THE REGION

Dayton Reopens Office in Senate Building

Sen. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.) reopened his Senate office yesterday after closing it Oct.12, citing terrorist threats.

Dayton told Minnesota reporters Wednesday that the threat period, outlined in two classified intelligence reports, expired Election Day. Aides returned yesterday to his Senate Russell Office Building suite.

"The timeline for the heightened threat has passed in those reports," Dayton said. "I think Washington is now back within the range of where it's been since September 11."

Dayton was widely criticized for fleeing the Capitol. He reiterated that he acted to protect his staff and visitors from danger to which he would not be exposed because he would be away for the congressional recess. Dayton said he would push for release of the briefing for "people to have a chance to read the assessment for themselves."

MARYLAND

Dog Bites 3 Mount Rainier Schoolchildren

Three elementary school students were bitten by a German shepherd in Mount Rainier yesterday afternoon, moments after they stepped off a school bus, police said.

The students, whose ages and genders were not released by police, were taken by ambulance to Children's Hospital, where they were treated for minor cuts and bites, said Lt. Michael Scott, a police spokesman.

Scott said he had no information about the children's condition other than that they are expected to recover. He said the children are students at Mount Rainier Elementary School.

The dog, which was running loose and unsupervised, was taken into custody by the Prince George's County Animal Management Division, Scott said. He said the dog's owner was found yesterday evening, and charges are pending. He said the owner promised to provide paperwork proving the dog is up to date on vaccines.

Legislative Leaders Tackling Malpractice

Maryland's Senate president and House speaker met privately yesterday to revive discussions about the state's looming medical malpractice crisis.

Aides to House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) said yesterday that Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) are working to broker a compromise that will allow them to bring legislation to the General Assembly before year's end.

The two did not reach an agreement but resolved to find a source of financing for a special fund to help doctors hit with consecutive annual increases in malpractice insurance rates. They agreed to continue discussions early next week.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) has also been involved in negotiations but was unable to join Busch and Miller yesterday, aides said.

Inner Harbor's Seaport Taxi Closes

The operator of the water taxi that flipped over in the Inner Harbor during a storm in March, killing five passengers, will cease operation immediately under an agreement announced by its owner.

Seaport Taxi's five full-time employees have been let go, and as many as 32 part-timers will no longer work as captains and mates for the company, which had served the Inner Harbor for five years, said officials for the nonprofit Living Classrooms Foundation.

Living Classrooms described Seaport's closure as part of an alliance with its closest competitor, Ed Kane's Water Taxi, known officially as Harbor Boating Inc. The partnership agreement makes Harbor Boating the sole provider of water transportation for thousands of residents and visitors in and around the bustling harbor.

VIRGINIA

Extra Security Ends for Alexandria Mayor

Alexandria police have discontinued personal security for Mayor William D. Euille (D), who received a potential threat this week, police said yesterday.

Amy Bertsch, a spokeswoman for the Alexandria police department, said that police ordered personal security at his public appearances as well as police presence at his home starting Sunday, after they received information about a threat against the mayor. The extra police detail ended yesterday, but the investigation is continuing, Bertsch said.

Euille said police had informed him of the death threat, which was made in a phone call to another part of the state. Officials would not say where the call originated and did not specify what was said.

"It was at a higher level," Euille said of the threat. "They probably wouldn't have gone to this extreme if they didn't believe that it warranted it."

Marathoners Raise $300,000 to Fight MS

Destination Cure, an Alexandria-based nonprofit group that raises money for multiple sclerosis research, said yesterday that seven participants in the Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday raised about $300,000 for MS research.

The runners were all from the Washington area. Steve Grass, a Marine major stationed at Quantico Marine Corps Base, finished first among the group, in just under four hours, despite the fact that he sprained his ankle in the first mile, the organization said.

The nonprofit was founded by one of the participants, Vienna federal worker John Guandolo, 38, in 1998. Guandolo's mother, Helen, died in 2000 after having MS for 30 years.

OmniRide Announces Service Expansion

A new OmniRide commuter bus route will run between Gainesville and the West Falls Church Metro station starting Monday, officials said.

The Metro Direct Line will pick up and drop off passengers starting at the Virginia Gateway Shopping Center, near Linton Hall Road and Route 29, zigzag north to Interstate 66 and proceed to the West Falls Church Station. Commuters can board in Gainesville from 5 to 7:30 a.m. and from 4:10 to 6:40 p.m. at West Falls Church for a one-way cost of $2.50, officials said.

OmniRide's Lake Ridge commuter routes will also be extended along Prince William Parkway and Ridgefield Road starting Monday. Those lines end at the Pentagon, Crystal City and in the District and cost $5.50 one-way. For more information, call 703-730-6664 or visit www.prtctransit.org.

"I just told everyone to get off the train, and I got off the train myself. There was no reaction time. When it's right there, at the spur of the moment, you just don't know what's going on. You just get yourself together and get out of there."

-- Metro operator Calvert Sawyers, who warned passengers to get off the train at Woodley Park Station just seconds before it was smashed by a runaway Wednesday afternoon. -- Page A12

Compiled from reports by staff writers Michele Clock, Spencer Hsu, Matthew Mosk, Elaine Rivera and Jamie Stockwell.