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<b>Obituary: Jerome J. Trout, 59</b>

<bt>Jerome Trout, an Arlington resident, died at his home on April 14. Services were held at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Avoca, Iowa on Saturday, April 20, with burial at Resthaven Cemetery in West Des Moines. He was 59.

Trout was born on April 7, 1943, in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and lived in the Washington, D.C. area for about 10 years. He was employed as a health science officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C.

A graduate of Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Mo. and Iowa State University in Ames, he attained a doctorate in 1977. His post-doctoral studies were at the University of Iowa and West Virginia University.

He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Joseph P. and Clara Gertsch Trout of Avoca, former owners of the Dime & Dollar Store in Avoca.

<b>Police Nab Thief With ‘Bait’ Car</b>

<bt>Arlington police made their first arrest last week using a "bait car" program to catch car thieves.

The county’s "bait car" fleet is made up of commonly stolen models, equipped with a wireless transmitter. The cars are parked in areas with a high incidence of stolen automobiles. If the car is stolen, the wireless transponder notifies police automatically, and transmits a signal which lets officers track the vehicle.

The program had its first trial by fire on April 13. Shortly before 1 a.m., dispatchers received a signal that a bait car had been stolen. They tracked the car with a global-positioning system, and notified officers in the vicinity of the stolen auto.

When police were in position, dispatchers disabled the car’s engine through the transponder. Police arrested Jose Delapez Gonzalez, 40, of Arlington, without incident. He was charged with grand larceny auto, driving on a suspended license, and possession of burglary tools.

The bait car program began in February. Arlington auto thefts dropped in 2001, but there were still more than 700 auto thefts in the county, police said.

<b>Stadium Group Seeks Architects</b>

<bt>The Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority issued a request for proposals Tuesday, seeking a designer for a possible major league baseball stadium in Northern Virginia.

The VBSA is scheduled to select an architect for a stadium by Aug. 8. More information about the RFP is available on the authority’s Web site, <a href="http://www.BaseballinVA.org">www.BaseballinVA.org</a>.

Some Arlington civic groups and officials have stated their opposition to putting a stadium in Arlington. But VBSA members said that any site would need to be near both mass transit and interstate routes.

<b>County Enacts New Water Ordinance</b>

<bt>In hopes of combating drought conditions that threaten the region, the County Board adopted a new water emergency ordinance Saturday. The move increased penalties for violations of water restrictions.

Under the new ordinance, anyone who violates a mandatory water conservation order could be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor, and could face up to $500 in fines. The ordinance would also let the County Manager suspend water service to repeat violators.

The board’s move was prompted by the last drought in the region, in 1999. At the time, board members decided to make county regulations identical with those in surrounding counties.

Arlington, and the rest of the Washington region is still under drought watch. Recent rainfall has done little to mitigate the dry conditions from the fall and winter

The Drought Watch condition will not be lifted until the area has normal precipitation for a 15-day period. The watch could be upgraded to a drought warning if area reservoirs dip too low, but county officials say they do not anticipate that kind of crisis.

<b>Schools Seek Input on Teacher Excellence</b>

<bt> The Arlington Public Schools invites the public to attend a community forum on teaching excellence at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 30, at the Arlington Education Center Board Room, 1426 N. Quincy Street, Arlington.

The school system seeks public comment as it seeks to define teacher excellence — what it is, how it might be measured, and who determines it. The forum is the next step in fine-tuning the Teacher Excellence Initiative (TEI) recently approved by the Arlington School Board as part of the FY 2003 budget proposal. The initiative was designed to improve student achievement through better teacher recruitment and retention.

The gathering will begin with an overview of the work conducted on the Teacher Excellence Initiative thus far, followed by small group discussions and reports back to the larger group on information gathered in the breakout discussions. Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Robert G. Smith later has convened a committee to develop proposals for Phase II of the Teacher Excellence Initiative for Board and community consideration during development of the FY 2004 budget.

In addition to the forums, community members also may comment via voice mail (703-228-2424) or email <a href=mailto:"TeacherExcel@arlington.k12.va.us">TeacherExcel@arlington.k12.va.us</a>.