Highway Doesn't Dissuade All Buyers

Some Bet Montgomery House Values Won't Suffer

Real estate agents say few things make a neighborhood's home values plummet like plans for a highway to run through it, but that theory has not taken hold in Montgomery County. Along the routes proposed for the intercounty connector, homes are selling well above asking price. Buyers and officials said the demand for affordable housing in the increasingly expensive market is causing many people to gamble that the highway won't be built, that it won't affect values or that they will move before it does.

Sexual Assaults on School Buses Rising

Behavior Education Planned in Montgomery

Experts say sexual assaults on school buses, one of the fastest-growing forms of school violence, seldom register as a safety issue for administrators and parents, who are more focused on accidents, seat belts and safe crossings. This school year, Montgomery County public schools reported four alleged sexual assaults and 26 incidents of sexual harassment on buses. Administrators are trying to improve communication among bus drivers, schools and the central office. In the fall, they will begin a campaign to educate students about proper bus behavior.

Administration's Firings to Be Probed

New Hires Got Positions After Ehrlich Took Office

Leading Democrats in the Maryland General Assembly agreed to look into the firing practices implemented by the administration of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R). The investigation was announced by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel). Miller said several long-time employees of various agencies have complained of being fired to clear the way for new hires when Republicans took over the governorship in 2002.

Male-Female Crab Found in Bay

Different 'Fingernails' Tipped Off Waterman

Watermen say female blue crabs "paint their fingernails," meaning the tips of their claws turn bright red as they age. The male crabs, on the other hand, have sky-blue claws. So when Robbie Watson dumped out a crab trap and found a specimen with one red claw and one blue one, the discovery stopped him. Scientists said the crab, caught May 21 in the lower Chesapeake Bay, has a female right side and a male left side.

Pr. George's Crime Plan Established

Johnson, High Try to Reassure Residents

Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) and Police Chief Melvin C. High attempted to reassure residents that although violent crime is surging in the county, the police department has a plan to address it. "The citizens need to know this isn't a hodgepodge," Johnson said. "We have a comprehensive plan." At a news conference, the two detailed police initiatives and task forces that focus on specific areas, including the D.C. border.

Duncan Plans County-by-County Visits

Name Recognition Sought for Governor's Bid

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan hopes to expand his name recognition and grass-roots support in his bid for the Democratic nomination for governor by campaigning one day in every Maryland county by Sept. 1.

Across the Region

Arson Sentencing Delayed; Snipers Indicted

* U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus delayed until October the sentencing of Jeremy D. Parady, who admitted helping set the Dec. 6 fires in Charles County. Titus wants to know more about Parady's role.

* District public schools were ordered to close early Tuesday after some principals reported temperatures close to 100 degrees, spotlighting a longstanding problem: inadequate cooling and heating sytems.

* A comprehensive smoking ban in District bars and restaurants is supported by Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) and a majority of the council. The District could be smoke-free by the end of the year.

By Leaps and Bounds Amanda Ascoli gets a riding lesson at Walnut Pond Farm in Brookeville, one of the equine centers filling up farmland in Maryland.