that remained open with curtailed services as part of the nearly $900 million in spending cuts Warner ordered in October.

Prosecution witness: Matthew Dowdy, left, talks with defense attorney Thaddeus Furlong before being sentenced to six months in jail for falsely claiming to have seen one of the sniper shootings.Art for the Arts' Sake: Lindsey Porambo, an eighth-grader at Benjamin Tasker Middle School, performs at a fundraiser for the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts.