Juvenile Facility Conditions Faulted

Inspection Finds 'Threats to Life, Health'

Less than a year after Maryland officials opened a $60 million holding facility for juvenile offenders, an independent inspection found conditions that pose "threats to life, health and safety" of the 106 children housed there, according to a report by Maryland's Office of the Independent Juvenile Justice Monitor.

During an unannounced visit to the Baltimore facility in August, inspectors learned of two recent suicide attempts, gross staff shortages and a revolt in which young residents barricaded themselves inside and set fire to the housing unit.

More Passing State Exams

Large Numbers of Students Still Failing

The percentage of Maryland high school students passing statewide exams increased this year. But five years before the tests will be required for graduation, large numbers continue to fail.

More than half the students who took each test -- in algebra, English, government and biology -- passed it. Last year, only 39.8 percent passed the English test. More than 60 percent of students passed the biology and government exams this year, up slightly from last year.

2nd WSSC Member Quits

Duncan Appointee Cites Personal Reasons

A second member of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission resigned, as Montgomery County officials tried to head off state-mandated changes to management of the troubled regional water and sewer utility. Luis Valencia, appointed by Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) in February, cited personal reasons. His departure coincides with that of Commissioner Jinhee Kim Wilde, who also quit recently and appealed to fellow board members to do the same.

Elections Chief May Stay

Ruling Blocks Effort to Put Official on Leave

A judge ruled that Maryland's elections administrator should remain in her post for at least the next few weeks, citing concerns that efforts to remove her before the Nov. 2 presidential election could pose "a serious and substantial disruption."

The ruling effectively blocks the State Board of Elections' attempt to place Linda H. Lamone on paid leave pending next month's hearing on allegations that she has been insubordinate to the Republican-led board and unresponsive to local election officials.

WSSC Pipe Overflowed

Sewage Reached Streets and Basements

More than 130 million gallons of raw or partially treated sewage have illegally overflowed from Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission pipes into the waterways, streets and basements of suburban Maryland over the past two years, agency records show.

The sewage pollutes the Anacostia and Patuxent rivers with human waste and puts nearby residents at increased risk of such life-threatening diseases as cholera and infectious hepatitis, according to the federal government and environmental groups.

Across the Region

Boosted to Victory; Best-Prepared Schools

* Early support from some of Prince George's County's biggest political names helped Will Campos, an aide to County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D), win the Democratic nomination for the vacant 2nd District County Council seat on Tuesday.

* A new study ranks Fairfax and Montgomery counties as best prepared among the nation's largest school districts to keep children safe during a parent's nightmare: terrorism at school. The study by the America Prepared Campaign, a nonprofit group that works with the Department of Homeland Security, gave highest marks to the two Washington area counties and to Palm Beach County in Florida for having comprehensive emergency plans that have been effectively communicated to parents, students and school employees.

Last stand: Montgomery Police Chief J. Thomas Manger speaks against the imminent expiration of the federal assault weapons ban at a news conference in Bethesda.