Unidentified Person Spotted on BWI Field

Authorities at Baltimore-Washington International Airport searched yesterday for a suspicious individual seen walking on the airfield.

Pilots alerted Maryland Transportation Authority Police about 2:10 p.m. after spotting the person walking on the field near the end of a runway, said BWI spokesman Jonathan Dean.

Police responded with patrols and a canine unit, Dean said. The person was seen climbing the fence and leaving the airport property. Police and helicopters searched for the individual, whose sex is unknown.

Flights continued to arrive and depart as scheduled, Dean said.

Surgery Performed on Tree at White House

Tourists and visitors to the White House on Monday got to watch surgery. Tree surgery.

National Park Service horticulturists sawed diseased limbs from an elm tree that stands near the executive mansion on the North Lawn.

National Park Service spokesman Bill Line said the diseased limbs were sawed off to allow the rest of the tree to survive as long as possible. The tree is believed to be more than 100 years old, he said.

Onlookers saw two or three sections of a limb that appeared to be seven or eight inches in diameter sawed off by a man in an elevated bucket.


EPA Plans Sessions for Nail Salon Workers

The federal Environmental Protection Agency is holding two workshops in Annandale on Monday to help educate Vietnamese workers and owners of nail salons about health risks from chemicals used widely in the salons.

The free workshops have been held in other cities with large Vietnamese populations. An EPA engineer will conduct the sessions in Vietnamese, and attendees will receive materials and handouts in Vietnamese.

In the Washington area, as many as 70 percent of the more than 11,000 salons offering nail services are staffed almost exclusively by Vietnamese immigrants, according to owners. The technicians are often women who speak limited English and work 12-hour days in poorly ventilated rooms with hazardous chemicals. Many are not aware that they are exposed to toxins through contact with the skin or that overexposure to some chemicals is linked to asthma, skin irritation and reproductive disorders, according to EPA officials.

The Washington area workshops will be at 1 and 7 p.m. at the Mason District Government Center, 6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale.


Mikulski Remains in Hospital for Testing

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) remained hospitalized for diagnostic medical tests yesterday, a spokeswoman said.

Mikulski, 68, was admitted Monday to Mercy Hospital in Baltimore after feeling tired, said spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz.

"She's fine," Schwartz said. "She is expected to be released in a couple of days."

Mikulski was elected to her fourth term in November, and her seat is next up for reelection in 2010.

Planned Juvenile Facility Closing Defended

Juvenile Services Secretary Kenneth C. Montague Jr. tried to assure skeptical Democratic lawmakers yesterday that his department will not jeopardize public safety as it rushes to meet a Nov. 30 deadline established by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) to close a 130-bed detention facility at the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in Baltimore County.

The Ehrlich administration proved when it shut the Victor Cullen Academy that it could close a large institution and move juveniles to community-based services without increasing crime in those communities, Montague said.

Democrats support the governor's decision to close Hickey but questioned whether the administration is prepared to move so quickly after Ehrlich made his surprise announcement June 30 that he was ordering the school closed. Several told Montague they are worried about the plan to put young people who have been held in intermediate security facilities into group homes or with their families.

Suspicious Object Stalls Train, Car Traffic

Traffic was snarled for about an hour yesterday on Rockville Pike in Rockville and Metrorail service in the area was shut down after a CSX railroad worker reported a suspicious object chained to a tree near the railroad tracks.

Montgomery County fire and rescue officials determined that the device, reported just before noon, was harmless. The object, which was near a gas distribution center at College Parkway and Rockville Pike, turned out to be an environmental monitoring device put there by Columbia Gas officials to monitor for corrosion in gas pipes, fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said.

Metrorail service on the Red Line between Shady Grove and Rockville was shut down from 12:24 to 12:59 p.m., a Metro spokeswoman said. The CSX tracks were also closed.

Man Indicted in Police Sergeant's Death

A Prince George's County grand jury yesterday indicted Robert M. Billett, the man charged in the shooting death last month of Sgt. Steven Gaughan, a county police officer. Gaughan, 41, was killed while chasing a suspect on foot at an apartment complex after a traffic stop near Laurel.

Billett, 43, faces nine counts, including murder and attempted murder. Two other officers, Michael Eubanks and Shawn Phoebus, exchanged gunfire with Billett but were not hit, according to police documents.

Billett, of Bladensburg, is also charged with several handgun counts. Gaughan, a married father of two, was the seventh county police officer shot at in Prince George's this year and the first killed by bullets in the line of duty in at least 10 years.

Waiter Allegedly Steals Credit Card Data

A waiter at a Rockville restaurant has been charged with stealing credit card information from customers and using it to buy electronics and other items, Montgomery County police said yesterday.

Adou Guyroland Kouao, 24, of the 3000 block of Bel Pre Road in Silver Spring, told police he took information from "at least 100 credit cards" of customers at the Broadway Diner at 895 Rockville Pike, according to documents filed in Montgomery District Court.

Kouao was charged June 27 with six counts of theft, the documents state. Also charged in connection with the thefts is Donald Vias of the 100 block of Alderleaf Court in Germantown. Vias was charged Monday with 10 counts of producing counterfeit credit cards and four counts of theft.

"Our core message is, 'Stay away if you can.' "

-- John Undeland, spokesman for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project, on lane closures scheduled for this weekend on the outer loop of the Beltway. -- A1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Allison Klein, Lena H. Sun, David Snyder, Martin Weil and John Wagner and the Associated Press.