THE REGION

Archbishop to Visit Hurricane Victims

The archbishop of Washington, who left yesterday for the Gulf Coast region, plans to spend the day with Hurricane Katrina survivors, praying and providing support for those in need.

Traveling as part of a Vatican delegation, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick will celebrate Mass at St. Joseph's Cathedral in Baton Rouge this morning before visiting with hurricane evacuees.

Tomorrow, he will travel to Biloxi, Miss., to meet with local bishops, tour the devastated areas and visit a Catholic Charities relief center. The cardinal will return to Washington tomorrow night.

Amtrak Increases Round Trips to New York

Starting today, Amtrak is adding more Acela Express round trips between Washington and New York. The rail service said it will operate 12 weekday round trips between those two cities -- up from nine trips -- and three weekday round trips between Boston, New York and Washington.

Earlier this year, Amtrak was operating 15 round trips daily but stopped the service in April after cracks were discovered in many of the trains' brake discs.

Amtrak said additional trains gradually will return to service in the coming months as brake problems are repaired.

VIRGINIA

Stricter Security on Jamestown Ferry

Motorists who use the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry can expect more stringent screenings this week, when the state begins to add armed guards and intensify car searches.

"We're telling people to come a little bit early," as they do with airports, said Bill Mathus, who manages the ferry. "Not an hour or anything; just give us a few extra minutes."

The stricter security comes as part of a one-year, $1.3 million contract signed recently by the Virginia Department of Transportation and McLean-based Securiguard Inc. Coast Guard officials had suggested stronger security on the ferry, which carries about 3,000 passengers daily during the busy summer.

Ferries are required to search boarding cars, according to the Maritime Transportation Security Act, which was passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Mathus said state transportation officials complied with the law by arranging for screeners last summer.

Ferry riders saw heightened security measures in early July, after the terrorist attacks on London's public transportation system. But the new security measures are more extensive. Starting today, guards are to be posted on both sides of the James River to check automobiles boarding the ferry.

The guards will be authorized to make arrests, and the random vehicle searches will be more painstaking.

FBI Advises VCU on Missing Freshman

The FBI is consulting with Virginia Commonwealth University police in the search for a freshman who has been missing for nearly a week. Authorities at the Richmond campus said yesterday they are "very concerned" but have no evidence of foul play.

Taylor Marie Behl, 17, a graduate of James Madison High School in Vienna, told her roommate about 10 p.m. last Monday that she was going skateboarding, but she did not return.

Campus police spokeswoman Pamela DiSalvo Lepley said federal investigators were called in to provide advice, partly because the case remains unsolved.

Lepley said it is not unusual for students to be missing for a few days from the campus, which has an enrollment of nearly 30,000. But it is unusual that no one has come forward with information, given all the publicity surrounding the case, she said.

Behl's mother, Janet Pelasara, said the FBI's involvement could indicate that police are increasing their investigative efforts.

"They realize now that she's not out on a jolly [but] that she's not in a good situation," Pelasara said.

Behl's car, a white 1997 Ford Escort with Virginia tags JPC-2848, has been reported missing.

MARYLAND

Opinion Sought Over Columbia Council

A dispute over the abolishing of the Columbia Council has caused the council to seek the involvement of the state attorney general's office.

The council will ask a state elected official to request a formal opinion from the attorney general's office on the legality and effects of eliminating the council.

The council voted in July to disband. The 10-member group plans to act only as the board of directors for the Columbia Association, with the decision contingent upon the board approving changes to the Columbia Association charter.

Council member Barbara L. Russell (Oakland Mills) maintains that the move would seriously limit the members' ability to adequately represent their constituents. She asked the council to request an opinion from the attorney general's office.

Katrina-Relief Jazz Event Raises $10,000

The second annual Silver Spring Jazz Festival, designated as a Hurricane Katrina relief concert, raised about $10,000 in donations, officials said. More than 20,000 people attended the free event Saturday.

A dozen Gulf Coast evacuees were brought from the D.C. Armory to enjoy the concert, which featured Grammy-winning trumpeter-bandleader Wynton Marsalis, officials said.

American Red Cross representatives took donations at the concert at Ellsworth Drive and Fenton Street.

Three Shot at Arundel Fire Station

Three people were shot and a woman was hit by a car as they fled gunfire at an Odenton firehouse, Anne Arundel County police said.

Authorities said the incident happened after 11 p.m. Saturday at the Odenton Fire Department after security officers removed a man from an anniversary party at the station.

The man returned to the party with a shotgun and opened fire, police said. They said a woman was hit by a car as she fled. Their conditions were not available last night.

Police said the shooter fled the scene, crashed his car and was taken to a hospital for treatment. The investigation is continuing.

"It seems like it was just yesterday. It was just a dark, sad time, and a time of national resolve -- kind of like what we're seeing [with] Katrina right now."

-- Army Lt. Col. Steve Whitmarsh of Burke, who participated in a walk on the fourth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. -- B1

Compiled from reports by staff writer Michael Alison Chandler and the Associated Press.

Taylor Marie Behl, a VCU freshman, has been missing nearly a week.