THE REGION

Airspace Restrictions Increased Federal transportation officials said yesterday that they are tightening security measures in the Washington airspace because of the heightened alert status known as Code Orange.

"The Washington capital region is home to a number of particularly symbolic targets which must be protected," said James M. Loy, head of the Transportation Security Administration. "We appreciate the cooperation of the general aviation community as we implement sound security measures and tighten our defenses."

The new control measures create an air defense identification zone in the airspace under 18,000 feet in a 30-mile radius around Washington. The new measures, which become effective at 6 a.m. tomorrow, will require general aviation pilots to maintain two-way radio communications, use a transponder and conform to other flight regulations.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which is imposing the control measures in conjunction with the Transportation Security Administration, said the restrictions are intended to increase security while allowing local general aviation airports to remain in operation.

THE DISTRICT

Cocaine Trafficker Sentenced One of the District's major cocaine suppliers was sentenced to 18 years in prison this week in U.S. District Court in Washington.

Earldy Stephenson, 45, a Jamaican citizen living in Beltsville, had pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina to conspiracy to distribute more than 5,000 grams of cocaine before being sentenced on Thursday.

Prosecutors had charged that from 1990 until 2002, Stephenson ordered large amounts of cocaine from suppliers in New York and Florida, then sold it to at least 25 distributors in the Washington area. Using court-authorized wiretaps and search warrants, federal investigators seized $560,000 in cash, a kilogram of cocaine and an automatic pistol, leading to the guilty plea.

VIRGINIA

Homeland Security Institute Twelve Virginia universities have helped to found the Virginia Institute for Defense and Homeland Security, a university and industry research consortium that will work on homeland security problems and which will be based at the Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon.

The institute will develop research, education and technology programs at member institutions and companies with an emphasis on telecommunications, biodefense, sensor systems and risk management. The participating universities include George Mason University in Fairfax County.

Recommendations for such a consortium emerged from the Secure Virginia Panel last fall. Funding will come from the federal government, the universities, industry partners and the Center for Innovative Technology.

Town Hall Meeting on Iraq Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke and Maj. Gen. Kevin Kuklok, assistant deputy commandant for the Marine Corps, are scheduled to speak tomorrow in Alexandria at a town hall meeting on Iraq and the war on terrorism hosted by Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.).

The meeting will be from 7 to 9 p.m. at Minnie Howard School, 3801 West Braddock Rd.

MARYLAND

Hit-and-Run Driver Kills Child

An 8-year-old District boy playing in the street was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Prince George's County yesterday, police said.

Treyon Ferguson was playing with several other children in the 5800 block of Burgundy Street, not far from his home, about 6:15 p.m. when a sport-utility vehicle hit him, said Cpl. Joe Merkel, a Prince George's police spokesman. The driver then fled across the line into the District. Police have no description of the car but believe that it has damage to its right front headlight, Merkel said.

Treyon, of the 300 block of 63rd Street NE, was pronounced dead at Prince George's Hospital Center.

Fire, Death Under Investigation A 39-year-old woman from North Potomac was found dead yesterday after a fire in a single-level brick commercial building in Rockville, according to Montgomery County police. Authorities were looking into the cause of the fire, and the death was being investigated as a homicide, police said.

Vanessa Yvette Johnson's body was found, they said, after fire was reported about 3 p.m. at 20 West Montgomery Ave. Police said Johnson, of the 14000 block of Masterpiece Lane, owned a consignment shop in the building.

Capt. Nancy Demme said Johnson's death "was inconsistent with the fire," but she provided no details.

"I'm ready for summer. I am so ready for summer."

-- Sue Newman, Fairfax City mother,

on this winter's weather. Story, Page C1.

Compiled from reports by staff writer Spencer S. Hsu, Neely Tucker, Petula Dvorak and Michael H. Cottman and the Associated Press.