THE DISTRICT

Drop in Out-of-Wedlock Births Rewarded

The District was awarded a $25 million bonus from the federal government for reducing out-of-wedlock births without a corresponding increase in the abortion rate, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced yesterday.

The money has been given out annually to up to five states and three territories as a way to encourage local governments to create innovative social programs.

To receive the money, states and territories must show a decrease in their abortion rate, measured by the number of abortions divided by the number of births.

The federal government reported that the District had 499 fewer out-of-wedlock births from 1999 to 2002, according to the most recent figures available.

In addition to the District, New York, New Hampshire and Maryland were awarded $25 million. Maryland had 245 fewer births.

MARYLAND

Montgomery Seeks Study of Transit Link

The Montgomery County Planning Board voted yesterday to ask the state to study two routes for a proposed transit link between Silver Spring and Langley Park.

The board voted 4 to 1 to ask the Maryland Transit Administration to study two alignments from downtown Silver Spring to Piney Branch Road: one along Wayne Avenue and the other following Sligo Avenue. From there, both routes would follow Piney Branch before turning east onto University Boulevard to Langley Park

Michael D. Madden, a project manager for the Maryland transit agency, said the state is considering both routes in its larger study of a Bi-County Transitway, widely known as the Purple Line. Such a system, either light rail or bus rapid transit, would link Bethesda and New Carrollton via Silver Spring.

Planning Board members said they would recommend that the state study ways to minimize a transit link's impact on surrounding neighborhoods.

The Planning Board's vote was a recommendation to the County Council, which will give a final opinion.

Body of Man Found in Oxon Hill

Prince George's County police are investigating an apparent slaying in Oxon Hill, after a man was found dead last night behind a group of stores, authorities said.

Officers were called to the 8200 block of Oxon Hill Road about 6:30 p.m., said Cpl. Debbi Carlson, a police spokeswoman.

Few details were released last night.

State Collects $59 Million in Back Taxes

The state has collected $59.4 million in back taxes under a law offering incentives to corporations that used out-of-state tax shelters to reduce their Maryland income tax payments.

The law was passed after the state comptroller's office won a court suit declaring illegal the use of holding companies to shield income earned in Maryland.

Under the amnesty period that ends Nov. 1, the state will waive penalties and forgive taxes owed before 1995 for companies that pay all taxes owed from 1995 to 2003.

Middletown, State in Water Agreement

The Maryland Department of the Environment and the Frederick County community of Middletown have entered a legal agreement that allows the fast-growing town to issue new building permits after demonstrating that there is enough water to support growth, state officials said yesterday.

The consent decree lifts a June 29 state-imposed moratorium on new water hookups, allows plans for a new elementary school to go forward and permits the town to swap water rights with a golf course to enhance its supply, officials said.

The planned school is not expected to increase demand on the town's water supply because the school will serve students who attend another elementary school in town. The Frederick County Board of Education has agreed, however, to limit enrollment in the school.

The agreement sets down the town's current capacity and demand and requires that, within three months, the town develop a revised water management and conservation plan to ensure enough water for future growth while keeping 10 percent in reserve in case of drought.

VIRGINIA

Police Search for Spotsylvania Boy, 3

Spotsylvania County sheriff's deputies and about 60 volunteers searched in woods yesterday for a 3-year-old boy who was reported missing by his mother's boyfriend.

Herman Lee Black, 45, told Fredericksburg police that Tyreek Shemar Davis disappeared Wednesday from the back of his truck outside a city Wal-Mart.

Black, who was baby-sitting, said the boy was sleeping so he left him in the vehicle while he shopped, said Jim Shelhorse, city police spokesman.

Police searched near the store but found neither the boy nor any witnesses who reported seeing him there. The search began at 3 a.m. yesterday in the area of Spotsylvania where Black had cut wood Wednesday. The Free Lance-Star of Fredericksburg quoted Sheriff Howard D. Smith as saying a landfill was also searched.

Shelhorse said police questioned Black and his girlfriend, Linette Davis, 31, about why they waited three hours Wednesday afternoon before calling police.

"We have no indication the boy was abducted," Shelhorse said last night.

The three live in Caroline County, east of Fredericksburg.

Davis was jailed later Wednesday on two outstanding weapons charges unrelated to Tyreek's case.

Fairfax Courthouse Loses Power, Closes

A contractor doing excavation work on the Fairfax County courthouse expansion project snapped a power line yesterday morning, cutting off electricity to the courthouse and closing it for the day. Electricity was restored by midafternoon, and the courthouse will be open today.

The power break happened about 10:20 a.m., during digging along Judicial Drive, Lt. Tony Shobe of the Fairfax sheriff's office said.

No power was lost to the county jail or the nearby Fairfax police and fire headquarters.

Fairfax City fire officials said that they helped six people escape from elevators and that no one was hurt.

"They should have Democrats and Republicans speak, but not somebody whose living is libel and slander. . . . That's not appropriate for a first-class university."

-- Virginia Del. Vincent F. Callahan Jr. (R-Fairfax),

on George Mason University's aborted plan to have

filmmaker Michael Moore speak on campus. -- Page A1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Theola S. Labbe, Katherine Shaver, Clarence Williams, Fredrick Kunkle, Michelle Boorstein, Spencer S. Hsu and Tom Jackman and the Associated Press.