THE REGION

CFC Raises $247,000 for Katrina Victims

Federal employees donated $247,000 to charities assisting victims of Hurricane Katrina through a special workplace solicitation by the Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area, the campaign said yesterday.

Employees in about 40 federal agencies participated, said Tony DeCristofaro, executive director of the Washington area campaign.

This is only the second time that the campaign has raised funds outside its annual six-week period in the fall. Earlier this year, it held a drive for victims of the tsunami disaster in which one agency, the Department of Justice, participated. It raised $15,000.

The Combined Federal Campaign will begin its regular fundraising drive tomorrow. Last year, the local campaign raised $56 million.

FDA Probes Hospital IV Contamination

The Food and Drug Administration is investigating whether a Maryland hospital patient undergoing a recent cardiac operation fell critically ill because of a contaminated intravenous surgical solution, which has been linked to at least one death in Virginia.

An FDA spokeswoman would not identify the Maryland facility that reported its concerns in mid-September and said the agency does not know whether the solution used there was made at the Lanham plant implicated in several cases in Virginia.

Central Admixture Pharmacy Services Inc. closed the plant after testing identified the bacterial contamination. Federal and state officials were alerted after three cardiac patients at Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg became very sick shortly after their surgeries in late August and early September. One died, and the hospital suspects two earlier deaths may have occurred for the same reason.

THE DISTRICT

Fire Damages Sewage Plant in SW

A fire damaged machinery at the Blue Plains sewage treatment plant in Southwest Washington yesterday morning, but officials said it will not affect the facility's operations.

The fire started about 9:30 a.m. in a treatment building. Worried that chemicals might have also ignited, fire officials briefly urged people in the area to stay inside. Firefighters had the blaze under control in about 20 minutes. No one was injured, and fire officials determined that no chemicals had caught fire. Officials said the fire appeared to have been started by a spark from welding equipment.

D.C. Government Job Fair Set for Today

The D.C. Office of Personnel will host a job fair from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today at the Hilton Washington, 1919 Connecticut Ave. NW.

Fifty District agencies, including the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, the police department and the Department of Parks and Recreation, will have booths at the fair. Office of Personnel spokeswoman Randi Blank said agencies will be looking to gather the names of applicants to fill more than 60 openings.

Attendees are encouraged to dress professionally and bring a resume. For more information, visit www.dcop.dc.gov.

MARYLAND

Duncan Warned Not to Bash Baltimore

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., one of Maryland's most powerful Democrats, yesterday cautioned Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) against bashing Baltimore during his campaign for governor.

"He's got to figure out a way he can win the hearts and minds of Marylanders without attacking the city," said Miller (Calvert), who said he has heard from several state lawmakers who said they thought Duncan went too far last week in criticizing his gubernatorial rival, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley (D).

In the days leading up to O'Malley's announcement, Duncan released a number of fliers referring to Baltimore as "plagued by homicides" and other ills.

Duncan spokesman Jody Couser said yesterday that Duncan "believes in Baltimore, its history and its people, and he knows it can be great." But she added, "Everyone's record, no matter where they are from, will be subject to scrutiny."

Man in Wheelchair Struck in Crosswalk

An 86-year-old Rockville man in a motorized wheelchair was struck by a cement truck yesterday morning as he crossed Rockville Pike at Bou Avenue, Montgomery County police said.

Robert Leroy Pace of the 6100 block of Montrose Road was dragged about 230 feet northbound on Rockville Pike. He was taken to Suburban Hospital for treatment of injuries that were not life-threatening, police said.

Police said he was crossing the street along the marked crosswalk while pedestrians had the right of way. The driver was traveling west on Bou and struck Pace as he turned right onto Rockville Pike, police said.

The driver, Robert Day Hitchcock, 58, of the 25600 block of Ridge Road in Damascus, received a ticket for failure to yield for a pedestrian in a crosswalk leading to a traffic accident.

VIRGINIA

Pr. William Denies Funds to 9/11 Group

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors pulled $248,000 away from a citizens group that was raising money to erect a memorial to honor the 22 county residents who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the Pentagon.

At yesterday's board meeting, the supervisors voted 4 to 3, with one member absent, to remove the funding. The board's previous vote two weeks ago, to provide the money, was 5 to 2, with a different supervisor absent.

The group began its fundraising in February 2002 and had difficulty keeping up with increasing construction costs, said board Chairman Sean T. Connaughton (R), who supported funds for the group.

Supervisor Corey A. Stewart (R-Occoquan), who was absent two weeks ago and voted to pull the money yesterday, said he and the majority of his colleagues agreed that a citizen-driven effort should not rely on taxpayer dollars.

"Even though it may take a little longer to raise the money . . . it's going to mean more than the cold hand of government just paying for it," he said.

Connaughton said he was extremely disappointed. "These board members have decided not to honor these 22 people who lost their lives that day," he said. "After the Sept. 20 vote, I got a lot of calls thanking me. Now what do I tell them?"

"I'm not entering a whorehouse. I come to the mall with my daughter. It's disgusting."

-- Steina Rubin of Bethesda, on a window display featuring lingerie-clad mannequins at Victoria's Secret in Tysons Corner Center. -- B1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Susan Levine, Ernesto Londono, Lori Montgomery, Jacqueline L. Salmon, Nikita Stewart, John Wagner and Del Quentin Wilber and the Associated Press.