The following stories have been hand-selected by the Assignment Desk at News4:
Spotsylvania County Superintendent Jerry Hill says it will be "impossible" to protect all staff positions in the next budget with state revenue projected at $11 million less than he originally anticipated. Three months ago, Hill anticipated the school division would see a $3.2 million shortfall for the next budget, which begins July 1. (Fredericksburg.com)
VIRGINIA HIGHWAY UNSAFE?
The southbound lanes of Potomac River bridges are carrying drivers into dangerous territory, according to an advocacy group that has rated Virginia as one of the worst states in the nation in highway safety. The commonwealth was one of nine states that blazed red in a national map presented Monday by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a nonprofit group that uses its own safety goals to rank each state just before legislatures begin to convene for the new year. (Washington Post)
CHLORINE TO TREAT WATER CHANGED
The main disinfectant in the drinking water of nearly 1 million D.C. and Northern Virginia residents is being switched by the Army Corps of Engineers to thwart the threat of terrorists releasing deadly chlorine gas. The switch will be from chlorine gas to a liquid form of chlorine called sodium hypochlorite. Both are equally effective, according to the Washington Aqueduct, an arm of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. But the liquid, "is considered much safer to transport, store and use than gaseous chlorine," said an official. (Examiner)
VIRGINIA FAILS ON TOBACCO CONTROL
Despite its new restrictions on smoking in restaurants, Virginia still gets failing grades for tobacco-prevention policies and funding, according to a public health group. The American Lung Association's annual tobacco-control report card, scheduled to be released today, says Virginia and five other states are flunking when it comes to smoke-free air laws, cigarette taxes, tobacco-prevention spending, and insurance coverage for tobacco-cessation medications and counseling.(Richmond Times Dispatch)
GODDARD HEADED TO VENUS, MAYBE..
With a little luck, scientists and engineers at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt will help to send a NASA spacecraft to land on an asteroid or on Venus late in this decade. The two proposed interplanetary missions with Goddard connections were among three selected Monday to receive $3.3 million each for further cost and feasibility study under NASA's New Frontiers program. Only one will be funded after a final cut later this year. (Baltimore Sun)