Democrats Urge Stem Cell Funding

Flanked by two of the state's leading stem cell researchers, Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan yesterday voiced support for state funding of the science.

Duncan, a Democratic candidate for governor, was critical of an option under consideration by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) to provide state funding for a research facility, saying that alone would be inadequate.

"A building won't find a cure for Parkinson's, research scientists will," Duncan said, referring to one of the debilitating conditions for which scientists say stem cell research holds promise. He made his remarks during a lecture at Johns Hopkins University attended by John Gearhart and Curt Civin, two of the school's leading researchers.

Ehrlich spokesman Henry Fawell said the governor would announce his plans related to stem cell research shortly. Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, Duncan's Democratic rival, said he and Duncan "share the same commitment to moving our state forward on this issue."

Montgomery Fire Union Backs Duncan

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan's gubernatorial bid yesterday won the backing of his county's firefighters union.

"Doug Duncan has supported Montgomery County's professional fire fighters since day one and has helped create the finest fire/rescue department in the state of Maryland," said John J. Sparks, president of Montgomery County Career Fire Fighters IAFF Local 1664.

The endorsement was widely expected. The group was the first local union to endorse Duncan for county executive in 1994.


Nationals Bidder Pledges Local Veto

Jeff Smulyan, the Indianapolis-based media mogul who is bidding to buy the Washington Nationals, said yesterday that if he was awarded the team he would give veto power to his D.C. partners to ensure that he would never relocate the franchise.

As Major League Baseball nears a decision on selling the Nationals to one of eight groups, Smulyan is attempting to overcome concerns from D.C. leaders that he does not have strong local ties. He has signed more than a dozen local partners in recent months and said yesterday that he would form a hiring committee to help ensure that his staff reflects the diversity of the District.

"We want to be in Washington," Smulyan said in a news release. "By putting veto power in the hands of the local investors we have removed any doubt."

City Asked to Investigate Abuse Reports

D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large) has asked the D.C. Department of Corrections to investigate, and issue a report on, allegations that some inmates at the D.C. jail were beaten and tortured recently by corrections officers.

Mendelson, who chairs the council's judiciary committee, sent a letter Wednesday to S. Elwood York Jr., the agency's interim director, asking his office to do its own probe of possible inmate abuse last month at the jail. The guards are alleged, in several incidents, to have sprayed inmates with Mace, stripped them, blasted them with water hoses and dragged them from their cells to be beaten out of the view of security cameras.

York said at a council oversight hearing this week that the department's Internal Affairs Division had looked into the allegations and turned over the matter to the U.S. attorney's office. But Mendelson said in his letter that any federal probe would focus only on whether there was probable cause for issuing criminal indictments.


Metro Sets Weekend Schedule Changes

Metro riders should expect 10-minute delays on all five subway lines this weekend because of track work, transit officials said.

On the Orange Line, starting tonight at 10 and ending Sunday at midnight, all trains will share one track between the West Falls Church-VT/UVA and East Falls Church stations.

On the Red Line, starting tonight and ending tomorrow at 10 a.m., all trains will share one track between the Judiciary Square and Rhode Island Avenue-Brentwood stations. On Sunday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., all Red Line trains will share one track between the Fort Totten and Rhode Island Avenue-Brentwood stations.

Metro will open Sunday at 5 a.m. to accommodate crowds expected for the Marine Corps Marathon. Because of the race route, Metrobuses that normally use the Pentagon Transit Center will be rerouted to the Pentagon City station between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

On the Green Line, on Saturday and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., all trains will share one track between the Branch Avenue and Naylor Road stations. In addition, on Saturday and Sunday from 7 p.m. until closing, all trains will share one track between the Greenbelt and Fort Totten stations.

On the Blue and Yellow Lines, tonight from 10 p.m. until 10 a.m. tomorrow, all Blue Line trains will share one track between the Van Dorn Street and Braddock Road stations, and all Yellow Line trains will share one track between the Huntington and Braddock Road stations.

For more information, call Metro at 202-637-7000 or TTY 202-638-3780.

New Plan Announced for Calvert Cliffs

Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant is one of several potential sites for a new nuclear reactor, a nuclear consortium announced yesterday. UniStar Nuclear -- a partnership of Baltimore-based Constellation Energy and French-owned Areva Inc. -- gave notice of its intent to file with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a license to build and operate a new power plant.

It is the second time this year the Southern Maryland facility has made it onto the list for what could be the first nuclear energy reactor built in the United States in 30 years. This fall, Constellation pulled the plant off a short list of sites being considered by NuStart Energy Development LLC so it could form a consortium with Areva.

State and local officials have been enthusiastic supporters of a new reactor at Calvert Cliffs. This summer, they proposed $200 million in financial incentives to persuade NuStart to choose the site. The project, which had an estimated cost of $1.5 billion to $2 billion, would have generated 250 to 400 permanent jobs and 2,000 to 3,000 more jobs during construction, officials said.

"We can solve that corridor's problems without costing the state or county any money. We know we have the best deal."

-- Developer Franklin Haney, who said yesterday that he plans to offer Virginia $5.7 billion to take over the Dulles Toll Road and build four new express toll lanes on it. -- B1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Karlyn Barker, Lyndsey Layton, Allan Lengel, David Nakmura, John Wagner and William Wan.