Music, Statehood Push Mark Juneteenth

Music under a gentle summer sky punctuated the District's Juneteenth celebration yesterday, marking the 140th anniversary of the day when Union troops arriving in Galveston officially told a quarter of a million Texas slaves that they were free.

The gathering, outside the African American Civil War Memorial in Northwest Washington, also looked forward with fliers calling for D.C. statehood. Rick Tingling-Clemmons, a leader of the D.C. Statehood Green Party, labeled the city's current status "a continuation of a level of servitude and lack of self-determination, which are part of the conditions of slavery."

Burning Body Prompts Homicide Probe

D.C. police discovered a burning body early yesterday behind a building in Northeast Washington and were investigating the case as a homicide.

Sgt. Joe Gentile said officers spotted the fire about 3 a.m. in the 1200 block of Linden Place. The unidentified man was taken to the medical examiner's office, where he was pronounced dead.


Nearly 100 Displaced by Wheaton Fire

A four-alarm fire burned three buildings at a Wheaton apartment complex yesterday, displacing nearly 100 people and causing an estimated $3.5 million in damage, Montgomery County fire officials said.

It took 150 firefighters about an hour to quell the blaze at the Georgian Woods Apartments, in the 12100 block of Shorefield Court, said Capt. Oscar Garcia, a fire department spokesman. A man suffered minor burns to his hand while escaping the complex, Garcia said.

The blaze apparently began just before 3 p.m. on the third floor of a garden-style complex, then spread to the fourth floor and the roof, mainly through the walls. Forty-two apartments were damaged.

About 90 people registered with the Red Cross, which had opened a shelter last night at Kennedy High School, Garcia said.

Investigators had not determined the cause of the fire early last night.

Upper Marlboro Man Dies in Crash

An Upper Marlboro man was killed yesterday when his car was struck by a minivan that jumped a curb after its driver fell asleep, Maryland State Police said. Derrik W. Jackson, 31, died at the scene of the 7 a.m. accident at Route 301 and Village Drive in Prince George's County.

Trooper Adrian Jeffries said Jackson's car and a sport-utility vehicle were at a red light on Village Drive, waiting to turn south onto Route 301, when the minivan went out of control as it headed north. The minivan driver, who was coming home from work, was not hurt, Jeffries said. The SUV's driver was taken to a hospital with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening. Neither of those men's names was released.

No charges were filed yesterday, pending the completion of the state police's investigation.

Ideas Sought for Bridge Replacement

State highway officials said ideas submitted by the public will be used to develop several concepts for a replacement for the Harry W. Kelley Memorial Bridge, which delivers Route 50 travelers across Sinepuxent Bay.

The concepts will go on public display this fall. Blank drawings of the crossing will soon appear on the State Highway Administration's Web site so residents can download them and make a blueprint.

"We'll have a blank base map," project manager Chris Weber said. "People can print it out and mail it back to us."

State officials have $2.5 million to spend on design options, which could include building a new bridge, rehabilitating the current bridge or developing a tunnel instead.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) announced the study in August 2004, saying the bridge, built in 1942, was "showing its age." Engineers said the bridge can operate an additional 15 to 40 years.

Curran Will Run, if It Won't Hurt O'Malley

Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. said he would reconsider his intention to run for a sixth term next year if his candidacy appeared to harm the gubernatorial prospects of Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley.

O'Malley is Curran's son-in-law and a presumed Democratic contender for governor. Curran's daughter is Baltimore District Judge Catherine Curran O'Malley, the Baltimore mayor's wife.

"If I thought it were a problem, I would obviously rethink my position," Curran told the Baltimore Sun. "I would never do anything to create a problem for Martin, and he wouldn't do anything to create a problem for me."


Truck Runs Over, Kills Herndon Man

A Herndon man was killed yesterday when he was run over by his truck.

Loudoun County Sheriff's spokesman Kraig Troxell said the accident occurred shortly before 1 a.m. when the victim was driving his Ford F-550 in the parking lot of Sterling Plaza near Enterprise Street and struck a Dodge Neon.

Witnesses told authorities that the victim got out to check on the Neon's driver and passenger and that his truck began rolling down a hill. When he ran after it, he fell to the ground and was run over by the left front tire.

Troxell said the victim, whose name was not released, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Va. Tech Tests New Type of Barley

Virginia Tech is testing a new type of grain in fields across the state.

Researchers say barley that sheds its hull during harvesting enables animals that eat the grain to gain weight faster, can be combined with corn to produce ethanol and makes a better-tasting beer.

On traditional farms, barley was a popular food for hogs and chickens. But with the advent of large-scale, corporate processors, farmers' demand for the grain fell, and many stopped growing it.

Today, barley acreage is down to about 40,000 -- excluding the experimental plots of hull-less barley.

"You can take the sex out of the curriculum, but it's still going to be in society."

-- Laura Brewer, 15, a Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School student,

on the recent controversy surrounding now-scrapped revisions

in Montgomery County's sex education program. -- A1

Compiled from reports by staff writers David A. Fahrenthold, Clarence Williams and Susan Levine and the Associated Press.