City to Further Help Displaced Families

Several families who were displaced from their apartments in Southeast Washington received additional help yesterday from D.C. officials.

Twelve adults and two teenagers were forced to leave three apartment buildings last month after inspectors found building and fire code violations. The tenants have been staying at the President Inn hotel since Oct. 27, courtesy of the city and the landlord.

City officials, who had already extended the tenants' hotel stay beyond the seven days required by law, had said that the families would have to find housing at homeless shelters by noon yesterday. But officials from several city agencies agreed to extend the tenants' hotel stay to Nov. 29. Additional money for food was also being provided by the American Red Cross.

Barbara Childs-Pair, head of the D.C. Emergency Management Agency, said the city is "doing everything we can" to help the families find affordable, permanent housing. Tenants have criticized the city for largely abandoning them after setting them up in the hotel.

Former D.C. Council member H.R. Crawford had urged city officials to extend the hotel stay. "It's the holiday season," he said.

Norton Seeks D.C. Input on Security Plan

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) wrote to House and Senate administrative leaders and the chief of U.S. Capitol Police yesterday requesting monthly meetings to coordinate security with District officials and to develop a citywide security plan.

Norton wrote to House Sergeant-at-Arms Wilson Livingood, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms William H. Pickle and Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer after police reinstated 14 vehicle checkpoints Tuesday around the U.S. Capitol without consulting with city officials.

"Had there been monthly meetings, the issue of appropriate notification to D.C. officials might have been settled by now," she wrote. "Pop-up checkpoints have ramifications for several agencies of the D.C. government, including emergency services and vehicles. Requiring the city to act almost instantaneously is dangerous and unfair."


Report Confirms Teen Drank Before Crash

A preliminary report from Maryland's medical examiner confirmed that the 16-year-old motorist who died early Saturday morning had alcohol in his system when he crashed, police said yesterday.

Montgomery County police said that the amount Sarkis George Nazarian Jr. had to drink will not be known until the final toxicology report, which is not expected for at least another week.

Shortly after the accident, police said that Nazarian and his two 16-year-old passengers, who received minor injuries in the accident, had been drinking at a party in Potomac that night. Police later charged 14 teenagers with alcohol possession at the party Nazarian had attended.

Nazarian, the 11th teenager to die this year in an accident involving a teen motorist in Montgomery, was driving a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee on Travilah Road in Potomac when his vehicle slid off the road into a tree at 1:30 Saturday morning.

Bar, Restaurant Smoking Ban Sought

A group that opposes smoking in public places is asking the Howard County Council to ban smoking in bars and restaurants.

Smoke Free Howard County, a coalition of health care groups and some restaurants, plans to ask the council today to expand current law to forbid smoking in the county's 170 bars and restaurants.

Currently, Howard County forbids smoking in restaurants that lack liquor licenses and requires restaurants with liquor licenses to maintain smoke-free areas. Smoke Free Howard County is pushing for a total ban on smoking, similar to measures in Montgomery and Talbot counties, said Glenn E. Schneider, a spokesman for the group.

Ehrlich Faulted on Health Plan Changes

Maryland's Democratic legislative leaders have told Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s administration that its decision to alter state employee health plans without consulting legislators or employee unions is "unacceptable."

An employees union protested this fall after a state panel approved new health plans that include increased co-payments for state employees and retirees. The change was part of an Ehrlich administration initiative to save money.

In a letter delivered this week to Chip DiPaula, budget secretary for Ehrlich (R), legislative leaders noted that state employees recently received their first salary increase in three years.

"It is not fair to our state employees to promise them a modest salary increase only to take it away by increasing the cost of their health care a few short months later," said the letter, which was signed by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert), House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) and others.


Alexandria's Flu Vaccine Expended

The Alexandria Health Department has distributed all of the 2,450 doses of flu vaccine it was allotted. Health officials said the vaccine went to patients in high-risk categories, including the elderly and others with chronic medical conditions and health care workers.

Officials urged those who aren't considered in one of the high-risk categories to avoid spreading germs by using tissues while coughing or sneezing and washing hands frequently with soap and water or, if that's not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

"This year, people who are unable to get vaccinated due to the shortfall in vaccine supply need to consider other measures in keeping healthy," said Charles Konigsberg, Alexandria's health director.

Man Who Died in Reston Fire Identified

The man who died in an apartment fire Sunday night in Reston was identified yesterday as Jeffrey Kerrigan, 53, who lived in the apartment where the fire ignited, Fairfax County fire officials said.

The blaze was reported about 6:50 p.m. in the building at 1432 Northgate Square. Fairfax fire spokesman Dan Schmidt said the fire started in Kerrigan's ground-floor apartment and apparently was caused by a cigarette that was left burning and ignited a sofa.

Other residents, including a 2-year-old girl, jumped to safety or were rescued by firefighters in the two-alarm blaze. Kerrigan's body was discovered after the fire was extinguished.

"You often hear about transit-oriented development, but this is development-oriented transit."

-- John D. Thomas, project manager for the New York Avenue Metro station that is scheduled to open Saturday. -- Page A1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Manny Fernandez, Spencer S. Hsu, David Snyder, Miranda S. Spivack, John Wagner, Annie Gowen and Tom Jackman and the Associated Press.