THE REGION

Storms Bring Record Flow to Chesapeake

More water flowed into the Chesapeake Bay last month than in any September since 1937, as the remnants of Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne dumped rainfall across the watershed, the U.S. Geological Survey said yesterday.

Much of the flow came from the Susquehanna River, which was swollen by flooding upstream in Pennsylvania, the agency said. That river, which empties into the northern bay, averaged 113,800 cubic feet of water per second, far exceeding the previous record, in 1975.

The Geological Survey said that this rainy September, which followed a relatively wet August, could have consequences for the Chesapeake next year. In 2003, high water flows brought large amounts of pollutants that were blamed for algae blooms and oxygen-poor "bad water" in the bay.

10,000 Asked to Sign Parenting Pledge

D.C. Council member Harold Brazil (D-At Large), D.C. Attorney General Robert J. Spagnoletti and an international children's nonprofit group issued an open call yesterday for 10,000 parents in the Washington region to sign a pledge to be "strong parents."

At a news conference sponsored by the Hyattsville-based Children's Rights Council, officials supported the "Strong Parent Pledge," and eight teenagers from the Washington region stressed how important it is for them to have a parent involved in their lives.

The nonprofit listed six actions that help to define a "strong parent," including knowing where the children are at all times, making sure they don't get involved in drugs, crime or teenage pregnancy and reaching out to social service organizations when necessary, said the group's president, David L. Levy.

Parents can sign up on the Web site, http://www.gocrc.com.

THE DISTRICT

Bills Would Add Scrutiny to Police Tactics

Two D.C. Council members have introduced legislation that would require police to videotape interrogations and add safeguards when using lineups and photos to identify suspects.

The bills were introduced Tuesday by council members Kathy Patterson (D-Ward 3) and Phil Mendelson (D-At Large). Patterson said in a news release that she proposed the legislation because D.C. police have been slow to adopt measures to ensure that officers act properly during investigations.

The bills would require police to use photos and lineups that are "double blind," meaning that neither the witnesses nor police officers will know which person was the suspect. "The measure is intended to eliminate inadvertent or subconscious behaviors," the release said.

MARYLAND

Rouse Rules Out Columbia Big Box Stores

The Rouse Co. won't put big box stores on the last large piece of undeveloped land in downtown Columbia, a company official said Tuesday night.

"There will be no big box stores on that site. No retail greater than 65,000 square feet on [any] one floor," said Dennis W. Miller, the company's vice president in charge of Columbia properties. He spoke at a Howard County Planning Board meeting.

Miller's statement came during the first of two scheduled hearings before the planning board about a Rouse proposal to build 1.2 million square feet of commercial space on the 51-acre site. The company's plan would eliminate parking for the adjacent Merriweather Post Pavilion, which has operated as an outdoor concert venue for more than three decades.

Woman Dies in Montgomery Crash

A Thurmont woman died yesterday after the Ford Escort in which she was riding collided with a Saab at an intersection in Gaithersburg, police said.

Lisa Lynn Bradbury, 37, was pronounced dead at an area hospital shortly after 6:30 a.m. yesterday, police said. The Escort driven by Bradbury's husband, James S. Bradbury, hit the Saab, driven by Emmanuel Coffy, 47, of Morganville, N.J., at Montgomery Village and Russell avenues, police said.

Coffy was traveling west on Montgomery Village Avenue when he tried to turn left onto Russell Avenue, police said. The Bradburys were traveling east on Montgomery Village Avenue and hit Coffy's car about 6:27 a.m. Police had not determined yesterday who had right of way, and the accident is under investigation, police said. Coffy and James Bradbury suffered injuries that were not considered life-threatening and were taken to an area hospital, police said.

Chance for Parole Accepted in Capital Case

A Maryland man whose death sentence was thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court has reached an agreement with prosecutors that will make him eligible for parole immediately, one of his attorneys said last night.

Kevin Wiggins, 43, will accept the sentencing agreement today in Baltimore County Circuit Court, attorney Donald B. Verrilli Jr. said. Verrilli said he is optimistic that a judge will endorse the agreement, which calls for a sentence of life with the possibility of parole.

Wiggins has served 16 years in prison for the 1988 drowning of Florence Lacs, 77, in a bathtub at her apartment west of Baltimore. The Supreme Court overturned his death sentence last year, saying that his public defenders had failed him, but the court allowed his conviction to stand. Verrilli said it is unlikely that Wiggins, though eligible, would be paroled soon.

VIRGINIA

Upgrade of CSX Rail Could Begin Soon

Virginia officials say they have a commitment from CSX Corp. to spend $65.7 million in state funds to upgrade track between Richmond and Washington, a project that would allow Virginia Railway Express to add four trains a day to its schedule.

State lawmakers had approved the funding four years ago, and Virginia transportation officials expressed frustration last week that work had not begun on the project.

CSX owns the track and allows Amtrak and VRE to operate passenger trains on it for a fee.

The upgrades will include improvements to signals, additional track and new crossovers, which will allow VRE trains to move at higher speeds. The work is expected to begin by winter and will take several years to complete.

"When we wrote the report, we were also careful not to answer all the theories. It's like playing Whack-A-Mole. You're never going to whack them all."

-- Philip D. Zelikow, executive director of the 9/11 commission, on conspiracy theories about the attacks, including an Internet video suggesting that the Pentagon was not hit by an airliner. -- Page B1

Compiled from reports by staff writers David A. Fahrenthold, Del Quentin Wilber, Eric Rich, Theola S. Labbe, Miranda S. Spivack, David Snyder and Lyndsey Layton.