Local Leads: 10/16/09

News you need to know.

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The following stories have been hand-selected by the Assignment Desk at News4:

    FENTY CHALLENGE OFFER 
    The city hall rumor mill was buzzing this week with word that a wealthy developer is so furious with Mayor Adrian Fenty that he's vowing to raise $1 million for anyone willing to run against the first-term chief executive. We are a year away from electing a mayor, and the silly season is upon us. The purported offer to raise funds comes from R. Donahue Peebles. Born in D.C., Peebles now lives and works out of Coral Gables, Fla. He's done well buying and selling property, developing hotels and writing books about his real estate prowess. Forbes has included him in its list of top 10 wealthiest black Americans, after Oprah, Magic Johnson and Bob Johnson, another product of D.C.  (Examiner)

    ARLINGTON TAXI CELL PHONES
    The county government is on the lookout for cab drivers with cell-phones attached to their ears. As part of a comprehensive rewrite of taxi-industry regulations adopted by the County Board in June, cab drivers are no longer allowed to talk on their cell phones while transporting passengers, with only limited exceptions that include communicating with their dispatcher. The prohibition took effect the same day as the new rules were enacted. “I am not aware of any officer that has charged it yet, but I am certainly on the lookout for drivers in violation,” said Detective Matthew Owens, the hack and licensing specialist for the Arlington County Police Department. (Sun Gazette)

    MASSAGE PARLORS REOPENING
    A massage parlor is again open for business at the same Dupont Circle location that has housed previous "spas" that were raided and shut down by the city, which claimed they were brothels.  DuPont Circle Therapy Men's Spa is now open on the fourth floor of 1333 Connecticut Ave., a commercial retail space that has been targeted since spring 2008 when D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles sued to close Supra Spa, citing police raids and prostitution-related arrests.  In November 2008, Kawk agreed to shut down the spa. But property owner George Thanos signed a new lease a month later with a new owner, who opened VIP Therapy, according to court documents.  (Examiner)

    POLICE SAFETY PROTEST
    The continuing argument between public safety unions and Prince George's County officials is going graphic this Monday, as the police union launches a billboard and bus banner campaign criticizing cuts to the county police department. The advertisements, confirmed by union officials on Thursday, will feature signs implying that the county's budget cuts could endanger emergency responses to Prince George's residents. "What if you called 911 and we had no one to send?" asks an advertisement that features a worried woman on her cell phone. "Don't let county officials continue to cut police funding." (Gazette)

    PRINCE WILLIAM POPULATION
    As of Sept. 15, Prince William has a population count of 394,370, up from 392,900 reported in mid-June, according to third quarter data from the county demographer. Since 1990, when the figure stood at 215,686, the line that charts growth has never dipped. The population has been on a steady rise for nearly 20 years, however the rate of growth since 2007 is tapering, according to a county demographic fact sheet. (Insidenova.com)