Ratings May Guide Monuments' Security

The Interior Department has rated the risk of a terrorist attack at each national monument and should use those ratings when it decides how to spend limited security dollars, the Government Accountability Office, Congress's audit arm, said in a report.

The report noted that the department is involved with the rerouting of Interstate 93 at the Hoover Dam at a cost of $234 million, with plans to spend $29 million to limit public access to the Statue of Liberty and with an effort to expand video surveillance and build new vehicle barriers around monuments on the Mall.

"A set of guiding principles for balancing security with its core cultural and educational mission . . . could help" in justifying the need for and cost of the department's security measures, the GAO reported.

The GAO also recommended that the General Services Administration appoint an officer to work with the Federal Protective Service and tenant agencies to secure 8,000 GSA-owned and leased buildings.

Record Numbers Could Hit Road for July 4

The number of motorists on the road this holiday weekend could set a record.

A survey by AAA Mid-Atlantic predicts that 619,000 residents will head out of the Washington area for the July Fourth holiday. That would be a 13 percent increase over last year. The organization's phone survey found more than half a million people planning to travel by car.

AAA spokesman Lon Anderson also noted that there are more alcohol-related deaths on the July Fourth weekend than on New Year's Eve, St. Patrick's Day and Super Bowl Sunday combined.


Senate Approves 2 Nominations to Bench

Noel A. Kramer, a judge in D.C Superior Court, has won Senate confirmation for a seat on the D.C. Court of Appeals. Kramer was nominated by President Bush to replace John M. Steadman, who retired last year.

Kramer, a former federal prosecutor, has been a judge since 1984.

Also on Friday, the Senate confirmed Bush's nomination of Laura Cordero to replace Kramer on the Superior Court bench. Cordero, an executive assistant U.S. attorney, joined the prosecutor's office in 1993.


Stabbing Victim Released From Hospital

The man who was stabbed Sunday night after a pickup soccer game in Gaithersburg suffered minor injuries and was released yesterday from an area hospital, Montgomery County police said.

The victim, 30, whose name was not released, was attacked during a melee after a game at a field behind Gaithersburg Middle School.

Police said that about 9 p.m., a group of men wearing bandanas on their faces and claiming to be members of the street gang MS-13 approached a group of men socializing after the soccer game. A fight broke out, and one of the men said he had a gun, police said. Police ask that anyone with information call 301-258-6400.

Naval Academy Defends Lunchtime Prayer

The head of the U.S. Naval Academy yesterday defended its practice of conducting prayers at the lunch meal attended by all 4,000 midshipmen despite protests from the Anti-Defamation League.

Vice Adm. Rodney P. Rempt told the academy's Board of Visitors at its quarterly meeting that the prayers, which rotate daily to represent a variety of religions, help promote religious tolerance and teach the future officers to be sensitive to the diverse spiritual needs of the enlisted men and women they will lead. Stressing the point, the admiral led the board on a tour of a Jewish place of worship under construction that was paid for through gift funds, and of an all-faith chapel, where pews used for traditional Protestant and Catholic services have been removed to make the space more appropriate for Muslim and other services.

Rempt emphasized that although every midshipman is required to be respectful during prayer, none is required to participate. The Anti-Defamation League sent a letter last week saying the daily prayer violated the constitutional separation of church and state. The Naval Academy is the only service academy that conducts a lunchtime prayer.

Walter Johnson Wins Academic Superbowl

Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda has won the 2005 "It's Academic" Superbowl match, a televised quiz competition among the champions of the Washington, Baltimore and central Virginia regions.

A three-student team from Walter Johnson beat Centennial High School in Ellicott City and Robert E. Lee High School in Staunton in a contest taped earlier this month and broadcast Saturday on WRC-TV. Walter Johnson beat two other Montgomery County schools, Blake and Richard Montgomery, for the Washington area championship.

Montgomery schools have dominated "It's Academic" for several years, but this was the first time since 1971 that Walter Johnson won the Washington area contest, according to the county school system. Zach Hommer, James Coan and Alex Price were on the team that won the Washington championship, with Adam Newman substituting for Price in the championship win.


Police Say Mother Put Children in Trunk

A mother was charged with child abuse after allegedly putting her two 5-year-old children in the trunk of her car as punishment for misbehaving in a store, Fredericksburg police said yesterday.

Police spokesman Jim Shelhorse said an off-duty police officer from another jurisdiction heard children crying in a parking lot Saturday. The officer told police that the cries sounded like they were coming from the next car over but that he saw only a woman in the car, Shelhorse said.

When another woman indicated to the officer that the driver might have children in the trunk, he stopped the driver, Tamatha Parker, 33, of Quantico, as she started to pull away. He ordered her to open the trunk and let the children out, and Parker complied, police said.

Tree Removal to Close Part of Spout Run

The inbound lanes of Spout Run Parkway from Lorcum Lane to the George Washington Memorial Parkway will be closed from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. today to remove a large tree, according to the National Park Service.

"I don't know how you say it. This is so much damn fun!"

-- Geoff Bridges, a sailor and regular participant in the weekly Wednesday Night Races in Annapolis. -- B1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Spencer S. Hsu, David Snyder, Ray Rivera and Jay Mathews and the Associated Press.