THE REGION

Passenger Illness Delays Metro's Red Line

A 33-year-old woman suffered a seizure on a six-car Red Line train during the morning rush yesterday, creating delays of about a half-hour in both directions on Metro's busiest line, transit officials said.

Passengers on a six-car train at Metro Center notified the operator that a rider had taken ill just after 9 a.m., Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said. The operator contacted Metro headquarters at 9:12 a.m. The woman was not able to move, so the operator and a supervisor called for medical help, he said.

Paramedics arrived at Metro Center by 9:26 a.m. and three minutes later, the sick passenger was removed from the train, which was sent on its way toward Glenmont, Taubenkibel said. The incident resulted in delays to passengers of about 30 minutes in each direction, he said. The sick passenger was taken by ambulance to George Washington University Hospital.

Memorial Plan Available for Review

A draft of the National Park Service's proposal to tighten security at the Jefferson Memorial by closing a driveway and constructing security barriers is available for public review until Sept. 11.

The draft environmental assessment is available online at www.nps.gov/thje/ea. Copies can be obtained by calling Gopaul Noojibail at 202-485-9685.

The Park Service will accept public comments on the plan until 4 p.m. Sept. 11. Comments can be submitted via e-mail to NACC_superintendent@nps.gov or via overnight or hand delivery to: Superintendent, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, National Park Service, National Capital Region, 900 Ohio Dr. SW, Washington, D.C. 20024.

MARYLAND

County to Offer New Firefighter Test

Montgomery County has tossed out its years-old written examination for firefighter applicants and plans to administer a new one in coming months, officials said yesterday. The county is also interviewing 163 candidates who were rejected in its most recent round of applicants.

The moves are in response to criticism of the county's most recent recruit class, which had the smallest number of minorities of any class since at least 1988, when the county began tracking the race of firefighter applicants.

Montgomery will pay $35,000 for a new test endorsed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs, said the county's director of human resources, Joe Adler. The test is designed to measure candidates' interpersonal skills and temperament in emergencies as well as cognitive abilities, Adler said. The old test, which the county had used for more than a decade, tested primarily cognitive abilities. The test may have unfairly excluded minority candidates, officials said.

The 46-member recruit class hired in June had one African American and two Latinos. Officials attributed the low number to recent changes in the fire and rescue services' hiring procedures imposed by county attorneys, who decided that race-conscious hiring may be unconstitutional.

Ehrlich Cool to Slots Vote, Speaker Says

After an hour-long meeting with a top aide to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. yesterday, House Speaker Michael E. Busch said he believes the governor is "not even lukewarm" about his proposal for a compromise on slot machine gambling.

Busch (D-Anne Arundel) said he expects to hear Monday whether Ehrlich (R) will agree to placing the gambling issue on the November ballot. That single concession, Busch has said, could be enough for Ehrlich to finally win legislative approval for slots, the governor's top initiative.

Putting the issue before voters would require an amendment to the state constitution. Ehrlich has said he does not support cluttering the constitution with slots legislation and yesterday questioned whether such a proposal had legislative support.

Still, Budget Secretary Chip DiPaula Jr. said after meeting with Busch that the governor has not eliminated any options.

VIRGINIA

Nudist Camp Lawsuit Thrown Out

A federal judge in Richmond has tossed out a lawsuit challenging a new Virginia law requiring adult supervision at a summer nudist camp for children.

Judge Richard Williams ruled yesterday that the lawsuit was moot because organizers of the camp at White Tail Park in southeastern Virginia had surrendered their permit to operate this summer's camp. He also said the new law's requirement that a parent, grandparent or legal guardian accompany each summer camp participant is a minimal restriction that does not violate parents' constitutional rights.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit, alleging that the state law violates the right to privacy. Visitors undergo background checks, and the camp has strict rules against lewd, lustful or lascivious conduct.

GOP Seeks to Limit Depositions

The Republican Party of Virginia wants to limit the number of depositions in the lawsuit stemming from the 2002 incident involving GOP eavesdropping on Democrats' conference calls.

Attorneys for the Virginia GOP filed the motion in Richmond yesterday with U.S. District Judge James Spencer.

More than 30 state Democrats are suing the GOP and several former high-ranking Republicans over the eavesdropping during two Democratic teleconferences, held to discuss strategy on a court case involving legislative redistricting.

Spencer initially limited the plaintiffs and defendants to deposing five people apiece who are not parties to the lawsuit. But the plaintiffs asked Spencer last week to allow them to question up to 15 people who are not parties to the lawsuit, including several top advisers to Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore (R).

Postal Facility to Get Biohazard System

The U.S. Postal Service facility at Merrifield will be getting a new system this month designed to detect the presence of biohazards, particularly anthrax, the Postal Service said.

The system, post office officials said, has been tested in 15 locations, including mail facilities in Capitol Heights, at Dulles and in Sterling, where it was later permanently installed. The suburban Maryland facility in Gaithersburg also has one of the systems.

The installation in Merrifield is not the result of a specific threat against the facility, officials said. All regional mail processing facilities in the Washington area will have the system by this fall.

"This was a vicious attack. He came to do business."

-- Jacqueline Elliott, who was minding five children in Herndon on Monday when two were bitten by an apparently rabid fox. -- Page B1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Lyndsey Layton, Matthew Mosk, David Snyder and Monte Reel and the Associated Press.