VIRGINIA

Execution Scheduled for Tonight

Unless the Virginia governor or the courts intervene, a handyman who beat and stabbed to death an 87-year-old Christiansburg woman will be executed tonight. James E. Reid, 58, is scheduled to die by injection at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt. Using a can of condensed milk and a pair of scissors, a drunken Reid murdered Annie Lester in her home Oct. 12, 1996. She was stabbed 22 times and struck in the head with the can.

Reid was convicted in 1997 of capital murder, attempted rape and attempted robbery. He won a stay of execution in December after he contended that the way Virginia conducts lethal injection constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. But in August, the U.S. Supreme Court tossed out the stay. Last week, a federal judge denied Reid's attempt to delay the execution.

120 Fairfax Students to Transfer

Nearly 120 Fairfax County elementary school students have chosen to transfer to new schools because their neighborhood schools failed to meet the standards of the federal No Child Left Behind law, school officials said.

A school spokesman said 95 students have decided to transfer out of McNair Elementary School in Herndon, and 24 children have left Dogwood Elementary School in Reston. Those students will go to one of four so-called receiving schools.

Dogwood and McNair failed to meet the federal standard this year because students in one subgroup -- economically disadvantaged children -- did not perform well enough on a standardized English test.

THE REGION

Va. Schools Beat 'Teachability' Index

Academic achievement is better in Virginia's public schools and worse in the District's schools than would be predicted by the "teachability" of their students, according to a report by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.

Achievement in Maryland, the report said, was exactly as predicted by teachability -- a measure of students' poverty, health, family problems and other factors developed by researchers Jay P. Greene and Greg Forster.

School performance was 109 percent of teachability in Virginia and 64 percent of teachability in the District, the report said. On that basis, Virginia placed sixth nationally, Maryland 31st and the District last.

Gerald W. Bracey of George Mason University challenged the validity of the study, saying it failed to account for asthma, violence in schools and other factors that make it harder for children to learn.

THE DISTRICT

Office to Handle Gay, Transgender Issues

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams signed an order yesterday creating a Cabinet-level Mayor's Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs. The office will be headed by Wanda R. Alston, special assistant to the mayor since 2002 on issues involving the homosexual and transgender community.

The new office was proposed in 2001 by Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who is gay. It will be similar to offices in Boston, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, Williams (D) said in a statement.

Alston and her staff will serve as a liaison to the gay community and advise the mayor on policy issues affecting that community.

Mayor Picks Personnel Chief

The deputy director of human resources from Columbus, Ohio, will become acting director of the D.C. Office of Personnel, Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) said yesterday.

Lisa Marin, who has worked in human resources in the public and private sectors for nearly 20 years, will begin work Oct. 4, Williams said. If confirmed by the D.C. Council, she would become the agency's first permanent director since the departure of Milou Carolan in November 2002, a spokeswoman for Williams said. Her salary will be $128,300.

A previous nominee withdrew in January after it became clear that several council members opposed granting her an exemption from the requirement that Cabinet appointees live in the city.

GWU Sophomore Dies After Fall

A 19-year-old George Washington University student died yesterday after she fell from the eighth-floor window of an apartment complex near the downtown campus, authorities said. Police said they are investigating the death.

The university identified the student as Susan Shin, a sophomore engineering major from Ashland, Ohio. Shin fell from the Elise apartment complex in the 800 block of New Hampshire Avenue NW about 11 a.m., authorities said. She landed on a roof of the complex and was rushed to George Washington University Hospital, where she died.

Apartment Complex to Be Renovated

A groundbreaking ceremony was held yesterday at the Capital Manor Cooperative, a three-building apartment complex in the 1400 block of W Street that was purchased by the tenants association last year and will be renovated over the next year.

The $12 million project will enable 102 low-income households to remain in one of the city's most rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods, officials said. A few residents will rent their units from the cooperative, but most will own a share in the enterprise.

MARYLAND

Hearing Begins on Access to Stadium

A Prince George's County administrative panel yesterday began hearing an appeal on behalf of Washington Redskins fans who oppose a policy that blocks pedestrian access to FedEx Field from Redskins Road.

The chairman of the county board of administrative appeals, Raymond Krasmick, rejected county efforts to have the appeal thrown out, and the panel heard testimony from security officials at other stadiums, local police, county officials and residents. The hearing will be continued at 2 p.m. Sept. 22.

The policy, which prevents fans from walking along Redskins Road on game days, was overturned on a technicality before the final game last season, but it was reinstated by the county in June.

"It is not the role of the trial judge to conduct his own investigation or to generate potential evidence on behalf of either side in the case."

-- Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh, asking Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Jonathan C. Thacher to remove himself from the trial of convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad. -- Page A1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Jay Mathews, Debbi Wilgoren, Maria Glod and Joshua Partlow and the Associated Press.