THE REGION

GAO Will Look Into Bay Cleanup Effort

The Government Accountability Office has decided to review the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort in response to a request by three U.S. senators, the agency said yesterday.

A review of the Chesapeake Bay Program will begin in three months, spokeswoman Laura Kopelson said. She added that she did not know when a final report would be issued.

Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Paul S. Sarbanes (D-Md.) and John W. Warner (R-Va.) sent a letter to the GAO last week asking it to evaluate whether the program has accurately depicted its progress toward cleaning up the bay.

"I'm pleased that the GAO agreed to our request," Mikulski said. "The American people deserve sound stewardship of precious natural resources like the bay and sound stewardship of taxpayer dollars."

THE DISTRICT

McKinley Tech Reopens Today

Top city officials will formally reopen McKinley Technology High School, which was built in 1925 and closed in 1997 for a $75 million renovation, with a ceremony at 10 a.m. today.

The school, at 151 T St. NE, is intended be one of the city's most academically innovative and is designed to deliver a liberal arts education with a focus on biotechnology, computer technology and digital and broadcast media.

It is accepting students through a citywide application process rather than an attendance zone.

The school recently received its certificate of occupancy.

MARYLAND

Ehrlich Won't Give Voters a Say on Slots

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. yesterday rejected a proposal from Democratic lawmakers to let voters decide whether slot machines should be legal in Maryland.

In a letter to House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel), Ehrlich (R) called the proposal "simply not responsible" because it represented "a profound departure" from the plan the governor supports. Ehrlich also rejected the idea of putting the matter before voters in the form of a constitutional amendment, saying "the Constitution should not be manipulated for political gain."

Busch expressed disappointment, describing the governor's position as a "missed opportunity."

After meeting with dozens of House members last night, Busch told reporters that he remains willing to negotiate with the governor. But it will have to be in January, he said, when the legislature formally convenes.

Work Begins on Forest Glen Walkway

Montgomery County officials broke ground yesterday on an elevated walkway to give pedestrians and cyclists on Georgia Avenue easier access to the Forest Glen Metro station. The quarter-mile bridge, proposed nine years ago, will connect Forest Glen Road to Locust Grove Road and cross the Capital Beltway and three of its Georgia Avenue ramps.

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) said the $7.7 million project, part of which will be adorned with sculpture, will improve pedestrian safety and make the neighborhood more pedestrian friendly. The bridge, built with state, county and federal funds, is scheduled to be completed in fall 2006.

1 Killed, 3 Hurt in Montgomery Collision

The driver of a pickup truck was killed and three other people were injured yesterday afternoon in Montgomery County in a collision that involved two vehicles and a motorcycle, police said.

The incident occurred about 3:10 p.m. when a Ford pickup truck entered the intersection at Olney-Laytonsville and Fieldcrest roads and collided with a Chevrolet van. The van hit a motorcycle, throwing the female driver and a 5-year-old girl off the bike, police said.

The pickup truck's driver, a male, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The two people on the motorcycle and the van's driver were treated at hospitals for non-life-threatening injuries. The names of the victims were not immediately released.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, police spokesman Derek Baliles said.

VIRGINIA

Blasting Suspected in Gas Main Rupture

Nearby blasting may have damaged a 12-inch natural gas main that knocked out service to more than 3,000 customers in the Haymarket area over the weekend, officials said.

About 1,500 customers were still without service yesterday afternoon, said Tim Sargeant, spokesman for Washington Gas. "Blasting associated with excavation may have contributed to the damage to our pipeline" in the 6700 block of Leaberry Boulevard, Sargeant said.

"We're reviewing it, the gas company is reviewing it and the blaster is reviewing it to see if everything was done correctly," said Capt. Tim Taylor of the Prince William County Fire and Rescue Department.

2nd Man Charged in Gang-Related Slaying

Prince William County police said yesterday that a second man has been arrested in last week's gang-related slaying of a Manassas Park construction worker.

Reynaldo Alexander Cordova, 21, of the 2200 block of Pimmit Run Lane in Falls Church, was arrested late Saturday and charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death in Manassas of Jose Escobar, 22, police said. Cordova was also charged with use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and is being held without bond, they said.

Cordova faces a Sept. 21 court hearing, along with Wilfredo Montoya-Baires, 25, of Reston, a member of the Mara Salvatrucha gang who was arrested last week in slaying. Montoya-Baires is also charged with first-degree murder.

Agency Sues Over Treatment for Disabled

An independent Virginia agency yesterday sued the state agency that administers Medicaid, alleging that the commonwealth failed to provide health services and treatment to children with disabilities.

The Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy's suit in U.S. District Court in Richmond says the Department of Medical Assistance Services has not provided services to eligible disabled children. The state also has failed to cooperate with the agency's inquiries into complaints about the health services, said Colleen Miller, director of the Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy.

A spokesman for Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore (R), who defends state agencies against lawsuits, said the office had not received the suit as of yesterday and could not comment.

"I just looked at those wheels and thought, 'Wow, those would fit on our skateboards.' "

-- Frank Nasworthy, who replaced his skateboard's clay wheels

with the high-tech synthetic rubber wheels he came upon by chance,

making possible early skateboarding tricks. -- Page B1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Karin Brulliard, Sewell Chan, Matthew Mosk, Tim Craig, Allan Lengel, Eric M. Weiss, Ian Shapira and Chris L. Jenkins.