Ehrlich Limits Power Plant Emissions

Environmentalists Describe Plan as Modest

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) announced tighter rules aimed at reducing the amount of pollution spewing from the state's six largest coal-fired power plants. The requirements, which take effect next summer, could help Maryland meet most federal air quality standards well ahead of a 2010 deadline.

Several environmental leaders and Democratic lawmakers described the governor's initiative as a welcome, if modest, step.

Wal-Mart Readies Lobbying Campaign

Company Plans to Fight Health Benefits Bill

Wal-Mart has deployed at least a dozen lobbyists to Annapolis and is making strong overtures to black lawmakers in preparation for a showdown with organized labor in the General Assembly. The retail giant hopes to derail legislation that would effectively force the company to boost spending on employee health benefits.

Wal-Mart is the only known business that would be affected by the bill, which would require a company with more than 10,000 workers to spend at least 8 percent of its payroll on health benefits or contribute to the state's health insurance program for the poor.

The legislation is backed by union officials and health care advocates, who are preparing their own lobbying machine.

Landover Youth Charged in Death

Army Recruit Died After Beating at Largo Mall

A Landover teenager was arrested and charged in the fatal beating of an Army recruit at a Largo mall. Matthew Pickett, 21, a teacher's aide, was attacked late Nov. 5 outside the Boulevard at the Capital Centre. He died at a hospital two days later. Prince George's County police charged a 15-year-old as a juvenile with manslaughter.

Police told the victim's family that they think the teenager and Pickett might have bumped into each other, with the teenager then throwing a punch. Police theorized that the fatal injury occurred when Pickett hit the ground, his uncle said.

Montgomery Moves Ahead on Parkway

Road Will Link to I-270 in North Bethesda

Montgomery County officials broke ground on a connector road in North Bethesda, even though neighbors have threatened to sue and the state has pushed back plans for financing the full project. Montrose Parkway West, a cornerstone of Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan's campaign pledge to invest $1 billion in transportation projects, would run for 1.8 miles, linking Interstate 270 with a narrow street known as "old" Old Georgetown Road. Eventually a widened Montrose Parkway could stretch east as far as Veirs Mill Road.

Chesapeake Bay Rates Only a D

Annual Assessment Faults Water Quality

The Chesapeake Bay's health remains dangerously out of balance, despite 30 years spent trying to clean it up, according to the annual State of the Bay report from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. It ranked the bay's water quality, habitat and fish at 27 on a scale of 100 -- a letter grade of D.

The bay's overall ranking has been stuck at the bottom of the scale for the past three years.

Across the Region

Ballpark Design; Antiwar Convictions

* D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) has endorsed a design for the new baseball stadium that features glass, stone and steel rather than the red brick of many new ballparks. The stadium's glass exterior wall would allow fans inside to see the surrounding neighborhood and offer glimpses of the game to those on the outside.

* Cindy Sheehan and 28 other antiwar activists were convicted of staging an illegal protest outside the White House after they failed in their attempt to deliver petitions to President Bush. Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, and about 370 other protesters were arrested Sept. 26 and charged with demonstrating without a permit.

Builder Finals Montgomery County students get a beam in place for the house they're building on Connecticut Avenue.