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May 11, 2003|Times staff

Focus on history of Washington

Important stories usually come out of Washington, D.C., but beginning this week, the city has a new chapter in its own story.

The City Museum of Washington is scheduled to open Friday in Mount Vernon Square. Its home is the renovated Carnegie Library, a Beaux Arts building that promises 10,000 square feet of exhibition space. (The city's historic society had run the museum in 500 square feet in a house near Dupont Circle.)

The museum will focus on the story of the nation's capital through its 124 neighborhoods and the people who have made the district unique. Among the artifacts on display will be a silver and ivory teapot, circa 1880, that was used in a Washington hotel opened by James Wormley, the son of an ex-slave; and an 1843 "certificate of freedom," which free blacks carried to prove they were not runaways.

The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays; hours vary. A ticket that includes admission and the multi-

media show is $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors. 801 K St. N.W., (202) 785-2068,


Travel advisories

lifted for two


Travel advisories to Singapore and Hanoi were downgraded last week to travel alerts by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both places had been affected by the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, SARS.

A travel advisory suggests deferring nonessential travel to an affected area. An alert does not advise against travel but tells visitors about a health concern and suggests precautions.

As of the Travel section's deadline Tuesday, Singapore had 204 reported cases and

27 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. Vietnam reported 63 cases and five deaths. Worldwide, more than 6,700 people have been stricken with SARS, and 478 have died.

Travelers to Singapore should continue to monitor their health for any symptoms of SARS, such as a fever of greater than 100.4 degrees, cough or shortness or breath, the CDC advises.

The International Council of Cruise Lines, which represents the 15 major cruise lines, agreed to make Hanoi and Singapore "areas of increased screening" instead of "areas of special concern," their previous designation.

Under the new guideline, passengers "wouldn't be automatically denied boarding if they had been to those areas, which was true before," said Christine Fischer, spokeswoman for ICCL. Passengers are subject to such increased screening measures as having their temperatures taken before boarding. Individual cruise lines, however, can implement more stringent measures, she said.

Travel advisories remain in effect for China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

In the United States, no SARS deaths had been reported as of May 6, but the number of probable cases had increased to 65 as of the Travel section's deadline.

Kathleen Doheny


Complaints drop

off against

major carriers

Amid the tumult in travel in the first quarter, major airlines managed to deliver good news: better service.

Statistics released last week show the majors averaged 0.84 complaint per 100,000 boardings, half the rate of 2002's first quarter.

On-time performance was the second best for a first quarter since 1995, according to David Smallen, spokesman for the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics. He credited lighter air traffic, plus FAA management changes and airlines' efforts to even out scheduling.

For the period March 2002 to March 2003, American and United had the best on-time performance among the nine majors. Southwest and Alaska drew the fewest complaints, Continental and America West the most.

For the full report, see



Airfare, hotel for

a song in Rome

If you think there's no place like Rome in the fall or winter, consider Europe Express' "Rome Winter Supersaver," which includes airfare, six nights hotel and continental breakfast. From LAX, prices begin at $679, based on double occupancy. It does not include departure taxes, and there is a surcharge for weekend travel. The offer is good Nov. 1 to March 8 (except Dec. 6 to Jan. 11) and must be purchased by June 30. For information: (800) 927-3876,



Looking into

Ohio's history

This is a historic year for Ohio. The state is celebrating its bicentennial and hosting nearly three weeks of events for the centennial of the Wright brothers' first manned flight. Order "Discover Ohio" by calling (800) 282-5393 or visiting

-- Compiled by

Times staff

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