Mayor's Final Citizen Summit Is Today

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) will host his fourth and final citizen summit today at the Washington Convention Center, where he will seek comments from city residents on how to improve youth programs, create job opportunities, rebuild the public library system and create more affordable housing.

The event is free and open to the public. It will include discussions among residents, direct dialogue with the mayor and immediate computer tabulation of participants' views on spending priorities and legislative initiatives, according to the mayor's office.

The summit will run from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. in Hall D. For more information, go to or call 202-727-2823 or 888-551-9200.

3 Nominated for Superior Court Bench

The D.C. Judicial Nomination Commission has selected two D.C. Superior Court magistrate judges and a senior prosecutor in the U.S. attorney's office for consideration for an opening for an associate judge on the Superior Court bench.

The candidates are Magistrate Judge Diane M. Brenneman, 59; Magistrate Judge S. Pamela Gray, 50; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Teresa Ann Howie, 47.

The president selects his nominees from among candidates recommended by the commission. The nominee then faces confirmation by the Senate.

Brenneman has been a general magistrate judge since 2004. Before that, she practiced law for 23 years, focusing on family law.

Gray has been a family court magistrate judge since 2002 and was previously deputy director of the D.C. Public Defender Service.

Howie is the chief of the major crimes section at the U.S. attorney's office in the District. Before being named to her current post in 2004, she was chief of homicide and major crimes for the 4th Police District.

The vacancy was created by the October retirement of Judge Susan R. Winfield.

GAO Urges Charter School Changes

The D.C. Board of Education's charter school office needs to focus less attention on charter schools that are thriving and more on those that are new or in jeopardy of closing, according to a Government Accountability Office study released this week.

The GAO report says that because the board's office has subjected all the charter schools it oversees to the same level of scrutiny, it has been "limited in its ability to address the problems that its oversight revealed."

The report also recommends that the board regularly review its office's monitoring reports on the independently operated public schools, saying that doing so would alert board members sooner to problems that require intervention. The report suggested that lack of early intervention was one reason seven charter schools were closed.


Charter School Funding Decision Reversed

A Prince George's Circuit Court judge has dealt a setback to Maryland charter school advocates, reversing a state decision on funding for the schools.

The Nov. 10 ruling by Judge Michele D. Hotten was a victory for the county school system in its battle over funding for the proposed Lincoln Public Charter School. Based in the Marlow Heights neighborhood near Southeast Washington, Lincoln would be the county's first charter school.

Hotten wrote that the Maryland State Board of Education erred in May opinions that were meant to issue statewide guidance for charter school funding. The state board, Hotten ruled, "acted in an arbitrary and capricious fashion" in issuing guidelines that grant charter schools more money per pupil than many local school officials believe is warranted.

Anthrax Victim's Widow Sues Hospital

The widow of a Clinton postal worker who died after being exposed to anthrax bacteria in 2001 is suing the hospital that treated him, claiming that it ignored signs that he suffered from the effects of the deadly spores until it was too late.

Southern Maryland Hospital Center denies the charges in court papers and has filed a complaint against the federal government, saying it failed to protect workers at the Washington mail center that processed several letters filled with the spores.

The lawsuit, which seeks an undisclosed amount, was originally filed in Prince George's County Circuit Court last year. A hearing is scheduled for Monday in U.S. District Court on the hospital's complaint. The federal government says it is not liable in the case.

Joseph P. Curseen died Oct. 22, 2001. He was one of two workers from the former Brentwood postal facility who died after they inhaled anthrax spores. The lawsuit claims that doctors failed to detect the spores during his first visit even though several other medical cases from Brentwood and elsewhere had been linked to the mail. In court filings, the hospital says that Curseen never identified himself as a postal worker from Brentwood. It claims that he responded well to treatment for dehydration and said he felt "much better" before his release Oct. 21.

2 on Howard Council Seek Higher Post

Two Howard County Council members said this week that they will run for county executive next year.

Council members Ken Ulman (D-West Columbia) and Christopher J. Merdon (R-Northeast County) officially announced that they hope to succeed County Executive James N. Robey (D), who cannot seek reelection because of term limits.

A third council member, Chairman Guy Guzzone (D-Southeast County), originally said he would pursue his party's nomination but decided this fall that he will run for the Maryland House of Delegates because it would be less time-consuming. Harry M. Dunbar, a former independent, is also seeking the Democratic nomination for county executive.


Airplane Skids Off Runway in Leesburg

An airplane slid partially off the runway while landing at Leesburg Executive Airport yesterday. The pilot, the only person on board, was not injured. The runway was closed for about an hour until the plane was able to leave it. A Leesburg spokeswoman said she believed that a mechanical error was to blame.

"She watched the 'Lord of the Rings' DVD. As long as the bad guys were getting it, she loved it. It was 'Black Beauty' that made her cry and cry and cry."

-- Tony Vassalo of Alexandria, who had no qualms about taking his 4-year-old daughter, Lily, to the new Harry Potter movie despite its PG-13 rating. -- B1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Lori Montgomery, Henri E. Cauvin, V. Dion Haynes, Nick Anderson, Amit R. Paley and Michael Alison Chandler and the Associated Press.