New Number for Social Services Hotline

Dialing 211 Can Provide Information, Referrals

Don't lose this number. Better yet, memorize it: 211. That's the new three-digit code to connect you directly with someone with the city's Department of Human Services, who can provide information and referrals on social services issues. It replaces the old 202-INFO-211 number. Residents can call 211 to find out about services offered by government agencies and nonprofit, community-based organizations. Verizon gave $300,000 for the new hotline and lent several of its employees to assist with technical aspects of the change.

Williams to Miss Baseball Stadium Talks

Mayor, 5 Council Members on Overseas Mission

A new stadium for major league baseball has enthusiastic support in some quarters and a plan from the administration to pay for it with city money. It also has attracted a coalition that plans to fight it. And former mayor Marion Barry, who could be the next Ward 8 D.C. Council member, is trying to kill the proposal.

Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) was criticized because he and five council members will be on an 11-day cultural and economic mission to China and Thailand just as the council is about to begin a volatile debate over using public funds to build the stadium. A public hearing on a financing package is scheduled for Oct. 28, four days after they return.

Before he left, Williams got other District leaders talking about how to raise money to invest in neighborhoods and schools. That could help blunt critics of the stadium financing plan, who say it would sacrifice local improvements.

Janey Cites Flaws in School System

Buildings' Conditions Among Worries

Clifford B. Janey, the District's new school superintendent, said he is considering closing underused schools, giving students more time to graduate and turning to the private sector to run such operations as facilities, purchasing and food service. He said that he was upset about the condition of some schools and plans some dismissals, probably in the middle-manager ranks.

CU Speaker Restrictions Protested

Actor's Abortion Rights Advocacy Cancels Event

Faculty members and students at Catholic University are protesting recent school moves to bar abortion rights advocates from speaking on campus. The most recent speaker to be barred was actor Stanley Tucci, who was to address a forum on foreign film. Some on campus are also complaining about a policy that would bar political figures of any party in the days before the Nov. 2 election.

Howard U. Gets $71 Million Gift

Engineering, Auto Software to Aid Curriculum

Howard University is in line for $71 million worth of engineering software and other computer technology to help it prepare students for jobs in the engineering and automotive fields. The gift was announced by a corporate alliance formed to enhance engineering, science and art education for potential employees.

Judge Upholds Park Police Chief's Firing

Ruling Says Chambers Was a Problem Employee

Teresa C. Chambers, who was fired as chief of the U.S. Park Police, lost an attempt to reclaim her job when an administrative judge upheld her dismissal by the Interior Department. The judge ruled that Chambers was not a whistle-blower, as she has claimed, but a problem employee with a pattern of misconduct and defiance of her supervisors. Chambers, a 27-year law enforcement veteran, contended that she was forced out because she raised public safety concerns. She vowed to keep fighting.

Across the Region

Too Much Traffic, Too Little Vaccine

* Traffic congestion costs the average Washington area motorist more than $2,100 a year for lost time, fuel and maintenance, according to a report by the Road Information Program, a D.C.-based transportation research organization.

* Hundreds of flu vaccination clinics scheduled across the Washington region were canceled because of a shortage of vaccine.

A growing nightmare: A three-inch northern snakehead was found in Dogue Creek, a Potomac River tributary.