THE REGION

Panel Urges Bay Pollution Remedies

A report by the Chesapeake Bay Commission suggests that cutting farm pollution may be the most cost-effective way to cut nitrogen and phosphorus runoff into the bay.

The commission, a bipartisan group of lawmakers from Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania, approved the report at a meeting Friday in Richmond.

"The commission is feeling very, very strongly that this is a bold leadership step," Executive Director Ann Swanson said. "What this report does is show the logical public investment to make now to capture the lion's share of the load."

The report names seven "best management practices" that federal environmental officials say slow runoff of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution. Six are agricultural remedies and include adjusting the diets of farm animals, planting cover crops, tilling soil less often to reduce erosion and reducing nitrogen applied to soil.

Swanson estimated that putting the recommendations into practice would cost nearly $1 billion.

2 Nonprofits, 5 'Heroes' Awarded Grants

Two suburban Maryland nonprofit groups were each awarded $200,000 last week by Bank of America as part of a nationwide program to reward nonprofits and individuals who work to strengthen neighborhoods.

Housing Initiative Partnership, which builds and rehabilitates housing in troubled Prince George's County neighborhoods, and Community Ministry of Montgomery County, a Rockville coalition of 130 faith-based organizations that works with immigrants, low-income families and the disabled, each will receive $100,000 a year for the next two years.

Bank of America's program, the Neighborhood Excellence Initiative, also recognized five "community heroes" who have contributed to neighborhood vitality. They are Breeana Bornhorst, program director of the Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program; Raymond Moreno, who heads the parenting initiative at IMPACT Silver Spring; Alverta Munlyn, co-founder of the Perry School Community Services Center in Northwest Washington; Raina Rose Tagle, former board president of Miriam's Kitchen, a homeless program in Northwest Washington; and Nhan Vo, co-founder of the Vietnamese Sports Club. They were awarded $5,000 each to give to a nonprofit group.

THE DISTRICT

SW Man Dies of Gunshot Wounds

D.C. police are investigating the death of a 20-year-old man who was found shot early yesterday along a Southwest Washington street.

Officers were called to the 1400 block of First Street about 4:20 a.m. to investigate a shooting, said Sgt. Joe Gentile, a police spokesman. When police arrived, they found Colby Mercer with multiple gunshot wounds. Mercer, of the 300 block of P Street SW, died at the scene, police said. Police reported no arrests.

Georgetown Burglar Gets 12 Years

A burglar who repeatedly struck Georgetown businesses has been sentenced to spend 12 years in prison, prosecutors said.

Walter Barnes, 46, pleaded guilty in July in D.C. Superior Court to four counts of second-degree burglary. He was arrested during a police stakeout in March at the Proper Topper accessory boutique, in the 3200 block of P Street NW. Prosecutors said that Barnes broke into that store three times, including the night he was arrested, and also burglarized the nearby Jean-Luc hair salon. At the time of his arrest, business owners praised police for staging several nights of stakeouts.

Barnes, of the unit block of New York Avenue NW, was sentenced Thursday by Judge Wendell P. Gardner Jr.

Attorneys to Argue for Hinckley Visits

A federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments today from attorneys for John W. Hinckley Jr., the man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

Hinckley, 49, has been confined to St. Elizabeths psychiatric hospital in Southeast Washington since being acquitted by reason of insanity in the shooting of Reagan and three others. Hinckley wants four straight days every two weeks of unsupervised visits with his elderly parents in Williamsburg.

Late last year, U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman granted Hinckley shorter visits, limited to the Washington area, with his parents.

The U.S. attorney's office opposes the longer visits. In newly filed court papers, two psychiatric experts said he has a "disturbingly unclear" relationship with his former girlfriend. She was a patient at St. Elizabeths.

VIRGINIA

Meth Labs Rampant in Southwest

State police said that nearly three-quarters of Virginia's suspected methamphetamine labs have been found in the southwestern part of the state.

Authorities in Washington and Smyth counties have each discovered 19 suspected methamphetamine labs, and 19 more were found in Wythe and Pulaski counties. Seventy-eight suspected labs have been raided this year, all but 21 in southwest Virginia. Thirty-four were raided statewide in all of last year.

Law enforcement officials are planning a statewide summit in Richmond to address how to stem the spread of the drug. Officials in the southwestern counties plan to share their knowledge and expertise with departments from other parts of the state.

Montpelier Campaign Hits $36 Million

The national foundation that manages James Madison's former home has raised more than half of the $60 million needed to restore the Montpelier homestead and create a center dedicated to the U.S. Constitution.

The estate of businessman and philanthropist Paul Mellon has donated $20 million, and the National Park Service has given $1 million, bringing the campaign to $36.4 million.

Much of that has been earmarked for the foundation's restoration project, scheduled for completion in 2007.

The other $23.6 million the foundation is seeking will go toward the Center for the Constitution, a state-of-the-art visitor center and a museum depicting the house's 20th-century history, among other projects.

Montpelier, which was home to Madison from approximately 1760 until his death in 1836, is the only monument to the former president, known as a renowned scholar, statesman and patriot.

"I watch my life go out the door every morning as they drive away."

-- Debra Youngberg of Centreville, one of many parents

who buy cars for their teenagers as they get their licenses

but worry about their safety on the road. -- Page A1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Jacqueline L. Salmon and David S. Fallis and the Associated Press.