THE DISTRICT

Police Seek 2 Youths in Weekend Slaying

D.C. police said last night that they want to question two youths in connection with the weekend slaying of a man who was walking his dog in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Northwest Washington.

D.C. police Detective Tony Patterson said investigators were looking for two "people of interest," one of whom was on a bicycle at the time of the slaying, about 10:40 p.m. Saturday. Patterson encouraged residents to call police if they see an unfamiliar youth on a bike in the neighborhood. Police said the shooting might have resulted from a botched robbery.

Patterson made the remarks at a regularly scheduled community meeting at the Mount Pleasant library. It was followed by a candlelight vigil attended by more than 200 people mourning the death of Gregory Shipe, 34. Speakers at the vigil included council members Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) and Kwame R. Brown (D-At Large) and Cmdr. Larry McCoy of the 3rd Police District.

Anyone with information on the slaying is urged to call D.C. police at 202-727-9099.

Mental Health Director to Step Down

Martha B. Knisley, the first director of the District's mental health agency, will leave her post next month to lead the Community Support Initiative, a new center under a Boston-based national nonprofit organization.

Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) appointed Knisley in 2001 to shepherd the city program's transition from a health commission struggling to meet a court mandate for improved mental heath services to the Department of Mental Health, a Cabinet-level agency.

Knisley cited personal reasons in her Aug. 25 resignation letter to the mayor and said yesterday in an interview that she needed a more flexible job that would allow her to spend more time in North Carolina with her mother, who has terminal bone marrow cancer. Knisley's resignation is effective Oct. 14.

Public Sessions on Zoning Begin Tonight

The D.C. Office of Planning will host the first of four community meetings tonight to give residents a "first glimpse" of changes being proposed for the D.C. Comprehensive Plan, officials said. The plan governs zoning and land use, and a draft of the revisions will be written this fall and submitted to the D.C. Council next year.

The sessions will run from 6 to 9 p.m. Tonight's is at Kelly Miller Middle School, 301 49th St. NE. Other meetings are set for tomorrow at the Thurgood Marshall Center, 1816 12th St. NW; Sept. 27 at Eastern Senior High School, 1700 East Capitol St. NE; and Sept. 28 at Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, 3950 Chesapeake St. NW. Information is available at www.inclusivecity.org.

Council Approves Off-Leash Dog Parks

The D.C. Council passed legislation yesterday to allow off-leash dog parks on District and federal parkland.

The bill authorizes the mayor to issue rules and regulations for establishing the dog parks, where pets "under the verbal command of a responsible adult" may exercise off-leash.

The parks would have to be fully enclosed by a fence and gate.

MARYLAND

Bill Would Boost Deforestation Fines

Montgomery County Council member Steven A. Silverman (D-At Large) has introduced a measure that would increase penalties for violating the county's forest conservation law.

The law prohibits landowners from clearing more than 5,000 square feet of forested land without the approval of the planning board. Violators can be fined up to $1 per square foot of land.

In recent weeks, several environmental leaders have said the fines are too small. Silverman's bill, which has five co-sponsors, would establish a new maximum fine through regulation, perhaps as much as $10 per square foot.

Montgomery Dogs Must Be Leashed

The Montgomery County Council voted yesterday to require residents to keep their dogs on leashes while outdoors, unless the animals are in a designated dog park.

After years of debate on the issue, Montgomery joins Baltimore, the District and Fairfax and Prince George's counties in establishing a leash law. The law exempts service animals.

The council also voted to ban urinating in public. Violators can be fined up to $500. The measure was passed in response to complaints from merchants and businesspeople in such urban areas as Wheaton, Silver Spring and Bethesda.

Council Wants Verizon to Stop Work

Montgomery County Council members called on county officials yesterday to order Verizon to stop construction in underground public easements until the company shows that it can avoid disrupting cable and utility service.

Verizon is installing fiber-optic cable in the region and plans to use its system to offer television that will compete with Comcast, which dominates the market. A Verizon cut in Germantown on Monday resulted in an outage of a couple of hours that affected 1,000 Comcast customers, said Comcast spokesman Jim Gordon.

"I don't think stopping work is the solution," said Verizon spokesman Harry Mitchell, who said Comcast has inadvertently cut Verizon lines in the past. Verizon's upgrade is a massive project, he added, "and we're doing a solid job of it, by and large."

"When we come to the other world and meet the millions of Jews who died in the camps and they ask us, 'What have you done?' there will be many answers. . . . I will say, 'I didn't forget you.' "

-- Simon Wiesenthal, on why he pursued Nazi war criminals and did not return to his pre-war trade, architecture. -- A1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Cameron W. Barr, Tim Craig, Theola S. Labbe, Allan Lengel, Eric M. Weiss and Debbi Wilgoren.

Spence Patterson, left, and Renata Serafin attend a vigil for

Gregory Shipe, who was shot to death while walking his dog.