THE REGION

Work on Dulles People Mover to Continue

Construction of a trainlike people mover to replace the mobile lounges at Dulles International Airport can continue while a lawsuit is pending over $200 million in contracts awarded to a higher bidder, a federal judge ruled yesterday.

Chief Judge Claude M. Hilton of the U.S. District Court in Alexandria denied Pittsburgh-based Bombardier Transportation's request for a preliminary injunction to stop work until its suit is heard.

Bombardier has protested the contract that the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority awarded to Sumitomo Corp. of America to design, build and maintain a trainlike system to carry passengers between the terminal and gate areas. Sumitomo's bid was higher than Bombardier's.

The airports authority has said price was one of several considerations but was not the deciding factor in awarding the bid. Sumitomo has begun to design the system, which is scheduled to be completed in 2008, said authority spokeswoman Tara Hamilton.

Bombardier spokesman Ray Betler said the suit will continue.

Bacteria Killing Fish in Tidal Basin

Paddle-boaters and tourists at the Tidal Basin have noticed something fishy lately.

Dozens, maybe hundreds, of dead fish are floating in the water at one of Washington's most scenic draws, taking away a bit from the beauty of the cherry blossoms.

Bacteria in the water are killing a species of fish known as the gizzard shad, which spawns in the Tidal Basin every spring, said Bill Line, spokesman for the National Park Service. A significant number of the fish succumb each year, he said, recalling that about 20 years ago, so many died that the basin had a virtual "carpet of dead fish."

THE DISTRICT

Hospital Center Getting New President

Washington Hospital Center will have a new president next month.

James F. Caldas, 53, who was chief operating officer of Delaware's Christiana Care Health System, will replace Myles P. Lash, who became interim president in June but did not want the job permanently.

Caldas has held senior positions at Christiana Care since 1987.

His hiring comes as the region's largest medical facility faces financial challenges. Last year, executives at the 907-bed nonprofit facility laid off 120 workers, eliminated 70 vacancies and closed a nursing unit. The hospital is one of the nation's busiest, with more than 5,000 employees, a trauma center, an advanced burn unit, a major cardiac surgery program and a cancer center.

The previous president, Michael H. Covert, resigned after a two-year stint that included a 47-day strike by 1,200 nurses, a 3.1 percent operating loss in 2001 and a 2.9 percent loss in 2002.

Massachusetts Avenue Repairs Begin

Repairs to Massachusetts Avenue NW under Thomas Circle began this week and will continue until late September, officials said.

Work will be done in two stages. Eastbound traffic will be detoured at Scott Circle -- to southbound 16th Street, eastbound L Street, northbound 13th Street and eastbound Massachusetts -- as westbound traffic continues as usual. In mid-May, the pattern will shift.

MARYLAND

Woman Fatally Injured in Collision

An Aspen Hill woman was fatally injured yesterday morning in a head-on collision on River Road near Bradley Boulevard, Montgomery County police said.

Eunice Karanja, 28, of the 4000 block of Postgate Terrace, was driving west on River Road about 6:35 a.m. when her Nissan crossed the center line and struck a pickup truck, police said. She was taken to Suburban Hospital, where she died.

The driver of the pickup also was taken to Suburban, police said. Her injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.

Harford County Buses Crash in Florida

Three chartered tour buses carrying 94 high school students and 21chaperones from Harford County were involved in an accident about 10 miles east of Orlando during stop-and-go rush-hour traffic yesterday morning, a Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman said.

No one on the buses was hurt seriously, spokeswoman Kim Miller said, but nearly 40 people were treated at hospitals.

The group from Edgewood High School was on its way to a music competition at Walt Disney World's Epcot Center when the accident occurred on Interstate 4 just before 7 a.m. A car switching lanes caused the lead bus to stop suddenly, Miller said. The second bus rear-ended it, and the third rear-ended the second.

The drivers of the second and third buses have been charged with careless driving, police said last night. They were identified as Diamond George Kimos, 57, and William Carmichael, 67.

VIRGINIA

Stadium Authority Contacts Site Owners

The Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority has contacted the owners of five sites identified as potential locations for a Major League Baseball stadium.

The authority met yesterday in closed session to discuss strategy for acquiring a stadium site. Three of the five sites are in Arlington County; one is near Dulles International Airport; and the fifth is on the Fort Belvoir Engineer Proving Ground in Springfield.

U-Va. Creates Panels to Study Diversity

The University of Virginia has created two committees to tackle diversity questions in the wake of two racially charged incidents this school year.

The President's Commission on Diversity and Equity and the Board of Visitors' special diversity committee will examine policies and studies regarding diversity, pinpoint areas where diversity efforts fall short and recommend changes.

The commission will work for one year and present a report by May 1, 2004. The visitors panel will explore how best to promote diversity on campus and in the university's relationships with communities around the Charlottesville campus.

Officials said discussions about the committees began before a minority candidate for student council president reported being assaulted in a racially motivated attack in February.

A U-Va. fraternity chapter was suspended last fall after three people appeared in blackface at an off-campus Halloween party.

"We are . . . standing by Chief Moose's right to write his memoirs. This is a very important story to him, for obvious reasons, and he feels strongly he should be able to tell his story."

-- Brian Tart of Dutton Books, announcing that Montgomery County Police Chief Charles A. Moose will continue working on his sniper manhunt book while appealing an ethics panel ruling barring him from doing so. -- Page B2.

Compiled from reports by staff writers Katherine Shaver, David Nakamura, Avram Goldstein, Ylan Q. Mui, Martin Weil and Timothy Dwyer and the Associated Press.