THE REGION

Meeting on Metro's Service for Disabled

Metro officials will discuss MetroAccess, the curb-to-curb service for the disabled, at a public meeting tonight in Fairfax County.

The 7 p.m. meeting will be at the Herity Building conference room at 12055 Government Center Pkwy. For more information, contact Rodney Neely at 703-319-0881 or blindlion@verizon.net.

VIRGINIA

Beltway Toll Lane Proposal Approved

A proposal to add toll lanes to the Capital Beltway in Virginia was approved yesterday by a regional planning body.

The vote by the Transportation Planning Board of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments means the project satisfies all federal planning requirements, including financial and air-quality concerns. The project still must meet federal environmental standards.

The proposal, brought by a pair of private firms, promises four toll lanes between Springfield and Georgetown Pike. The companies plan to open the lanes in 2010.

Mirant Power Plant Evaluation Continues

The Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality said yesterday that it is continuing its evaluation of whether limited operation at the Mirant Corp.'s Potomac River power generating plant in Alexandria violates air-quality standards.

The plant recently reopened one generating unit after shutting entirely in the summer amid environmental concerns. The state has found "no indication" that Mirant's limited operation violates air-quality standards.

Allegations of Sex at Manassas School

The Manassas School Board yesterday sent a letter to parents saying its members were "shocked and offended" by allegations that "consensual sexual activity" occurred last month among students at Osbourn High School. The letter said several students gathered "freely and voluntarily in the closed and darkened auditorium" of the high school Sept. 28 at 5:30 p.m. and engaged in sexual activity. The students have been punished, the letter said without elaboration.

Manassas police are investigating the incident as an alleged sexual assault, said Sgt. Tim Neumann, a police spokesman. No charges have been filed, he said.

MARYLAND

Steele to Announce U.S. Senate Candidacy

Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele (R) is set to formally announce his candidacy for the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.

Aides to Steele, who has been operating an exploratory committee since the summer, distributed an advisory touting "a major announcement regarding his future public service" to be held at Prince George's County Community College.

Prince George's Teacher Beaten at School

A Prince George's County high school teacher is recovering after being beaten with a baseball bat yesterday morning.

Officials at Gwynn Park High School in Brandywine said a student burst into a science teacher's classroom and attacked him. Officials would not confirm a motive, but they said the student has been expelled.

Ehrlich Weighs Stem-Cell Facility Funding

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said yesterday that he is considering including in his upcoming capital budget the funding for a university-based facility that conducts stem cell research.

In a brief interview, Ehrlich (R) provided few additional details and would not say whether the facility would be permitted to use embryonic stem cells for its research.

Moyer Volunteer Removed Election Signs

After initial denials, a volunteer for Annapolis Mayor Ellen O. Moyer's reelection campaign acknowledged yesterday that he removed two campaign signs belonging to independent mayoral candidate Gilbert Renaut.

Norman Alton, a family friend of the Democratic mayor, said he acted out of frustration after having to replace many of the mayor's stolen reelection signs. "Frankly, I was embarrassed," he said of his initial denials. "And I didn't want this to reflect negatively on the mayor and her campaign. She had nothing to do with this."

Alton apologized to Renaut and to former mayor Richard Hillman, who informed the election board and police after seeing Alton take one of the two signs Saturday night. "I extend my apologies to Mr. Renaut and his campaign workers and assure them this will not happen again," Moyer said.

Today's Anne Arundel Extra edition gives details of the incident but went to press Tuesday, when Alton was still denying the allegations.

THE DISTRICT

Bomb Threat Evacuation Snarls Traffic

A bomb threat forced the evacuation of a downtown office building and created traffic backups during yesterday evening's rush hour, authorities said.

No device was found, and no one was hurt in the incident, in which authorities received a threat involving an office building in the 700 block of 12th Street NW. Police diverted traffic and authorities closed one Metro Center station entrance, although the train station itself remained open. The evacuation began about 4:45 p.m. and ended by 6 p.m., authorities said.

Construction Worker Dies in NW Fall

A construction worker died yesterday after falling 30 feet from scaffolding at a Northwest Washington rowhouse, authorities said.

The accident occurred about noon at 1301 N Street NW. The victim, whose identity was not released pending notification of relatives, was working at the roof level of the three-story house when he fell, authorities said.

"The charges in this indictment allege a serious abuse of public office for private financial gain. Citizens and businesspeople deserve to know that government officials in Maryland will be held accountable if they sell their offices."

-- statement by U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein, on the indictment of former Maryland state senator Thomas L. Bromwell on federal racketeering and fraud charges. -- A1

Compiled from reports by Nia-Malika Henderson, Lyndsey Layton, Ray Rivera, John Wagner, Ian Shapira and Steven Ginsberg and the Associated Press.