GOP Assails Credit Report Incident

Steele's Information Obtained by Democrats

Maryland Republicans decried news that Democratic researchers had obtained Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele's credit report, suggesting that it showed how seriously the Democrats are taking Steele's likely bid for the U.S. Senate.

"If they're trashing you, they fear you," Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) said.

Ehrlich's assessment came after reports that federal prosecutors are investigating whether two Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee employees illegally obtained Steele's credit information as they conducted opposition research.

Evacuees Continue to Enroll in Schools

Archdiocese of Washington Waives Tuition

Children evacuated because of Hurricane Katrina are flowing quietly into the region's schools, their numbers swelling each day.

Maryland and Virginia public schools have taken at least 1,488 evacuees, more than 810 in the Washington area, education officials said.

In addition, at least 92 evacuees have enrolled in Catholic schools, and the Archdiocese of Washington is waiving tuition to ease hardship.

Clarksburg Developer Told to Stop Work

County Investigating Lot Sizes of 80 Units

Montgomery County officials have told the developer of Clarksburg Town Center to stop work on about 80 lots in the troubled community while they examine new evidence that the lots as configured do not match approved plans.

The order -- the second issued at Clarksburg in recent months -- will prohibit Newland Communities from moving earth, removing trees, paving streets or constructing residences, officials said.

The order appears to affect three undeveloped sections of the planned 1,300-home community, where about 760 homes have been built or are under construction and where hundreds of those homes were found to be constructed in violation of height and setback requirements.

O'Malley to Announce Governor Bid

Baltimore Mayor Has Long Insinuated Plans

Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, a Democrat who has long considered a move to Annapolis, told supporters that he will announce his 2006 bid for governor this week.

O'Malley shared plans for a Wednesday announcement during a conference call with more than 100 supporters, according to participants.

The event will bring to a close an extended period during which O'Malley has repeatedly and playfully said that he is "laying the groundwork" for a campaign.

Headhunter Hired to Replace Hornsby

Schools to Pay Iowa Firm at Least $35,000

The Prince George's County Board of Education has chosen an Iowa headhunting firm to seek candidates to replace departed schools chief Andre J. Hornsby, officials said.

Ray and Associates Inc. of Cedar Rapids will receive at least $35,000 through its agreement.

The announcement came nearly four months after Hornsby submitted his resignation amid an FBI investigation into his handling of federal funds and school contracts and a related ethics controversy. Hornsby has denied wrongdoing.

State to Probe Toddler's Cremation

Glen Burnie Child Was to Be Buried

A Maryland state agency charged with overseeing funeral homes began an investigation into the mistaken cremation of a 20-month-old girl at a Laurel funeral home that was supposed to prepare her body for burial, authorities said.

Akilah Austin of Glen Burnie died of complications of pneumonia Sept. 10, two months after she underwent a heart transplant in Baltimore. A wake was scheduled for Sept. 16, but when the girl's parents arrived at Fleck Funeral Home in Laurel, they were told that the child had been mistakenly cremated.

Maryland SoccerPlex Soccer clubs have agreed to resume matches at the site after protesting a $300-a-game fee.