Emergency Kits Going Out to Arlingtonians

More than 800 local volunteers will descend on about 91,000 homes throughout Arlington County today to distribute emergency preparedness packets.

The "Arlington Prepares" campaign is offering readiness kits in English and Spanish to help residents handle such emergencies as a terrorist attack or big storm, officials said. The bag will contain a Red Cross preparedness brochure, a form for a household emergency contact plan and a wallet card for emergency medical information, among other items.

In addition to ensuring that the majority of homes receive the information, officials said that the door-to-door campaign will be an important drill for the county, which could have to mobilize large number of volunteers in the event of an emergency.

GOP Will Try to Restrict Primaries

The state Republican Party intends to ensure that by 2007, only bona fide Republicans are involved in nominating the party's candidates.

The party's governing board agreed yesterday to have attorneys examine a proposal that would give the GOP a way to limit its nomination processes in a state where the law calls for primaries that are open to any voter.

Conservatives within the party have long wished for party registration, but they have been thwarted in efforts to have it written into state law, even though the GOP has had commanding majorities in the House and Senate for several years.

Currently, the GOP follows state law, even if the law results in a primary in which Democrats and independents can cross over to help select the Republican nominee. In 2006, the party will go to court if necessary to ensure its process is exclusive to party members, said House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith (Salem).


Federal Grant to Fund New SE Housing

The D.C. Housing Authority will receive a $20 million federal grant to build a mix of townhouses, duplexes and single-family homes on the site of a Southeast Washington public housing complex that was razed in 1998, officials announced Thursday.

The project at the former Eastgate Gardens will be the sixth in the city funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's HOPE VI program, which uses public dollars to replace deteriorated public housing with mixed-income communities. The Eastgate project is slated to include a partnership with Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam Records, to create a recording studio, a fashion design studio, a yearly internship and other assistance, a spokesman for the Housing Authority said.

A total of 269 new residences will be built on the Eastgate site and adjacent land in the neighborhood of Marshall Heights, authorities said. Some will be priced at market rates, while others will be set aside for low-income seniors and low- to moderate-earning families. Officials said they hope to break ground by the end of this year.

Man in Firefighter's Gear Found Shot

A man wearing a D.C. firefighter's uniform was found shot last night in Southeast Washington, authorities said.

The man, who was not immediately identified, was found in the 1200 block of Chicago Street SE with wounds to the arms and legs, a D.C. police spokesman said. Police said he may have been shot on Talbert Street SE. He was flown by helicopter to a hospital, fire department officials said.

Alan Etter, spokesman for the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, said it was not possible last night to confirm that the man was a member of the fire department. He said the name that authorities were given initially did not match department records.

Global Education Programs Planned

D.C. school officials announced Thursday that they are creating a nonprofit entity that will help develop international education programs to be offered throughout the public school system. They said they also will use the group to raise money to cover the cost of developing and running the programs.

School officials said they have been given a $10,000 grant from the U.N. Foundation and are seeking other private funding.

Funeral Set for Slain Police Sergeant

The funeral for D.C. police Sgt. Clifton Rife II, who died in an off-duty gunfight with a teenage robbery suspect, is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Monday at Holy Comforter Catholic Church, 1357 East Capitol St. SE, police said yesterday.

Officials said that a viewing will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. tomorrow at Pope Funeral Home, 5538 Marlboro Pike, Forestville.

Rife, 34, died early Wednesday after he was ambushed by a masked youth on his way to an apartment in Oxon Hill, police said. He exchanged shots with Jonathan M. Washington, 16, who also died.

Yesterday, Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D), Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey and other leaders were among the mourners at a funeral for D.C. police Sgt. John S. Ashley, 37, who collapsed and died Sunday while chasing a runaway dog in Northwest Washington.


Ex-Annapolis Principal Files Lawsuit

The former principal of Annapolis High School filed a lawsuit yesterday against the Anne Arundel County Board of Education and Superintendent Eric J. Smith. Deborah Hall Williams alleges that the decision to remove her from her job constituted breach of contract and was motivated by racial discrimination.

The lawsuit, filed in Anne Arundel Circuit Court, is the latest development in a conflict that has simmered almost since Williams's arrival last summer. Williams, who is black, was removed as principal after months of emotional debate involving mostly white parents who opposed Williams and black community leaders who supported her.

Appointed less than a year ago to address Annapolis High's academic and disciplinary problems, she was reassigned in March to a post in the school system's main office by Smith. Smith has said a consultant's study convinced him she had not done enough to ensure the safety of her students or gain the support of staff and parents.

In the lawsuit, Williams says her tires were slashed and she received a death threat. A spokesman for the school system said yesterday that the lawsuit is under review.

"I think the more congested the suburbs get, [the more] you need to feel some of that greener space. people have to go somewhere, but so do the animals."

-- Beverly Ricci, a resident of Loudoun County's South Riding development, which has been declared a Community Wildlife Habitat

by the National Wildlife Federation. -- Page B2

Compiled from reports by staff writers Annie Gowen, Debbi Wilgoren, Martin Weil, Clarence Williams, Justin Blum, Del Quentin Wilber and Eric Rich and the Associated Press.