THE REGION

Area Sizzles for First Time in a Long Time

The high temperatures in the region yesterday showed how warm summer can get, but they also illustrated how cool the rest of the season has been. The 91-degree reading at Dulles International Airport made it the hottest day there in 46 days, according to the National Weather Service. The last time it was that hot at Dulles was July 5.

It was also 91 degrees yesterday at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, the hottest there since July 5.

At Reagan National Airport, the mercury fell one degree short of the 90-degree mark. The 89 degrees there was the highest since Aug. 4, when it was 91.

The highest temperature at any of the Washington region's three airports this year is 92 degrees, which was reached five times so far at National and once at BWI.

Search Begins for Old Sunken Sub

A search will begin this weekend near Ocracoke Island off the North Carolina coast for remains of the U.S. Navy's first submarine, the 47-foot USS Alligator, which sank in April 1863 while being towed from Washington to Charleston, S.C., to fight the Confederate Navy.

The Alligator, which could carry 22 crew members, met a fate similar to that of the USS Monitor, the iron-plated gunboat that sank in a storm off Cape Hatteras in December 1862. The Alligator was largely overlooked in part because it had been a secret weapon and had a short service life, said Catherine Marzin of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is conducting the search with the Office of Naval Research. "It was sunk before it could prove itself," she said.

MARYLAND

Baltimore Lauds Its Needle Exchange

In Baltimore, the nation's largest city-run exchange program for used intravenous drug needles has taken more than 6 million needles off the city's heroin-ravaged streets, the city's health commissioner said yesterday.

The aim of the program is to reduce the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The program has enrolled more than 14,000 addicts and tested more than 2,800 people for HIV, said Peter Beilenson, the city health commissioner.

"Is it perfect? No. Do people still share needles sometimes? Sure. But the fact that 6 million fewer needles have been shared clearly has had an impact," Beilenson said.

Although the program sparked some controversy initially, Beilenson said it has become an accepted tool for reducing HIV. "I think it's very safe to say that there's no controversy at all that our results have been excellent over the past 10 years," he said.

Liza Solomon, director of the Maryland AIDS Administration, said the needle exchange program has played a key role in reducing the number of new HIV infections in Baltimore.

In 1994, there were 602 new cases of HIV in Baltimore. About 61 percent of those cases were due to intravenous drug use, she said. In 2002, the number dropped to 195 new cases, with about 39 percent stemming from intravenous drug use.

Battle Continues Against Voting Machines

A group suing the state Board of Elections acknowledged yesterday that its fight to eliminate Maryland's computerized voting machines by November has failed. But members still hope a Circuit Court judge will require officials to guarantee a paper trail.

The Campaign for Verifiable Voting has filed a civil lawsuit in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court that seeks to require paper ballots in the Nov. 2 general election. The court is to begin hearing that case Wednesday.

The group had asked the Court of Appeals, Maryland's highest court, to force accelerated hearings. But judges denied that request Thursday.

In next week's hearings in Annapolis, the election board's attorneys will try to prove that Diebold Election Systems' touch-screen machines are reliable, while the campaign's attorneys will argue the machines can be corrupted by hackers and do not do enough to guarantee accuracy.

School's Air Test Results Due Monday

Principal Donald Lilley of Annapolis High School said classes will begin Aug. 30 at the school as scheduled, even though there are concerns about contaminants in the building.

Pamela Bukowski, a receptionist, filed a complaint this week alleging that a summer renovation project stirred up unhealthy dust and asbestos particles. A state health inspector has sampled the air, and test results are expected Monday.

Lilley said the school and its contractors had all the necessary permits to remove the asbestos, and he said the amount was minimal. Teachers are to return to the school Monday.

VIRGINIA

Number of Nonprofit Workers Soars

Employment at nonprofits in Virginia bucked a national trend and surged ahead 3.4 percent in the last year, according to a national study of nonprofit employment by OMB Watch, a Washington group that analyzes federal data.

The number of people employed by nonprofits -- such as religious groups, private schools, trade associations and social services organizations -- climbed to 116,400 in Virginia in the fiscal year that ended in June, compared with 112,600 in the previous year. Overall, the number of nonprofit jobs in the state has risen 15 percent since 2001, the study found.

The employment picture was less robust in Maryland and the District and was more typical of the national trend, the group said. In Maryland, employment by nonprofits inched up 0.8 percent to 63,600 in the last year. In the District, the number of people employed by nonprofits climbed 1.2 percent to 50,300 in the last year.

Woman Nearly Drowns in Alexandria Pool

A 22-year-old Alexandria woman was in critical condition yesterday after nearly drowning in a pool at her apartment complex, police said.

The woman, whose identity was not released, was taken to Inova Alexandria Hospital and was on a respirator. She had been swimming at the pool in the condominium complex at 5340 Holmes Run Pkwy., police said. Children spotted her lying on the bottom of the pool, according to police, and alerted the lifeguard and adults nearby. The lifeguard and two residents dived into the pool, pulled her out and performed CPR until medics arrived, police said.

Police said that there is no indication of foul play and that they are investigating the incident as an accident.

"We're going to have to triple our efforts to get this done."

-- Clifford B. Janey, the new D.C. school superintendent, as he toured three Northwest schools with maintenance problems and vowed to open the buildings on time -- Page B1

Compiled by reports from staff writers Martin Weil, Jacqueline L. Salmon and Elaine Rivera and the Associated Press.