A July 21 In Brief item on Washington area finalists in an Amazon.com contest that rewards nonprofits for innovative approaches to societal issues omitted one local organization. It is Pact Inc.'s WORTH program, based in Washington. (Published 8/1/2005)


Ehrlich Pledges Closer Scrutiny of Clubs

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) said he will examine membership policies of private clubs when he schedules fundraisers and would encourage an all-white country club where he held a recent event to integrate its membership.

The governor's comments came Tuesday during an appearance on a Washington area cable television station, NewsChannel 8. Ehrlich said he agreed with Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, who said last week that the Elkridge Club in Baltimore should accept black members.

"Mike has also said, 'Look, we're about opportunity, we're about opening up opportunity.' He would encourage the club obviously to welcome African American members," Ehrlich said. "That's the same answer I had given. That's quite obvious."

"Clearly, we'll look at it in the future," Ehrlich said. "It's a good lesson."

The club has declined to answer questions about its policies.

Alert Posted in Frederick Abduction

Frederick city police asked motorists yesterday to be on the lookout for a woman who may have been kidnapped outside a car dealership Tuesday night.

A witness told police that Delmy Beatriz Rivera, 20, screamed during a struggle with a man in the unit block of Waverly Drive, said Lt. Thomas Chase, a police spokesman. The man hit Rivera in the face and then shoved her into a green sport-utility vehicle before driving west on Route 40, police said.

Rivera was not identified until her father arrived at the scene as police were investigating and told them that she had not come home, Chase said.

Police have named Hugo Arnaldo Aguilar-Mejia, who also goes by William Castro, as a suspect in the incident. Police say Aguilar-Mejia, of Palmdale, Calif., is driving a green Ford SUV with California tags 2ZUD490.

Chase asked anyone with information to call police at 301-624-1269.

Frederick Restores School's Old Name

The Frederick County Board of Education will restore the name Lincoln Elementary to a school that many remember as the center of the county's black community.

Board members voted unanimously last week to change the name of South Frederick Elementary back to Lincoln, the name it had during enforced racial segregation. The change becomes effective in the 2006-07 school year.

The approval prompted applause from members of the Lincoln Alumni Association, which requested the change in May.

The school was known as Lincoln from 1920 to 1962, when it was integrated. Its student body is now 52 percent black, according to the district's 2004 student data report.


Chemical Vapors Send Two to Hospital

Two contractors were hospitalized yesterday after they were exposed to chemical vapor in a public school in Southeast Washington, authorities said.

The incident occurred about 9 a.m. as the two men were moving a locker containing cleaning supplies and other chemicals out of a second-floor classroom at Sousa Middle School in the 3600 block of Ely Place SE. Fire officials said several gallon-sized containers of chemicals, including one of muriatic acid, were inside the locker. The acid, which is used to clean bricks, either reacted to the metal locker or other chemicals in the locker, creating a vapor cloud, fire officials said.

Firefighters decontaminated the contractors, who complained of burning eyes and throat irritation, at the scene and took them to Providence Hospital for further observation, officials said.

D.C. police and school officials are investigating whether the chemicals should have been inside the school.

D.C. Charities Vie for Innovation Award

Two District-based charities are among 10 finalists in an Amazon.com contest that rewards nonprofits for innovative approaches to societal problems.

First Book, a national charity that distributes free books to low-income children, and Kaboom, a group that builds playgrounds in poor neighborhoods across the country, were chosen by a panel of judges to compete for the award.

Consumers can vote for the charity that they would like to win by contributing to any of the 10 groups. The organizations will keep the contributions they receive, and the one with the highest dollar amount will be awarded a matching grant of up to $1 million from Amazon.com, the company said yesterday.


Old Fairfax Courthouse to Reopen Today

The old Fairfax County courthouse on Chain Bridge Road is scheduled to reopen today with a regular schedule after closing late Tuesday because of flooding in the basement.

Maintenance crews yesterday repaired water damage and broken pumps. All day and evening meetings and programs scheduled in the courthouse since it closed at 5 p.m. Tuesday were canceled, including license ceremonies for young drivers scheduled for last night. The Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court also is in the courthouse.

More information can be found on the county Web site, www.fairfaxcounty.gov, or by calling the emergency information line at 703-817-7771.

Fredericksburg Custard Stand Recognized

One of Fredericksburg's most beloved spots -- Carl's, which serves strictly vanilla-, chocolate- and strawberry-flavored custard -- has been approved for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

The register, which is overseen by the National Park Service, is the official list of cultural resources deemed worthy of preservation.

Unchanged architecturally since it opened in 1953, Carl's has long lines most summer afternoons and evenings curling around the small, white, stucco building, which is topped by the neon words: "Creme Shakes, Sundaes."

In announcing the addition -- the 19th historic register listing for the city -- the state Department of Historic Resources said that "Carl's reflects the advent of new styles in commercial roadside architecture" that developed with the mid-century auto boom.

"We'd come from so much confusion and uproar and I wanted to be somewhere where my kids could be at peace."

-- Lawrence Bryant, explaining why he moved his family from Prince George's County to Charles County, helping to transform the once-rural area into Southern Maryland's most diverse suburb. -- Page A1

Staff writers Michelle Boorstein, Nelson Hernandez, Lisa Rein, Jacqueline L. Salmon and Del Quentin Wilber and the Associated Press contributed to this report.