Zoo's Female Hippopotamus Dies at 52

An aging Nile hippopotamus died yesterday at the National Zoo. A zoo spokeswoman said the hippo, a 52-year-old female named Arusha, died in her indoor pool at the Elephant House about 9 a.m.

The hippo, part of the zoo's collection since 1955, had been showing marked signs of lethargy and decreased appetite. Last week, she stumbled and fell while walking down a few steps into the pool. The spokeswoman said the zoo had been monitoring Arusha and was planning to euthanize her because she was not responding to treatment.

The animal had 19 offspring, including a male that is now the zoo's lone Nile hippopotamus. The Elephant House was closed yesterday so that the body could be transported to the pathology lab to determine the cause of death.


Teacher Shortfall in 7 Subjects Expected

Maryland school officials released a report yesterday that projects the state will face a shortage of teachers in seven subject areas for the next two years.

More teachers need to be hired in the fields of career and technology education, computer science, English for speakers of other languages, foreign languages, math, science and special education, according to the report. College students who are training for jobs in those areas are eligible for tuition assistance from the state.

Maryland hired 5,929 teachers last school year, a drop of nearly 30 percent from the previous year. The report predicts that those numbers will continue to decline through 2006. Reasons for the decline include tight local and state budgets, stabilizing student enrollments and greater teacher retention, the report said.

Ehrlich Chooses Special Prosecutor

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) has named Rockville lawyer Robert A. Rohrbaugh to become the state's special prosecutor, responsible for investigating election and ethics law violations as well as other instances of public misconduct.

Rohrbaugh worked as an assistant U.S. attorney in Maryland in the 1970s and was one of three finalists for the state's top federal prosecutor post in 2001.

As a federal prosecutor, Rohrbaugh tried at least 30 felony cases, including the first major computer fraud prosecution in the country, according to his resume.

He would replace Stephen Montanarelli, who died in May at age 75. As state prosecutor since 1984, Montanarelli investigated Linda Tripp's 1997 wiretapping of Monica Lewinsky. He dropped the case in 2000 when key evidence was ruled inadmissible.

Rohrbaugh's appointment is subject to state Senate confirmation.

Hearing on Touch-Screen Voting Security

Opponents of touch-screen electronic voting machines launched a broad attack yesterday on Maryland's system, arguing that it is riddled with flaws that must be fixed to ensure an accurate vote count in November.

The more than 16,000 machines used in Maryland "are uniquely insecure and vulnerable to outside attack," Laura Thoms, attorney for TrueVoteMD, said at the opening day of a hearing in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court.

But Assistant Attorney General Michael D. Berman said the potential problems cited in the suit are based on "theoretical security vulnerabilities" that have not materialized in previous elections, including the March primary. "The greatest threat to a secure election is an eleventh-hour change," he said.

TrueVoteMD is asking that the state be ordered to equip machines with printers that would make a paper copy of each ballot and that election officials be required to prove that they have corrected security flaws cited in two studies conducted for the state.


ACLU Joins Fight for Slots Initiative

The local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union will join backers of a plan to legalize slot machine gambling in arguing that the D.C. elections board violated the First Amendment right to free speech when it banned the slots initiative from the Nov. 2 ballot.

The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics earlier this month threw out thousands of signatures collected during a petition drive in support of the slots initiative. The board, in part, found that circulators were trained to misrepresent the gambling initiative as a harbinger of jobs and of revenue for public schools and health care.

Arthur Spitzer, legal director of the ACLU of the National Capital Area, said that decision flies in the face of the Constitution.

"The idea that the board of elections has the power to regulate political speech between citizens on the street and disqualify signatures because they think the speech was inaccurate is an astonishing assertion," Spitzer said yesterday.

"Political speech has never been held and cannot be held under the First Amendment to the same kind of standards as, for example, a stock prospectus. There has to be room for exaggeration. That's what political speech is all about."

Spitzer said he plans to file a brief tomorrow before the D.C. Court of Appeals, which is considering a request by slots supporters to overturn the elections board ruling. The court has set a hearing for Sept. 8.

Rudolph McGann, a staff attorney for the elections board, declined to comment yesterday on the ACLU's decision to intervene in the case. McGann said the board will lay out its defense of the ruling in a brief that will be filed with the court tomorrow.

Shooting Victim Identified as NW Man

D.C. police identified the man slain early Tuesday in Northwest Washington as 28-year-old Marlon T. Turner.

Turner, of the 700 block of Jefferson Street NW, was fatally shot about 1:30 a.m. in the 800 block of Ingraham Street NW, police said. He died at the scene.

Catholic University Names Treasurer

Catholic University has named a new treasurer and vice president for finance and administration, school officials said.

Julie Englund will succeed Ralph Beaudoin, who retired after 10 years in the job. Englund spent three years at Harvard Law School serving as dean of administration.

She previously served in posts at the Brookings Institution in the District and at Hood College in Frederick.

"It's difficult to talk about in the abstract. I mean, everyone is for baseball. Nobody's for robbing the schools and health care to pay for it. But that's not what we're talking about doing. I think we're able to do both."

-- D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D), on poll results showing that many city residents oppose a publicly funded ballpark. -- Page B1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Amy Argetsinger, Karlyn Barker, Lori Montgomery, Del Quinton Wilbur, Ylan Q. Mui and Matthew Mosk and the Associated Press.