THE DISTRICT

Orange Plans Mayoral Announcement

D.C. Council member Vincent B. Orange Sr. (D-Ward 5) has scheduled a "garden reception" at his home on Father's Day, June 19, to announce whether he will run for mayor in 2006.

Orange declined yesterday to say what his intentions are, but he has said that he is "more likely than not" to enter the race to replace Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D). Williams has not said whether he will run again.

If Orange runs, he will become the second official candidate in the campaign. Council member Adrian M. Fenty (D-Ward 4) announced his candidacy June 1.

Man Disappears in Tidal Basin

D.C. police and firefighters searched yesterday for an unidentified man who witnesses said jumped into the Tidal Basin.

According to police, the man climbed onto the Kutz Bridge railings about 2 p.m., dove into the water and never surfaced. About a dozen divers searched throughout the afternoon but said their efforts were hampered by poor visibility.

New Date Set for Mercury Spill Trial

A new trial date was set yesterday for three teenagers charged with spilling mercury at Cardozo Senior High School.

The three youths were to stand trial as juveniles in D.C. Superior Court yesterday on charges stemming from the Feb. 23 incident that led to the evacuation of the school in Northwest Washington.

Prosecutors asked that the trial be delayed to give them more time to review an Environmental Protection Agency report on the incident. Judge Fern Flanagan Saddler set a new trial date for Oct. 24.

The youths, students at the school, are charged with illegal dumping of a hazardous material and other offenses.

MARYLAND

Tests Offered for Playground Pollutants

Frederick County health officials are offering free blood tests to children and adults who have used a former playground where recent soil tests found elevated levels of lead and arsenic.

The playground at 7360B Hayward Rd. in Frederick was used from 1992 until April by Family Partnership, an organization that offers adult education and child support.

Two of seven soil samples taken showed higher-than-normal levels of lead near a drywell used by the former owner of the property, county health officer Barbara Brookmyer said at a news conference yesterday.

One of the samples showed slightly high levels of arsenic. Brookmyer said the risk was "minimal" but has offered free tests to former and current Family Partnership participants. It is estimated that more than 1,000 people have used the playground; those at the most risk are children who were younger than 6 at the time they played there.

The tests will be conducted at the Frederick County Health Department, 350 Montevue Lane, Frederick, throughout the week.

Residents with questions can call the department's information line at 240-629-6624.

Fort Detrick Welcomes New Commander

Col. Mary R. Deutsch assumed command of the Fort Detrick garrison in Frederick yesterday, replacing Col. John E. Ball, who is set to retire Oct. 1.

The two Army officers, joined by Col. James A. Romano Jr., commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, inspected soldiers from atop a Humvee on the Detrick Field parade ground yesterday morning, then gave brief speeches celebrating the change of command.

In his three-year tour as the "mayor of Fort Detrick," Ball oversaw extensive renovations.

"The garrison today is no longer the garrison that I took over," Ball said. "I leave the garrison in good hands."

Teacher Wins Disney Award

Dara Feldman, a kindergarten teacher at Garrett Park Elementary School in Montgomery County, will receive $10,000 from the Walt Disney Co. and a trip to Disneyland in California next month as part of the Disney Teacher Awards.

Feldman is one of 45 national winners selected from more than 50,000 nominees. Disney also will award $5,000 to her school.

During the week in California, the teachers will participate in a professional development institute. Five teachers will be chosen from among the 45; four will be named Outstanding Teachers and one will be selected Disney Teacher of the Year. Each will receive an additional $15,000.

Waterman's Body Found in St. Mary's

Maryland Natural Resources police have recovered the body of a missing waterman in St. Mary's County.

Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Heather Lynch said the body of Mark Jefferies, 48, of Mechanicsville was pulled from the water yesterday afternoon off the Chaptico Wharf, near the Wicomico River.

Jefferies and another man were crabbing Thursday when their boat overturned.

The search went on all day yesterday, and in the afternoon, the Southern Maryland Canine Search and Rescue Unit was called in. The dogs, which are trained to find bodies in the water, helped locate Jefferies' body within a quarter-mile of where he went into the water.

VIRGINIA

Riding Mower Carries Man to DUI Charge

The first thing a Culpeper police officer noticed about Jerry Wayne Hawkins was that he was blocking rush-hour traffic Wednesday morning with his red riding lawn mower. The second was that he appeared none too steady.

"We ran him through a series of sobriety tests, which he failed," Sgt. Richard Brooking said yesterday.

Hawkins, 43, a tree service worker from Rixeyville, was charged with driving under the influence. He had been on his way to get gas at the 7-Eleven when Sgt. Chris Settle spotted him in the left northbound lane on North Main Street in downtown Culpeper.

People were honking and "having to take evasive action" to get around the lawn mower, Brooker said. Settle pulled him over when he stopped in traffic to talk to someone headed south.

Brooking said it was Hawkins's second DUI in 10 years -- although Brooking didn't know if a lawn mower was involved in the previous incident.

"He puts his hands where his money goes."

-- Steve Green, a manager of volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, on volunteer and middle-class philanthropist Richard Semmler. -- A1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Lori Montgomery, Nia-Malika Henderson, Nelson Hernandez and Michelle Boorstein and the Associated Press.