Warner Switches Pick for Judgeship

Republicans Fought Original Circuit Court Choice

Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) has decided to appoint Alexandria lawyer Lisa B. Kemler to a Circuit Court judgeship that has been vacant for more than a year because of a political dispute between lawmakers.

Warner's original choice for the slot, Alexandria Juvenile Court Judge Nolan B. Dawkins, told the governor that he was withdrawing from consideration.

Judges are subject to election by the General Assembly, and Republicans in the House of Delegates indicated that they would continue to oppose Dawkins in favor of their candidate. Kemler will be sworn in to the interim position this summer. But early next year, she will have to face the lawmakers who vowed not to confirm Dawkins.

Man Indicted in Abduction of Driver

Suspect Had Been Charged With Park Slayings

A Howard County man was indicted in the 1996 abduction of a Prince William County motorist, one of more than a dozen abductions or attempts believed to have been committed by the "Route 29 stalker."

Darrell D. Rice, 36, was indicted on charges of malicious wounding, abduction with intent to defile and robbery in the attack on the 37-year-old motorist.

Authorities began investigating Rice after he was charged in April 2002 in the slaying of two hikers in Shenandoah National Park. That case unraveled this year, and the charges against Rice were dropped after new DNA tests failed to link him to the park killings. He is serving time in prison for trying to abduct a female bicyclist in the park in 1997.

Moran Victorious in Democratic Primary

Rosenberg Defeated by 18 Percentage Points

Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (Va.) won renomination in a Democratic primary, defeating relatively little-known opponent Andrew M. Rosenberg.

Moran, who has served seven terms, defeated Rosenberg, an Alexandria lawyer and lobbyist, 59 percent to 41 percent. Moran will face Republican Lisa Marie Cheney, a government relations consultant from Alexandria, and independent James Hurycz of Arlington in November.

Fairfax School Board Approves Budget

Raises, Expanded Kindergarten Planned

The Fairfax County School Board unanimously approved a $1.8 billion budget that will give school staff members an average 7.1 percent pay raise, add 29 full-day kindergarten classes and reduce class size in elementary and middle schools.

Under the budget, nine more schools will convert to full-day kindergarten and several kindergarten classrooms will employ a specialized phonics-intensive reading program. About 30 positions will be added to elementary schools and about 25 to middle schools to reduce class size. Also, fees for Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate tests will be dropped to try to diversify the pool of students taking the courses and tests.

Metro Extension Moves a Step Closer

Tysons, Reston Project Cleared for Engineering

Federal officials gave permission for Virginia to begin engineering work on the $1.5 billion plan to extend Metro to Tysons Corner and Reston.

The approval means that the rail project, which has been discussed since the 1960s, will move beyond computer models for the first time. Preliminary engineering is the second of three phases a transit project must complete before it can be considered for federal construction money. Engineering, scheduled to take 15 months, is supposed to produce more-accurate cost estimates and specifics on benefits and impacts.

Passengers to Pay More

Metro Panel Backs Higher Fares, Fees

Metro's budget committee endorsed a plan to raise fares and fees at the end of the month and to open the rail system at 5 a.m. on weekdays, a half-hour earlier. By a 7 to 2 vote, the panel agreed to raise the minimum subway fare by 15 cents to $1.35 and the local bus fare by a nickel to $1.25. The weekly bus pass would remain unchanged at $11. The maximum peak rail fare would increase 30 cents to $3.90, and daily parking fees would increase by 75 cents.

Cosmic sight: MJ Hall, left, Smithsonian curator Ronald Brashear and Nancy Gwinn watch from the American History museum as Venus crosses the sun's face.