THE REGION

Classroom Helps Students Study the Bay The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the National Geographic Society are seeking teachers in Grades 4 through 12 for an eight-day program focusing on the ecology and geography of the bay.

The Chesapeake Classrooms program is designed to help teachers improve students' environmental awareness, interest and stewardship. State-mandated education standards are included in the curriculum.

The experience includes a five-day immersion program on the bay's development and current issues, training and special access to field trips for students, and mentoring by other teachers.

Scholarships are available. For more information, call 804-780-1392 or e-mail bsayre@cbf.org.

Duck Hunter's Death Ruled Accidental The death of a duck hunter from Pennsylvania, whose body was found Saturday in the Chesapeake Bay, has been ruled an accidental drowning by the Maryland medical examiner's office. Authorities said the hunter's two companions remain missing.

The hunter, Adam M. Miller, 25, of Elizabethtown, Pa., had suffered hypothermia, said J.B. Hanson, a spokesman for the medical examiner's office. Authorities still are investigating what happened to Miller and his two companions, Michael A. Jones, 27, of Marietta, Pa., and William E. Nurmi, 35, of Ocean City.

The men set out from Somerset County about 6 a.m. Friday for a duck-hunting expedition and were expected back later that day, said Heather Lynch, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Natural Resources. Their 15-foot Carolina Skiff was found about 24 hours later off Janes Island State Park, and Miller's body was discovered nearby. Lynch said the search for Jones and Nurmi has been hampered by cold weather.

Metro to Sponsor Jobs Fair Metro will sponsor a jobs fair at its downtown offices Feb. 1 featuring employers from Tysons Corner and the Dulles corridor, with employment opportunities in the hospitality, food services, computer technology, maintenance, retail and security fields.

Metro will provide information about bus routes serving the two areas, including cost.

The jobs fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Metro headquarters, 600 Fifth St. NW. The site is near the Gallery Place-Chinatown and Judiciary Square Metro stations, and is accessible by Metrobus Routes P6, X2, D6, 70 and 80.

Broken Switch Causes Metro Delays Red Line passengers faced delays up and down the line during yesterday evening's rush, because of a broken switch at Wheaton Station and then a sick passenger on a train at Dupont Circle.

The operator of a Glenmont-bound train encountered a switching problem at Wheaton about 3:30 p.m., Metro spokeswoman Cheryl Johnson said. The operator tried to reset the switch by hand but didn't do it correctly and the train became stuck, Johnson said. It took repair crews about 70 minutes to fix the switch and get the train moving again. The problem created delays in both directions.

Then, at 5:45 p.m., an ill passenger caused another Glenmont-bound train to hold at Dupont Circle for several minutes until the rider was able to exit the train, Johnson said. "That just compounded a problem we had just straightened out," she said, and caused ripple effects along the Red Line.

VIRGINIA

Attorney Argues for VMI Mealtime Prayer An attorney for the state says that Virginia Military Institute's daily dinner prayer does not violate cadets' constitutional rights because it serves a secular purpose and the cadets are adults who can choose not to participate.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit heard arguments Tuesday in the state's appeal of a judge's ruling that the mealtime prayers violate the constitutional separation of church and state. The ruling was made a year ago in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of two former students at the state-supported military school.

U.S. District Judge Norman K. Moon ruled that the prayers are a "state-sponsored religious exercise."

State Solicitor William Hurd argued this week that Moon's ruling should be overturned because VMI's status as a military school makes daily prayer constitutionally acceptable. He also said that if the ruling stands, it could lead to similar practices being barred at the federal service academies.

Docents May Become Gender Neutral The docents who show visitors around Richmond's historic state capitol could get an official neutering via legislation introduced in the General Assembly.

House Bill 1506, sponsored by Del. Vincent F. Callahan Jr. (R-Fairfax), would change the name of the Capitol Hostesses to the Capitol Tour Guides. Yesterday, Callahan joked that the bill is "the most important politically correct legislation you will see all year."

"The new name is intended to be gender neutral and inclusive of current staff," reads the bill's language.

Official tours of the capitol have been offered since 1936, said Mark Greenough, supervisor and historian of the tour guides. The earliest guides were men, but by the 1950s they all were women, and the name was changed to reflect that.

Greenough, the first man in five decades to work in the office, was hired in June. He heads the group of 11 guides who offer free daily tours of the neoclassical building, which features a life-size statue of George Washington and busts of Virginia's seven other presidents and the Marquis de Lafayette.

THE DISTRICT

Lanes to Close to Film 'West Wing' Some lanes will be blocked to traffic and parking on Constitution Avenue NW today through Tuesday so that camera crews can film scenes for the television show "West Wing," D.C. Transportation Department officials announced yesterday.

The curbside lane on the north side of the street will be closed between 12th and 14th streets from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and again from 5 a.m. tomorrow until 5 a.m. Tuesday.

The southern curbside lane will be closed between 12th and 14th streets from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily tomorrow through Tuesday.

In addition, both curbside lanes will be blocked to traffic between 11th and 12th streets from 6 a.m. Saturday until 6 a.m. Monday.

The camera crews will be filming "inauguration scenes" at Mellon Auditorium.

"The overflow is overflowing. There is definitely something going on with people being pushed into the streets this year."

-- Stephen Cleghorn, head of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments' committee on homelessness, on conditions at area shelters

for the homeless. -- Page B3

Compiled from reports by staff writers Michael Amon, John F. Kelly and Lyndsey Layton and the Associated Press.