Alexandria Sues to Shut Mirant Plant

Alexandria officials said yesterday that they have filed a lawsuit in Alexandria Circuit Court seeking to shut down the troubled Mirant Corp. coal-burning power plant on the Potomac River by declaring it a "public and private nuisance."

Officials are seeking an injunction that will force the plant's Atlanta-based owners to close the plant and "remediate the effects of the intrusion of noxious, harmful and toxic substances that it has caused," according to the suit.

A recent environmental study revealed that Mirant emits excessive levels of such substances as dust, nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen chloride and mercury, the city argued.

The plant was shut down in August after a study showed that it could exceed national air-quality standards under certain circumstances, but officials later restarted energy production there on a limited basis. Mirant officials have 21 days to file a response to the suit, officials said.

Woman Dies After Falling Under Bus

A woman waiting for a bus near the Seven Corners shopping center was killed yesterday afternoon when she apparently slipped and fell beneath a Metro bus, Fairfax County police said.

Police said Nakiko B. Pennell, 64, of the 3700 block of South George Mason Drive in the Baileys Crossroads area was standing at a bus stop on Leesburg Pike (Route 7) near Patrick Henry Drive. About 3:50 p.m., Pennell fell under the bus, Fairfax police spokeswoman Mary Mulrenan said, but details of how or why Pennell fell were not immediately available.

Investigators did not believe speed or alcohol were involved.

Pennell was the second pedestrian killed in Seven Corners in three days. On Sunday night, a man crossing Arlington Boulevard (Route 50) at Patrick Henry Drive was fatally injured by a car.

Police yesterday identified the man as Edis Bonilla Hernandez, 48, of no fixed address.

Police said Hernandez was trying to walk across Arlington Boulevard about 8 p.m. when he was struck in the eastbound lanes by a 1993 BMW 525i driven by a 27-year-old Gainesville man, police said.

The driver of the BMW was not hurt, and his name was not released. Authorities do not believe alcohol was a factor in the crash but had not ruled out speed and were investigating yesterday.

Man Dies in Loudoun Motorcycle Accident

A Sterling man was killed in Loudoun County yesterday when his motorcycle slid into a truck on Route 7, the county sheriff's office said.

Richard C. Wilson, 39, was headed west near Countryside Boulevard when he apparently changed lanes to avoid one truck and slid into the rear tires of another, the sheriff's office said.


Mental Health Agency Proposal Tabled

The D.C. Council yesterday tabled a measure aimed at funneling $3 million to an Anacostia mental health organization that says it is on the verge of shutdown. The council left open the possibility of assistance, with conditions.

The grant proposed by council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) would help the nonprofit Center for Mental Health cover its rent and payroll. Before the proposal is fully considered Nov. 1, the council decided, the center must document its needs and devise a restructuring plan to avert future financial crises. The city provided $500,000 in emergency funds this summer.

Several dozen people came to the council chamber in support of the center, wearing yellow signs making clear their sentiment.


State Insurance Commissioner Resigns

Maryland Insurance Commissioner Alfred W. Redmer Jr. has resigned to take a position with a Delaware-based health insurance company, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) announced yesterday.

Redmer, a former state delegate, had a stormy tenure that included criticism of the state's handling of Hurricane Isabel in 2003 and a battle with the Democrat-led General Assembly over medical malpractice insurance legislation.

In a statement, Ehrlich praised Redmer for helping create a more competitive insurance market in Maryland and establishing a consumer-oriented office.

Redmer, whose resignation takes effect Friday, has accepted the job of chief executive of Coventry Health Care of Delaware in Wilmington. Deputy Commissioner James V. McMahan III will serve as acting commissioner pending the selection of a permanent chief, Ehrlich said.

Hold on Clarksburg Permits Sought

Montgomery County's housing department asked the county yesterday to temporarily withhold building permits for Clarksburg Town Center after deciding that developer Newland Communities failed to notify the agency of changes in plans for moderately priced homes.

The determination -- outlined in a letter from Elizabeth Davison, head of the county's housing and community affairs department -- reverses the agency's position last week that the San Diego-based firm had fully complied with its agreement to build the homes, about 11 percent of the planned 1,300-unit development in northern Montgomery.

Yesterday, Davison wrote that even though Newland had notified the planning department of its changes, it had not sought permission from the housing agency. That, she said, left her "no choice" but to find that the company had violated its agreement. She said she was asking for building permits for market-rate units to be withheld until the matter is resolved.

Cabdriver Robbed, Locked in Car Trunk

A cabdriver was robbed and locked in the trunk of his cab in Gaithersburg early yesterday, Montgomery County police said.

Police found him after they were called to West Deer Park and Summit Hill Roads and spotted a driverless cab in motion.

When the cab hit a curb and halted, officers heard knocking and found the 43-year-old driver, whose name was not given. Police said the robbers had driven some distance with the driver in the trunk. They apparently got out of the car without setting the emergency brake.

"We need to stop jerking everyone around.

We either move forward . . . or say, 'Hey, there are problems.' "

-- D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp (D),

urging her council colleagues to make a firm decision

about financing and building a baseball stadium for the Nationals. -- B1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Susan Levine, Eric M. Weiss, John Wagner, Miranda S. Spivack, Annie Gowen, Tom Jackman, Maria Glod, Ernesto Londono, Clarence Williams, Martin Weil and Rosalind S. Helderman.