Beltway Ramp to Route 210 Will Close

The exit ramp from the outer loop of the Capital Beltway to northbound Route 210 will close for about nine months starting late tomorrow, as part of the project to rebuild the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and its approaches.

The detour will begin with the exit ramp that immediately precedes the affected northbound ramp. That's the ramp that currently serves drivers traveling south on Route 210 or west on Oxon Hill Road. Motorists following the posted detour will drive onto eastbound Route 414 to northbound Route 210.

Motorists passing through the area should watch out for delays, as the detour contains two traffic signals.

D.C. Lottery Comes In for Many Players

Many D.C. Lottery players won $5,000 payoffs on their dollar tickets yesterday when one of the city's favorite numbers was drawn, a lottery spokesman said.

Bob Hainey said the lottery anticipates paying out about $2.8 million after the number 1010 was drawn in the midday game. He said 1010 is one of the so-called "mystical numbers" that gets frequent play. He said he expected several hundred tickets to be redeemed for the top prize at the claim center on 14th Street NW.

Zoo's Annual Pumpkin Stomp Today

The National Zoo's annual Pumpkin Stomp will be held at several animal exhibits at 10 a.m. today.

A truckload of pumpkins will be delivered to outdoor exhibits at the Elephant House, Giant Panda House, Great Ape House and Think Tank for the enjoyment of the animals. Staff members frequently provide animals with unusual foods and activities as part of an enrichment program aimed at stimulating their natural foraging and problem-solving behaviors.


Pedestrian Dies After Being Hit by Pickup

A Germantown woman died yesterday morning after she was hit by a pickup while crossing Gunners Branch Road in Germantown, Montgomery County police said.

Patricia D. McRoy, 54, of the 19300 block of Elderberry Terrace, was in the area of the crosswalk when she tried to cross about 7:30 a.m., police said. They said she was hit by a truck driven by Amber R. Roberts, 23, of the 19500 block of Gunners Branch Road.

Roberts was not hurt and remained at the scene until authorities arrived, police said. McRoy was taken to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police said. The accident remains under investigation.

Student Aid Plan Wins Initial Approval

State higher education officials yesterday gave initial approval to a plan to steer more financial aid to needy students, an effort to reduce student debt at Maryland's public universities. The plan calls for redirecting some student aid and finding new sources of funding to increase the number of students receiving aid.

The suggestions were approved by the Education Policy Committee of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents. They include balancing financial aid based on student need with money doled out for academic achievement. Tuition at the state university system's 11 campuses has risen more than 30 percent in the past few years.

Montgomery Overhauls Taxi Rules

The Montgomery County Council unanimously approved a major overhaul to the county's taxicab regulations yesterday that is intended to improve service.

The legislation, proposed by County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) 10 months ago, sets a standard meant to encourage drivers to respond to calls for service within 20 minutes. Companies that consistently miss that target could face sanctions.

In an effort to increase competition in the market, which is dominated by Barwood Inc., the bill allows the number of licensed cabs in the county to grow by as many as 300 over the next eight years. Taxi drivers also will be required to pass a criminal background check.

Duncan said the council action will ensure that some of the county's "most vulnerable residents are protected" through more responsive service.

Defibrillators Mandated for Health Clubs

Defibrillators will be required in health clubs under a bill unanimously passed yesterday by the Montgomery County Council.

The measure requires clubs to have at least one of the machines on hand, along with at least one staff member who knows how to use it. Defibrillators give a mild shock to people having heart attacks to keep the heart pumping until help arrives.

The machines cost between $1,100 and $1,500, according to the council. There are more than 120 licensed health clubs in Montgomery.


Fairfax School Board Approves Complex

The Fairfax County School Board approved a plan last night to move most of the district's administrative workers into a new Falls Church area office complex.

The proposal requires approval of the Board of Supervisors, several of whom have said they need more details about funding and the future of current administration buildings before signing off on it.

Under the plan, the school district would purchase an office building in Merrifield and adjacent land for about $45.8 million. An identical building eventually would be constructed at the site for an additional $43.9 million.

School officials said consolidating about 1,300 school employees from nine school-owned buildings and four leased offices would be more efficient. The School Board would convert the old buildings to schools or sell the properties.

Perry to Run Alexandria Schools Until 2008

After eight months of controversy over Alexandria School Superintendent Rebecca L. Perry's future, the School Board voted 7 to 2 last night to renew her contract through June 2008.

Perry's contract was shortened by one year after she was arrested on a drunken driving charge last spring.

Dissenting were Kenneth L. Foran and Gwendolyn H. Lewis.

"When we go out and see our constituents, they want to know why there is continued building of new homes and why the response times are getting higher and higher. This bill addresses that."

-- Prince George's County Council member Douglas J.J. Peters (D-Bowie), sponsor of a bill that allows residential construction only if police and fire departments meet standards for staffing and response times. -- Page A1

Compiled from reports by staff writers David Snyder, Tim Craig, Karlyn Barker, Michelle Boorstein, Tara Bahrampour, Maria Glod and Martin Weil and the Associated Press.