Snakehead Caught in Fairfax Creek

A bass angler fishing in a creek near Mount Vernon on Thursday caught a two-foot northern snakehead, the largest and oldest specimen of the Asian fish found in the Potomac or its tributaries, officials said.

Gary Martel, of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, said the fish was caught in Little Hunting Creek, where another snakehead was caught May 7. In all, six snakeheads have been caught this year in a stretch of the Potomac south of Washington.

Martel said it was possible that the larger snakehead caught Thursday was a parent to some or all of the others. But he said authorities would not know for sure until they get the results of DNA testing.


Accident Injures Trooper on Beltway

A Maryland state trooper was critically injured last night when he was hit by a car on the Capital Beltway in Montgomery County, the state police said.

Trooper Zinnia Gailor, 28, who is assigned to the Rockville barracks, was hit after he got out of his patrol car on the outer loop at Connecticut Avenue about 8:20 p.m. to help motorists whose cars had collided.

The trooper was struck by a car that went out of control in the fast lane, state police said. A helicopter flew Gailor to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Sewage Discharged Into Creek

Washington County health officials warned residents to avoid swimming, fishing and contact with the water in Antietam Creek for a few days after sewage from the Hagerstown Wastewater Treatment Plant escaped into its waters this week.

On Monday and Tuesday, heavy storms caused the plant to malfunction, releasing more than 1.2 million gallons of partially treated wastewater into the creek.

Antietam Creek feeds into the Potomac River, but a Washington County Health Department official said the department did not have "a tremendous concern" about possible drinking water contamination. "There's a lot of dilution that occurs," said Health Department spokesman Rod MacRae.


Loudoun Water Passes Quality Tests

The Loudoun County Sanitation Authority has received favorable results in its annual water quality tests required by the Safe Drinking Water Act. The Consumer Confidence Report for 2003 details the levels of natural and manmade impurities in drinking water, including microbes, metals and pesticides. The presence of contaminants is at acceptable levels in every category, according to Sanitation Authority spokeswoman Samantha Villegas.

The authority purchases water from the Fairfax County Water Authority, which gets it from the Potomac River and Occoquan Reservoir, and from Fairfax City, which gets it from Goose Creek. Sanitation Authority customers, who live in the unincorporated areas of eastern Loudoun, can expect to receive complete results next week. They can be found online at

Small-Business Insurance to Be Studied

Virginia Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) has formed a panel that will study how small, independently owned stores and restaurants can offer affordable health insurance to their employees. The Commission on Small Business Insurance Costs will have its first meeting Monday.

In announcing the commission's goals, Kaine, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor next year, said that one out of seven Virginians is uninsured and that "75 percent of the uninsured work full time or live in a house with someone who does." He added that most of those uninsured, full-time workers are at small companies that employ fewer than 10 people. The commission will work through the summer and fall and recommend legislation for the 2005 General Assembly session.

The commission includes several state lawmakers, business owners, employees and representatives from medical and insurance companies.


New Assistant Chief for Capitol Police

James P. Rohan, a 29-year veteran of the U.S. Capitol Police, will become the department's second in command by the end of summer.

Rohan will replace Assistant Chief Robert Howe, who is retiring because he is nearing the department's mandatory retirement age of 57, according to Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer. Rohan most recently was deputy chief and oversaw the department's Operational Services Bureau, which includes the bomb squad and several other specialized units.

Last week, he oversaw security at the Capitol for the state funeral of former president Ronald Reagan.

In his new post, Rohan will run the day-to-day operations of the 1,600-member department, which patrols the Capitol grounds and provides security for congressional leadership and visiting dignitaries.

Emergency Preparedness Seminar Offered

A D.C. Health Department public seminar on emergency preparedness will be held from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today at the Kellogg Conference Center at Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Ave. NE.

The free event is open to all and geared toward activities of the city's Emergency Healthcare Reserve Corps, volunteer health professionals from multiple disciplines. Once participants successfully complete the training, they will receive credentials as official members of the group and serve on response teams.

The volunteers would be called into service in the wake of a terror attack, said Thomas Calhoun of the D.C. Emergency Health and Medical Services Administration.

Topics will include veterinary services, fit-testing of face masks that protect against infectious agents, mental health and pediatric care, and mortuary services.

"The theme is what's going to happen the second day after some major event like a dirty bomb, a car bomb or massive explosives," Calhoun said. "After the adrenaline has settled down a bit, people become awfully anxious and concerned."

"You hear all this stuff, and you never think it'll be you."

-- Jane Buchanan, mother of a seventh-grader at Bull Run Middle School in Prince William County, where a 12-year-old boy brought three guns to school yesterday. -- Page A1

Compiled from reports by staff writers David A. Fahrenthold, Elizabeth Williamson, Lila Arzua, Chris L. Jenkins, Del Quenton Wilber, Martin Weil and Avram Goldstein.