Another Female Snakehead Caught

The number of Northern snakeheads caught in the Potomac River and its tributaries is now at 14, including two females full of eggs.

A Virginia fisheries biologist caught No. 14 yesterday while electrofishing in Dogue Creek, according to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The fish was caught near where a 17-inch female packed with eggs was caught Thursday.

Experts are afraid that the snakehead, a predator with a voracious appetite, could destroy the river's ecosystem if left to breed unchecked in the shallow, grassy waters it prefers. One fear is that the river's smallmouth bass population could be decimated.

All 14 of the snakeheads caught since May have come from a 14-mile stretch of the Potomac and its tributaries. Five have been caught in Dogue Creek, including four in the past six days, and three have been caught in Little Hunting Creek. All were sent to the Smithsonian Institution for genetic testing, officials said.


Pr. George's Schools Form Donation Arm

The Prince George's County school system has created a foundation to seek private donations.

The Prince George's Excellence in Education Foundation operates as a nonprofit organization independent of the school system, schools chief Andre J. Hornsby said during a news conference in Upper Marlboro yesterday .

Hornsby introduced five business leaders who will serve on the foundation's board and help oversee its operations.

They are Corbett A. Price, chairman of Kurron, a health care restructuring and management company; William W. Davis Sr., an information technology consultant; Eric Richardson, chairman of Growth Development Associates, a training and management company; Lorraine Richardson, chief executive of Growth Development Associates; and Lisa Harbour Carter, president of Wynnewood Technologies Inc., an information technology firm. The foundation has held some fundraising activities, including a 5K run in April that raised money for classroom books.

Suitland Man Arrested in Stabbing Death

A 19-year-old Suitland man was arrested Thursday in the fatal stabbing of a 17-year-old from Cheltenham, Prince George's County police said.

Velonta E. Roye of the 1600 block of Skyline Terrace was arrested on a warrant charging him with first-degree murder in the May 2 stabbing of Daryl Duckett of the 1000 block of Westwood Drive. Duckett was found in the 10600 block of Bailey Drive, police said. They said Roye was being held in the District awaiting extradition.


Legality of School Board Vote Questioned

An Alexandria School Board member is questioning the legality of the July 1 vote in which Gwendolyn H. Lewis was defeated for vice chairman and replaced by Mary "Mollie" Danforth.

In April, Lewis was the lone dissenter against a proposal to allow Superintendent Rebecca L. Perry to keep her job after being arrested on a drunken driving charge. In a 6 to 3 vote by paper ballot, Lewis was defeated in her reelection bid for vice chairman.

Board member Kenneth L. Foran said yesterday that paper ballots are not permitted under Virginia code governing public meetings. "No vote shall be taken by secret or written ballot," according to the code.

At the July 1 meeting, as Chairman Mark O. Wilkoff prepared to take the vote by a show of hands, Danforth suggested that the board vote by ballot, board members and people who attended the meeting recalled. The board's clerk then read the results.

"I don't know why they wanted a secret ballot," Foran said. "I think some people may have been sheepish in their voting. I think it's got to be looked into."

Wilkoff said he saw no impropriety because each board member's name and vote were read aloud.

Labrador Retriever Fancies Figurines

A black Labrador retriever is being sought by Fairfax County police after he was captured on videotape swiping four ceramic figurines from a woman's home in McLean. And police said yesterday that the dog is a suspect in four other heists.

In June, police said, Ruth Breiner, 75, asked for help in stopping a series of thefts from her yard on Strine Drive. A ceramic raccoon vanished in April. A small deer disappeared in early June. Another deer went June 14, and then a squirrel on June 16.

Fairfax police set up a video surveillance system, Officer Sophia Grinnan said.

They caught the thief -- on videotape, anyway -- but the thefts haven't stopped. Grinnan said four more figurines were stolen late at night, and the culprit each time was a Labrador that scooped up the small items with his mouth and trotted off. Anyone with information about the larcenous Labrador is asked to call Fairfax police at 703-691-2131.

Traffic Deaths Up for Holiday Weekend

Virginia State Police say preliminary figures indicate that 11 people were killed in traffic accidents in Virginia over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, compared with seven last year.

The counting period began Friday and ended at midnight Monday.

Police say most of the victims were in their twenties and men. Reckless driving was the most common cause for the crashes, and alcohol was a factor in two of them.

State police said the overall statistics show a downward trend in Virginia's traffic fatalities for the first half of this year. As of Wednesday, 446 people had been killed in traffic crashes statewide, compared with 467 by that date in 2003.


Southeast Man Is Found Fatally Shot

A 23-year-old man was found slain yesterday near his home in Southeast Washington, D.C. police said.

Davien Snipes of the 3500 block of A Street was found about 1:10 a.m. in the 200 block of 34th Street SE, police said. He had been shot in the head and body.

"Pushy does not even begin to describe some of the parents of my friends at school. Ultimately I feel like it works against the kids, because once Mommy and Daddy aren't there pushing, they stop working, and there goes a $40,000-a-year education."

-- Nate Pancost, 19, a University of Maryland student describing many parents' involvement in their children's choice of colleges. -- Page A1.

Compiled from reports by staff writers Nancy Trejos, Martin Weil, S. Mitra Kalita, Tom Jackman and Del Quentin Wilber and the Associated Press.