THE REGION

Air Force Officer to Head Boys & Girls Club

A retired Air Force colonel, who most recently led the team of military and civilian defense lawyers assigned to hundreds of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will head the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, club officials announced yesterday.

Before the Guantanamo Bay assignment, Col. Will A. Gunn led the office responsible for organizing and training more than 2,500 lawyers for the Air Force's judge advocate general.

During his time as an active-duty officer, in Washington and in Montgomery, Ala., Gunn volunteered in youth programs through his church, coached youth basketball teams and tutored schoolchildren.

Gunn replaces Pat Shannon, who retired as chief executive of the organization in May.

MARYLAND

$1 Million Set Aside for Evacuee Housing

Prince George's County, which is providing assistance to more than 1,000 victims of Hurricane Katrina, will pay $1 million to house evacuees in apartments that are being made available through a partnership with apartment companies.

County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) said 135 apartment units will be provided free or at a reduced rate for six months to a year. County officials said that the Ramada hotel also is providing 20 free rooms to Katrina victims and that the Holiday Inn is providing five.

"We know that Hurricane Katrina has disrupted the lives of many people and destroyed many homes," Johnson said in a statement. "We are answering our call to service with love and compassion, and we are treating our new residents with dignity and respect."

Bill Would End Ban on Pit Bulls

Pit bulls would no longer be illegal in Prince George's County under legislation that was introduced this week.

County Council member Thomas R. Hendershot (D-New Carrollton) introduced the bill to repeal a nine-year-old law that requires pit bulls and mixed pit bull terriers to be impounded and euthanized.

Hendershot said the law, which cost $600,000 to impose over the past two years, is too expensive. He also said the breed-specific provision is ineffective and unfair, with the county rounding up some dogs that show no aggressive behavior. Henderhot's bill replaces the ban with legislation that requires all potentially dangerous dogs, regardless of breed, to be registered with the county.

A public hearing will be held on the measure Oct. 25.

Ehrlich's Medicaid Limits Rejected

A decision by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) to remove some legal immigrants from the state's Medicaid rolls to save money was rejected yesterday by a legislative review committee.

The 8 to 3 vote to reject Ehrlich's change to Medicaid eligibility does not mean the almost 3,000 children will get their benefits back, at least in the short term. But the vote erects a roadblock against a permanent change to Medicaid after this fiscal year. "It's essential that we continue to provide these services," said Del. Richard S. Madaleno Jr., a Democrat from Montgomery County.

If the legislative review committee had voted to accept the change, the immigrants could have lost Medicaid benefits indefinitely. The lawmakers also voted to write a letter to Ehrlich asking for the funding -- about $5.5 million -- to be restored.

On July 1, the Ehrlich administration removed almost 3,000 children from health care coverage under the Medicaid program. About 750 pregnant women who were enrolled in the program June 30 will continue to get prenatal care until their babies are born, but Medicaid will not enroll other pregnant women.

VIRGINIA

New Lead in Case of Missing VCU Student

A personalized license plate stolen in Richmond this month may be connected to the case of missing college student Taylor Marie Behl, police said yesterday, and anyone with information is asked to call authorities.

The Virginia plate, with the letters "GRN ERTH," was taken from a vehicle about the time that Behl, 17, a freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University, was last seen. She hasn't been heard from since about 10 p.m. Sept. 5, when she left her dormitory after finding her roommate with a boyfriend.

Police released few details about the theft but said the owner of the license plate is not connected to Behl's disappearance. Instead, said Richmond police spokeswoman Cynthia Price, authorities would like to know whether anyone saw the tag between Sept. 5 and Sept. 18. If so, she asked that people call 804-514-TIPS (8477) with a description of the vehicle and of the person driving, and where and when it was spotted.

"We cannot say anything more about when the tag was stolen or from what kind of car, but preliminary investigation indicates that the plate might be connected to the investigation," she said. "At this time, we need additional information to make a final determination."

Donation Drive for La. Schools

Falls Church is donating two surplus classroom trailers to a Louisiana school district affected by Hurricane Katrina, and the city's PTAs have launched a drive to fill both trailers with personal care items for hurricane victims.

Next week, the trailers are due to be shipped to West Baton Rouge Parish public schools, which need extra classrooms for students displaced by Katrina. In the meantime, PTA leaders have launched a drive to collect items that Louisiana school officials have told them are needed more than school supplies. Items include shampoo, deodorant, shaving cream and razors, toothpaste, dental floss and myriad other personal care items.

Donated items can be dropped off at any city public school or at the central office, at 803 W. Broad St., or at Giant Food at the intersection of Haycock Road and Leesburg Pike.

THE DISTRICT

City to Unveil 'Great Streets' Blueprint

The D.C. Department of Transportation will unveil plans tonight to transform an unattractive intersection in Northeast Washington into a public plaza and neighborhood gateway.

Known as the "Starburst" intersection, the site includes the convergence of Bladensburg Road, H Street, Benning Road and Maryland Avenue, between the Trinidad and Rosedale neighborhoods.

The proposal for the half-acre parcel features environmentally advanced paving materials, a diverse tree canopy, outdoor art, public gathering places and a water wall, transportation officials said. It is part of the city's $100 million Great Streets initiative.

The plans will be displayed at Delta Towers, 1400 Florida Ave. NE at an open house from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 pm.

"I'm reviewed every year for a raise. I didn't have to ask them."

-- American University President Benjamin Ladner, after a confidential memo from him that asks trustees for more compensation was made public -- B1

Compiled from reports by Debbi Wilgoren, Ovetta Wiggins and Jamie Stockwell and the Associated Press.