Goodwill Ambassadors Bring Solace

Lone Bused Evacuee Joins Survivors at Armory

The city's sense of hospitality was strong enough that it sent 10 buses to the New Orleans area to pick up evacuees and bring them to the D.C. Armory. After the 2,000-mile one-way trip, a solitary evacuee was brought back. But volunteers, including police and health care workers, said they did all kinds of good as ambassadors and bearers of goods and tender mercies. The armory, prepared for 400 on the buses, wound up housing more than that single evacuee because a planeload came. But by week's end, numbers were dwindling as those who had been taken in found relatives or someone came to adopt them, offering food, shelter and, in the case of one adopter whose husband owns a janitorial cleaning business, work.

Cab Fuel Surcharge Approved

Taxi Commission Had Let Fee Expire

Good news for the District's cabdrivers: They will get an extra $1.50 for rides in the city, a surcharge approved by the D.C. Taxi Commission, which had let an earlier dollar surcharge expire Sept. 2. Dozens of drivers attended a commission hearing and expressed relief at the help as the price of gas spiraled. The increase will last for at least 120 days.

Cropp Makes Intentions Official

Council Chairman Enters Race for Mayor

It's official now that D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp (D) is running for mayor. Cropp, entering the 2006 race, vowed to use her experience and skills as a consensus builder to fix public schools, make streets safer and make sure that even the poorest share in the city's economic revival. Cropp joins council members Adrian M. Fenty (D-Ward 4) and Vincent B. Orange Sr. (D-Ward 5) and former telecom executive Marie C. Johns in the race so far.

SE Landowners Balk at Offers

Those in Stadium Area Could Face Eviction

Some owners of properties in Southeast Washington where the city wants to build its new baseball stadium have unsurprising news for city officials: They don't think the offers are high enough. The city began making offers, giving owners 30 days to sell or face eviction. Negotiations continue, with the city wanting to control the 20-acre site by the end of the year so it can complete a $535 million stadium complex by 2008. Property owners control about 14 acres of the site.

Housing Advocates Sue Two Companies

Group Says Vouchers Were Turned Down

Horning Brothers and Phifer Realty were sued by a housing advocacy group that said they have refused to rent apartments to some people who want to use federal vouchers to cover part of the rent. The group that filed the suits also sued other landlords and property management companies in April and announced one settlement.

Healthy Panda Cub Gives First Bark

Elderly Elephant Treated for Arthritis

At the National Zoo, both young and old made news. The young is the new panda, as yet unnamed, which issued his first bark and was weighed at 71/2 pounds and measured a robust 211/4 inches and got his first vaccination. The old is Toni, one of the zoo's four Asian elephants, who, at nearly 40, is undergoing treatment for arthritis in her legs, a serious condition that could eventually require euthanizing.

Across the Region

Racetrack Fears; Plans for New GMU Campus

* The owners of Maryland's two largest racetracks announced that the state's persistent reluctance to legalize slot machines will force them to dramatically reduce their operations, potentially hobbling an already ailing local horse industry.

* George Mason University announced plans to build a 123-acre campus in Loudoun County.

Staying on the Job Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick reached 75 and offered to retire, as is customary, but Pope Benedict XVI said to stay put.