Take a look at the Nikon D5000 and the Nikon D3100 (brand new). They are both DSLRs in your price range. The Nikon D90 is a good camera as well, and it is just a bit more expensive (about $940 from Sam's Club).
You can get a better price online, but some places will not be authorized Nikon dealers. They sell grey market cameras, which means they are cameras built to be sold in non-U.S. markets. Usually the cameras and lenses are exactly the same, but you won't get a Nikon USA warranty.
You can't beat B & H Photo
for great service and information. If you call them, you will get great help on the phone and answers to all your questions.
Sam's Club and Costco are good places to look as well.
Canon, Sony and others make excellent stuff too, but I wouldn't know where to start.