THE REGION

Moussaoui Seeks Appeals Court Review

Attorneys for Zacarias Moussaoui are asking a federal appeals court to reconsider its latest decision that he cannot interview key al Qaeda detainees and that the government can seek the death penalty against him.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals this month sent the case back to a federal judge in Alexandria for trial. Moussaoui is accused of conspiring with al Qaeda in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He is the only person facing charges stemming from the attacks in a U.S. courtroom.

The petition for rehearing was filed under seal Monday by Moussaoui's attorneys and was referred to yesterday on the court's docket. Prosecutors declined to comment.

THE DISTRICT

Library Sets Reopening of Children's Area

The Children's Division of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library downtown is scheduled to reopen next month after a month-long renovation project, a library spokeswoman said.

The children's area of Washington's main library closed Sept. 7 for remodeling. The $130,000 renovation includes new carpet and furniture and lower bookshelves to give children easier access to reading material.

The second-floor space will be bigger by nearly 2,000 square feet. It is set to open the week of Oct. 11. In the meantime, a temporary children's area in Room A-9 is open from Monday to Saturday.

MARYLAND

Mikulski and Pipkin Schedule Debates

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) and her opponent in the Nov. 2 election, state Sen. Edward J. Pipkin (R-Queen Anne's), have agreed to two public debates next month, their campaigns said.

The first, co-sponsored by Maryland Public Television and the League of Women Voters, will be broadcast live on MPT at 7 p.m. Oct. 18.

A panel of three journalists, not yet chosen, will question the candidates. MPT newscaster Jeff Salkin will moderate, and each candidate will make an opening and closing statement.

On Oct. 22, the two candidates will debate on Washington's WTOP radio (1500 AM) from 10 to 11 a.m., the campaigns said.

Leader of Bridge Study Group Bows Out

A former head of the Maryland State Highway Administration stepped aside yesterday as leader of the group named to study the faulty repair work on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Hal Kassoff, an employee with the engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff, removed himself from the job because his firm has a relationship with the project's engineer, Wallace, Montgomery & Associates, said Jack Cahalan, spokesman for the Maryland Department of Transportation.

State officials are trying to determine whether the state, the project's engineer or the construction company is responsible for problems with a special type of concrete that began cracking shortly after it was poured.

Sen. Edward J. Pipkin (R-Queen Anne's) called on transportation officials to put together an outside consulting team to address the problems, saying in a statement that despite the appearance of outside help, the team "consists of more insiders than outsiders."

Development Planned for Fort Ritchie Site

Sixteen new office buildings, two shopping centers and about 600 homes could be built at the former Fort Ritchie under plans outlined by the developer negotiating a purchase of the former Army base.

About 1.7 million square feet of office space could be added to the approximately 600-acre mountaintop site in the Cascade area of northern Washington County, creating as many as 5,000 jobs, said Randall M. Griffin, president of Corporate Office Properties Trust.

Griffin said the office tenants at the property, about 60 miles north of Washington, probably would include defense contractors or intelligence agencies. A bank also has expressed interest in having a data center there, Griffin said.

VIRGINIA

Woman Given Custody in Civil Union Case

A woman who moved to Virginia with her 2-year-old daughter after the breakup of her civil union in Vermont was awarded sole custody of the child yesterday.

The decision by Frederick County Circuit Court Judge John Prosser is the latest twist in a case that has resulted in conflicting decisions by courts in the two states.

Prosser gave Lisa Miller-Jenkins, 35, full custody of 2-year-old Isabella and ruled that she can decide whether to allow visitation by her former partner, Janet Miller-Jenkins.

The women were a couple in Virginia when they decided four years ago to enter into a civil union in Vermont. They then went back to Virginia and decided that Lisa Miller-Jenkins would conceive a child through artificial insemination.

Isabella was born in Virginia in April 2002. The two women later moved to Vermont before they ended their civil union. Lisa Miller-Jenkins took the child and moved back to Virginia, where civil unions are not recognized, and sued for full custody.

Janet Miller-Jenkins, 39, contested the action, saying a Family Court judge in Vermont had given her temporary visitation rights with the child. Earlier this month, Judge William Cohen found Lisa Miller-Jenkins in contempt for failing to abide by the order.

Janet Miller-Jenkins has appealed to the Virginia Court of Appeals Prosser's claim of jurisdiction in the case. Neither she nor her attorneys attended yesterday's custody hearing.

State's Jobless Rate Rose in August

Virginia's jobless rate increased to 3.7 percent in August, driven up by college students who quit summer jobs to go back to school.

Last month's state unemployment rate was 0.1 percent higher than July's, which the Virginia Employment Commission revised to 3.6 percent.

The commission said college students can affect the August jobless rate in two ways. First, many quit summer jobs to return to school, and then they look for part-time jobs to work around their classes. The commission says that appeared to be the case last month in Charlottesville and the Blacksburg area.

The commission said unemployment increased slightly in August in six of Virginia's eight metropolitan areas, remained unchanged in Bristol and dropped slightly in the Danville area.

"I just wish [Redskins owner] Dan Snyder would try to get to the game like a normal fan, just once. See how he likes it."

-- Redskins fan David Prince, 43, a season ticket holder from Rockville, describing the difficulty of getting to FedEx Field. -- Page B3

Compiled from reports by staff writers Manny Fernandez, Steven Ginsberg and Jerry Markon and the Associated Press.