Steele Unveils Education Blueprint

Panel Urges Performance Pay, School Grades

A state commission headed by Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele (R) released 30 recommendations that, among other things, call for schools to be graded and teachers to be paid for performance.

Members of the Governor's Commission on Quality Education in Maryland also suggested efforts to promote charter schools but rejected school vouchers. Steele said the report was the product of many visits to public schools and many conversations with students. The panel's work, much of it completed behind closed doors, drew swift criticism from Democrats.

Frederick Voters Oust Mayor in Primary

Former City Leader Wins Democratic Nomination

Frederick voters rejected Mayor Jennifer P. Dougherty, the city's first female mayor, in the Democratic primary, handing the nomination instead to Ronald N. Young, who served four terms as mayor. Young won 56.5 percent of the vote to Dougherty's 43.5 percent in the Democratic primary Tuesday.

Hurricane Spurs Review of Local Plans

Leaders Leery of Federal Response in a Crisis

Elected leaders from the Washington region's three most populous jurisdictions are calling for a reworking of local emergency plans because they lack confidence in the federal government's ability to respond to a catastrophe. In a rare joint appearance, leaders from Montgomery, Prince George's and Fairfax counties told the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments that the federal response to Hurricane Katrina is an alarming indicator that current plans might rely too heavily on such support.

Number of Evacuees in the Region Grows

Prince George's Experiences Biggest Increase

The number of Hurricane Katrina survivors in the Washington region swelled to more than 4,000 through a steady flow of displaced people, according to Red Cross and local officials. In Maryland, the largest increase is in Prince George's County, where Red Cross officials report that 833 evacuees had registered with the agency.

9/11 Walks Honor Troops and Victims

Emotions at Events Across the Region Vary

On a Sept. 11 as sunny and warm as the date four years ago, thousands of people remembered the terrorist attacks by walking in the nation's capital. Some strolled past the Pentagon, cheering for troops abroad, while others walked solemnly from churches to mosques to temples as they prayed for peace.

Developer Sued Over Apartment Access

Group Claims Projects Violate Disabilities Law

A major Greenbelt-based developer violated federal law by building 54 apartment buildings -- 22 of them in Maryland, the District and Virginia -- that are inaccessible to people with disabilities, according to a civil lawsuit.

The Bozzuto Group constructed buildings with doorways that are too narrow and with light switches that are too high for people in wheelchairs, the lawsuit alleges. The suit was prepared by the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs on behalf of the Equal Rights Center.

Across the Region

Arsonist Sentenced; Metro Riders Panel Advances

* Serial arsonist Thomas A. Sweatt offered an apology as he was sentenced to life in prison for carrying out a deadly string of fires, but he provided no clue about why he spent nearly three years igniting homes where people were sleeping. Sweatt set fires at 45 houses and apartments throughout the Washington region -- blazes that killed two elderly women and caused millions of dollars in damage.

* Metro board members voted to create a riders advisory council. If approved by the full board of directors Thursday, the 21-member council could begin offering riders' perspectives on Metro's policies, services and budget decisions by early next year.

On the Rise Charles County school board Chairman Margaret Young and Mark J. Crawford are among the conservatives shifting the power balance on the board.