THE REGION

Prairie Dogs Return Outdoors

The National Zoo has opened a new outdoor prairie dog exhibit, with a raised terrain for better viewing. The exhibit, funded by Friends of the National Zoo and featuring six black-tailed prairie dogs, opened July 12 on Olmstead Walk near Kids' Farm at the lower end of the zoo.

This is the first time in two years that prairie dogs, whose quick jumps and loud yips are popular with zoo visitors, have been on view at an outdoor exhibit. Some of these animals continue to be on exhibit in the zoo's Small Mammal House.

The zoo said keepers and nutritionists have worked together to create a diet for the prairie dogs that meets their nutritional needs but does not attract other wild rodents. Rats killed some of the prairie dogs on display in earlier outdoor exhibits. This fall, the zoo plans to open a playground adjacent to the exhibit featuring a prairie dog tunnel for children and other educational activities.

MARYLAND

Frederick Change Aids Greens

Frederick's Board of Aldermen voted 4 to 1 last week to amend the city's charter to ease ballot access to established third parties, clearing the way for the Frederick Greens to run an alderman candidate this fall.

The board's action Thursday eliminates a measure that forced third-party candidates, even if recognized by the Maryland State Board of Elections, to gather signatures on a petition to appear on the municipal ballot. The board also eliminated a provision that required residents who signed a petition to state their intention to vote for the candidate.

2 Rescued From Apartment Fire

Firefighters used ladders yesterday to rescue two people on balconies from a fire at a Temple Hills apartment house that displaced about 80 people, a Prince George's County fire department spokesman said.

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries in the 11 a.m. fire on the top floor of the three-story Chestnut Hill apartments in the 3900 block of 23rd Parkway, spokesman Mark Brady said. The rescued residents had been trapped by heat and smoke, he said.

THE DISTRICT

Barry Released From Hospital

D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) was released from the hospital early yesterday after treatment for dehydration.

"Thank you for your prayers," the former mayor told a crowd at a ribbon-cutting ceremony several hours later.

Barry, 69, checked himself in to Greater Southeast Community Hospital on Thursday, his third reported hospitalization this year. He was joined yesterday by council colleagues and mayoral candidates Adrian M. Fenty (D-Ward 4) and Vincent B. Orange Sr. (D-Ward 5) and D.C. Transportation Director Dan Tangherlini at an event celebrating the rebuilding of Elvans Road SE.

Funeral to Be Tuesday for Boy, 6

A funeral for Donmiguel Nathaniel Wilson Jr., the 6-year-old boy found slain in his apartment's bathtub Monday, is scheduled for Tuesday morning in Southeast Washington.

Donmiguel was found with his wrists and ankles bound in water in a tub. His death was ruled a homicide by a combination of drowning, suffocation and head injuries. No arrests have been made.

Police officials have identified the boy's mother, Julia Barber, 27, as a suspect. She was questioned by detectives and later admitted to a psychiatric facility, police said.

The funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. at First Rock Baptist Church, 4630 Alabama Ave. SE.

VIRGINIA

More Cats Collected at House

Fairfax County police said yesterday that they have removed 105 cats from a house in Lorton, up from an earlier tally of 30.

Police first raided the house in the 8600 block of Lorfax Drive on July 13. It was the second major case of animal hoarding reported in Fairfax this month.

On July 8, police began removing 488 cats -- 222 of them dead -- from the Mount Vernon home of Ruth Knueven and from a Burke townhouse owned by her daughter.

Springfield Accident Kills Teen

A 14-year-old youth was fatally injured yesterday evening when he was struck by a car in the Springfield area of Fairfax County, the county police said.

They said he was struck around 6:50 p.m. as he tried to cross Old Keene Mill Road in the 8400 block.

"You lose sight of religion or where somebody's from, and it really comes down to a friendship that develops."

-- Jeff Branch, 32, of South Riding in Loudoun County, speaking about the evolution of his community. -- A1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Karlyn Barker, Clarence Williams, Martin Weil, Fredrick Kunkle, Clarence Williams, Leef Smith, Eric M. Weiss and Del Quentin Wilber.