Chevy Chase Confronts Big Houses

Council Passes Building Moratorium

Chevy Chase is preparing to adopt a six-month building moratorium that proponents say will give them time to craft a response to "mansionization" in the Montgomery County community.

The town's five-member council unanimously agreed that a freeze on demolitions, new construction and substantial renovations was necessary. Opponents, however, are pondering lawsuits and said the town is infringing on property rights.

Chevy Chase joins other jurisdictions in the region that are considering efforts to address widespread complaints about oversized houses.

Suitland Drug Market to Be Razed

Six People Have Died This Year in the Area

Prince George's County officials plan to tear down all the apartment buildings in the 4700 blocks of Homer, Hudson and Huron avenues in Suitland -- an area they described as a thriving drug market.

A plan to revitalize the three-block area has offered hope but also added to the danger. Lt. Robert Nealon, commander of the Prince George's police homicide unit, said that as the county has bought properties and boarded them up, the area has become more desolate. Six people have been killed in the three-block area this year.

Literacy Effort Moves Up a Few Grades

State to Focus More on Middle Schoolers

Stagnant reading scores among middle school students in Maryland and Virginia have caught the attention of educators, who are starting to aim literacy programs at adolescents after years of focusing mostly on younger children.

In Maryland, a third of seventh-graders failed the state's reading test this year. Reading scores among sixth- and eighth-graders rose at about half the rate of scores in elementary grades.

Counties to Trim Special-Ed Classes

Programs Enroll Too Many Black Students

Starting this summer, Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties must spend a combined $8 million a year on efforts to reduce the number of black students in special education.

The two school systems are among five in Maryland that face sanctions for steering too many struggling black students into special education rather than address their problems in regular classrooms, according to federal education officials.

Audit Faults Anne Arundel Schools

Overpaid Administrators Among Problems Cited

An internal audit criticized Anne Arundel Superintendent Eric J. Smith and his human resources and payroll departments, saying they overpaid top administrators, awarded undeserved raises and granted improper signing bonuses, generally without the knowledge of the school board.

Across the Region

Renaming 16th Street; Denying Hospital Bid

* A Republican congressman from Texas wants the District to change the name of 16th Street NW to Ronald Reagan Boulevard. But local elected leaders objected, saying the area already has Reagan National Airport and the Ronald Reagan Building.

* Loudoun County supervisors denied a request by health care company HCA Inc. to build a hospital north of Dulles International Airport. The site was about five miles from Inova Loudoun Hospital.

It's a Boy! A 9-minute exam by National Zoo staff determined that the giant panda cub, born July 9, is a healthy male. Visitors still are restricted from seeing the cub except via panda-cam photos.