Takoma Metro Station Closed for Weekend

The Takoma Metro station will be closed this holiday weekend because of track work, Metro officials said. Workers will replace a track switch, which enables trains to switch from one track to another. Between 10 tonight and 5 a.m. Tuesday, Metro service will be suspended on the Red Line between the Silver Spring and Fort Totten stations.

Trains will run between Shady Grove and Fort Totten and between Glenmont and Silver Spring, but delays are expected. Metro will operate free shuttle buses between the Fort Totten and Silver Spring stations. An "express" shuttle service will operate between Fort Totten and Silver Spring only. A second shuttle service will provide loop service between the Fort Totten, Takoma and Silver Spring stations.

For more information, go to or call 202-637-7000 or TTY 202-638-3780.

Elephant at Zoo Hobbled by Arthritis

Toni, one of the National Zoo's four Asian elephants, is being treated for chronic arthritis in her legs, a serious condition in elephants that might lead the zoo to euthanize her if her condition continues to deteriorate.

Zoo staff said yesterday that Toni, estimated to be nearing 40, is moving more slowly and experiencing some discomfort. She is being given ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory drug, and still enjoys eating, interacting with the other elephants and swimming. Elephants in captivity can live 50 to 70 years.


Fauquier Tornado Damage Untallied

Officials said yesterday that a tornado that touched down in northern Fauquier County on Tuesday night reached a maximum intensity of F1 on the Fujita scale, the system used to measure a twister's strength.

The tornado, which hit just before 9 p.m., was about 300 yards wide, officials with the National Weather Service said, and was on the ground for about five miles. It damaged 16 homes and destroyed numerous trees in the community of Ada, about 55 miles west of Washington. An estimate of damage remained unknown.

On a scale of F1 to F6, F1 is described as a moderate tornado.

N.J. Man Killed in I-66 Crash in Fairfax

A New Jersey man died yesterday morning on Interstate 66 in the Fairfax area when his car suddenly changed lanes and veered in front of another car, Virginia State Police said.

The driver's name was not released pending notification of his family. He was driving a Pontiac Grand Prix east on I-66, just west of Route 50, about 11:30 a.m., Sgt. Terry Licklider said. Witnesses told investigators that from the left middle lane, the Grand Prix suddenly turned left so sharply that it was hit on the side by a 2002 Chrysler 300 in the far left lane.

The man, 80, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Chrysler, Kielly A. Andrews, 28, of Gainesville, was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital, but her injuries were not serious, Licklider said.


Girl Escapes Suspected Abductor

An 11-year-old girl escaped an attempted abduction Wednesday afternoon in Prince George's County as she was walking home from G. Gardner Shugart Middle School, police said.

The incident happened in the 4200 block of 21st Avenue in Temple Hills about 3:30 p.m. The girl was approached by a man in his thirties, approximately 5 feet 6 inches tall with a thick build and hair in plaits.

Cpl. Clinton Copeland, a police spokesman, said the man asked the girl for directions and then pulled her toward his car, a small, blue-green four-door vehicle. The girl escaped and was not physically injured. He added that she apparently was walking home by herself and suggested that children walk in groups or with adults they know.

Politics Intrude on Game's Coin Toss

The Terrapins of the University of Maryland and the Midshipmen of Navy aren't the only rivals who will bring a history of ill will onto the field for a college football matchup tomorrow. Maryland's Democrats and Republicans will bring their own rivalry to the game.

A top U-Md. official said yesterday that Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) has declined an invitation to toss the coin before the game because the offer was also extended to the state's Democratic House speaker and Senate president. The university apparently rejected a counteroffer by Ehrlich -- to substitute Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (Calvert) and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (Anne Arundel) with two past governors who have been his close allies.

Ehrlich spokesman Henry Fawell said the governor has not decided whether to participate.


Fenty Receives Light Sanction

The Office of the Bar Counsel issued its lightest sanction yesterday, an informal admonition, to D.C. Council member Adrian M. Fenty for his failure to guard the assets of an elderly man he was assigned to protect six years ago.

Fenty's conduct in the case "reflected a disregard of certain ethical standards," Wallace Eugene Shipp Jr. wrote in a four-page letter delivered to Fenty's attorney. "In sum, the record reveals that you either were not aware of, or did not comply with, several rules and laws governing guardianship and conservatorship, and your actions fell below acceptable standards."

Fenty (D-Ward 4), who has repaid the estate of his former ward, William Hardy Sr., said he will not challenge Shipp's ruling. His acceptance brings to a close a matter that had cast a shadow over his record as he enters the hotly contested 2006 race for mayor.

Cabbies Watch Gas Surcharge Expire

At the worst possible time, as gas prices set records almost daily, D.C. cabdrivers can no longer charge an extra $1 to offset fuel costs.

The surcharge, added May 2 for a four-month period, expired at 12:01 a.m. yesterday after the city's taxicab commission failed to vote on extending it.

Causton Toney, interim chairman of the D.C. Taxicab Commission, said several factors led to the expiration, including most of the panel's seven commissioners being on vacation at various times in August, making it impossible to convene a special meeting.

Toney said the commission will meet Sept. 14 to consider renewing the surcharge and possibly increasing it.

"They jammed the phone lines, they jammed the e-mail. We had just an outpouring of people. 'I want to help our vets. They helped us.' Almost everybody used that line."

-- Melodie R. Menke of the District's Armed Forces Retirement Home, on people offering to help veterans displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

More than 250 evacuees began arriving at the facility yesterday. -- B1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Lyndsey Layton, Karlyn Barker, Jamie Stockwell, Tom Jackman, Jonathan Abel, Matthew Mosk, Lori Montgomery and Allan Lengel.