Pepco Rates High for Reliability

Utility Restores Power More Quickly Than Most

Pepco's overall reliability compares favorably with that of other major utilities in the mid-Atlantic region, according to a review of outage data. Swift-moving thunderstorms that knocked out power to 120,000 District and Maryland residents in July had renewed questions from Pepco customers and critics about the utility's ability to deliver reliable service.

Even relatively minor storms seemed to knock Pepco for a loop, some consumers complained, let alone the severe winds and heavy rain of a hurricane. But the review showed that the company returns power to customers more quickly than all but one of 11 utilities surveyed by The Washington Post.

Clarksburg Dispute Goes to Mediation

Move Follows County Recommendation on Fines

Montgomery County planning officials recommended $2.11 million in fines for the developer and builders of Clarksburg Town Center, saying they failed to build what was promised in official plans for the residential community near Germantown. But the staff of the county's Department of Park and Planning also urged the Planning Board to delay the fines, and perhaps drop them altogether, if the companies resolve disputes over unbuilt shops and missing open space, parking and other amenities for the community, originally envisioned to have about 1,300 homes.

The day after the recommendation, the parties agreed to take their quarrel out of public view and into closed-door mediation.

Teenager Shot Over Vest

Attack Occurs Near Pr. George's Plaza

A 17-year-old youth walking to a bus stop near Prince George's Plaza in an unincorporated area near Hyattsville was attacked by a gunman who demanded his sleeveless vest bearing the North Face logo. Police said the teenager handed over the vest, but the gunman shot him nonetheless, grazing the youth's head near his left ear and then firing into his torso. The teenager was expected to survive.

Rock Creek Renovations Planned

Critics Decry Decision to Keep Beach Drive Open

Trees would be planted, hiking trails rerouted and traffic allowed to continue rolling along one of Rock Creek Park's busiest weekday stretches under a broad proposal introduced by the National Park Service. The plan includes recommendations that are likely to win wide support, including the renovation of the Nature Center and Planetarium and removal of stream blockages to ensure that herring and shad can migrate north to a Maryland lake to spawn.

However, one suggestion prompted immediate criticism: keeping a two-mile stretch of Beach Drive, between Joyce and Broad Branch roads, open to weekday traffic. That area of the road is popular among bicyclists, skaters and pedestrians.

Pr. George's to Preserve Cultural Relics

Tobacco Barns Will Be Saved From Development

The Prince George's County Council voted to require that relics of the county's history, such as tobacco barns and slave cabins, be protected from the wave of residential development sweeping the area. The legislation, commonplace elsewhere but the first of its kind in Prince George's, was pushed by preservationists worried that the housing boom might erase keys to the county's cultural heritage.

Across the Region

Election Results; Clemency Decision

* Virginia election officials certified Republican Del. Robert F. McDonnell as the winner over Democratic Sen. R. Creigh Deeds in the election for attorney general, with 323 more votes from among 1.94 million cast. Deeds has asked the Richmond Circuit Court to conduct a recount in what attorneys and advocates say is the closest statewide race in Virginia history.

* Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) spared the life of convicted murderer Robin M. Lovitt a day before his scheduled execution. Warner said in a statement that the destruction by an Arlington County court clerk of DNA evidence that might have cleared Lovitt convinced him that Lovitt should instead spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Cows to Horses A state horse park could take over the Naval Academy's former dairy farm in Gambrills.