THE REGION

Tickets to Holiday Tree Lighting

The National Park Service will distribute free tickets next month to its Dec. 1 Christmas Pageant of Peace Tree Lighting Ceremony on the Ellipse.

The 2,800 tickets will be given out beginning at 8 a.m. Nov. 5 on a first-come, first-served basis at the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion, at the southwest corner of 15th and E streets NW. The tickets will be distributed until they are gone, with a limit of four tickets per person.

The tree-lighting ceremony will be at 5 p.m. Dec. 1. Guests must be in their seats by 4:30 p.m. Tickets are required for all attendees, including children.

Research on Metro Lot Crimes

Metro Transit Police are turning to outside consultants to find ways to reduce car thefts and break-ins at station parking facilities.

Over the next two years, Urban Institute researchers will analyze property crimes at 50 station parking garages and surface lots to determine how to improve security.

From January through September, 114 vehicle thefts and 58 attempted thefts were reported at Metro parking facilities. During the same period last year, 145 auto thefts and 72 attempts were reported.

The researchers will look at staffing levels, lighting and design.

MARYLAND

'Mini-Med School' in Spanish

A "mini-med school," where all instruction will be in Spanish, will begin Nov. 2 for Latino residents of Montgomery County interested in improving their health. Five classes are offered for free by the University of Maryland Medical School and led by doctors and researchers from the school and community. The classes will cover such issues and diseases as obesity, diabetes, drug and alcohol abuse and hepatitis.

The program will be at the Universities of Shady Grove in Rockville. For more information or to register, call the Latino Health Initiative of Montgomery County at 240-777-3085.

Girl Dies in Annapolis Collision

A 7-year-old girl was killed yesterday in Annapolis in a collision between a car and a pickup, Annapolis police said. The driver of the car in which the girl was riding and another passenger were flown to a hospital.

The crash occurred shortly before 5 p.m. at Forest Drive and Bywater Road, police said. They said weather and road conditions might have been factors.

The girl was in the back seat of a Lincoln Continental, police said. They said the other injured passenger was her grandmother, who was in the front seat. The driver of the pickup had minor injuries, police said. No other details were available.

VIRGINIA

Wilder Pushes for Aid to Poor

Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder is pressing Gov. Mark R. Warner to support a tax break and state heating-bill assistance for low-income Virginians. Wilder sent Warner's office a letter Friday restating a request -- which the mayor first made to gubernatorial candidates in August -- to support "a refundable tax credit to low- and moderate-income families to offset the increase in their taxes passed last year."

In a written reply Friday to Wilder, Warner (D) said the heating assistance program "is receiving my administration's full attention." The reply did not address the tax credit issue.

Wilder's appeal comes during the final weeks of the gubernatorial campaign, which pits Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), who is endorsed by Warner, against Jerry W. Kilgore (R). The backing of Wilder, the nation's first and only elected black governor, can be an important factor in mobilizing black voters, particularly in Richmond, where he was elected last fall with 80 percent of the vote.

THE DISTRICT

Fugitive Arrested in Sex Assault

D.C. police arrested a former member of a Catholic religious order who faces extradition to Boston on child molestation charges.

Edward A. Holmes, 64, was arrested Friday on a fugitive warrant issued in Suffolk County, Mass. Holmes is a former brother in the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

He is accused of sexually assaulting two boys during the late 1970s when he supervised part of a Jamaica Plain, Mass., youth facility. Holmes was indicted last month on multiple charges of child rape and assault. Officers arrested Holmes at his apartment in the 900 block of Quincy Street NE.

"You could take the whole nuclear arsenal in its heyday: Russia, China, U.S. . . . That's a firecracker compared to what this explosion would be."

-- David S. Powars, a U.S. Geological Survey geologist, studying a crater site north of Norfolk believed

to have been caused when an object

struck Earth 35 million years ago. -- C1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Karlyn Barker, Susan Levine, Lila de Tantillo and Martin Weil and the Associated Press.