Metro Meets the Public Tonight

Metro will host its first town hall meeting tonight at the transit agency's headquarters, 600 Fifth St. NW. Board members and top executives will talk with rail and bus riders about their concerns on such issues as service, funding and expansion of the system.

During an open house that begins at 6 p.m., people can view exhibits and talk to transit officials. The town hall session starts at 7 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m.

Hinckley Ruling Expected Next Week

A federal judge said yesterday he hopes to decide next week whether to allow presidential assailant John W. Hinckley Jr. to make unsupervised visits to his parents' home in Williamsburg.

U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman said he does not expect his decision to come in time for Hinckley to spend Thanksgiving with his family. The judge's remarks came at the close of five days of hearings on Hinckley's request for more freedom.

Hinckley, 49, has been confined to St. Elizabeths Hospital in Southeast Washington since 1982, when a jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity in the shootings of President Ronald Reagan and three others.

Hinckley wants to leave the psychiatric facility for a series of unsupervised four-day visits with his family. Doctors have said his mental illness is in remission.

Man Arrested on White House Grounds

A man jumped the fence on the north side of the White House complex and was arrested yesterday by Secret Service officers, authorities said.

Spokesman Tom Mazur said the man jumped the fence about 5:15 p.m. and was arrested within a few minutes. The man's identity had not been determined last night, he said.


Fairfax Doles Out Flu Vaccine

The Fairfax County Health Department yesterday began distributing to private physicians 6,500 doses of adult influenza vaccine.

The remaining 4,345 doses received from the Virginia Department of Health will be administered at the Health Department district offices to high-risk people typically seen at the Health Department and to those who have no private doctor or otherwise cannot find the vaccine.

Only those who meet the flu vaccine priority criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can get the state-supplied vaccine. Those who want to find out if they qualify for a shot and where to get one should call the information line at 703-246-2411.

Other Northern Virginia localities also have received doses from the state. Most have been distributing them to private physicians and scheduling vaccination clinics.

"Continue to check with your doctor," Health Department spokesman Lucy Caldwell advised. "If they don't have it, they may be getting it."

The state expects to get 82,000 more doses, to be earmarked for long-term care facilities.

Virginia also hopes to get thousands more doses in December for distribution to local health departments and private doctors, officials said.

State Increases Funds for Snow Removal

The Virginia Department of Transportation announced yesterday that it would budget $24.7 million to battle snow and other winter weather in Northern Virginia this year, up from the $22 million it spent last year. Statewide, VDOT has set aside $85 million; last winter, it spent $84 million to clear roads.

VDOT pared its snow removal services last year to save money. Workers focused on interstate highways and other major roads, while leaving subdivision streets unplowed for at least a day or two after snowfalls. Officials said they spent an average of 16 percent less per storm, allowing them to come in slightly under budget.

Officials said that to clear the region's roads, they have amassed 1,800 pieces of snow removal equipment, 1,950 workers, 50,000 tons of salt, 20,000 tons of sand and 145,000 gallons of liquid magnesium chloride.

Allen's Chief of Staff to Step Down

A top aide to U.S. Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) announced yesterday that he is leaving to seek opportunities in the private sector. Jay Timmons has served as chief of staff to Allen since 1994, when Allen became governor of Virginia. He continued in that role when Allen was elected to the Senate.

For the past two years, Timmons has been Allen's top aide at the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Allen will turn over control of that committee to another senator next year, and Timmons has decided not to return as Allen's day-to-day chief of staff.

Allen issued a statement saying that Timmons will continue to advise him on political matters during the next two years, including the senator's 2006 bid for another term in the Senate.

Reston Fire Victim Still Unidentified

The identity of a man killed Sunday in an apartment fire in Reston was not released yesterday, and investigators had not determined the cause of the ground-floor fire that spread to all three levels of the building, officials said.

The fire erupted about 6:50 p.m. in the Northgate Square apartments, just off North Shore Road. Some residents in the upper floors jumped to safety, a 2-year-old girl was dropped into a waiting blanket from the third floor and firefighters rescued others with ladders.

The man's body was found after the blaze was extinguished. Dental records to confirm his identity were not expected to be available until tomorrow, Fairfax County police said.

The fire caused an estimated $220,000 in damage to eight apartments.

Woman Killed When SUV Flips on I-66

A Fairfax area woman was killed early Sunday when her sport-utility vehicle ran off Interstate 66 near Fair Oaks and flipped over, Virginia State Police said yesterday.

Police said Diane Marie Brownlee, 40, was the only occupant of a 2000 Isuzu Trooper. Sgt. Wallace Bouldin said Brownlee was heading west on I-66 at 4:54 a.m. when the vehicle left the road, hit a guardrail and overturned.

Brownlee, who was ejected from the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene, Bouldin said.

"You don't make any money doing this. . . . Your average trapper is lucky to pay for his expenses over the course of a year."

-- Bryan Nelson, president of the Virginia Trappers Association. The fur trapping season opened yesterday in the state. -- Page B1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Steven Ginsberg, Tom Jackman, Carol D. Leonnig, Michael D. Shear and Del Quentin Wilber .