Local Leads: 1/30/2010 | NBC4 Washington

Local Leads: 1/30/2010

News you need to know



    Getty Images

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

    A "southern storm" is expected to dust the Washington metro area with snow, with higher amounts of accumulation in the south.  Charles County Public Schools and St. Mary's County Public Schools have already decided to cancel events and activities this weekend. For a complete list of closings and delays, click here.   A winter storm advisory is in effect for Charles, Calvert, St. Mary's and Stafford counties from 7 a.m. Saturday until 4 a.m. Sunday.   A winter weather advisory is in effect for D.C., Anne Arundel, Prince George's, Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William counties from 7 a.m. Saturday until 4 a.m. Sunday. The immediate D.C. area could see 2 to 4 inches of snow. But areas in northern Montgomery County and Frederick County may only see a trace to a couple inches.

    A basketball coach in Germantown, Md. was arrested after allegations she had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old boy at the school.  Jennifer Glad, 24, ran and hid in her car after leaving the Montgomery County Detention Center in Rockville Friday night.  For the last three months she served as an assistant coach for the boy’s varsity basketball team at Seneca Valley High School.
    Montgomery County police say she carried on a sexual relationship with a student for several weeks---from the beginning of December until the end of 2009.  “There’s morals and integrity and there’s things that are wrong---and that’s wrong,” said Cheryl Smith, a parent at Seneca Valley High School.  “It is very disturbing to know that someone would look at your child in that way,” said Becky Lewis.

    It is early afternoon at the National Zoo, and the indoor giant panda compound is almost deserted. Most visitors hurry through, taking no notice of the diminutive woman in the gray sweat shirt with the shovel and broom, cleaning the floor behind the viewing glass. Her name is Nicole Meese. She is wearing blue work gloves and has a walkie-talkie and a big set of keys clipped to her belt. She works methodically -- shovel in one hand, broom in the other -- sweeping up shredded bamboo and other panda detritus.  It is a messy job but a work of love, she says, and next week, after 4 1/2 years, a big part of it comes to an end. Tai Shan, the zoo's "teenage" giant panda, is leaving Thursday for a new home in China.

    For God's sake, blog! Pope Benedict told priests on Saturday, saying they must learn to use new forms of communication to spread the gospel message.  In his message for the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of Communications, the pope, who is 82 and known not to love computers or the Internet, acknowledged priests must make the most of the "rich menu of options" offered by new technology.  "Priests are thus challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources — images, videos, animated features, blogs, Web sites — which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelization and catechesis," he said.

    A whole lot of shivering will be going on at Sandy Point State Park on Saturday, as thousands of could-be hypothermia cases jump into the frigid waters of the Chesapeake Bay for the 14th annual Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge.  "Yes, it is a very strange phenomenon," acknowledges Tom Schniedwind, an executive vice president of Maryland Special Olympics and one of those who started the annual ice-encrusted fundraiser. "But it's one of those bucket-list things, where people just want to be able to say, 'Wow, I can do that.' "  Strange, yes. But it's all for a good cause, raising money for the Special Olympics. Since the first plunge in 1997, when 350 people showed up, the event has raised more than $13.2 million. Last year, 11,000 shivering plungers made their way to Sandy Point, just north of the Bay Bridge.