THE DISTRICT

Summer Jobs Program Registration Opens

The D.C. Department of Employment Services has opened registration for its summer jobs program.

District residents ages 14 to 21 are eligible to apply for a job or work experience through the Passport to Work summer jobs initiative.

The five-week program is July 7 to Aug. 8. Participants can earn a minimum of $5.15 an hour in the program. They will work 20 to 30 hours a week, based on their age.

Registration will be at the department's Office of Youth Programs, 625 H St. NE, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Evening registration will be Tuesdays and Thursdays in April and May, but the office will stay open until 6 p.m. in May.

The registration deadline is May 30.

To register, youths must present proof of D.C. residency; a birth certificate; proof of citizenship; a Social Security card; proof of family income; and, for males 18 and older, Selective Service verification. Additional information may be obtained by calling 202-698-3492.

More Homeowners Join Tax Lawsuit

Thirty-five D.C. homeowners have joined a class-action lawsuit challenging the methods by which the city's Office of Tax and Revenue assesses property, bringing the number of petitioners to 84.

The lawsuit, filed last year, alleges that the tax office bases many assessments on a method known as "trending," the practice of assessing an entire neighborhood based on the sales prices of a handful of houses. This doesn't take into account characteristics of an individual house, such as a big lot, an addition or a location on a busy street.

Tax officials acknowledge that they have used trending in some cases but say they also use methods based on more property-specific, computer-assisted analyses.

Property values -- and taxes -- have soared in recent years, and city officials have estimated that 2,500 residents will challenge their assessments before the appeals board this year.

Police, Fire Chiefs Seek Larger Budgets

D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey appeared before the D.C. Council yesterday in support of a proposal to increase his department's budget by 18 percent next year.

Ramsey has asked for an additional $58 million, about half of which would be spent on pay raises mandated by union contracts. The department has requested $11 million to help increase the number of officers from about 3,620 to 3,800, a longtime goal.

Fire Chief Adrian H. Thompson also testified before the council's Judiciary Committee, asking for a $31.5 million budget increase.

As with police, much of the money would be allocated to union pay raises and overtime, but it also includes $3.6 million to help improve emergency medical services.

Some of the money would help pay to train intermediate emergency medical technicians, more highly skilled EMTs on whom the department plans to rely because of a shortage of paramedics.

Williams Aide Says 'It Was Time to Leave'

Peggy Armstrong, the former communications director for Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) who had moved into a policy role within the administration, resigned last week. Her last day was Friday.

"It was time to leave," she said. "There are other things I want to do."

Armstrong was an aide in both of Williams's campaigns and became communications director when he took office in January 1999. She transferred out of the job in May 2001 but remained a senior adviser to the mayor.

Armstrong said she is looking for a job with a smaller organization that she could help build or rebuild.

VIRGINIA

'Youth for Tomorrow' to Allow Girls

Youth for Tomorrow-New Life Center, founded by former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs in 1986 to help teenage boys, will open its doors to girls for the first time in September.

The nonprofit center on a 205 acres in Bristow operates a foster care home, a private school and a counseling center.

To prepare, Gary Jones, Youth for Tomorrow's chief executive, said plans include building two group homes at a cost of $1 million. Up to 12 girls could live in each home.

The homes will sit on a recently purchased 65-acre parcel. Funding for the additional land and construction comes from private donations. Up to seven new staff members will be hired.

A 40,000-square-foot school is under construction at the site. The $5 million facility will hold a gymnasium, library, auditorium, dining facility and 22 classrooms and will be used by boys and girls.

MARYLAND

Crab Season Opens With New Restrictions

Crab season opens today in Maryland, with new restrictions that state officials say will protect more of the Chesapeake Bay species' breeding-age population.

At an emergency hearing in Annapolis yesterday, lawmakers approved plans to lower the minimum legal catch sizes for hard, soft and so-called peeler crabs, which are about to molt.

At the recommendation of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, a joint legislative committee approved emergency regulations to set the minimum catch size for male hard crabs at 5 inches from April 1 to July 14 and then 5 1/4 inches until the end of the season Dec. 15.

The minimum size of about-to-molt crabs will be 3 1/4 inches from April 1 through July 14, and then 3 1/2 inches from July 15 until the end of the season Dec. 15.

The minimum size for soft shells is 3 1/2 inches all season. Commercial crabbers will take off the second and third Thursday in November.

Seafood processors will be allowed to import female crabs with eggs from April 25 to July 5.

The changes will affect commercial and recreational crabbers. Maryland watermen and state officials characterized the new rules yesterday as reasonable.

Maryland and Virginia have agreed to reduce harvests by 15 percent to leave more of the crustaceans in the water each season to breed.

Officials said surveys and harvests show small signs of improvements in the crab populations' numbers for the first time in recent years.

"When you put teenagers in uniforms, some of them look sloppy. He looked like he was poured into his uniform. He was born to wear one."

-- Chesterfield Police Sgt. Kevin Smith, recalling what Donald C. May Jr.,

killed in Iraq last week, was like when he joined the

Law Enforcement Explorers 13 years ago. -- Page A23

Compiled from reports by staff writers Sylvia Moreno, David Nakamura, David A. Fahrenthold, Craig Timberg, Michele Clock and Anita Huslin and the Associated Press.